In Toronto, where we last lived, we were extremely fortunate to have The Remarkable Bean at the bottom of our street – a charming neighbourhood cafe where they roasted and ground the finest coffee beans, and baked the most heavenly blueberry muffins I’ve ever had. It was a delight making the brief walk to savour its sights and scents on the streetcar-visited Queen St, which itself was home to a treasury of quaint shops and restaurants.

At the Bean I’d meet our stalwart family friend, Rob, and we’d dissect one of the above muffins ingredient by ingredient, later feverishly attempting to replicate them at home for the kids. We both had excellent results, although I really need one of those giant North Amerian muffin trays to get it down pat!

And so, Richard and I would get our just-ground remarkable beans and make the coffee fresh in our cafetierre, the good old low-tech way. Sadly, we have yet to spy a Bean-equivalent in our New Jersey neighbourhood and Richard’s had scant time to make coffee in the morning before he joins the throng of NYC commuters. Instead, he gets one at work – a detour which puts the household budget back about $60 a month (closer to $90 with my less-regular habit thrown in) and not necessarily providing the satisfaction of a home brew.

Enter the Krups Dolce Gusto coffee maker and a handy Bloomingdale’s coupon – we are now the proud owners of one of these caffeine-spouting ducks. With all the savings on offer to lure bean addicts, Richard figures the 15-bar coffeehouse-strength machine (which incidentally produces a very attractive cuppa with a layer of foam on top that’s very fit to drink) will pay for itself in three months. My latte macchiato was so delicious I frantically scoured the box for its calorie content, expecting to find all my optimism ground to bean dust. Thankfully, it was a neat 90 calories.

Meanwhile, we can have a perfect latte, cappucino, cafe lungo, iced coffee or espresso (and the kids a choccacino) whenever we feel like it. A tasty deal at *25-50c a cup, I say!

*25c for the coffee pod, another 25c for milk (if using)

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