August 31, 2007

Espresso Spoons

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When serving espresso to guests I always like to serve things up with a cup and saucer, and a small espresso spoon to match the size of the espresso demitasse cup. I happen to have some inexpensive ones that I picked up on a trip a long time ago, and they work pretty well. They allow you to add a little bit of sugar and stir. Definitely caps off the experience for your guests.

Henckels Cottage Stainless-Steel Espresso Spoon – set of 8 at Amazon

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August 30, 2007

Briel ES35AF Chamonix Espresso Maker

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The Briel ES35AF Chamonix Espresso Maker is a pump driven espresso maker from a big name in home appliances that offers some strong attributes in a basic semi-automatic espresso machine. The Briel Chamonix has a 15-bar pump for extracting espresso at the high pressure that pulls all the flavor out of the fine espresso grind. The pressurized portafilter creates enough backpressure to create a good crema on your espressos without the need to have a perfectly ground coffee or a perfectly tamped puck in the portafiler. The 1.5 liter water reservoir should be enough for plenty of espressos. The stainless steel boiler makes sure that the flavor is clean that is further enhanced by the in-line water filter that can filter out impurities. The Briel Chamonix is also programmable to create the size of espresso to your tastes every time (sizes from 2 – 8 ounces).

The unit also features the ability to brew from either ground coffee or ESE Espresso pods. While most do, I think that all semi-automatic machines like this one should offer the option to brew from ground or pods. I find that I just get a lot more use out of my machines when I can brew from a pod on a regular basis and then brew from ground when I want to sit down, take a few extra minutes to brew up a higher quality cup.

The Briel ES35AF Chamonix Espresso maker is available at Amazon

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August 28, 2007

Five Alternative Ways to get your Caffeine

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Just in case you needed a bit of a pick-me-up and the espresso maker is out of commission, there are a few other things that can help; maybe not as delicious, but they are all around you just in case:

1) Energy Drinks – a relatively young category, but it’s here to stay, can you say “Monster”, or “Red Bull”?

2) Caffeinated GumJolt Gum; from the makers of the Original Jolt Cola (“All the sugar and twice the caffeine”) they bring you Jolt gum in spearmint and peppermint. Need Government Issue? How about Stay Alert Military gum – 100mg of caffeine per piece.

3) Eco Lips Energy Lip Balm – protect those lips from becoming chapped and get a good jolt in the meantime. Eco Lips Energy Lip Balm

4) Sum Seeds – Premium Sunflower Seeds energized with caffeine, Taurine, Lysine and Ginsing. Better not try this in an office meeting; where to spit the shells? Sum Seeds

5) Caffeinated Donut or Pastry – We’ve talked about it before, encapsulation makes the caffeine taste good; and the deep fat frying helps too! The Caffeinated Donut

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August 27, 2007

Behind the Scenes of an Espresso Blog

If you are into reading about espresso on the web, and you are interested in home espresso, then you have probably come across Home-Barista, a site devoted to the pursuit of excellent shots of espresso. Well, if you want a little information behind the scenes of Home-barista, there's a pretty good article that went up recently from a home town newspaper, The News Observer.

For the article, they prep espresso after espresso and talk a bit about what makes an excellent shot.

ReadMore at the News Observer or skip over to Home-Barista

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August 24, 2007

Coffee People Black Tiger K-Cup Review

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Well it's been a while since we grabbed a couple of boxes of Coffee People Black Tiger K-cups, so I thought I would get back to you on them. We've blown through the two boxes by now and overall enjoyed them.

Coffee People describe them like this: " Full bodied, earthy, and dark. Our answer to a customer request for a blend with the rustic taste of the old country. Rules were broken, but - oh well! Here it is. Totally unique and ferocious!"

I didn't exactly describe them as ferocious, but we generally liked them. The flavor is definitely dark roasted, and bright, but not overly acidic. The back end is not overly bitter, a good sign considering the dark roast; they didn't over do it. I will say that the back end runs away a bit and is reminiscent of a Sumatran coffee with their classic upfront flavor and a clean finish.

