June 28, 2007
As many of us pack up and take off for vacations in beach houses and lakeside homes around the country, a lot of us might be leaving some beloved espresso makers behind. I know the perils of walking into a rented vacation house and seeing the yellowed Mr Coffee machine sitting there ready to crank out some hot brown water for your "enjoyment" and thinking that you wish you had some decent coffee for your vacation mornings.
This year, I am packing Moka Pot for the ride and a pound of my favorite espresso. These are actually pretty light and small, and will easily fit in my suitcase. Using it is very simle and in about 5 minutes you can be sipping a little bit of heaven. The Moka Pot espresso won't give you all of that high pressure extraction crema that you are used to at home, but it will give you a wonderful little cup of espresso to sip on that vacation that won't be marred by bad drip coffee.
June 27, 2007
There’s a new pod in town, and PodMerchant has them. Dock ESE Pods are now available at Pod Merchant and they come from Vidiz & Kessler based in Trieste Italy. The company was created by Antonio Vidiz, who worked in the bakery industry, and Bruno Kessler, who worked in the field of tea and herbal drinks. The trademark “Dock” is reminiscent of the old harbor in Trieste, the classic trading area of the city where the coffee beans come in from far off lands and the finished coffee starts its journey.
The Dock Pods come in three varieties:
Dock 100% Arabica - A well-balanced blend of 100% Arabica beans, produced by a noted Trieste roaster. Smooth but not delicate.
Dock Espresso Italia Blend - Dock's blend of Arabica and Robusta -- an excellent, hearty daily cup.
Dock Decaf - Dock's famous decaffeinated espresso. Possibly the most flavorful decaf pod available.
Available at PodMerchant
More at Dock's Website
June 26, 2007
There is a great article written from the point of view of a Starbucks insider over at the Consumerist, and it debunks a few myths about buying drinks at Starbucks. There are a lot of ways to get a drink made at Starbucks, and there are a lot of ways to lose a few pennies here and there; it adds up! Well this little write-up talks through a few tips on how to save a few cents very time you go there, and how to enjoy a quality espresso drink that even the SCAA would sanction.
Did you know that going for the Venti espresso drink is NOT a better value…. Less espresso in that huge drink. You’ll have to go check out the Consumerist to see why.
June 25, 2007
Attibassi coffee company is located in Bologna Italy, and specializes in not only coffee but chocolate, another favorite product of mine. According to their website (www.attibassi.com) “Attibassi is an historical brand that was born in Bologna and that attracted the attention of refined palates since 1918, guarantees this pleasure for every product through the selection of the best raw materials and the use of traditional working methods. Today we continue to care for quality in the same way, but, in almost one century, Attibassi has become a modern industrial company.”
I happen to come across their ESE Espresso Pods and tried them out not only as hot espresso, but since the weather is getting hot here, as an iced espresso or Iced Americano.
Continue reading: "Attibassi ESE Espresso Pod Review"
June 22, 2007
Want a little richness in your life? The Illy Scuro takes the famous Illy coffee roasting skills just a little deeper and richer in flavor and brings you the Illy Scuro ESE pods. The flavor is just a bit more intense, and comes packed in a nitrogen flushed can. Like all ESE pods, the Illy Scuro pods are carefully weighed and pressed into pods to give you the easy and fast way to have great espresso.
Illy Scuro ESE Espresso Pods at Amazon
Considered by many to be the best buy you can get in a Gaggia, we like the classic lines and rugged construction of the Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine. This is a very high performance espresso mac hine, with forged brass components to stabilize temperature along with a three-way solenoid valve and independent expansion valve. The Gaggia Classic turns anyone into a "Barista" in their own home. Includes two stainless steel filter baskets (single and double shot), coffee tamper and 7g measuring scoop. GET TAMPING!
At Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine
June 20, 2007
There's a clearance sale going on at Amazon right now with a few coffee makers available at a decent discount. Go check out the dozen or so makers that are there including the Melita Smart Brew with SPOT technology that can tell you the weather forecast!
Check out the Amazon Clearance Sale!
