March 30, 2007

Nespresso Essenza C100 Full Review

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The Nespresso C100 showed up in a small box, and in an incredible little way found its way onto our counter top and started pumping out shot after shot in a simple and beautiful fashion. Small and compact are the understatement for the Nespresso C100, as great things really do come in small packages. I look at other machines twice its size and wonder how they got everything in there. Now, let's be clear, they don't offer a few things that other more classically designed units offer. like a cup warmer or a steam outlet for frothing milk. This isn't just for espresso though, as work-arounds are easy and prevalent.

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March 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Peet's

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Peet's Coffee & Tea, kicked off its 41st Anniversary with two special signature blends, one of coffee and one of tea, available throughout its retail stores, home delivery service at http://www.peets.com and selected grocery stores nationwide, for the next eight weeks.

Customers can also purchase limited-edition commemorative merchandise and sampler gifts. Additional information is available online at http://www.peets.com, or by phone at 1-800-999-2132.

"Over the years, Peet's has maintained a rigorous commitment to offering handcrafted quality and freshness in every cup," said Pat O'Dea, Peet's president and CEO. "We are proud to celebrate our 41st year and continue to uphold our tradition of artisan roasting in small batches," he added.

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March 28, 2007

Ciald'Oro ESE Espresso Pod Review

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Miscela D’oro is a decades old coffee company that started like most other Italian coffee companies, as a little store that sold its own coffee and spices. That small company that started in the 1940’s is now a modern production facility that has ISO 2000 certification for its quality products. The product line is fairly broad, but not limited to only Espresso pods.

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In tasting the Ciald'Oro ESE pods, I have to say that I like them. The aroma is solid coming out of the pouch, and it is dark roasted for sure. The crema is nicely almond colored. The flavor is slightly acidic, but definitely full-bodied. The mocha flavors are strong in the base flavor profile with caramel and slightly sweet notes to top it off. It’s not as well rounded as I like, but it is better than average filling in the peaks with nice full body and subtle flavors.

At Amazon

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March 27, 2007

Lucaffee 100% Arabica Mr Exclusive

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Pod Merchant sent out their email newsletter this past weekend, and if you missed it, you missed a coupon code for some money off (15%) your next order, and a good little run down on boilers and how different espresso machines get your water from room temperature to brewing temperature in short order.

You also missed a run down on the Lucaffee 100% arabica ESE pods, which are part of the Lucaffe line that Pod Merchant sells, including the Classi, Colombia, Decaf and the BlueCaffe versions.

Here's what the Pod Merchant had to say about the Lucaffe Mr Exclusive 100% Arabica ESE Pods: "Mr. Exclusive is a 100% Arabica coffee, meaning that only Arabica beans are used. It is not blended with Robusta beans (see our Coffee Primer). It is, however, a blend of various Arabica beans — as opposed to beans from a single country or growing region. This allows for producing a more well-rounded cup as well as ameliorating issues with poor growing seasons in a particular locale. Lucaffe describes Mr. Exclusive as a "blend coming from Arabica coffee from South America, Asia and a small percentage from the central Africa."

Starting with the pod itself, Lucaffe has improved the construction recently, adding on the bottom a circle of small bumps which indicate the downward facing side of the pod. (See Tip #6 in Issue 5 for more information on pod orientation). The crema is dark tan, substantial, and long lasting. The aroma reveals hints of toasted cereal, vanilla, and custard. It has a very neutral, well-rounded, classic coffee flavor without any substantial competing notes of other flavors. The body is medium — not heavy, grainy, or oily. I personally prefer the heavier body of a blend with Robusta, but at least the body is not thin or wimpy as can be the case with some Arabica blends. The aftertaste is minimal and not objectionable. This is a coffee best consumed straight, but it should hold up alright in a cappuccino or latte. Mr. Exclusive is one of my personal favorite espressos. "

More at Pod Merchant


if you haven't signd up yet for the Pod Merchant monthly newsletter, you should!

