December 31, 2008

New Espresso Machine - Have you Tried ESE Pods?

HB40729Portafilter.JPG There are a lot of people checking out a new espresso espresso machine and realizing that getting into ESE Espresso Pods might be an excellent way to enjoy that machine. If you are new and want to learn a bit about ESE Espresso Pods, check out our article covering ESE Espresso Pods and what they are, how they got started, etc.

They are a great way to make that espresso quickly and easily when you can't take the time to grind your own.

They are easy to use, and are VERY convenient. Now, we really enjoy a few ESE pods, but ne way to really get into Pods and really have fun exploring the world of ESE Espresso Pods is the ESE Espresso Pod Super Sampler ; tons of pods; 2 of each kind. Total blast exploring dozens of different ones.

If you really love a nice bold Italian espresso, one of the favorites around the kitchens here is the Lavazza Grand Crema ESE Espresso Pods. See my review of the Lavazza Grand Crema ESE Espresso Pods.

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December 30, 2008

More Extra Bold K-Cups at

OK - one can't live on espresso alone; I love coffee and drink a fair amount of it. If you are filling in the spaces between espressos with drip coffee, you should consider a Keurig K-cup machine. I have the Keurig B-70, and love it; fast and tons of different varieties. I am always interested in the Extra Bold varieties or the darker blends while others in and around our house, appreciate the lighter ones. Good news for those of us at the bold end of the scale, as the folks at Coffee Wiz are offering the Green Mountain Extra Bold Sampler (Kenya AA, Double Black Diamond, Fair Trade Espresso and Dark Magic) - a good choice for experimenting and enjoying the variety with a stronger bent. They are also offering Timothy's Nicaraguan Free Trade Organic Extra Bold - another one that is worth checking out.

Coffee Wiz usually offers free shipping over $50, and it makes sense when you're tired of blasting through K-cups and are always running out.

At CoffeeWiz

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December 22, 2008

Pinzon Contemporary French Press


Sure I like espresso but I also like to take time out for French Press coffee - this one caught my eye for its great looks and low price. The 8-cup Pinzon French Press holds 32-ounces of coffee, and has a stainless steel plunger.

About a tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee per "cup" works fine, pour in hot water, let it steep up to five minutes, plunge and pour. The press is rated "8-cups" which is to say, 8, four ounce cups. I get a couple of mugs out of one "8-cup" French Press.

At Amaxon - Pinzon Contemporary 8-Cup Coffee Press

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December 21, 2008

Starbucks Card - Earn Towards Lattes with Every Purchase

starbucksCard.jpgJust about everyone has a credit card in their wallet or purse from some company, firm, airline, store, or whatever. If you think that you would rather be earning lattes with every purchase made instead of whatever else you are doing today, maybe the Starbucks Duetto Visa is what belongs in your wallet....

  • Earn Cash back to buy Lattes - 1% on all purchases
  • Become a "Gold Card" patron - meaning you save 10% on in-store Starbucks purchases
  • Free refills on drip coffee

Yea, sure at 1% back, you'll need to spend over $300 on the card to get that Latte, but hey, maybe that's one afternoon shopping for you and this isn't going to phase you one bit.

A lot more at Starbucks

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December 17, 2008

Nespresso Variations 2008 - Espresso Capsule Review


Nespresso always puts out a few great flavored capsules this time of year, and in years past, the quality has been fantastic, surprising me since I am not a big flavored coffee person. The Three variations come as a surprise every year, offering Nespresso a chance to compound a great blend and flavor system allowing the flavors to dance and play off of each other as you experience the espresso from aroma to aftertaste.

This year is no disappointment in the line of Variations successes. Some better than others, the line is worth getting across the board to see what you like, unless you are absolutely against trying one particular flavor. I say this because when I got the three in, I was expecting one toe be my favorite, and another be passable. After sipping and shooting these baby's for a few days straight in all kinds of combinations, I have to say that I have a clear favorite and it's a big surprise.

All three flavors are subtle and not overwhelming, blended in more of a high cuisine soft, layered approach instead of an over the top candy-sweet style. I like that, it fits with the Nespresso heritage.

Caramel - This is a subtle flavor, and does best with a little sugar and milk - I like caramel flavors and subtle hints in all kinds of ways. This was my most anticipated flavor, and I will say that I could have used a bit more caramel coming through in the cup. The nose was good, and again, it's a subtle, roasted, browned flavor versus a sticky-sweet one.

Mandarin - I will start with the admission that I am not a big orange flavor fan - love oranges, but not with chocolates, coffee, etc. The mandarin Nespresso capsule as surprisingly good, and again, with touches of orange woven with the coffee flavors make it an enjoyable cup. I drank it as a latte, as a shot straight and with a bit of sugar. I think that this does well as a shot, with or without sugar - offering nice orange finishes that remind you of a beautiful base orange flavor.


Crystalized Ginger - My hands down favorite of the bunch. The flavor is more true ginger, and is not a spiced up gingerbread flavor, but that's what I like. With a bit os sugar to lengthen the flavor profile delivers a subtle ginger flavored that lingers swirling around the coffee flavors along giving you glimpses of the flavor that is surprisingly good.

