January 31, 2007
January 31, 2007
Terroir coffee is noted for its excellent single origin coffees that are treated to keep their freshness from farm to you by actually vacuum sealing the green coffee at the farm prior to shipment to Terroir Coffee where they were then stored frozen. The result; unmatched freshness and flavor.
I wanted to highlight a special espresso of theirs from Brazil; Daterra North Italian style. The espresso has a lot going for it; a wonderful flavor - rated 92 by CoffeeReview.com, it's Rain Forest Alliance Certified, and it was also the coffee of choice for the World Barista Champ to use as he won in competition. Not bad.
According to the website: "It has a floral baby-breathe, almond aroma. The cup is elegant, smooth, of one piece from first contact to aftertaste. It is honey textured, extra-sweet and lively, chock-full of mellow clean fruit, chocolate, nuts and refined butter-marzipan with a hint of vanilla. Other brewing methods produce a rich very mellow cup with nutty-chocolate flavors."
January 30, 2007
Illy is getting ready for Valentines Day with a special that runs through Feb 14th. If you buy any espresso maker, you will get a "Valentines Day starter kit" free. The starter kit includes heart shaped demitasse spoons, logo cups and some Illy sugar sticks, a $92 value (I assume the sugar isn't adding much here eh?).
The picture above features the FrancisFrancis X1 machine in brilliant red. They feature about ten machines that qualify for the offer.
ReadMore at Illy USA
January 29, 2007
So, without a usual cup of coffee in the morning, some people can barely function, and are in need of a little kick from come caffeine. Well, if one gentleman in NC has his way, you might just be consuming caffeinated baked goods. He's developed caffeinated donuts and bagels that contain up to 100mg of caffeine, which is quite a punch for regular folks who may not be used to much more than the 50+ found in some soft drinks. For those of us who may hit the espresso a few times a day, 100mg is about par for a pleasurable outing. This molecular scientist and coffee shop owner has come up with the idea to caffeinate his baked goods. He's also trying to patent the idea and shop it around to some pretty big names: Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks.
If any readers have ever gone through a sensory training class, they may remember that caffeinated water is THE definition and standard for bitterness. And apparently adding powdered caffeine to the baked goods had a bittering effect too. It wasn't until they essentially encapsulated caffeine that they were able to bake with it and have good tasting baked goods.
More at Buzzdonuts.com
January 26, 2007
If you are looking for certified organic espresso pods, one option is to look at Compagina dell'Arabica Biologica Espresso pods from PodMerchant. The coffee in these pods is pesticide free, organically grown coffee, and is grown on certified and controlled plantations. Because coffee likes to be shaded when it grows, this coffee is grown intermingled with other trees like bananna, pineapple and papaya trees for shade instead of huge screens to form a more hospitable and sustainable environment.
Box of 18 pods at the PodMerchant
January 25, 2007
What’s not to love with this baby, except maybe the price. Of course it’s functional and does everything for you, but it does everything for you in style too. It has eight one touch buttons that are programmable so that you can access your desired strength settings and cup size easily and effortlessly. It has an inlet for pulling milk directly into the machine so that it will froth or steam milk right into your cup. Whole beans in the top, and the six fineness settings will assure the proper grind size before the unit tamps and extracts your espresso.
18 bar pump
96 ounce water reservoir with filter cartridge with electronic level sensor
10 ounce whole bean capacity with electronic level sensor
LED readout and electronic controls
32-ounce triple-insulated thermal milk container keeps cold milk chilled for up to 8 hours.
Bypass doser for using other pre-ground coffee.
January 24, 2007
A bit of controversy is brewing (sorry – had to) over a small Starbucks kiosk that is inside the Forbidden City, the Chinese Imperial Palace in the middle of Beijing. The controversy over the western brand having the outlet in the imperial city was apparently started by a blogger who was stunned to find the kiosk, and was put out over the apparent lack of respect for the grounds. (The back story here is also that the blogger published the article, and then proceeded to get over a half a million hits on his post, which was then picked up by Chinese news outlets.)