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March 26, 2007

Consumer Reports - 2 Nespresso Machines are Excellent

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Consumer Reports is putting out an article covering pump driven espresso machines and they rated two excellent, both from Nespresso. The first was the Nespresso C100, and the other was the Nespresso Le Cube. I'll post my review of the Nespresso C100 this week. I thought that it was a very good machine too.

They do point out that the Nespresso machines are espresso only machines, with no steaming arms, but I'll give you a work-around in my review that I used. The field of machines was limited to seven machines. Disappointingly small in my mind given the rang\e of machines available. Stay tuned for our review this week.

ReadMore at Consumer Reports (Subscription required for full ratings)

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March 23, 2007

DeLonghi BAR32 Retro Pump-driven Espresso Machine

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DeLonghi has a nice in-expensive machine out in their BAR32 Espresso maker, that has a fresh yet retro design that combines a slew of features that are sure to turn out espresso after latte after cappuccino. The stainless steel boiler combined with two thermostats to control the heat going to the brew head and the steam wand. The pump-driven machine puts out plenty of pressure to extract great taste from your espresso, either ground or in ESE Pods. The unit has a pod compatible pod filter that allows you to use the easy alternative to grinding your own.

The 35-ounce reservoir should keep things humming for a while, and its easy to use dial system is pretty straightforward.


At Amazon

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March 22, 2007

Barbera Aromagic Decaf ESE Espresso Pods

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I wanted to point out another ESE Espresso pod to the marketplace for us, the Barbera Aromagic Decaf ESE Espresso Pod. The coffee is described as "Probably the best coffee blend in the world. Seven different types of pure selected Decaffeinated coffee beans, singularly roasted to its best and blended wisely."

at Espresso Tiamo

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March 21, 2007

Molinari Kenyan AA Espresso ESE Pods

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Still looking for new espresso pods that you haven’t tried before? Look no further than the new Molinari Kenya AA espresso pods from Molinari. Molinari has been in the espresso business since 1804, and these pods are coming from the “old” world to the new world via Espresso Tiamo. The Kenyan AA pods are said to have an acidic flavor with a fruity fragrance, which is not unlike a typical Kenyan AA coffee.

at Espresso Tiamo

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March 20, 2007

Barbera Espresso Casa ESE Pods

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Looking for a new ESE Pod to try out? The new Barbera “Espresso Casa” pods are at Espresso Tiamo. These traditional flavored type pods (read NOT 100% Arabica), are made in Italy, where for over 130 years the Barbera family has been roasting coffee, generation after generation. Things started with a small sidewalk business, and has blossomed into an international shipper for fine espresso.

The Barbera Espresso Casa Pods are available in sizing from 2 pods up to 200 pod cases.

At Espresso Tiamo

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Nespresso Sales Soar

Nespresso is doing well, very well. Apparently they have had global sales growth of 42%, driven by the number of machines sold… which has grown by 32%. Once you buy a machine, you’ll need to buy capsules through their exclusive club, and membership has grown, with over a million new members in 2006, for a total of more than 3 million worldwide.

That’s a lot of beans. We’ll have our review of the Nespresso C100 up soon!

Via

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March 16, 2007

VeV Vigano Kontessa Inox Espresso Maker

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The VeV Kontessa is a beautiful statement in stainless steel to make a powerful statement on any countertop or stove. Well known for its high quality products, the VeV Kontessa is also a powerfully good stovetop espresso maker that can turn out great espressos day after day. It comes in 2, 4, 6, or 12 cup sizes (Demitasse cups).

At Amazon

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March 15, 2007

Starbucks Brewer Sale!

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While you may be by Starbucks to pick up your free cup of brewed coffee today, you may also notice that they are running their Spring Brewing Sale, which means that they have all brewers from Press Pots up to Super Automatics on sale at discounted prices.