June 19, 2007
The Espressione Professional is on clearance at Amazon for about 60% off; marked down to about $650. This unit is crafted in Italy of highly polished stainless steel with professional grade components. It’s designed for heavy duty use, and in that, it takes a while to heat up; but in 10 minutes the 1.3 liter nickel plated copper boiler is ready to go with no recovery time to brew espresso after espresso.
Espressione Professional at Amazon
June 15, 2007
Recently I put up a simple recipe for Americanos and I have been enjoying them quite a bit. I have noticed that while I like a bit of robusta in my espresso, I don't like to use robusta based espresso in my Americanos. I have been really enjoying the Compagnia dell'Arabica Colombia ESE Pods for their sharp, clean full bodied taste. The lingering robusta flavor that I like in my hot espresso, just tastes not to good and dirty when cold.
I have also ordered up some of these for enjoying more cold coffee and cold espresso drinks this summer. I LOVE my smaller Bodum Pavina glasses for espresso, and am looking forward to the cool enjoyment of these larger ones all summer long.
Bodum Pavnia 12 ounce Glasses at Amazon
June 13, 2007
DeLonghi has a nice in-expensive machine out in their BAR32 Espresso maker that has a fresh yet retro design that combines a lot of features in a relatively small footprint. The unit offers 15 bar of pressure in a pump driven machine to create espressos and lattes for you.
The DeLonghi Bar32 espresso puts a simple dial control up front to control the heating, brew and steam functions. It comes with two inserts; 1) a single/ESE pod holder, and 2) a double. The unit has a fairly large 35-ounce reservoir that fits on the back of the machine, and a decent size drip tray. On the right side, the unit also has a small tamp that will help set the coffee grounds in the portafilter. A tight tamp is not needed in the way that an open bottom portafilter needs it, as there is a small outlet in the bottom of the portafilter that serves to create the backpressure and thus the higher extraction of solids and oils that makes it an espresso.
The DeLonghi BAR32 Espresso Machine comes with:
DeLonghi BAR 32 machine
Single/ESE Pod insert
1 can of Illy ESE Pods
DeLonghi BAR32 at Amazon
June 11, 2007
I wanted to put up a quick Father's Day guide for those of you who are considering an Espresso Machine. We have run through a lot of machines and have seen a few good ones and a few not so good ones, but here's a brief set that should get you headed in the right direction. If you want good crema, make sure the unit is a pump-driven (not "steam driven"). All of the units below are pump driven. See my post on why pump driven machines are better.
Classic Design - Semi Automatic Operation
Gaggia Baby D -
The Gaggia Baby D semi-automatic machine has manual set-up and push button convenience for quick operation. The specifications are all there for a good shot of espresso and it has plenty of power to deliver that shot; 1400+ watts of heating and pumping with a 15-bar pump. The two programmable buttons allow for easy and consistent espresso every time.
Gaggia Baby D at Amazon
Non-Classic Design - Semi Automatic Operation
Nespresso Essenza C-100
I love the Nespresso Essenza and its delicious espresso. The unit turns out fantastic crema topped espresso time and time again. The unit does not have a steam wand, and does not warm the cups; two things to consider. (If you want those in a Nespresso machine, consider the Nespresso D150)The unit only takes capsules that can be bought from Nespresso's website. They have a wide variety and I am sure one to fit your needs. See my Reivew of the Nespresso Essenza C100.
Nespresso Essenza C100 at Amazon
Entry Model Pump Espresso Machine
This is not a bad little espresso machine for under $100. Pump driven and it cranks our some nice crema. I really enjoyed it when I used it and it makes espresso better than it should at this price. See My Review of the DeLonghi EC-155
DeLonghi EC-155 at Amazon
Don’t Forget the Pods!
If you are getting the DeLonghi EC155 or Baby D, I would add in some ESE coffee pods. They make preparation easy and painless. They also make an excellent cup of espresso with these machines. If you like Starbucks, try the Starbucks ESE pods, or if you want something more adventurous and also delicious, try the Lavazza pods.
Another great option is to get a HUGE ESE Espresso Pod Super Sampler . With 60 (2 each of 30 kinds) ESE pods, you'll be able to sample your way through all kinds of different Espresso. Lots of fun, lots of espresso.