I went to the Forbidden City a few years ago, and was stunned with the beauty of the place as I walked around getting a personal tour from Rodger Moore, of James Bond fame, who narrates on the little tape recording. You certainly get an awesome understanding of how beautiful this place was in its time. I guess I am more shocked that any kiosk would be allowed in there; but hey it’s not my call.
January 23, 2007
Espressione is an old world coffee roaster based on the near the Amalfi Coast in Italy. This coffee roaster has been in business for over 50 years, and masterfully blends then roasts their coffee for whole bean and ESE Pods. They offer three particular blends: Classic, 100% Arabica and Decaf for the ESE Pods. Like all ESE espresso pods that we review, they adhere strictly to the ESE standard for a consistently good cup of coffee from your pod enabled espresso maker.
We were pretty happy to run across the newly listed pods over at Amazon. Right now they have a 2-pack available for sale (2 x 18 pods). We got our Classic and 100% Arabica for review and will be posting it in a few weeks after enjoying a few cups.
All three are also available in bulk at 150 pods per box.
January 22, 2007
Starbucks recently announced that it would start using hormone free milk at its cafes, starting in New England and on the West Coast, moving nationally soon. This follows on the heels of their move away from Trans Fats. The move is an interesting one as more and more people are buying hormone free milk, and/or organic milk. I live in the Boston area, and major milk brands around here are following this trend and moving their mainstream branded milk to the hormone free variety. You can still buy the good old-fashioned non-organic, hormone laden variety in a store brand if you want, but clearly there is a big enough demand for the product that has the healthier perception. I am always interested in these types of trends when they move towards mainstream acceptance. We’ll see if the trend continues on this. The Business Week article below talks about McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts not moving towards hormone free milk, so when they do, I guess we’ll know that the make-over is nearing completion.
ReadMore at BusinessWeek Online
January 20, 2007
We're pretty excited to have the Nespresso C100T espresso and coffee maker in the SingleServeEspresso.com kitchens for testing and for a little fun too. The Nespresso system is based on these little capsules that seal various coffee blends inside, and make themselves ready for brewing at anytime. Like Pods and other capsule based systems, this can make pretty easy work out of making an excellent cup of coffee.
This stylish brewer packs a lot into its little frame: 19 bar pump,
1200 watt heating element,
a removable 34-ounce water reservoir, and
Measures 10 by 6-1/2 by 11-1/2 inches.
The machine and capsules can make a standard espresso, or a 5-ounce lungo. It comes with 12 capsules.
We've got a few blends in house and will be putting it through the paces to check it out from our Espresso point of view.
More at Nespresso
January 19, 2007
Lance Armstrong seems to be everywhere even after the man is a year and a half into his "retirement". While he's not on the bike so much anymore and in front of the rest of the pack in the Tour de France, he is in front of a lot of people working earnestly for helping those with cancer. Well, you can start your morning with a warm Livestrong Mug of coffee. 10% of proceeds go to Livestrong.
At Java City
January 18, 2007
We've been fans of the Caribou Coffee Granola Bars ever since we stumbled across them last summer. The Mocha is really good, and the vanilla a little less "coffee-ish" but still pretty tasty. Well Caribou has another couple out, The Caramel High Rise flavor and a mint based one that I can't remember the name of. I am not a big fan of mint flavored food or drinks so you won't find me trying those, mint mochas, candy canes, or those after dinner mints either. Plain old mints, I like.
SingleServeEspresso.com reader Shelli mentioned these a couple of days ago, so they must be in decent distribution.
Back to the Caribou Coffee Caramel granola bars; again they nailed a pretty good granola bar. Sweet like caramel should be, with enough salty flavor in there to cut the sweetness down a bit. Doesn't quite have the espresso kick that I would like, but overall a very good and indulgent bar. It has 140 calories per 35 gram bar, and again, don't eat these things because of the caffeine. There's probably only about 150 milligrams of ground coffee beans in there after looking at the label, and of that only a few percent is actually caffeine. Stick with the espresso if you need a buzz. Out of all of them, the Mocha flavored ones pack the most coffee flavor.
