December 31, 2007

Crap Coffee for the Holidays?

Don't know about you, but I spent some time on the road, and as a result went from heaven to hell as far as the coffee quality goes. For a lot of the holidays I spent time in Ithaca NY, stopping by Gimme! Coffee for some delicious lattes and some Cup of Excellence coffees (La Virgen and La Union), that they bought at auction. The COE coffees were excellent and a nice diversion from the typical espresso drink.

The Lattes were fantastic, beautiful Latte Art designs and the milk was so well done that it lent a nice sweetness to the latte negating any urge to add sugar. They were serving their espressos in Bodum Paula cups - very cool.

The hell came when we hit the McCafe on the way home. I know I should have expected it, but a watery mess was all I got, worse than I had hoped for unfortunately. Ahh, well, I guess I'll just have to settle for home made Leftist coffee from Gimme! while I await another trip to Ithaca.

BTW - If you are interested, Gimmie! Coffee sells their coffees over the web, including their COE coffees.

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December 31, 2007

Italy vs. Starbucks

Minorly interesting story coming out these days that talks to the expansion strategy of Starbucks, now in 43 countries around the world. Apparently those not on the list includes developing nations, and one of the highest coffee consuming nations in the world; Italy. In a land where an espresso costs a single Euro, and those shots are served up fast, Starbucks is said not to be able to compete.

I guess they'll need to settle for the other 43 countries, and the ba-zillion outlets they plan to have by the turn of the decade. In the end, if they can help raise the quality of coffee wherever I go, great. From my (limited) time in Italy, they're doing pretty well already.

More at MSNBC

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December 29, 2007

Whole Latte Love - 10% Off Sale

Just in case you still needed some espresso equipment, Whole Latte Love has a 10% off sale going on right now. The 10% off all orders offer has some restrictions, and requires the code: newyr08.

So if you need an espresso machine or a new grinder, or maybe just some cleaning supplies and coffee cups, cruise on over there to see all the deals.

More at Whole Latte Love

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December 28, 2007

Espresso Machine but no Cups?

What's an espresso without a nice cup to hold that beautiful black gold. Luckily there are a couple of great directions you can go in that will make having that espresso just that much better.


Bodum Pavina- I love these little espresso glasses, as they hold the espresso suspended in air while your fingers stay cool. The double walled laboratory glass keeps the espresso warm and insulated.

Classic Illy Cups - These are potentially the most popular shape and most iconic design around - comes with a can of illy coffee.

Konitz Classic Whites - a good value in the world of espresso cups, and in classic white too. Basic set that goes well with anything.

Bodum Paula
- This black and white collection of six cups and saucers is a great way to start an espresso cup collection.

Cheers and enjoy!

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December 27, 2007

Getting Started with Espresso? Try Pods or Ground

New Espresso machine for the holidays? Can't wait to explore the world of espresso? There are a couple of great ways to find what you love in the ways of espresso, and not for a whole lot of money.

ESE Pod Samplers - an easy way to get going is to check out an Espresso pod sampler. These packs come with a couple of pods of several different kinds of espressos to allow you to explore a wide variety without a lot of commitment. If your machine handles ESE pods, this is a great way to go. Consider this Espresso Pod sampler.

Ground Espresso
- Some purists may cringe, but I think that getting ground espresso from a shop or from the supermarket is a great way to get into espresso quickly and easily. Getting grinding right can take a while, and can complicate things, but getting already ground espresso can make life that much easier and much more enjoyable right out of the chute. The key here is freshness, and so, go to a supermarket that does a decent volume, or to a coffee shop that you trust to pick up some ground espresso. I have had luck recently at the store with Peet's ground coffee; they are newly distributed to the North East, and the stuff is pretty fresh. The crema is fantastic.

Later when you want to explore the next step of quality, get some whole bean and learn about the right grind to get the freshest espresso right in your home.

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December 24, 2007

Gift Cards Still an Option


Ok - so you still want to get that Espresso Machine? Shipping deadline past? Try giving an Amazon Gift Card.