June 7, 2007
If you haven’t heard, Caribou Coffee has a line of K-cups out which includes a good looking Caribou French Roast K-Cup. The Caribou website says that the French Roast is “A combination of coffees from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, and New Guinea is blended and roasted to a beautiful dark brown with an even development of surface oils. This produces a decadent, bittersweet flavor with a smooth, heavy body - an utter indulgence. Perfect for chilly mornings and flavorful enough to stand up to a touch of milk after dinner.”
Not bad. I have some on the way and will let you know how it fares in this espresso crazy household.
Caribou French Roast K-Cups at Coffee Whiz
June 6, 2007
DeLonghi has announced their new Esclusivo Gran Dama ESAM6600 model; their top of the line espresso and coffee center. The design is beautiful and elegant in an all stainless steel construction format that is quite a statement on any counter.
The Esclusivo Gran Dama ESAM6600 super automatic machine features a digital controls and an LCD readout. The programmable buttons allow you to set your favorite drink and get it made time and time again. The Gran Dama makes not only one-touch Latte and Cappuccinos but a Macchiato too. Controls appear to be great, and with the removable milk container, it makes it fantastically easy to create great espresso drinks.
Continue reading: "DeLonghi Exclusivo Gran Dama ESAM6600"
June 5, 2007
There are a few things brewing over at Starbucks that are worth mentioning. The first is that they are moving to a 2% milk in their outlets across the US. While the move may not be recognized by the casual buyer, both in terms of taste and lower caloric content, I am sure that they will collectively save about a few million calories a year across the chain. The real caloric savings would be to skip just one Frappuccino a year.... or Orange Mocha!
Yes, Starbucks has an orange mocha out these days. I have to say that while I tried one the other day, I am biased; I have never liked an orange and chocolate, so I can't say that I like it, nor did I expect to. The Orange cake that they have was actually pretty good though, and I would recommend that as a nice indulgent snack.
June 4, 2007
June 1, 2007
Want an affordable cup of espresso? The Krups Allegro FND111 Espresso Maker will only set you back $40 bucks and we think you'll be happy. We recently looked at this machine at two different stores, and we think the look and the quality of the machine is quite good.
It has an easy to operate 4-bar steam espresso maker (okay - that's not much but we're talking about a $40 machine here) and it makes espresso, cappuccinos and lattes. The steam nozzle froths milk and is controlled by the oversized dial, which when we tried it was very ergonomically designed. The removable tray is dishwasher safe for easy clean up, and the compact size takes up little counter space.
- Easy-to-use, 4-bar steam espresso machine for espresso, cappuccino, and lattes
- Convenient large-capacity carafe with lid and handle equals easy pouring
- Steam nozzle quickly froths milk, easily controlled by oversized dial
- Space-saving design; removable drip tray for easy clean up
- Built-in safety valve provides safe operation
At Krups Allegro FND111 Espresso Maker
This grinder will normally cost you over $300 and some change. You can now get a Factory-Reconditioned KitchenAid Pro Line Burr Coffee Grinder for just $90 bucks. Yep - save over 200+ bucks and you'll be styling while you grind those espresso beans.
- The KitchenAid Pro Line Coffee Mill is made of handsome Die-Cast metal housing making for a rugged, stable, and easy to clean unit.
- With the Pro Line Coffee Mill, you can adjust the Commercial Quality Stainless Steel Cutting Burrs to 15 different Grind Sizes for that perfect Espresso, French Press, or cup of automatic drip.
- The 7 oz capacity bean hopper and coffee bin are glass to minimize the static "cling" of coffee grounds.
- The DC motor with gear reduction system makes for quiet grinding. System turns the cutting burrs at just 450 rpm, minimizing the frictional heating of the grinds and preserving coffee flavor and aroma.
- The Under-Cabinet design allows the unit to fit easily under wall cabinets on the countertop.
- The smooth metal housing is a snap to wipe clean. Bean hopper, hopper lid, and coffee bin are dishwasher-safe.
At Factory-Reconditioned KitchenAid Pro Line Burr Coffee Grinder, Empire Red