January 17, 2007
I'm a pretty big fan of my Pavina espresso glasses
made by Bodum. The double walled glass keeps the coffee hot while my fingers are cool. If you're a big fan of Caribou Coffee, you can grab a pair of these with the logo right on them.
More at the Caribou Store
January 16, 2007
So a lot of people have been asking about calorie content in their normal lattes, and with the New Year's resolutions still fighting to hang on, I thought I would pass along some news about Caribou Coffee's new Northern Lites Lattes. The small (12 ounce) Northern Lites Latte is only 80 calories, and a medium is only 120 calories. the latte is made with skim milk. They are also available in the following flavors:
Not quite as good as an eggnog latte, but at about 1/4 of the calories, not so dangerous either. Available through early March.
More at Caribou Coffee
January 15, 2007
OK, so I am a few days late with this, but you might still be looking for a calendar and a darn good looking one to fill in that gap on the wall. Well Illy has a nice looking calendar that features images of their cup collections with this year's calendar.
16" by 24" on heavy paper
More at Illy
January 14, 2007
After the holidays is a good time to grab some bargains, and Green Mountain has some deals on a lot of left-over gifts; up to 50% off. They also have some new seasonal blends of coffee (in whole bean, ground and K-Cups):
Fair Trade Gingerbread
Fair Trade Holiday Blend
Fair Trade Golden French Toast
Fair Trade Winter Classic Blend
They also have a "Reserve Tour" available that will ship you three different high quality coffees over the coming months. The ratings on these coffees are good and the coffees look exciting.
More on Seasonal Coffee at Green Mountain Coffee
January 12, 2007
A lot of people have been writing in about how to froth and steam milk for their cappuccinos and lattes. A couple of essential tools that can really help you get going are a frothing pitcher and a thermometer. You want to get the milk to the right temperature maximizing its ability to hold air, without cooking the milk and ruining it. Typically there is a nice range of 140F to about 160F between which the milk will be hot enough to keep your drink at a nice temperature overall, while also giving you that aeration that you want. I like the upper end of this range in the low 150's for a good sweetspot.
Steaming milk requires that you get the milk into a nice pitcher that will allow you to get your steaming wand well into the milk. Turn on your steam nozzle and keep the tip submerged below the milk's surface. The milk will develop a nice finely aerated feel and look as it heats and grows in the pitcher. Use a dial thermometer to help you determine when to stop.
If your machine comes with an attachment that has an air tube that stick up and sucks air in while it steams, you are going to get frothy milk to make a cappuccino using the same technique mentioned above. If this is what you want, then you are good to go. If not, check the manual to see if the tip can be removed to get a bare metal spout that will give you less aeration and more of a latte type steamed milk.
Remember always wipe up and clean off the steam spout soon after use before the milk dries on in a perma-crud crust that is hard to get off. A wet towel can do this right after you are done steaming.
Meth Coffee launched itself in San Francisco the other day selling a super caffeinated brew that also includes Yerba Mate, an herb that is loaded with caffeine and is reportedly good for mental alertness in a way that caffeine alone can’t. Boasting an intense buzz and cocoa-tobacco finish, Meth Coffee is fresh-roasted within 48 hours of shipment to jumpstart workaholics, thrill seekers, artists, and subversives seeking an exciting new fuel for their endeavors.
Unique Taste and Buzz with Antioxidants. Huh, a shot of espresso sounds so pedestrian now.
The flavor of Meth Coffee's Arabian and South American beans with yerba mate starts as a smooth, herbaceous attack that runs to a soft tobacco-cocoa finish. Yerba mate's presence produces a gradual buzz arc for periods of intense play and creativity that some drinkers find more cerebral than coffee alone. Research has shown that yerba mate contains mateine, an alkaloid stimulant similar to those found in coffee and chocolate, as well as significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
A quick check of WebMD comes up with this on Yerba Mate: “There are observational reports that yerba mate, when used in large amounts or for prolonged periods, may cause cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.” But how long is prolonged and what’s a large amount anyway.
