April 30, 2007
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April 30, 2007
CoffeeGeek has a nice write up about roasting your own coffee in a Hot Air Popcorn maker. Personally, I would invest in the I-Roast 2 that does a superb job of roasting, but for the adventurous there is an alternative that will allow you to play for very little money. I LOVE the fresh roasted flavor of home roasted coffee, and while I cut back in the colder months due to the need to open a window and vent outside, I have started back up again now that the weather is warmer.
So go read-up and enjoy. More at CoffeeGeek.
April 27, 2007
This top of the line Espresso maker is a stunning beauty to sit atop any counter. The 100% stainless steel housing is impressive and houses some pretty impressive components. The unit makes push button espressos and whips up milk drinks quickly with two boilers; one for brewing and one for steaming/frothing.
It’s got adjustable strength brewing, adjust grind size, coffee and water amounts.
Large Whole Bean capacity – 250g
A 60-ounce water reservoir – good for the category.
Bypass doser to make a different coffee when you want.
Pre-infusion of the grounds
Three programmable push-buttons brew based on the liquid volume you choose.
All that stainless is a perfect background for the cobalt blue LED readout.
April 26, 2007
I came across this deal on one of the most popular Lavazza blends in the US; Lavazza Super Crema. This gives you a full rich taste, that is still sweet in the cup and a thick crema. The body is quite full and well rounded. Lavazza is a huge espresso brand and I have been impressed with their Grand Crema ESE Pods when I reviewed them.
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean- 1Kg (2.2lbs) with free shipping at Amazon
April 25, 2007
One Third got it right and said that a barista is the person who crafts an excellent espresso drink.
Krups sponsored a pretty funny little research project, as they asked in an online poll, “What is a barista?” The answers may surprise you:
11% reported it was a lawyer from England
7% thought it was someone who prepares alcoholic beverages
6% said it was a fashionable garment
1% reported that it was a person who loves burritos
And not surprisingly 41% said they did not know; probably those folks still drinking Maxwell House
Krups did this as part of their marketing campaign for the 2007 US Barista Championship that takes place in Long Beach California May 4-7. The winner gets $1,000 in cash and a trip to the World Barista Championship in Tokyo Japan.
More about the US Barista Championships
April 24, 2007
The Napoletana Caffe Company is located in Pozzuoli, in the historic area of Flegrea in the Neapolitan region, and makes Mako Caffe ESE Pods. The production is specialized and production quality is high as is so many coffee producers in Itlay.
From their website; "Caffe Mako is a product selected for connoisseurs able to appreciate the quality obtained through the selection of the raw coffee by its experts locally, where the coffee beans are grown and also by carefully checking the of the quality of the beans and the reaction during roasting but principally by respecting the traditional formula handed down by the forefathers, who created the famous "Espresso
In ripping into the Mako Caffe pouch you get a nice aroma of dark roasted coffee. It brews up nicely in the cup with a decent crema, caramel in color. The flavor in the cup is very dark roasted, with some sharp bitterness backed by some formidable acid. This isn’t a bad thing for me, and most likely for you. Bitterness and acid brings highlights to the cup, and offers bright flavors. Without the acid and bitterness, the cup seems bland and flat without excitement. With that said, bitterness and acid don’t guarantee great flavors in the cup, nor is too much bitterness and acid…. The trick is to get just the right amount.
The Mako Caffe does well with bitterness and acid, but the overall flavor in the cup is a bit weak until I added a bit of sugar; just a bit. The result is a nicely rounded, more full flavor in the cup, filling the mouth with a nice espresso flavor. Net if you like a bit of sweetness in the cup, via added sugar, the Mako Caffe ESE Espresso does well.
April 23, 2007
So a while back I talked about Lucaffe’s line, and one reader wrote in about where to find the Lucaffe Exquisit ESE Pods. Espresso Tiamo has them and they are just in. The ESE Pods are a blend of 90% Arabica, and 10% robusta. I am ordering some up to taste this, as I have come to realize that I really like that extra body the robusta brings to the cup without too much heaviness.
At Espresso Tiamo
April 19, 2007
If you really needed a bit of speed decor in the kitchen well, now you have the opportunity to get in on the limited edition Lamborghini Espresso maker. Reportedly only 1,000 of the units will be made, and at $1,750 that may be plenty. Crafted with beautiful stainless steel, the unit looks ready to accept any ESE Espresso pods in the front, while steaming your milk on the side. I don't know about you, but I think my first car cost less than this.