Redeemable for all kinds of great Espresso Machines. I fully expect another round of some minor discounting in the days following Christmas, as people come back to use up those gift cards. Could be a nice time to pick up some deals.

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December 19, 2007

Best Selling Espresso Machines in time for Christmas

I am still getting a lot of emails and comments about what Espresso Maker to buy and so, on, but the bottom line is that you need to decide soon. To illustrate, Amazon is running a bunch of deals on shipping over the coming days to make sure you can get your Espresso Maker in time to put it under the tree.

Wednesday - Last FULL Day for 2-Day Shipping
Thursday - Order by 3PM (PST) and get 2-Day shipping
Friday - Last FULL Day for 1-Day Shipping
Saturday - Order by 1PM (PST) and get 1-Day shipping

All estimates are for getting items on or before 12/24; some items are excluded, and only on offers by Amazon.

Check out the Best Selling Espresso Machinesat Amazon and see what's up and perfect for that espresso lover in the household!

Need some recommendations - Check out out Holiday Espresso Gift Guide

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Nespresso Variations 2007 - Flavored Espresso

Nespresso has introduced three new flavors for their 2007 variations, which I think are going to be a big hit for those warm winter lattes hanging out with friends around the fire. Last year they introduced Absolute Vanilla, Spicy Apple, and Aniseed. The flavors are Chocolate Orange, Almond, and Cardamom.

After trying them all this past week, I have to say that the three are excellent, and a very high quality, pleasing flavor that combines well with the espresso base. This is not some junky flavored coffee from the bottom of an urn at the local convenience store! My favorite was the Almond, a nice roasted almond that sits well as a stand alone espresso and combines well with the sweetness and milk flavors of a latte.

The Cardamom was a pretty good treat. We like Cardamom flavor around our house and have seen it in holiday cookies and other Eastern food dishes, and again it's a decently flavored espresso that stands up to a latte without any problem.

Finally the Chocolate Orange was a treat too, reminding me of those chocolate oranges that I used to see around Christmas. I liked this one more as a latte than a stand alone espresso, but again, the quality and balance of the flavors was well done. It's clear that they worked hard on these flavored espressos and I like them as a nice treat and change to the usual rotation of Livantos, Romas, Arpeggio's and Decaf Intenso's that are floating around the kitchen.

I made these in my Nespresso Essenza C100T which I like for its small size, ease of use and its excellent espresso.

At Nespresso Variations 2007

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December 17, 2007

Single Serve Lavazza Blue Contest Winner - Karen from Florida


We have a winner! Karen from Florida is the proud new owner of the Lavazza Blue Home Espresso and Coffee machine from Cafe Razi.

From Karen our winner:

I visit and to find out about new machines and brews and to read other coffee lovers' opinions and experiences with them..a good cup of espresso is liquid sensuality but a dedicated home machine has always been just a dream. I can't wait to fire that thing up and smell that amazing smell...and enjoy that wonderful organic pure coffee taste!

From Cafe Razi:

Congratulations on winning the SingleServeCoffee contest and welcome to Cafe-Razzi. With the LavazzaBlue LB1010 espresso system, you can make delicious espresso, cappuccino, Americano or latte drinks. You can chose from 7 coffee blends, 7 tea blends and a hot cocoa. Cafe-Razzi gives you an industry first lifetime machine guarantee, so you'll never have to purchase another espresso machine again. You can manage your account 24/7 on our website or feel free to give us a call 1 877 CLUBRAZZI

Cafe-Razzi would like to wish you and your family happy holidays.

Stay tuned for more contests and giveaways in January. We're going to be giving away lots of interesting single serve coffee and espresso items in the New Year! To be eligible to win you need to be signed up for the Single Serve Coffee mailing list and the Single Serve Espresso mailing list.

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Cuisinart EM-100 Stainless Steel Espresso Machine


The little brother of the Cuisinart EM200 that I have in for review these days, is the Cuisinart EM-100, which is no slouch of a machine either. The Cuisinart EM-100 is a pump-driven stainless clad espresso machine with some nice characteristics and features. The 15-bar pump delivers enough pressure to get some pretty good crèma on those espresso shots, and it comes with three portafilter adapters: Single, double and a special ESE Pod adapter. The versatility is worth it, and on the EM-200 I have been flipping back and forth between ground and pods.