More at Meth Coffee
January 11, 2007
So the latest place you can get a cup of Fair Trade coffee is at the golden arches of McDonald’s. The big old burger chain is going Fair Trade in the UK changing over their restaurants this week. They buy their coffee in the UK from Kraft, one of the largest coffee producers in the world. This has to put some muscle behind the Fair Trade movement, and may get things a lot closer to the tipping point to get a majority of coffee producers to back the movement.
Hopefully the market responds, and they see the business benefit in the States too.
January 10, 2007
We weren’t able to make the recent opening of the Nespresso Café in NYC
, but I thought I would point out one of the latest single serve machines from Nespresso anyway…. The Nespresso C100 Essenza
, a stylish looking little machine that takes the Nespresso capsules. These foil wrapped capsules are packed with coffee and coffee blends that come in a nice amount of variety, and they even have some seasonal products to keep things interesting. All of this can easily be accessed through the Nespresso website, the downside is that coffee can only be bought through the Nespresso website. The capsules cost $0.49 each, which can seem like a lot when you are only getting a tiny little shot of espresso, but if it’s good espresso and this easy, the cost isn’t too terrible. It’s in the ballpark with ESE Pods.
The Nespresso C100 Essenza is a compact little brewer that takes these Nespresso capsules, brews your cup and then it gets dumped into a waste bin for clean up later. This little brewer packs a punch though with a 19 bar pump, 1200 watt heating and a 34-ounce water reservoir. The machine and capsules can make a standard espresso, or a 5-ounce lungo for larger cups.
Our sister site, SingleServeCoffee.com, published a review of the Nespresso C90; the C100's little brother, and also published a review of the Aeroccino, a great way to get frothed milk without the steaming wand.
January 9, 2007
I wanted to put up a post about this before the holidays are but a distant memory. We had a couple of parties over the holidays and as you might imagine, the kitchen of SingleServeEspresso.com was serving up some coffee; espresso and lattes to be exact. I raved about the "Barista Button" in my review of the DeLonghi EAM 3500, that makes a latte at the push of one button, and I am back to tell you about what a delight this thing is when you have people over for a party. It was so fun, it became the entertainment. There is something mesmerizing about a super automatic when it brews an espresso for you at the push of a button. The fact that this also steams milk right into your cup blows people away. So, instead of getting everyone their own, I was able to get a couple and then people wanted to do it themselves.... "Teach them to fish and they can drink lattes for a lifetime...." or something like that. The aroma went through the house, the word went out and I had people ready to do it themselves.
Now, I did set up sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg away from the machine so that it siphoned people off to prevent a huge back up. The DeLonghi EAM 3500 makes a latte that fits nicely into a 6 ounce cup, so we broke out the good china for a good time. People definitely felt like it was a special treat to have something like this to top off the event.
January 8, 2007
While sitting there sipping an espresso or Latte, have you ever noticed that fancy chalk work on the wall and thought wow, that's pretty good! Well there are some people who are taking it to a new level, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a cool little article about a few artists who are turning casual chalk into a higher art form; and making a living at it. The work is sometimes tough, calloused cramping hands can make for a tough day, but the hours are yours. After a long start up curve, the coffeehouse patrons are pretty thankful for the decorations.
ReadMore about Chalkboard Art
January 5, 2007
Continuing on the Coffee and Chocolate reviews (it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it), I stumbled onto another dark chocolate bar with coffee in it. This time it’s Valrhona Le Café Noir Dark Chocolate with Coffee. Valrhona is a French chocolatier that is working on estate grown cocoa (yes, just like fine coffee). This particular bar is dark and semi-sweet with 57% cocoa. It’s dark without being too bitter. The bar is a smooth style bar without bits in it and has a very subtle, and potentially non-existent coffee flavor in it. The bar snaps when broken. Overall, I think that it’s a very nice dark chocolate, slightly bitter, but not overly done without much coffee flavor to it. If that’s what you are looking for, there you go; for me I want a little bit more coffee, thanks. I got it at Whole foods for $3.99.
