Illy has a membership program that allows you to get into a very nice espresso machine with the commitment of buying their coffee. The machines are very nice; FrancisFrancis! X5, X1, or a Pasquini Livia 90, a commercial grade maker. The FrancisFrancis! machines come at a steep discount with club membership. A year's worth of coffee is the commitment, so make sure you like Illy!. Hey if you were going to buy this coffee anyway, you might as well get a great price on a nice maker.
Amigos Caffee was founded in 1980 by Severino Mingardi as a family business because he wanted more for his family. Located in Trieste Italy, the family run business has grown and moved twice as a result of their European and worldwide demand behind their coffee products. They have 3 ESE Espresso products, the Amigo Extra Bar, Amigo Blue and Amigo Decaf.
I went ahead and got the caffeinated blends, the Amigos Extra Bar and the Amigos Blue.
Let's face it, Illy isn't the espresso maker that produces a cup collection that is a thing of beauty. The Gaggia Senses collection brings out the warm weather and asks you to enjoy the full indulgence of a beautiful espresso in a beautiful cup. Set includes sixe cups and saucers.
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. Their ESE Espresso pods are fairly popular and are available from several outlets online. They offer three particular blends: Classic, 100% Arabica and Decaf for the ESE Pods.
Over the last couple of weeks, we've been tasting them almost daily as we go about our business around the test kitchen here at SingleServeEspresso.com - you know, my house....
So why let all the "Single Serve Coffee" folks have all the fun with flavored pods? Did you know that you can get flavored ESE ESpresso pods? Yup. Almond, Hazelnut, Irish Creme, and Cremcaramel flavors are available. All imported.
Nothing's free, yea I know. But If you drink Tully's K-Cups, you can get a free Tully's travel mug. CoffeeGiant is running a special right now that gets you a free travel mug when you buy 3 boxes of Tully's K-cups. I like the Tully's French Roast, but they have several varieties. We've got the Keurig B-70, and have a box on tap right now.
Want and opportunity to gather with students from around the world and learn about sustainable coffee farming techniques? Nespresso is running a summer campus in Costa Rica for 2 weeks this coming summer to help students learn more about how farmers cultivate the rarest coffees in the world, while observing sustainable farming techniques to create a better economy while safeguarding the environment.
There are a bunch of mid-winter sales and clearance deals going on right now. The other day I mentioned the Clearance of a DeLonghi EC460 at Target stores (bricks kind), although I have heard that some Target stores don't have these machines. Green Mountain Coffee has a winter sale going on, and now I see that there are some good deals at Zaccardis on some customer returned items. The deals are in the range of 10-30% off. Again, you'll need to deal with the fact that these units are returned and inspected, but hey a deal is a deal.
A speach at a recent symposium on nutrition tells us that coffee is loaded with antioxidants, and contributes about a third of the average American's intake of antioxidants on a daily basis. I didn't realize my espresso did a body so much good!?!
"Coffee was the largest single contributor on a daily basis for the average American, contributing 31% of the total daily antioxidants. Coffee is high in phenolic acids and chlorogenic acid, and is the number one antioxidant molecule in the American diet," says Dr. Vinson is Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.
And I thought my daily Flintstone's vitamin was the only source of antioxidants!
So, while we are a long way from understanding the role of antioxidants and disease, I'll keep enjoying my espresso on a daily basis, and savoring every antioxidant laden sip.
Just when you thought you were safe from everything heart-shaped for Valentines day, I present to you the heart shaped espresso cups! Yes, these are some fine heart theme espresso cups that are offered in pink, and come in a set of six.
Saeco is a well known espresso name, and their Primea Ring Espresso machine is a premier machine in the line-up (Yea I know the espresso cups are a bad photoshop job, but it's a stock photo). The unit is a a fully automatic espresso brewing center and it grinds, tamps and pulls your espresso shots. Want a latte? Yea, it can do that too with its built in milk container that holds about 12 ounces of milk; nice. It's got loads of nice touches like a super quiet grinder with ceramic burrs to keep the noise and heat build up down making for a pleasant experience and a great cup of espresso.
Its big 2 liter water reservoir will give you a lot of capacity to go and go before re-filling. The two spouts allow for making two drinks at once, and its click-wheel and pushbutton controls give you the ability to dial in your desired drink with ease.
Amazon is running a Sale on Bodum Glasses, where you can Buy 3, Get One Free. This applies to most of the glasses I can see, and it applies to my favorite espresso glasses the Bodum Pavina Espresso shot glasses.