April 18, 2007
Green Mountain recently launched a trio of new Extra Bold K-cups, and I grabbed up all of them to try out. The 10% Kona blend, the Kenyan AA, and the Espresso Blend all have 20% more coffee in the K-cups to make them just a bit stronger and richly flavored. I have been a fan of the K-Cup system for a while now, and despite all the coffee makers that come through the SingleServeEspresso kitchen, The Keurig B70 brewer has found a permanent home on the counter top for everyday use. It’s flexible, versatile and pretty darn convenient.
Over the past week or so, I have been experimenting and I have to say that none are perfect, but I have found another combination that makes me pretty happy with the results. Long time readers will remember that I found a very similar mash-up that I enjoyed before, the Timothy’s Rainforest Espresso together with an Organic Sumatran Extra Bold for a bit of body. One on the 5.25 ounce setting and one on the 7.25 ounce setting into an extra large mug.
Continue reading: "New Extra Bold K-Cups: Espresso, Kenyan AA, and 10% Kona Blend"
April 17, 2007
Want the Nespresso experience in a traditional design? The Nespresso D150 is a classic looking espresso machine that still accepts the Nespresso capsules; no mess and excellent espresso is the result of running the Nespresso system. I really enjoyed the Nespresso C100T when I had it in for review, and am happy to say that I will be trying out the new limited edition Oa capsules in the coming weeks.
The Nespresso D150 has a 19 bar pump, a 1.5-liter reservoir for convenience, and a steaming wand that the C100T lacks, making the D150 a logical choice if you are into drinking lattes more than straight espresso. The D150 also comes with a Lungo and an Espresso cup to enjoy the offerings served up by the machine. An assortment of 12 capsules comes with the machine, and more can be ordered up through the Nespresso Club site.
Nespresso D150 at Amazon
April 16, 2007
To honor Patriots Day, I decided to get up and drink Americanos today. I pulled a shot using Starbucks ESE Pods, and then dosed in a few ounces of hot water to bring it up to about 6 ounces total. I thought a more typical American thing might be to enjoy whole beans boiled in a cowboy pot over an open fire, or make gross Maxwell House in a Mr Coffee, but there’s only so far I will take this little celebration.
What’s Patriot’s Day you ask? Up here in Massachusetts it’s a big thing, and it’s the day that the whole “Shot heard ‘Round the World” happened, you know the One if by Land Two if by sea, Paul Revere thing? It happened on April 19th, but it's always celebrated on a Monday. The Red Sox always have a home game that finishes up about the time the Marathoners start to cross the finish line in Boston for the Boston Marathon (hopefully the weather holds).
The British regulars marched out of Boston in search of two brass cannon that were stolen from the British and reportedly hidden in Concord. Paul Revere and others warned the countryside of the impending British regulars. The British Regulars met some resistance in Lexington, which was dispatched, on their way to Concord.
Once in Concord the British Troops split up and about the time the American Militia made up of minutemen from surrounding towns got to the Old North Bridge the British Troops in town started burning a seized arms cache. The Americans thought that the troops were burning the town and that was the last bit of motivation that they needed. The British Regulars were sent back to Concord after the skirmish at the North Bridge where several people including Issac Davis an American leader (who was the inspiration for the Minute Man Statue in Concord shown above), and those battles set the stage for the war that created the USA. (The British did not recover the stolen brass cannon.)
April 13, 2007
I saw the title of this article and had to pass it on. “Want a cup of cat’s poo coffee? That’ll be $50”. They are talking about the most expensive cup of coffee in the world, the famous Kopi Luwak coffee. The Kopi Luwak is a cat that climbs through the coffee trees, picks and eats only the ripest coffee cherries and eats them. The coffee bean passes through the digestive track and is pooped out…. The bean is then collected by people wandering through the forest, and its shipped fresh to you! The digestive acids are said to soften the flavor of the bean, reducing bitterness. (All the grossness is burnt off in roasting.)
Anyway, I was fortunate to taste some Kopi Luwak coffee some time ago (on someone else’s dime) and I have to say that it’s not worth it. It’s earthy, and unimpressive, without the bold notes that I love in coffee. If you want bragging rights, go find some, and drink, but there’s other great coffee available for a lot less.
April 12, 2007
Gardening season is right around the corner, and so the other day while at the local Starbucks, I noticed that they were giving away free coffee grounds….. used ones of course. The bags are roughly twice as big as a one-pound bag of whole bean coffee. Since they were free, I figured what the heck and grabbed two. I have since turned over some of our garden and worked the grounds into the soil. Now I am no gardener extraordinaire, but I figure that I just finished the cycle of the bean, from its beginning as the fruit of the plant to soil amendment, via the coffee roaster and a portafilter.
