June 29, 2009
Coming off our review this past week of the NexPod refillable plastic capsules for the Nespresso machine, reader Geoffrey turned us onto the OutPresso, a device to help press the coffee out of the Nespresso capsules and recycle the aluminum pod. Nespresso maintains a recycling program in Switzerland, but where you can't get to one, you can certainly use an Outpresso to recycle your capsules in a municipal recycling stream with other metals.
The cost is just under $30 where available at their website - they appear to ship all over.
More at Outpresso
June 28, 2009
This subject was explored this past weekend in the Seattle Times, which is a pretty good place to work the answer out. I can't say that I feel that coffeehouses have to roast their own; it's a lot of work and it's no easy task to come up to speed with a roaster while figuring out your blends and specialties of the house.
I do believe though when I have looked back at the best coffees that I have had they have all come from cafes that do roast their own either on premises or at a sister shop around town. I used to live about a block from one such coffee house and while the smell of roasting coffee is not universally loved, I saw it as a sign to head over to the shop and grab the fresh stuff the next day as they started to put it all out for sale. Still off-gassing when you opened the bins, the smell of the coffee that next day was amazing, and the freshness of course couldn't be beat.
June 25, 2009
NexPod is a new pod system for the Nespresso line of makers that allows you to use your own capsules with your favorite espresso coffee. You might even be able to save a little money over the ~$0.55 cost per Nespresso capsule; I paid $23 on eBay for mine that shipped from Switzerland. That puts it at about $0.28 each empty capsule. Adding up the cost of about 4-5g of coffee per capsule, that adds about a dime to the cost of each unit. These can save about $15 - $20 per box of 80 units; not bad.
It arrived in about two weeks. The box is packed with 80 plastic capsules and a bunch of paper disks, the filters the you will load into the plastic capsule.
To make the review as fair as possible, I cut into a Nespresso Ristretto capsule and poured the coffee into the NexPod, and closed it. There was some coffee left over; I didn't realize how packed the Nespresso capsules were! Rest assured, I packed as much into the NexPod as I could and only left a small amount out. The loading of the capsules is easy, but if you were to do several of these, you would want to keep them in an air tight container, as the capsules have the little holes to let the water flow in and the espresso flow out.
I had a little trouble jamming the NexPod into my Nespresso Essenza C-100 and a yet to be launched Nespresso Citiz brewer as it hung up just before getting into position. I gave it a quick tap, and the capsule fell into the bin, opening up and dumping the ground coffee all over the spend capsule bin. After being a bit more precise, I did it again, tapped it and got it into position quickly closing the lever to keep it from falling again.
Brewing gave it a good head of crema, about half of the level I usually find in the regular Ristretto, and sadly the cup was a bit weak too. I ran through a few of these, and continued to pack as tight as I could, with similar results. It's too bad, because the promise of a decent alternative is there. In the end, with the hassle of making up the pods, the somewhat weaker results and the concern over the pods not quite loading as easily as the Nespresso capsules, I have to say that these are not for me. If you are interested in getting some to pack in your favorite espresso that you just can't match at the Nespresso store, go for it. I just don't see the value in saving up to $20 across a few months' time given the trade-offs.
ReadMore at NexPod
UPDATE: An alternative that I think is a better capsule is the Capsulin' refillable Capsule. See my Review of the Capsulin Refillable Capsule
June 23, 2009
to cover this, Dunkin Donuts has an iPhone App and online service to help you or your co-workers organize a run to the store. The service allows you to send invites via email to groups of people and allows you as the runner to get an accurate order list that you print out and hand to the Dunks guy. The application on the iPhone also gathers the order and gets it compiled for taking to the store. In fact, why not send the group the email, give then 5 minutes to get the orders in and walk out the door? By the time you walk in the store, you have the orders on your phone. Just a matter of time before Starbucks does this, only you'll be able to have swanky designs in the background and be able to tie your order to your Starbucks credit card.
at iTunes (iTunes link) or Dunkn Run (website)
June 21, 2009
Reports have Starbucks moving away from some streamline approaches to making their drip coffee to an approach that tries to emphasize quality and overall customer experience over efficiency. It may sound like a small step, but let's take a look.