The Cuisinart EM-100 has a 53-ounce reservoir so you can get a pretty long time in between fill ups. The large knob on the front of the machine is the control center for unit, allowing you to dial in steam/hot water from the steam nozzle, as well as brew a shot of espresso. The smaller knob on the left directs the unit to heat to steaming temperature.

To brew, preheat the machine, load your coffee and tamp, or coffee pod, and attach the portafilter to the housing. Turn the knob to brew and let the wonderful espresso come out of the portafilter into you glass, when you have enough, rotate the knob to the off position.

The Cuisinart comes with a tamp/scoop and a removable drip tray that is easy to clean and easy to slide in and out.

At Amazon The Cuisinart EM-100 Espresso Machine

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December 15, 2007

Amazon Shopping Special

Amazon is running a special this month. Buy anything in the Home and Garden store - including most espresso machines, and you can get a subscription for Bon Appétit, Gourmet, or Domino magazine. Not a bad deal.

1. Shop the Home and Garden Store.

2. Add to your Shopping Cart products from the Home & Garden Store. The total amount of your order before taxes, gift-wrap, shipping, and other promotions must be $25 or more in order to become eligible for this offer.

3. Click the Proceed to Checkout button and purchase your products.

4. Important: All purchases must be made in a single order; limit one promotional subscription per transaction. Subscriptions can be sent only to addresses in the United States. Within one to two weeks, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to opt in for the one-year subscription to Bon Appétit, Gourmet, or Domino magazine. (See detailson the special)

Cool, may I suggest checking out a few espresso machines on the way?

  • DeLonghi ESAM3500 Esclusivo Magnifica
  • Jura-Capresso 13204 Impressa E9
  • Gaggia 35008 Carezza Espresso Machine
  • DeLonghi EC 155


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  • December 14, 2007

    Nespresso Shops Open NYC, DC and Paris!


    Nespresso is on a tear these days, having just opened a new store in Paris on the Champs d Elysees, and two new ideas for them, Boutiques in stores; one in SoHo, NYC and one in Chevy Chase MD. The Cafes are in Bloomingdales and there you can enjoy the wonderful taste of espresso while considering a purchase of a new machine or if you already have a machine, it can be an easy place to pick up more capsules. (Man check out that picture up there - don't you wish you had a wall like THAT and all of those lovely espresso capsules?!?!)

    I love my Nespresso Essenza C100T for its small size, ease of use and its excellent espresso. I just got in some of the new Nespresso Variations - flavored espresso capsules and they look pretty good; can't wait to crack into them tomorrow. They come in three varieties and are available for a limited time at the Nespresso stores and boutiques, as well as online at the Nespresso Club.

    The new flavors are:

  • Almond
  • Cardamom
  • Chocolate Orange

    Press Release and addresses of the new Boutiques follow....

    ArrowContinue reading: "Nespresso Shops Open NYC, DC and Paris!"

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  • December 13, 2007

    Bodum Columbia 8-Cup Stainless-Steel Thermal Press Pot

    OK, I know this is an espresso site, but after I posted yesterday’s unbreakable French Press unit from Bonjour, someone pointed this Bodum French Press as another great “Take to Work” way to get awesome coffee.

    The Bodum Columbia 8-Cup Stainless-Steel Thermal Press Pot holds coffee hot for two hours after pressing, for a nice cup after delicious cup of coffee while your co-workers look on in amazement sipping their hot Joe from the vending machine or the two-hour old burnt stuff left on the Mr. Coffee.

    Holds 35 ounces hot for 2 hours, dishwasher safe.

    At Amazon, the Bodum Columbia 8-Cup Stainless-Steel Thermal Press Pot

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    December 12, 2007

    Bonjour 3-cup Unbreakable French Press


    Have to take a time out and recognize the value of a nice French Press Coffee. There are a ton of different French Press coffee makers, but this one caught my eye because it’s unbreakable, and quite honestly dirt cheap – 9 bucks.

