My New Espresso Maker

I gave up using disposable coffee cups this year. I’ve only used eight TOTAL for 2019, seven of which were from miscommunications at cafés, where they either forgot or didn’t hear that I wanted a drink “to stay.” To be honest, I LOVE it and it’s really been such a positive experience beyond the direct sustainability issue. For starters, it’s spilled over into the rest of my life. By making that ONE choice, I’m actually better with even more elements of my life. And then there’s the fact that it has forced me to be more conscientious about my coffee consumption. I can’t just pop into a café and walk out with a cup that I mindlessly chug and then toss. With my reusable thermos (I mostly use this Yeti), I have to plan ahead and think about when/how I get it and it allows me to savor it more too. And when I want a nice treat like a cappuccino or iced latte, I have to plan to go to a coffee shop to either sit and read or sit and work.

Until now!!!

Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine

I have been dying for an espresso maker. Like, a real espresso maker. I used my thirtieth birthday as an excuse to splurge on one. A consumer-level espresso machine can go well into the thousands. I wasn’t willing to make that much of an investment, so I started to do my research for a more affordable option that still had all the bells and whistles that I was looking for. There are many directions you can go in when it comes to espresso but ultimately I landed on the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Maker. Between the features, the stellar reviews, and the price point (it’s on sale right now!), I felt like it was the best play for me.

I couldn’t love this little guy more.

It has a very small footprint, making it the perfect addition to our “coffee corner” in our kitchen and it looks legit without actually being super aggressive or intimidating. The machine can brew single or double shots, has an arm for steaming milk (that self-purges which is the most exciting part, ha!), and three heat settings.

Tamping Espresso

Breville Bambino Plus Review

It is incredibly easy to use and the espresso tastes so great. I’m not a snob about my coffee (like, I do not care about measuring beans on a scale or whatever), but these shots end up tasting like I put a lot more effort into it than I do. The only thing that actually requires work? The latte art. (It’s hard!)

You do need a burr grinder for the espresso if you’re doing fresh whole beans, which you’re “supposed to” do. Although let me just say, I will not judge you if you don’t. I skipped the more expensive Breville one that matches the Bambino machine and went with this much more affordable one. After grinding your beans, choose between a single or double-shot basket and pop it into the portafilter. Tamp down on the grinds– very satisfying! Twist the portafilter into the machine. Select between single or double shots. And bam! You’re in business.

Even though I got it specifically so I could make my own cappuccinos at home, I’ve mostly been doing a double shot of espresso to sip on. Sometimes I’ll do a little splash of milk, but mostly I just do the shot. If I close my eyes and sit back to relax, it almost feels like I’m at a little corner café in Paris.

Espresso Maker

I still walk into town to sit at a café to get some work done and I’ll enjoy my afternoon cappuccino there. It’s nice though to have the option to not leave my house. We’ve also loved it when friends come over! It feels so official to offer and then enjoy after-dinner espressos.

Espresso Cups

I wanted to get some official-looking cups for the shots and drinks. I went with these in the 10.5 and 4.63-ounce versions. And then found cute matte latte cups from Anthropologie, which are apparently sold out. Though, they’re still available in the full-size tumbler.

I cannot recommend this enough. My only regret is that it took so long to get one. I definitely could have made this work in an apartment because it’s so compact. Yes, it’s a little bit of an investment, but if you enjoy espresso drinks frequently, I think it’s worth it.

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John Laramore

We started with stovetop espresso makers many years ago. We have three different semi-auto machines now, and have been unhappy with the milk frothing abilities of all of them. We invested $100 in a Nespresso stand alone milk frother, and haven’t looked back. Tons of microfoam. Worth every penny. 2% milk or soymilk are best.


I have a “knock box” next to my espresso machine that I empty the used grinds into — I like to sprinkle them in my flower bed with my hydrangeas (it makes them more blue, something about changing the soil pH?)


Brilliant tip! (I love knocking that little pod out ha!) Mike uses the grinds a lot for face scrubs!

Emily Anderson

I love my espresso maker so I wanted to share my favorite recipe with you! Single or double shot of espresso in a mason jar, fill with ice, a spoonful of brown sugar, and milk. Put the lid back on and shake it up! So, so good!

Georgetown AF

A few questions: Why are you promoting things that are sold out? I thought you were “obsessed” with Illy?

Also, @Julia, please come pick up your friend! She’s late-night raving on instastories again and the world is cringing…


Linked to poor mental health, “Celebrity Worship Syndrome has been described as an obsessive-addictive disorder where an individual becomes overly involved and interested with the details of the personal life of a celebrity. Any person who is ‘in the public eye’ can be the object of a person’s obsession (e.g., authors, politicians, journalists).”