Check out their website - Starbucks and click on the button on the lower left side: "Spring Brewing Sale"

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March 14, 2007

David Schomer Pursuit of Espresso Excellence

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If you are a lover of great espresso, you will be a lover of this story. Businessweek has profiled David Schomer and his unending pursuit of the very best espresso you can get. The former Boeing Engineer decided to step out and bring his engineering talent to helping re-design the espresso machine and also launch a two store homage to awesome espresso. His research into espresso not only created a great knowledge base, but he shared the findings with the world too through his book on Espresso: Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques.

Read the entire article about David and his journey from Boeing Engineer to being the owner of two Espresso shops in Seattle, Vivace Espresso and an espresso demi-god - at BusinessWeek.

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March 13, 2007

New Organic Espresso K-Cups

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If you didn’t happen to notice, our sister site, SingleServeCoffee.com broke the news that there are some new K-cups coming out from Green Mountain, including a new Organic Espresso blend. I like the variety and convenience offered by our Keurig B70 K-cup brewer, and look to it for some diversity in my heavy coffee consumption. We’ll be getting in some of the Organic Espresso Blend to try out as soon as we can and report back on it.

Organic Espresso Blend [Dark Roast] Our darkest Extra Bold K-Cup, Fair Trade Certified organic Espresso Blend is sourced from a number of origins to display both balance and intensity. We look to Indonesia for syrupy body and depth, and the Americas for chocolate notes and velvety richness.


More blends at SingleServeCoffee

Don't forget the
Keurig 27-Cup-Capacity K-Cup Spinning Carousel
to store all of those great K-cups.


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Free Cup of Joe?

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Starbucks is running a promotion to give you a free cup of drip coffee when you stop by for a coffee break 10AM - Noon March 15th. If you want to get a text message reminder, they can help you do that too. For a coffee break text message reminder, text "BREAK" to MYSBUX (697289).

ReadMore

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March 12, 2007

Improve Your Game - Espresso Training

Just in case you weren't cranking out the best espresso you thought you could, well word is out that you can get some training from some of the better shops in Seattle that can offer courses from tasting sessions to week long workshops. There you can learn some latte art, how to pull a great espresso. In the hyper-competitive Seattle area market, the automated Starbucks espresso pull just won't do for many, and these classes are an outreach to those who want a little more out of their cup.

More at the Press Telegram

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March 9, 2007

Gibson Espresso Set - Taste the Rainbow!

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Spring is just around the corner, and these looked like a bright addition to any breakfast table. Bright cups with matching saucers to wake up any sunny morning. Dishwasher safe.

at Amazon

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Caribou - Official Coffee of Daylight Saving Time

Not a bad way to welcome in the early Daylight Saving time. Swig some espresso.

From their press release....

With the annual “Spring Forward” change in time coming three weeks earlier than usual this year, Caribou Coffee Company Inc., has proclaimed itself The Official Coffee of Daylight Saving Time. To celebrate – and to help Atlantans wake up for the March 11 Daylight Saving Time leap forward – all Caribou Coffee locations will offer one extra free shot of espresso on request during business hours on Sunday, March 11 and Monday, March 12.

Although springing ahead on March 11 means only an hour of sleep loss, researchers have identified a clear relationship between losing an hour of sleep and an increase in fatigue – even traffic accidents. The Caribou Coffee “Moose It” option of adding another shot of espresso to any drink will be free to anyone who asks for it during what could be the two toughest mornings of the year.

“Thanks to the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Daylight Saving Time begins nearly a month earlier this year,” warns Michael J. Coles, Chairman and CEO for Caribou Coffee. “Since most consumers can’t take the day off of work on March 12, the least we can do is help them stay awake with a complimentary shot of espresso available at all of our coffee houses.”

One free shot of Caribou Coffee espresso, with a retail value of 55 cents, adds approximately 40 milligrams of caffeine to a beverage.

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March 8, 2007

Gaggia Baby D Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

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For people interested in a higher end home espresso experience, the Gaggia Baby D may be a good choice. The brew group components are brass plated for temperature stability and the unit has a 15 bar pump for excellent extraction. It comes with two filter baskets – single/ESE pod and a double. The reservoir is plenty big at 46 ounces, and it has a 1400+ watt heater that should be plenty of power for fast heating of the unit. The turbo frother should do the job quickly and easily.