    I just ordered one for work and I know a few folks who will be taking one back to school once the winter break is over. This just solved the junk coffee at work issue, and I can’t tell you how many of these glass carafes I have broken. Polycarbonate carafe, and a French press.

    Officially a 3 cup size – 12 ounces perfect for a single mondo-mug.

    At Amazon the Bonjour 3-cup Unbreakable French Press

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    December 11, 2007

    Warm Winter Fires - The JavaLog


    The weather has turned cold, and it’s time to stoke up the fire. Well you can do that and burn used coffee grounds by using the Java Log. I picked one up the other day at WalMart of all places, and stoked it up. It burnt well, and while it didn’t even remotely smell like a nice cup of coffee or espresso brewing, it was a great little fire. The grounds are gathered from a coffee plant that makes instant coffee, so the grounds are pretty much tapped out of any coffee smell goodness.

    I think it’s a great way to hang out, enjoy a little warm fire and help keep some used coffee grounds out of the landfill.

    Learn more about the Java Log at their website.

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    December 9, 2007

    Cuisinart EM200 Espresso Machine Unboxing

    We are pretty excited to have another programmable espresso machine in the house to try out for a while. The unit is a beautiful Cuisinart EM200 programmable espresso machine that has two pre-set sizes to choose from at the push of a button. The unit is a very sturdy stainless steel unit that looks pretty sharp sitting on the counter. It boasts a 15-bar pump-driven extraction system, has a swing out foaming/frothing arm, and a pretty respectable 64 ounce reservoir.


    More after the jump...

    ArrowContinue reading: "Cuisinart EM200 Espresso Machine Unboxing"

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    December 3, 2007

    DeLonghi EC155 - $79 at Amazon


    Highlight the features on DeLonghi EC155 entry level pump driven espresso maker a few days ago, and Bam! the price drops $20.

    Check it out; at Amazon - The DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Machine

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    Holiday Gift Guide Highlight: Nespresso Essenza C100


    The Nespresso Essenza C100 is a great little, and I do mean little espresso machine. The tightly designed unit has a compact footprint and may just be one of the best little espresso machines out there. I rotate through a lot of espresso machines and I am always happy to come back the my Nespresso C100. The unit makes excellent espresso, with a crema that is hard to beat. The delicious concoction is always a treat.

    The Nespresso Essenza C100 comes with a selection of Nespresso capsules, so you can judge what you like, and order up some more. The capsules can only be ordered through Nespresso, but they are very fast about turning orders around, and I have mine two days later.

    At Nespresso Essenza C100

    See my Holiday Espresso Gift Guide for more information on gifts.

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    Illy Sale - Free Shipping


    Want something very Illy for the holidays? They are running a FREE SHIPPING special right now at their webstore through midnight 12/5. Shop all of their holiday gifts including cups, FrancisFrancis! Espresso machines, coffee and more.

    At checkout enter Special Code: EDECSHIP7

    At the Illy Website

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    December 2, 2007

    Holiday Buying Guide Highlight: DeLonghi EC155


    A lot of people have been emailing about my Holiday Gift Guide, and what espresso maker is right or them. Lots of people want to keep that price under $100, and while there are a lot of options, there are only a few pump-driven espresso machine choices under $100, and one of them is the DeLonghi EC155.

    I reviewed the DeLonghi EC155 and thought the unit did a pretty good job. This isn't some professional machine, but it's a heck of a value at today's price.

    Pump-driven machines are superior to those steam driven ones at extracting fuller flavor and creating that crema layer on top of your espresso. I was impressed with the quality and amount of the crema coming from the DeLonghi EC155 when I used it.

    The unit is plenty strong to steam the milk and then flip the switch and crank out a few shots of espresso for your lattes.

    Read More at my Review of the DeLonghi EC 155

    At Amazon - The DeLonghi EC155 Pump Driven Espresso Machine

    Don't forget to check out the Bodum Pavina espresso glasses. The laboratory glass in a double wall cup keeps your fingers cool while your espresso stays hot. They are fantastic gifts for others, or yourself.

    See my Holiday Espresso Gift Guide for more information on gifts.

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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