Cue Georgetown AF getting extremely excited that someone is engaging with her, and typing up the perfect controversial retort about how Carly isn’t a celebrity in the hopes that she can extend her 15 minutes of fame. 


So what? She said she found an espresso maker that fits in her budget and is the size she needs/wants. Maybe she couldn’t find that with Illy? Maybe she and Mike discussed it and wants to go with this brand instead. Who CARES that she was at one point was obsessed with another brand? People’s tastes can change.

Also, she knows she will be bombarded with questions about the cup, so she mentioned it was sold out. If the espresso maker was sold out, I would appreciate your comment.

Get over yourself. Feel free to mention to her about edits, since that is something easily fixable. But this?

Georgetown AF

I just want to shout out myself for boosting Carly’s organic engagement by like 150%. 9/10 the comments are just self-serving headpats from small potatoes bloggers trying drive traffic to their own sites. Dedicate your next Diva Cup #sponcon to me please!


So let me get this straight. Regular readers and fans of Carly’s don’t care if: 1. her posts are regularly slapped together with typos and grammatical errors or, 2. if she regularly pushes product on her blog/social that don’t reflect her actual personal preferences or buying habits. Got it. If the quality of the writing and integrity re: brands and featured products don’t matter, will someone please explain what makes a blog/blog writer appealing in the first place?


Do you actually think this is a case of “people’s tastes changing”? Do you understand how blogging works and how Carly earns hundreds of thousands of dollars a year? I’ve often wondered if the reason she’s been so financially successful with this thing is because her readers are too dim to understand how it all works. If you’re just looking for (unbiased) tips on appliances and clothing, do you really not know where to go to find them?


1. You know I can make Illy espresso in ANY machine right? They sell beans, so even if the brand of machine is different it doesn’t mean I’m not drinking Illy? Confused why this is even an issue?

2. I shoot content in advance. I included the white cup in the post because when I bought it and when I shot it, I assumed it would still be available online to link to. I couldn’t crop the photo without it looking weird and buying the right size cups for espresso was something I had to keep researching myself, so I wanted to include what I bought. Unfortunately, due to the photo, I had to mention the white was sold out, although they WERE still available in a larger size. So I mentioned that.


Carly – Are you drinking Illy? You certainly didn’t mention or picture it. If memory serves me correctly you’ve promoted coffee/coffee products from Dunkin’, Starbucks, Illy, and now Breville – basically all of the largest brands on the market. Are you still “confused”….because your readers sure are.


I’m not! I drink all the coffee (not going to lie, I even love McDonald’s).

Georgetown AF

Now you’ve done it, Reena! Get ready for the McDonald’$ post.


Right – I believe it. Which is why it’s increasingly hard to take any of your recommendations seriously. You love all the flats. All the heels. All the bags. All the sweaters. All the coffee. All the jeans. All the furniture. All the makeup. All the cleansers. All the workout gear. All the dresses. All the stores. All the babies. All the seasons. All the weeks. All the weekends. All the slow days. All the busy days. All the activities. All the brands.


I share what I like. I don’t JUST like one thing or one brand? Seems pretty normal and par for the course, blogger or not. I shop at Target, and J. Crew. I splurge very occasionally on designer items. I eat at fancy restaurants but also get dinner at the Whole Foods hot bar.


If it bothers you THAT much (which, whew man, it really is evident that it does!), feel free to find a blog that is more aligned with your own personal ethos. It is OKAY if mine isn’t doing it for you, there’s probably one out there that does.


Yes, everyone likes a range of things. This isn’t about what you like and use in real life. This is about what you promote and earn a living blogging and social-media’ing about and how your constant hunt for earnings leads to all sorts of conflicts of interests and conflicting promotions/’recommendations’. I’m sure you understand that (even if many of your readers don’t)….and I don’t expect you to address it in any real way here (just the typical defensiveness and rationalizations that we’ve all come to know so well). There is not a single blogger that earns a living promoting a constant stream of other people’s brands that’s aligned with my personal ethos.


Carly, whew man, if me writing a few blog comments suggests that I’m really bothered by something, what do your regular Stories and Twitter rants/breakdowns (and all these comment replies) suggest about you?


Georgetown AF, tell us why you still follow Carly if her content bothers you so much? I would like to think that you are far more intelligent than what you continue to portray. Because your intelligence would tell me you’d know your time can be better spent than being a bully. You are such a sad and unhappy person.