I am constantly comparing the K-cups we get toe Tully's French Roast (see my Review of Tully's French Roast K-Cups) which is what we are drinking day in and day out around here, and the Black Tiger is comparable, just not as ferocious late in the flavor profile; clean, not lingering.

Net if you like the dark roast, full flavor and a clean finish, the Black Tiger is a very good choice.

Coffee People Black Tiger is available at Amazon

I'll point out that when the Coffee People Black Tiger boxes arrived from Amazon, they had this big orange sticker across the edge of the box: "Do Not Open Ship as One Piece". which was put there to prevent people from opening up the box and shipping one K-Cup to fulfill the order for "1 - Coffee People Black Tiger K-Cups". I would be pretty upset if I bought a two boxes for about $20 and they sent me 2 K-cups instead......


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August 23, 2007

Selecto ESE Pods - Free Shipping

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Thought I would pass along that Selecto is running a free shipping deal on its ESE Espresso pods. They are offering two brands of ESE pods in several varieties.

Fantini - Established in Rome during the 1960's, and now moved to Pomezia, south of Rome, the company is focused on high quality coffee selecting the best beans to develop a "Creamy" espresso.

Torrefazione Settebello - A blend with just a hint of robusta to add flavor balance and a fuller body. Great crema.

More at Selecto

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August 21, 2007

Espresso for the Dorm

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Don't know about you but I didn't do the smart thing and take a good coffee maker to college; I drank some pretty bad stuff. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't, but that's not to say I would spend a lot of money to drink good coffee. The DeLonghi EC140B might just be a decent option for lower cost pump-driven espresso makers.

The DeLonghi EC140B espresso machine is a low cost pump-driven espresso machine from one of the well known appliance makers of Europe. The unit is a pump-driven espresso maker that helps assure better extraction of your precious espresso, which can go through the portafilter designed for singles or doubles. It also accepts ESE Pods. The removable 35-ounce reservoir is plenty big for round after round of espressos. Easy control is had with three simple switches on the front panel, and the flip out frother does the job to get you frothy milk for your cappuccinos. No word from anyone if you can simply steam the milk by taking off the plastic attachment.

The DeLonghi EC 140B is available at Amazon

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August 20, 2007

Bosch Benvenuto B20 Super Automatic

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Last week we talked about the Bosch Benvenuto built-in espresso maker that melds into the wall of a great new kitchen, so I thought I would point out that Bosch also makes Super Automatic espresso machines for sale here in the States.

The Bosch Benvenuto B20 is a super automatic, that will take your espresso beans from whole bean to poured in the cup espresso at the push of a button. The Bosch Benvenuto B20 features a stainless steel boiler to give you a clean flavor along with adjustable strength, grind and water amounts. The unit also features a by-pass doser that will allow you to use a different ground coffee (i.e. decaf) when you want to. The unit also features a water filter to make sure that you are pulling out the impurities that can cloud a good cup of espresso.

More on the Bosch Benvenuto B20 at Amazon

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August 17, 2007

Illy 3 Day Special Sale - Hurry Ends August 19th!

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Illy just sent out to its email list notice of a 3-day online special; free shipping on all orders from their website as long as you order before midnight August 19th. You'll have to check out some of their coffee cup collections, or their collection of espresso including their ESE Espresso pods. When you check out you just need to use the Special Discount Code EAUGFREESHIP.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!


More on the Special Offer at the Illy Website.


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August 16, 2007

Naturally Low Caffeine Coffee from Ethiopia

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Decaffeinated coffee may be in your future. "No Way!" You say? Well, we're not talking your grandmother's decaf instant coffee here, we're talking about a recent decision in Ethiopia to cultivate for commercial use some coffee varieties that were found to be naturally low in caffeine. Ethiopia is home to great coffees and they have a rich coffee tradition; this may just be a natural outgrowth of that tradition.

"Coffee research centers are in the process of planting seedlings of natural coffee with low caffeine varieties, to enable Ethiopia to supply the world market within the shortest possible time," said Abera Deressa, State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

So who knows, a decade from now you may just be able to choose from estate grown full bodied, bright, well rounded varieties of coffee that are naturally low in caffeine.