So, again, I think that they are all worth checking out - $6.20 for a sleeve of 10 from Nespresso for a limited time. These tend to sell out quickly, so jump on them and they will have them out to you pretty quickly. The sleeve of ten is about the length of my Christmas stocking - get the hint?

I was also able to check out the Variations recipe glasses this weekend, making some fun drinks, and just drinking double shots. The glasses are 150 ml (about 5 fl. ounces), so they have plenty of room for a quick drink, offering a nice way to enjoy your new flavored shots. Some people balk at the idea of a glass with no handle because of it's ability to be too hot, to the touch, but I thought these were a great change to the normal routine. Hey, we're into it here at SingleServeEspresso, and playing with these glasses was fun. I pulled successive shots into mine in the morning for a double to get going, and added some steamed milk later in the day for a different treat. The little Nespresso sugar spoons in the box are a nice touch and add a bit of formality to the very casual glasses without being overt he top. With these glasses, you can even experiment with layered drinks if your hand is steady enough and your luck is running strong. Again, you have to be into it, but these can make a fun gift too.

at Nespresso

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December 16, 2008

Biodiesel from Coffee

I should have posted on this the other day when I noticed a small article on the idea, but now that the NYT has a full blown article on it; I'll just have to pass it along. Biodiesel from coffee grounds; sounds great. I am a big fan of biodiesel, reading up on it when I can, and see it as a supplement to our fuel supply. When I saw this I thought "Yes! More good stuff from coffee."

The idea is simple, waste coffee grounds still contain oil, and that researchers from the University of Nevada figured out how to convert that oil to Biodiesel that can run in most diesel cars without modification as an additive to regular diesel at a minimum. Of course the problem is collecting the used coffee grounds and then processing them efficiently. One hope would be some sort of mass collection in urban areas of the waste coffee stream, and converting it in smaller quantities to biodiesel. The other thought is to set up production next to coffee manufacturers that do the extraction at the plant - think instant coffee. The question here is if the coffee beans in that stream actually have anything left of value. Won't solve the world's oil addiction, but it may change how we think about waste streams locally and offer a better more economically feasible approach to certain businesses. I don't think I'll be setting up a still and a conversion process anytime soon in the garage here at

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December 15, 2008

Jura ENA-5 Super Automatic Espresso Machine Review


The Jura Capresso ENA 5 is a super automatic coffee center that is big on performance with a smaller footprint both physically and energy-wise. The compact unit offers you the capabilities of the typical super auto in a smaller package giving you back a significant chunk of counter space. The ENA5 also has a zero energy switch that takes it down to a no power draw state. In am era when households have more and more appliances taking a trickle flow of electricity adding up to hundreds of kilowatt hours a year the zero energy state is a nice step in the other direction.

Like most people though I want pretty comparable performance out of this little wonder making few tradeoffs for the green advances and smaller footprint.

ArrowContinue reading: "Jura ENA-5 Super Automatic Espresso Machine Review"

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December 12, 2008

Nespresso Variations - 2008 Ginger, Caramel and Mandarin


Nespresso has just introduced the seasonal flavors for the Nespresso Variations 2008 - Mandarin, Caramel, and Crystallized Ginger. These usually sell out fast ahead of the holidays, and I am adding them to my Buying Guide this weekend.

Last year the Almond was my favorite, and we'll see this year. I'll be brewing them up in my Essenza C100, but they also work in the whole line of Nespresso capsule brewers, like the Le Cube C185 that I recently reviewed. I just got my shipment today, along with some recipe glasses, so we'll play with those too.

At Nespresso Site - Nespresso Variations 2008

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McDonald's Pulls Out the Stops


Armed with a big old Bag of Hurt, McDonald's is taking it to Starbucks in the middle of the downturn, and doing it on their home turf. Everyone knows that Starbucks is hurting, closing stores and seeing the profits dry up like old coffee grounds, but that's no time to baby them according to McDonald's latest efforts taking shape in Seattle.

According to this story, they have put up billboards "Four Bucks is Dumb" and "Large is the New Grande" around Seattle, pitching the news that Starbucks is so yesterday. Should be interesting to see how that works. McDonald's has launched a website

We already know that Starbucks is also under attack from another espresso wannabe, Dunks, citing that they beat Starbucks in a taste test.

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December 6, 2008

Single Serve Espresso Holiday Gift Guide

The days are cranking away and a lot of people are asking about gift ideas for the holidays. I think that your own espresso machine is a great holiday gift these days as a way to indulge and save money on buying coffee shop coffee at the same time.

I recommend a pump driven machine for anyone interested in espresso at home, it makes a better shot because of the high pressure extracting more flavor and more solids from the beans. Here's a pretty good list of ideas to hit most budgets.

Super Automatics >$900
DelonghiESAM3500.jpgDeLonghi ESAM3500 Esclusivo Magnifica Digital Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine - This maker does is all for you at the touch of a button. The whole beans go in the top, water in the reservoir and milk in the frothing attachment. Push the button and you get an espresso and steamed milk straight to your cup for that great latte or cappuccino. We call it the "barista-button" in our house. Grind, water levels and milk amounts are all optionally changeable. If you want a different style of coffee (i.e. Decaf) you can add ground coffee in the top of the "by-pass doser" to get that coffee used instead.