Georgetown AF

Carly, sometimes you act like God gave you no sense, but I know you’re not stupid. You have to know that authenticity is priority #1 these days on social. That’s why there’s 2000+ pages of snark about your blog. The brand hopping with businesses that don’t align with who you (really) are is so clear, and you come across as a fake, costume blogger. You’re not “preppy” and that’s fine. True “preps” don’t churn through cheap wardrobes year after year. They don’t have a million Barbour coats and Hunter boots just for Instagram. You’re never going to be SarahKJP. Or Julia. Or Rosie. Or even Kelly. IT’S FINE. Stop pretending, be your authentic self, stop being so pissy with your readers and you might be able to salvage this thing.


Georgetown AF,

I find it pretty ironic that your comments contain grammatical errors.

Please find another way to spend your time.

I truly enjoy Carly’s blog. Sure, there are some typos now and again, but she’s human.


You are never going to be Carly.
Stop pretending, be your authentic self, stop being so pissy and you might be able to salvage your life.


Oh Reena love, get over yourself. Maybe you should look into teaching at your local community college a class on how to monetize a blog, the right and wrong ways since you are such an arm chair expert.


Truth Dana ! These are GOMI commenters for sure. They get off on being nasty. We are blessed to live in a country with freedom of speech and there are all types. The GOMI commenters are miserable people whom feel un- accomplished in their own lives so spend valuable time being negative and trying to make others feel as miserable as they are. Feel sorry for them rather than listen to anything these overgrown angry children have to say.


My name is Elena, I live in Bahía Blanca (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and I’m one of the longstanding Carly’s fans. Regarding these negative comments, I would like to say that, in my country, I can’t buy 95% of the things that Carly shows / promotes on her blog (for several reasons: because they don’t sell them here, because they are too expensive for our coin, because Amazon doesn’t send them to Latin America, etc.). However, I visit this blog every day with enthusiasm, because I always find inspiration (whether in fashion, books or lifestyle). Not everything has to do with buying and selling not everything is even about money. I simply enjoy Carly’s attitude towards fashion and life. In advance, sorry if my English is not shakespearean, as others have deemed a necessary condition for participating in a blog (!?) Obviously, my mother tongue is Spanish. Saludos argentinos, Elena
PD: I have an expresso machine and I love it!


I hope this type of bullying of someone can be reported. It feels like I’m in middle school with girls circling the girl they hate because they want to be her. The jealousy is very palpable here. It’s not a good look and it’s very obvious your only agenda is to hurt Carly. If you have issues with Carly, leave her blog.


But is it bullying? This isn’t a hobby blog she is doing of her various opinions just fun. This is her very bubic business she makes a lot of money with by advertising and selling people stuff. Her ‘opinions’ are driven by who is sponsoring what. If this is a public business, why shouldn’t people be able to write negative or constructive thoughts, as they are the ones funding her blog? If I write a review on jcew’s website after buying a sweater saying their quality is awful and what happened to their formally decent quality, am I bullying jcew? Carly doesn’t have to allow comments at all- so there’s that. Comments draw in more readers and clicks though, which equal more money. Just some food for thought. Personally I loved many blogs, but when people starting making money from them and turned them into a business they became a shells of what they once were. Carly is not alone in this category.


First of all, I am not a 15 year old fan girl like one commenter posted about Carly’s readers, but rather someone that enjoys reading various types of blogs. I don’t read blogs to critique grammar, nor do I read them to then go to comments and bash business practices, sentence structure, shopping and brand choices etc… it is for entertainment. I find it disturbing that some commenters come on here day after day to rip a part Carly’s blog and to be relentless in their pursuit of telling her what she is doing wrong. Is it bullying? No, but it should make theses commenters think about what is it in their own lives that make them so unhappy and judgmental that they so desperately feel the need day after day to post comments saying basically the same thing over and over. You appear to be obsessive and jealous, and quite frankly it’s sad.

The English Teacher

First, your English is A+. Language is meant to communicate and you clearly did! Language changes and is not meant to be static. Language also has many different forms depending upon the situation. Blog writing, as others have pointed out, is different than formal writing. Carly’s tone is meant to welcome a variety of readers. It’s sad to hear that comments by an individual made you feel uncomfortable. The other part of your comment was wonderful! It’s nice to know that sisterhood transcends geographical boundaries ❤️
Adding on to the other issues you bring up…..I do not think one needs to analyze Shakespeare in order to enjoy her blog 🙂Nor should one use Shakespearean language! It is interesting to note that the confrontational individual attempts to be an authority on the English language, yet can’t even see the allusions to “Hamlet”! She sends out her barks (use of methinks) yet has no substance. I guess it’s true what they say… “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
A blog’s purpose is what the reader makes of it. If it doesn’t serve you, then allow others to have the freedom to find that purpose. You have the freedom to move on….exercise that right.