Via Stuff

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August 15, 2007

Bosch Benvenuto Built-in Espresso Machine

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I love the idea of a built in espresso machine, but am not sure I am ready for the commitment. If you are, the Bosch Benvenuto Built-in Coffee Machine (Model TKN68E75UC) give you back some precious counter space with a sleek minimalist look that will be a beautiful accent to a well equipped kitchen.

Bosch talks about their Amoraswirl technology that extracts all the flavor from your coffee to get the best tasting cup; not so sure I am there yet. I am cool with the push button courseness setting, the push button cup sizes from the small espresso up to a rather large americano, and finally the easy clean up with the built in drip tray. Sure it's plumbed with a water line so there's no re-filling.

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August 14, 2007

Win Prizes from MvixUSA and Our New Site NetworkingAudioVideo.com!

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If you didn't know, this site is part of a larger network of sites from Blogpire Productions and we'd like to tell you about a new site that's part of the Blogpire - NetworkingAudioVideo.com. If you want to learn how to stream music, movies, and TV around your house - NetworkingAudioVideo.com is for you. We're excited about NetworkingAudioVideo.com, and we're really excited about giving away lots of cool high tech prizes!

We've teamed up with MvixUSA to giveaway some T-Shirts and if enough people sign up - some Mvix Media Centers. The type of prize you can win depends on how many people sign up for our newsletter at NetworkAudioVideo.com. This giveaway will be a tiered giveaway, so the more users that sign up, the bigger the prizes. If more than 500 ( U.S.) users sign up, Mvix will give away All of the following prizes. All winners will be chosen by the end of the giveaway, and be chosen via random drawing.

  • (10) MvixUSA T-shirts - 100 signups or more
  • (1) Mvix MV-4000U Media Center - 250 signups or more
  • (1) Mvix MX-760HD Media Center - 500 signups or more

This giveaway is open to U.S. participants only and ends August 31st, 2007.

To be eligible to win, all you have to do to win is be part of the Networking Audio Video mailing list. Click here to be part of the mailing list or sign up by using the form below.

Enter your Email to Win!

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Girl Overdoses on Espresso

A British girl home after exams, found out the hard way that you really can have too much espresso. She was a little tired working after not much sleep in her father’s café, and decided if one double shot was good, then another was better. After seven doubles, she was a mess; "My nerves were all over the place," Jasmine said. "I was crying in front of the customers and had tears streaming down my face."

After leaving the shop, she went home and took a turn for the worse, eventually landing herself in the hospital; "I was drenched. I was burning up and hyperventilating," she said. "I was having palpitations, my heart was beating so fast and I think I was going into shock."

After being monitored for several hours after being diagnosed with caffeine overdose, she was fine and was allowed to go home. She hasn’t had a coffee or espresso since.

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August 13, 2007

Where's Peet?

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If you'd heard about Peet's legendary coffee and were hoping to get some in your area, you may be in luck. They are in the process of moving into 1,000 grocery store outlets up and down the east coast. The good news is more for those of us who live in the northeast, as Peet's has moved into Stop n Shop, and Shaw's, while also moving into Giant Eagle near Cleveland. I've been a Peet's fan since my friend Price turned me onto them. So, hey raise your mug to Peet and go check out the new offerings.

The Peet's website has a lot of information about their coffees and their company; check it out.

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August 10, 2007

Michael Beutler Illy Espresso Cup Collection

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Illy always seems to present us with excellent cup collections year after year, and this set of six cups and saucers from artist Michael Beutler is no different. Exploring a different medium, the artist was inspired by the Japanese art of Origami paper folding as his cups reflect those very papers that are folded right onto the cups and saucers in different designs.

According to the Illy website, Michael Beutler’s works include expansive and elaborate sculptures built on-site from simple materials such as paper, cloth, wood and wire where warping and folding are recurring themes. Born in 1976 in Oldenburg, Germany, Beutler currently lives and works in Berlin.

Set of six cups and saucers - $120 at the Illy Website

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August 9, 2007

Illy Individually Wrapped ESE Pods

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Illy has gotten on the bandwagon and is now offering individually wrapped Illy ESE Pods in medium, dark roast and decaf varieties. When I reviewed the Illy Medium Roast ESE Pods a while back I have to say that I was a bit disappointed to see loose pods in the non-air-tight tin. We tend to rip through Espresso pods around here, so freshness wasn’t a huge issue. It would be an issue if you rotate around to different types and it takes a while to get through a tin of 18 loose Pods.