Jura-Capresso ENA -5 Automatic Coffee and Espresso Center - This Super Auto has a super small footprint, while offering a pretty big list of capabilities. The narrow profile (less than 10 inches wide) fits more countertops and still holds shot after shot amounts of beans and water. The Froth Express attachment in the EN5 allows you to siphon milk right out of a glass/mug into the steam port to froth right into your mug. A Zero Energy state allows the unit to shut off and draw no power, unlike the long list of other appliances around the house that can draw small amounts of electricity while "off" and waste power all day. Smart size, Smart design, and great coffee.

Espresso for the Aficionado ranciliosilvia.jpg
The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine is a true aficionado's machine, as it does not have a pressurized portafilter, but instead a professional style portafilter that requires you to grind and tamp the espresso properly to get a great espresso. More difficult than most consumer machines, but can reward with excellent espresso. Requires a good or very good grinder, and a hand tamp to get a good espresso.

Nespresso Semi-Automatic Machine NespressoC100T.jpg
The Nespresso C-100T espresso machine is a tiny espresso wonder (See My Review) ; and I still love this machine. Drop the Nespresso capsules in the top and punch a button. Out comes a fantastic shot of espresso or a lungo. Beautiful Crema! Only uses Nespresso capsules available at or at Nespresso Boutiques.

I also wrote up a review for the Nespresso LeCube just recently as they released some new colors. Another bold design statement and another great Nespresso brewer. I liked it a lot, especially the integrated espresso cup trays.
You might pair them with a Nespresso Aeroccino or a simple AeroLatte for milk based drinks.

Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

Cuisinart EM - 100 Espresso Machine - Well designed Espresso machine with plenty of pump power, a 53-ounce reservoir, adapters for ESE Pods, and a very nice looking stainless exterior.

Entry Level Pump-Driven Machine DelonghiEC155.jpg

The DeLonghi EC 155 is an entry level machine that offers the convenience and ease of ESE pods, and the flexibility of ground coffee. The unit is compact, and comes with a steam wand to make lattes and cappuccinos, and has the pump driven format to make a decent espresso. Comes with inserts to use both ESE Pods and Ground Espresso in the portafilter. At 35 ounces there's, plenty of capacity in the reservoir to last for a lot of shots. See My Review

Classic Moka Pot

The Moka Pot may be inexpensive but don't be shy about using one. Screw off the bottom and fuill to the line with water, add the metal filter basket and fill it with ground espresso. Screw the top on and heat until the coffee is forced up through the grounds to leave you with espresso in the top of the maker, and nothing in the bottom. Just as good as a "Steam Driven" espresso maker. Add a manual frother and you have a great inexpensive solution at home.


The Handpresso Wild came to the US this year, and we were there with early looks, reviews and more. I continue to use my Handpresso at work, and have taken it on several trips to make sure I had Espresso where I wanted it. A great little gift for the espresso lover.

Accessories BodumPavinasm.jpg
I can't write up any recommendation without suggesting Bodum Pavina espresso glasses. The laboratory glass in a double wall cup keeps your fingers cool while your espresso stays hot. They REALLY show off the crema as the shot is poured, and show off a beautiful creation to guests.

I love the look of the new Bamboo Airtight Canister at Green Mountain. Fits with the greener times, and a cool look at the same time. Holds a pound of beans, with a washable poly liner.

Need some espresso for that new machine?
  • Try an Espresso Pod sampler to figure out what you like. The experimentation is great.
  • Lavazza Gran Crema is the house pod here at SingleServeEspresso; I love it.
  • Buy some whole bean from your local roaster for the freshest espresso cup.
  • Try one of my favorites - Gimmie! Coffee of Ithaca and New York, New York. True purveyors of excellent coffee with free shipping this month on their 3-blend gift sets.
  • Head to the Nespresso site for Nespresso capsules to go in your Nespresso machine. Start with a variety pack. They usually ship in 2 business days.
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December 4, 2008

The Beauty of the Illy Espresso Cup Collections

Illy is well known for their coffee but almost equally well known for their amazing designs for their iconic espresso cup that graces so many cafes and kitchen tables around the world. Illy has a nice look at some of the cooler designs at their site that might just entice you to consider buying these pieces of art to supplement your china collection (or plastic beer cup collection).

Check out the Illy Espresso Cup Collection Gallery, once there, click on the image for a show.

Don't forget you can also get the world's finest Italian espresso. Sign up for the illy espresso membership program and enjoy easy ordering and home delivery.

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December 1, 2008

$500 Shopping Spree at CoffeeWiz

Got this in my email - if you buy K-Cups, or regular (non-ESE) pods, is a great place to get a wide selection of brands. They even have a few ESE pods that I have tried and like. Buy today and you are entered in a drawing for a $500 shopping spree at the site. Drawing is to be made Tuesday 10AM.

Good Luck - at CoffeeWiz

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