It's no secret to frequent readers that I like the Lavazza Grand Crema pods; I live on these things. As while I am drinking a lot of Espressione Pods these days as I prep a review for next week, I am knee deep in the Lavazza Grand Crema's for the weekend, having run through most of my Espressione, and just gotten a big box of the Lavazza's. So, If you're looking for a good ESE Espresso pod take a look at my review for the Lavazza Grand Crema's and consider grabbing some for yourself.
So, you think you've got what it takes? The US Barista championships are announced and going to be in Long Beach, CA in May. Competition is pretty tough, and people definitely bring out their "A" game for this one, whipping up their best brews in a set 15 minute timeframe. The winner takes home the title, $1,000 and a trip to the World Championship in Tokyo, Japan.
I happened to be in Target yesterday and saw a few Clearance items that I thought I would pass along. There were two Pump-driven espresso machines on sale for 30% off. I saw these on clearance in two local Target stores. Maybe you can pick one up if you need one for a good 30% off clearance type price.
Delonghi EC 460 - This is a pump driven espresso machine with the ability to run on ground espresso or ESE pods. Has a 1.5 liter removable tank and also has a cup warmer. This was $199, now $139 in my local Targets.
Briel Uno ES37 - These are a more traditional modern espresso maker design, again with a simple pump-driven unit and also runs on ESE pods of ground. Was $129 and now $90 in my local Targets.
I don’t know about you, but I have heard a lot about how Starbucks has been blocking the poor Ethiopian farmers from trade marking the names of their coffees, thus precluding them from making money. While that may sum up one lopsided version of the truth, I found a well-written view of what’s happening in Roast Magazine, by the editor Shanna Germain. I like the fact that she took a look at what was going on, and laid out what is a decent alternative that would actually have the Ethipian government registering Harrar and Sidamo as growing regions that would become certification marks and not Trademarks. She says, “Certification marks, such as Jamaican Blue Mountain and 100-percent Kona, identify the coffee’s source by indicating the nature and quality of the coffee and by affirming that the coffee has met certain standards. Geographic indications serve similar functions as trademarks by guaranteeing quality, identifying source and ideally increasing the value of the product.”
To me it seems like Starbucks and others are happy to pay living wages for quality coffee, and by doing so, they would qualify for a “Certification Mark” for these growing regions. Folks would not want to pay for licensing a “trademark” that they themselves had already put a lot of money behind to help establish on their own.
So according to a recent article in the LA Times the consumer magazine Consumer Reports is going to put an article out in its March issue that rates McDonald’s coffee better than Starbucks, which it finds “burnt”. So, while I agree that the Char-bucks nickname is well earned, no one should think that Consumer Reports should convince them to leave Starbucks and move over to the Golden Arches. The problem with these types of ratings is that the taste panel is made up of judges who probably rate the product objectively and then make a subjective call on what’s a better product. That’s where the problem lies. What’s better? Vanilla or Chocolate ice cream? These judges can't tell you what to like. People have different tastes, and coffee is a matter of taste.
When I try to write up my tasting notes of coffee, I try to include objective descriptions of what the cup was like, and then include an explanation of why I like a coffee, which may NOT be why you like a coffee. I think that the beauty of coffee is that there are so many possibilities out there, and I hope I can help you find the one that you like best; not tell you what’s best. So I am sure that people at McDonald’s are Lovin’ It that Consumer Reports will be coming out with a taste test like this, but don’t think that it’s going to make a lot of Starbucks drinkers move on over.
So some folks had been having a bit of a worry looking for K-cups recently but I just got my latest couple of boxes of Timothy's Rain Forest Espresso K-Cups in for the weekend. I took a look at these last year, and we're happy to report that we're enjoying our Keurig B70 brewer still. I keep it going as part of my coffee and espresso herd of machines and makers around the kitchen that I visit every day. If you spend more than $25, you get free shipping on these, and that's about $0.34 a cup.
While it may take you out of the normal espresso routine, there is something that is just exquisite and relaxing about sharing a pot of French Press coffee. One beautiful way of doing it is with a French Press Pot like this Frieling. It’s stainless steel with wonderful lines and a double wall construction to keep the coffee warm. The 23 ounce size should be able to handle a pair of mugs for that weekend coffee. A course grind is recommended for any French press pot, and not the fine espresso grind that you are used to. I often mix in some espresso roasted coffee into a more mildly roasted blend to get the type of punch that I like in a cup. Because of the brewing method of pouring near boiling water over coarsely ground beans, mix gently to wet, then steeping for up to 4 minutes, before an easy and steady plunge will deliver excellent coffee. When decanting, leave the very end behind to leave any fines that may pass the screen. The result is full-bodied delicious coffee.
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