June 30, 2008

Cutting Back on the Starbucks? Brew at Home and Save Money

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You used to be able to get a gallon of gas for less than a latte, but now a gallon of gas costs more than the average grande latte and it's starting to hit the wallets of Americans at all income levels. People are cutting back on going out to dinner cutting back on the number of miles they are driving in their cars, choosing cars with better fuel efficiency over bigger domestically made cars, aren't they cutting down on the Lattes and the Frappuccinos?

Hey with a $3.75 latte every workday, that adds up; you've seen the math, reaching close to $1,000 a year. Starbucks recently indicated that same store sales were down, year over year, and with the recent stiffening of people's resolve to save money, I would imagine that the second quarter is going to be worse.

Maybe it's time for an investment in a home Espresso maker and brew up your own lattes every morning before going off to the office. Invest that Latte money in a good quality brewer, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your excellent investment. Plan on spending about $75 - $100 in coffee a year if you want to brew up that workday latte (14 grams per brew, every weekday, at about $10-$12 a pound); I'll say that the milk is only a few bucks and that you probably have it on hand anyway.

Take a look through our Espresso Machines area to pick out a few to target. I would recommend spending at least a few hundred dollars on a pump driven semi-automatic that will make high quality coffee.

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June 25, 2008

What's the Best Nespresso Capsule?

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I get this question all the time, which capsule is best, and what should I be drinking? I think the best thing that Nespresso does is to include the full assortment with each machine so you get to try them and see what types of flavors are out there and which capsules you'll end up loving with your machine. The only thing better would be to include two of each! (I turned my sample holder into my capsule holder inside the cabinet door)

With flavors ranging from the light Cosi - "A is perfect for espresso lovers who enjoy a mild, smooth crema coupled with the refreshing acidity of a hint of lemon." Strength = "3"

to the Ristretto - "Ristretto is the typical Italian espresso. It is a short, strong, full-bodied espresso with a touch of acidity. It has a pleasantly lingering taste." Strength = "10"

With my Nespresso Essenza C100, I happen to like right in the middle, gravitating to the Livanto and the Roma, and mixing things up with the seasonal blends that come out.


More at Nespresso

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June 24, 2008

Starbucks Cutting Back on Lighter Roast

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Starbucks is potentially hitting more trouble in the middle of their turnaround. Their recently launched lighter tasting roast, Pike Place Roast, is apparently being phased out or cut back on in some locations. The new roast, just launched this past April, is not being brewed in the afternoons to save on waste at these locations that don't get the traffic that they need to run through the stuff. I guess the loyals want the bolder tasting blends and this is the classic struggle to grow your business. Please and keep your loyal customers or try to gain new ones; sometimes you can do it without pissing one or the other off, and sometimes you can't.


Via WSJ

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June 23, 2008

Hacked? - Jura Capresso F9/90

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According to Security focused SC Magazine, an Australian man appears to have managed to hack into internet connected Jura Capresso F9/90 machines. With an optional connectivity package, the machines can be connected so that they can be remotely serviced.

Apparently though you can tell the machine to overpour the cup, thereby presenting a scalding hazard. Too bad you can't make the machine yell out a few commands, "Hey, use some decent Whole Beans Next Time will You?", "Back Again - get a life!". It's not the 9.5 Billion from Swordfish, but it might still be a fun laugh to make this work.

Anyway, in a statement, Jura said: "The Internet Connectivity kit which can optionally be acquired... will at no time connect the coffee machine to the world wide web. Its settings can therefore only be changed by the machine's rightful owner. JURA systems do not allow hacker attacks."

At Amazon the Jura Capresso F9


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June 17, 2008

JavaPop - Espresso Flavored Soda

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Just in case you couldn't get to an iced espresso this summer, you can always take along a refreshing Coffee Flavored Soda with you. The folks at JavaPop make it easy. Sold in 4-packs the coffee flavored soda comes in a variety of flavors: Mocha, Hazelnut, Caramel, Vanilla and Espresso. The all organic ingredients and mantra that is it made from ingredients you can pronounce, make it especially appealing.