Exactly, I read this blog as a sisterhood and as a source of inspiration. I identify with Carly in the ways she conducts herself; in how she treats her family and friends; in the ways she takes care of her dogs; in the hobbies, books and interests she shares with us; in how she accepts her gray hair, etc. All these things make her authentic to me (at least, the image she projects), and none of them “sell” me anything.
Many thanks for your comments on my English! As soon as I posted my comment, I realized I should probably have written “ship” instead of “send”, and I forgot a comma in one sentence… But you understood my message, so I achieved my goal!


My fiance and I have been considering adding an espresso machine to our registry – I’ll have to send him the link to this one! We have a small 1BR in DC so we definitely need one that won’t take up too much counter space.

Also, I have a random question – would you do a blog post comparing different reusable straws? I’m looking for a good one I can throw in the dishwasher, and I think you previously said you’ve tried a few different ones.

Kelly Munn

Hey Christine! This isn’t Carly’s opinion but thought I might chime in here 🙂 Stainless steel ones or glass ones are best for throwing in the dishwasher. I have had my same set of 5 SS ones for over 4 years now. And unless dropped, the glass ones have lasted as well. They’re surprisingly sturdy. I keep two straws in little case in my glove compartment for whenever I am on the go and need one! One for a friend too if needed 🙂


Love that you can choose which brand of beans you want to use! I like to purchase fair trade beans and a maker that doesn’t lock me into a particular brand is a definite plus! Plus, at different times of the year I like different levels of boldness. Looking forward to cooler weather with a bold blend and a good book!
So many of your posts are either useful or trigger ideas for me! Thank you for opening up yourself and your home! It takes a very strong person to put herself out there.


Are you still enjoying the moccamaster/think it’s worth it for regular coffees? My boyfriend and I are debating on taking the plunge and getting it. Also those cups are so cute!


YES! I moved it out of the corner for this photo, but that’s in our “coffee corner” too. It’s expensive for coffee, but it’s INSANELY quiet, super fast, and tastes so so so good.


Carly –

I never comment on blogs but the nasty comments posted are annoying.

Losers always try to tear down successful people. Nasty comments only prove how great you are — so great that people have to check on your blog, instagram, etc., and make silly comments to try to make themselves feel better. It is unfortunate that these people do not use this energy to improve themselves. If they did take the time to fix whatever they feel bad about, they would not feel like losers and would stop trying to tear others down.


I appreciate that even though your blog isn’t focused exclusively on eco-friendly topics, you still incorporate environmental ethics into your posts. Please keep it up so we can learn with you! I would love to see a round up of all the switches you’ve made and recommendations.

Lauren G

I also gave up disposable coffee cups this year and told myself I was going to start making my own coffee at home, but I found that if I ended up with a disposable cup it was because of an impulse latte buy! So, I finally bought a Nespresso Vertuo Deluxe and have loved it so much! It has the simplicity of a Keurig (with recyclable pods!!) and the taste of my go-to Starbucks order. I’ve convinced several friends to make the switch to espresso machines and they all love it!! So worth it in the long run.

Erin Michelle

Latte art is hard! it took me weeks of working as a barista to hone my skills at a simple heart. The key is the milk! You have to steam it carefully to get a really fine foam (no big bubbles), pour carefully (if you want to waste sometime their are great youtube videos lol!) and high-fat milk foams better than skim.

Also in light of negative comments I just want to say that I love reading your blog even though I’ve never shopped anything from it (different country, tastes and budget), but i know that affiliate links etc is how you can continue to do this. Please keep up what youre doing 🙂


Hello Carly. I stumbled across your blog because Google knows I love coffee. This is my first time here and I love your style. Let me also say that I am in the market for a new espresso machine. I currently use an Aeropress 80% of the time and Nespresso 15%. I too struggle with sustainability, but have you read this article by Wired https://www.wired.co.uk/article/coffee-pods-nespresso-recycling. It brings up some good points. Thanks for your post and now I have a new blog to read and instant coffee to drink (jk, its from the Nespresso).



We have a Nepresso but bought the Breville milk frother and absolutely love the combo! It’s an economical alternative depending on the Nespresso machine.

I’m really not picky about my coffee but it’s so nice to have a latte every morning if I please. Happy you found a good machine that fits your needs!


Ended up here after reading your “Top Posts of 2019” blog post and I will have to check this espresso maker out! We’ve been looking for one we can use for our morning coffee in hopes of saving more money in the new year. Thanks for sharing!