More at Valrhona
January 4, 2007
Krups has entered the market with an espresso and coffee combination machine that appears to be a decent little item, including a pump driven espresso maker instead of the usual steam driven machines that produce an inferior cup of espresso. The Krups XP2070 is the digitally controlled espresso and coffee combination machine that has a 15 bar pump driven thermoblock espresso set-up and a 32 ounce reservoir for the espresso side of things. The portafilter comes with 3 inserts, a single, double and an ESE Espresso pod insert. On the drip coffee side of things, it has a 10-cup capacity for handling the regular coffee duties.
The brushed stainless exterior is good looking and its digital controls are easy to read. They allow you to prepare singles, doubles and has automatic shut off capability.
The Krups XP 2070 has a little brother, the dial based XP2010 espresso machine.
Krups has entered the market with an espresso and coffee combination machine that appears to be a decent little item, including a pump driven espresso maker instead of the usual steam driven machines that produce an inferior cup of espresso. The Krups XP2010 is the analog espresso and coffee combination machine that has a 15 bar pump driven thermoblock espresso set-up and a 32 ounce reservoir for the espresso side of things. The portafilter comes with 3 inserts, a single, double and an ESE Espresso pod insert. On the drip coffee side of things, it has a 10-cup capacity for handling the regular coffee duties.
The brushed stainless exterior is good looking and its analog controls are easy to read.
It has a digital big brother, the Krups XP2070.
Starting today, Starbucks is bringing back the Cinnamon Dolce Latte (CDL), a special winter-time treat that was first introduced last winter and quickly became a customer favorite.
The CDL combines classic winter flavors – a delicious blend of sweet cinnamon, butter and brown sugar – and pairs it with Starbucks signature dense, caramelly sweet espresso and freshly steamed milk, all topped with whipped cream and a dusting of Cinnamon Dolce sprinkles. This season, the CDL is also offered with a sugar-free syrup option to help stay true to New Year’s resolutions while providing an indulgent-tasting treat. The Tall CDL ("small" in most shops) is only 90 calories when you request a sugar-free, no whip, no fat version.... I know, barely indulgent, but it can help keep that New Year's Resolution going!
January 3, 2007
So it comes out that starbucks is going to cut trans fats in their baked goods by year end. (According to the Starbusks website, only the espresso drinks with whipped cream report any trans fats - might just "Skip the Whip".) It will take a while to fully implement across all stores, but some locations will have zero trans fats almost immediately. “This is just something we have been working on, and our focus has always been on providing our customers with healthy and nutritious food options,” Brandon Borrman, a spokesman, stated.
Starbucks locations in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, and Washington D.C. will all have zero trans fats in their foods almost immediately.
The other half of the stores across the country will also now have to follow the trend by adjusting recipes with bakers and food suppliers in the regions. It will take time but it will be done.
This follows New York City banning trans fats, and other cities like Boston considering a similar measure.
January 2, 2007
So, the colder months are here, and this is your chance to close the loop on spent coffee grounds. The Java Log has been featured all over the place in magazines like Time, and on TV shows like Ellen. The Java Log is made up of spent coffee grounds and a vegetable based wax; compressed to burn about 3 hours in your fireplace, just like those other wood based fireplace logs. The Java Log company gets their coffee from large instant coffee makers, (and some coffee shops through waste recyclers), saving about 42 million kilograms of waste from going to landfills each year. The packaging is 100% recycled, and the log creates 10X less creosote and 6X less particulate matter than burning wood. Anyway, looks like it’s worth checking out.
They are available at lots of national retailers, check out the JavaLog website for more information on where you can find them.