JavaPop is based in Vermont, and where do they get their coffee? Fellow Vermonter - Green Mountain Coffee, of course. The coffee that they use is not only organic, but fair Trade certified.

I picked up a 4-pack of the Espresso variety the other day and it is definitely a new experience. The first couple of swigs were an eye-opener, and as I came to finish the first bottle, I was pretty happy to say that I was shoving the rest in the frige to enjoy later. The flavor profile is not a deep, dark espresso flavor with bitterness and dark roasted notes flying all over the place. It's a regular coffee flavor, not too lightly roasted, and worth a try.

Check Out their Website: JavaPop

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June 16, 2008

Capresso Mini-S Espresso/Cappuccino Machine Review

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The Capresso Mini-S showed up a few weeks ago, and I wanted to post a review as soon as I could knowing a lot of readers are interested in these entry level steam-based espresso brewers. The most basic espresso brewers are these boiler-based brewers that heat the water and boil it through the espresso cake to produce the espresso. This maker is not all that unlike a Moka Pot in that regard. Simple and easy to operate. The advantage that you get with a brewer like the Capresso Mini-S over a Moka pot is that you can actually steam the milk with the unit.

ArrowContinue reading: "Capresso Mini-S Espresso/Cappuccino Machine Review"

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June 11, 2008

Home Roasting in Beantown

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Good article in the Boston Globe today on home roasting. While coffee is going stale on the store shelves, you can have the freshest cup in town if you roast your own. I reviewed the iRoast Home Roaster a while back and still enjoy the freshness of the roasts that I do. Since it's summertime, it's a great time of year to get outside and run through a few batches.

The article mentions Sweet Marias as a source for green coffee beans, and I think that they are excellent. I was able to get a nice variety of green beans ready to roast. The flavor differences among the different varieties are stunning and a lot of fun to explore.

I found that it was very easy to get a good roast and then blend a few different beans together to get a coffee that I loved.

ReadMore at BostonGlobe

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June 9, 2008

Hot Weather - Cool Espresso; Iced Americanos

The hot weather is here in Boston these days, and after a late night staying up for the Celtics - Lakers game, it's time to wake up and cool off at the same time. These are a favorite of mine in the summer. I typically switch over to a 100% Arabica blend for iced espresso, because the clean finish in the flavor profile works better for me.

Ingredients:

  • Shot of your favorite espresso
  • 8-10 ounce glass full of ice cubes
  • Ice water
  • Sugar to taste
  • Milk or half and half to taste

    Pull your shot, and pour it slowly over the ice while swirling. The full glass of ice should chill the espresso quickly. Fill the glass with cold water and stir in sugar (optional). Add a splash of milk or half and half as desired. Sit back and relax..... then repeat as needed!

    You may want to play with the amount of espresso, sometimes I find a double shot into a 12 ounce glass of ice and then follow the general directions above is a bit more appealing, and a bit more of a punch too.

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
  • June 5, 2008

    Handpresso - More Thumbs Up

    CNet blog has found what we think may be the coolest espresso maker ever. The convenience of high quality espresso where ever you can find an ESE pod, hot water and a cup (See My Review of the Handpresso). I thought it was a great unit to have that delivered high quality brew.

    More at CNet

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    June 4, 2008

    Illy Free Shipping - through June 5th

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    Illy dropped this deal in my inbox; thought I would pass along. Free Shipping on orders from them, like Illy Coffee, FrancisFrancis machines, mugs and cups, etc.

    Enter Savings Code EDADJ8 at checkout

    at Illy

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    June 3, 2008

    Saeco Aroma Espresso Machine - $219 at Costco

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    The Saeco Aroma semi-auto espresso machine is on sale at Costco for just $219 now through 6/22. This is a pretty capable unit and when I used one for a while I thought that it brewed a very respectable shot of espresso. The unit easily cranks out shot after shot, and puts a nice crema layer on the top too.

    It is selling at Amazon for $299 - $350.

    Check it out at Costco.

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    June 2, 2008

    Monthly Round-up for May 2008

    As the warmer weather moves in, we're still thinking about espresso, maybe just an iced Americano or something similar to cool off instead. Here are a few items from May that we thought we would highlight.

    Espresso Machines

    General News

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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