Either way, you can get individual wrapped or loose ones straight from Illy.

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August 7, 2007

FrancisFrancis X1 Ground vs ESE Pods

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Ground vs. ESE Pods – long time debate over which is better, and while it may be resolved for some, it’s about to get more steam behind it for others. FrancisFrancis has done its work to understand consumers and they have learned that more and more people are choosing Ground OR ESE Pods, and rarely crossing over. With that learning in hand, they created a newly revised FrancisFrancis X1 that is designed only for ESE pods or Only for ground, further improving their already excellent reputation for great espresso. The changes are more apparent in how the water is showered down onto the coffee, in both the screen and in the portafilter design. So while most of us are getting inferior espresso when we alternate between one and the other, the folks at FrancisFrancis are designing out the flaws associated with the two methods.

ArrowContinue reading: "FrancisFrancis X1 Ground vs ESE Pods"

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August 6, 2007

Best Barista in the World - WBC Champ

James Hoffman of the United Kingdom won the 2007 World Barista Championship in Tokyo. Hoffman, who finished fifth in last year’s WBC, also received accolades for preparing the competition’s best signature drink. This drink included a tobacco infused cream with biscotti foam and milk chocolate; wow, now that’s pretty indulgent. I guess if you hang out in smoke filled cafes, you’ll get a tobacco infused drink anyway.

Heather Perry of Coffee Klatch Roasting in San Dimas, California recorded the highest finish by an American in the WBC and was also recognized for serving the competition’s best espresso. Perry won the 2007 United States Barista Championship in May. If you visit the Coffee Klatch roasting website, you can purchase the coffee blend that Heather Perry used to win the US championship in May. For a few bucks more, you can purchase the blend that went to the World Chamionship and came in second place. Pretty cool.

2007 WBC Results:
1. James Hoffman - United Kingdom
2. Heather Perry - United States
3. Carl Sara - New Zealand
4. Miyuki Miyamae - Japan
5. Anna Kaeppeli - Switzerland
6. Silvia Magalhaes – Brazil


WBC competitors must prepare and serve 12 coffee beverages, including four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original signature drinks of their own creation within a 15 minute timeframe. The judges evaluated the entrants on station cleanliness, taste, beverage presentation, technical skills and total impression. The WBC encourages and recognizes professional achievement in the art and skill of espresso preparation and service.

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August 3, 2007

Monthly Round-up for July 2007

Who said that summer is a time not to have coffee or espresso. If it’s too hot, have an iced espresso, and cool yourself off with that great taste of espresso. Just don’t forget to try an all Arabica Blend for the cold coffee; the “Classic” roasts are a bit harsher than most people will tolerate.

Espresso Machines

  • Etienne Louis Espresso Machine - Spiked Espresso
  • DeLonghi Esclusivo Magnifica ESAM 3500 Espresso Machine
  • Portafilter 101 – Professional vs. Consumer
  • Pasquini Livietta
  • Jura Capresso Ultima 121 Espresso Machine
  • The Four Basic Types of Espresso Machines


    Coffee

  • CoffeePeople Black Tiger K-Cups
  • Caribou French Roast K-Cup Review
  • Espresione ESE Pods Revisited


    Accessories

  • Floral Michael Lin Espresso Cups at Illy

    General News

  • Starbucks and Hershey's Team Up
  • Summertime is time for Home Roasting
  • Aerolatte To Go - Latte and Cappuccino while you Travel

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  • August 2, 2007

    Mr Coffee Pump Driven Espresso Maker ECMP40

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    It's hard to believe but Mr Coffee has an espresso maker, the Mr Coffee ECMP40 Pump-driven espresso maker. The folks who brought you ADC coffee and cupcake filters now bring decent looking machine that has all the makings of a reasonable entry level pump-driven espresso maker. The unit is ESE pod compatible and can also run ground espresso too. It has a 13-bar pump, and a removable water reservoir for quick refilling.

    Mr Coffee ECMP40 Espresso Maker at Amazon

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