Because it’s semi-automatic, the unit is easy to use. The push button controls allow you to have the one-button convenience of an espresso shot, or two. One button gives you a pre-programmed amount of espresso in the cup; very convenient, very nice.

At Amazon

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March 7, 2007

Manual Milk Frother

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So a lot of people have been writing in asking about what’s a good way to froth milk when you don’t have a steam wand or use a Bialetti style espresso pot. I got one of these frothers a while ago and it really is pretty easy to use, and a cinch to clean up.

Add a few ounces of milk, microwave for 30-60 seconds, and pump about 5-10 times to make a pretty fluffy frothed milk. It’s not a fine steamed milk character that you get with a steam wand, but it will certainly top a cappuccino in style; for not very much money.

At Amazon

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March 6, 2007

Cinnamon Dolce Latte Recipe

If you're enjoying the Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks, then you might enjoy a homemade version that tastes pretty delicious. Easy to do, and not a bad low calorie indulgence either!

Ingredients:

  • Shot of Espresso
  • Dusting - 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 Cup of milk for steaming
  • Sugar to taste
  • Smuckers Caramel Sundae Syrup (Optional, but recommended)

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    Pull your shot of espresso and mix in the ground cinnamon, start small because it's easy to go overboard. Mix in sugar if desired. Steam milk and top off to make your latte. Drizzle the sundae syrup over the top of the latte in rapid circles. (If you just squeeze the thing, you'll shoot gobs of caramel syrup through the steamed milk, but quick circular patterns keeps the drizzled syrup on top of the foam.)

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  • March 5, 2007

    McDonald's To Expand Espresso Drinks Nationally

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    McDonald's is ready to pull an espresso for you; are you lovin' it? Apparetly enough people are in their test cities, as McDonald's is planning on bringing its espresso based drinks into national distribution.

    "Consumer taste preferences in coffee have changed in recent years, largely because of the influence of coffee houses like Starbucks and Caribou Coffee," McD's Chief Marketing Officer Bill Lamar said. "Truly, anyone who's serving a contemporary cup of coffee is a competitor. We think where we're going with offering more espresso-based drinks will only enhance [the coffee experience], and make McDonald's a destination for coffee in the United States, with our customers," Lamar said.


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    March 4, 2007

    March 2, 2007

    Timothy's Italian Blend K-Cups

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    This past week, I ordered up some Timothy's Italian Blend K-Cups for a little change from the ESE pods I have been ripping through. The Italian blend is a medium roast of Central American beans, and has a nice up front flavor with some lingering sweet roasted notes. Not a HUGE espresso cup of coffee, but that's what I expected out of this non-extra bold K-cup.

    So far so good.

    At Amazon

    Don't forget the
    Keurig 27-Cup-Capacity K-Cup Spinning Carousel
    to store all of those great K-cups.

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    March 1, 2007

    Caffe Gioia ESE Espresso Quick Pod Review

    CaffeeGioiaClassico.jpgCaffe Gioia is made by Labcaffe, and is "based on a deep passion for coffee," according to their website. They are certainly concerned with quality, having achieved ISO 90001 certification for their manufacturing facility. I found their coffee available in regular and decaf ESE Espresso pod varieties.

    Caffe Gioia Classico "Green" - I picked up the Caffe Gioia Classico "Green" pods for this review. The pod has a nice aroma coming out of the foil pouch. It has some nicely roasted notes; fresh and balanced. In the cup, the espresso is acidic with some nice chocolate and caramel notes. The intense spicy roasted notes are nice. In a latte, the mocha and roasted notes come through with the addition of a little sugar. Overall very good.

    These ESE Espresso pods are made to be used in popular makers like the Breville Café Roma, the Krups XP4050, and the DeLonghi EC155 espresso machines; all have the ability to use ESE Espresso pods.

    Available at Pod Merchant.

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