If you’re interested in free grounds, check out your local coffee shop and ask, I am sure they’d be happy to get rid of the grounds that they have by giving you some.
What do you do with your used coffee grounds? SingleServeCoffee.com also talked about this subject; check it out.
April 10, 2007
It's springtime and if it weren't for the cold weather up here in the Northeast, I'd feel like celebrating. Well, I thought I would go find an espresso cup that was worth the celebration for the new season, and today I bring you the Nuova Point Tulip Shaped espresso demitasse cup and saucer set that comes in a springtime yellow color. Certainly a festive summertime style cup. If you don't like the brightly colored yellow version they also have a more classic brown.
April 9, 2007
Apparently Caribou Coffee had its store managers working an extra 10-15 hours per week, but now in the eyes of a judge, they were more barista than boss and that means that they get paid time and a half for those extra hours.... if things go as planned in this recently certified class action lawsuit. No one said that working as a barista was easy!
April 6, 2007
Another Starbucks post this week..... They are stepping up and using an online game to illustrate the need for action on global warming. They are continuing their environmental work by bringing awareness to people through programs like this. Check out the game and learn more about Global warming.
ReadMore and Play at GlobalGreen
April 5, 2007
Saw this and had to pass it along. So for those of you in the office who want to avoid people using your mug, the lockable coffee mug is here. Simply pull out the plug and render the mug useless. I do wonder about the level of gunk that could accumulate down near that plug if you don'g clean it out regularly.
At Efrat Gommeh Design
April 4, 2007
So last week, I posted some information about the Lucaffe Mr.Exclusive that came in my Pod Cast newsletter from Pod Merchant. I went back and tried both the Lucaffe Mr. Exclusive, the Lucaffe Classic, and the Lucaffe Colombia. I like them all, and am pretty impressed with the three. For me 100% Arabica blends tend to be a little too acidic without the full bodies back end flavor that I enjoy from other blends that have robusta coffee in the espresso blend. So I was surprised to see that the Mr. Exclusive 100% Arabica blend to have that full-bodied flavor without having a Robusta flavor too it. So this might be the best of both worlds for some people. I like it.
The Lucaffe Classic was also a great little pod, with a slightly more pronounced back end full bodiedness, with some nice sweetness that came though in the flavor profile. The Colombia is similar to the Mr. Exclusive in that it is cleaner, but also with a full bodied flavor profile. With all of these, the flavors are complex, and not transparent with garish peaks of flavor sticking out to dominate the experience. I have to say the entire line here is well done. I don’t quite know what to make of the gentleman on the front of the pod packages, but the coffee inside is a winner.
April 3, 2007
So there has been a lot of debate lately about
Charles Howard Shultz’s memo talking about the fact that the Starbucks shops have become commodities with automation that has all but eliminated the ambiance of the coffee shop that they started out as their mission. In the end, this is what they spoke of a couple of years ago. I recall the statement that they wanted to be the McDonald’s of the espresso world, so that where ever you go, you get a high quality cup of coffee standardized and unquestionably good. So, when you set the goal and obtain it, should you be surprised?
The thing is that with local coffee shops, there are rough edges, there are inconsistencies, and that’s what makes the experience a little bit enjoyable. Do I always want good espresso? Yes. Do I want cookie cutter decorations; the same merchandising displays and an overall look that is the same? No. Come on Howard, even McDonald’s has different motifs that make the experience different, but uniquely McDonald’s. I mean can’t you convey the brand image of Starbucks and still offer a different look and feel to shops based on local flavor?
Recently the LA Times had a similar article that talks about this subject. It’s worth a read.
April 2, 2007
April 1, 2007
We're always in the moof to try new things around here at The SingleServeEspresso.com test kitchens, and I think that we've stumbled onto a good one. We're having some friends over for diner and they are expecting a nice cup when they come to visit, as they know I write this blog. I grabbed this on the reco of my local barista for its ability to brew up some excellent coffee. I wasted no time and went out to get a can of Chock Full of Nuts coffee. (You know nothing is too good for guests.)
Of course I had to do a test run on my own. I put 8 scoops in the pot, filled it full of water and put it on the stove. After it came to a boil, I let it perk for about 25 minutes.
Tasting Results after the jump...
Continue reading: "Skip the Espresso"