Starbucks is moving to a practice where beans will be ground right before each pot of drip coffee is brewed, and brew that pot every 24 minutes. This is a change from the current practice of grinding in the morning for the day ahead of time, saving critical minutes when the shop is busy and people are standing in line. McDonalds, the kings of service efficiency and design, might say that you do the most efficient method, but it missed the amazing aroma that pulls people into the fantasy that coffee shops conjure. Will the pot of coffee be better? Technically, yes, but to the average patron, sipping it out of a paper cup through a plastic lid blocks down the street, no way. The overall experience should be better if they can tie that aroma to the shop and the act of getting that great cup of coffee.
Across town where McDonalds is trying their best to get a big foothold in the Coffee market, the place smells like fries and a burger - so coffee shop aroma there. This can be a key differentiator for Starbucks and help them reinforce the quality image that they are trying to culture.
June 17, 2009
The Bob Marley legend lives on in many ways, and this time it's through a new line of coffee put out by Bob's son Rohan. The line off coffees also support the Marley Coffee Foundation, a charity focused on brining soccer fields to the coffee producing nations around the world.
The Marley Coffee Line includes:
Lively Up! - organic espresso - "Our exquisite 5-bean espresso is dynamically balanced and rich in body. Its dense, abundant taste leaves a long, savory finish with flavors of cocoa, candied fruit and buttery caramel notes."
One Love Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe - "From the birthplace of coffee, One Love's floral aromas unfold with hints of blueberry, cocoa and spice with a medium body and bright acidity. It tantalizes the palette leaving a profound cherry finish."
Mystic Morning Wake up Coffee - "This rich but snappy coffee is medium to full bodied with wonderful acidity. Aromas and tastes of cocoa, spice, cedar, cinnamon and cooked pumpkin gives you the perfect morning kick."
Jammin' Java Organic Full City Roast - "Sultry, smoky, sweet, and yet unexpectedly smooth brew will leave you wanting more. Full bodied with traces of earthy overtones, dark chocolate berries that produce a zingy acidity and rich lingering finish."
ReadMore at Marley Coffee
June 12, 2009
If you haven't checked out the sale going on over at Whole Latte Love, you should. There are a lot of machines and accessories on sale for some pretty good prices. I am not talking blind shopping here, you still need to check elsewhere, but there are a lot of items on sale and some pretty good bargains on nice machines.
Check out the sale at Whole Latte Love
June 9, 2009
The weather up here in Boston finally cracked into the hot zone this past weekend, and it was time to brew up some Iced Armicanos. They are simple to make and have a great taste of espresso, that I am sure you'll love. It's simple and worth a try. I have them with and without milk depending on my mood and the time of day. I always like a little bit of sugar in them.
- Shot of your favorite espresso - I use either a local roast or an ESE pod
- 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.....
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.
I prefer getting an Arabica only blend and usually use an ESE pod for the summer brewing - they are easy to keep on hand and they suit my tastes for this. The southern Italian or Robusta or "Classic" blends typically have a reasonable amount of robusta coffee blended in that gives them a strong coffee base flavor especially in the finish. Ice it down, and my experience is that the flavors are more pronounced and bitter in the finish; something that I don't like. Check out Pod Merchant's 100% Arabica ESE Sampler for a great way to try out a few. That's how I found the Compagnia dell'Arabica Colombia which is what I like to brew. For the summer, the Bodum Pavina glasses are a great way to keep the iced coffee cool, and not have the glass sweat - I use the 2-ounce glasses for shots of espresso and the Bodum Pavnia 12 ounce Glasses for iced espresso.
Bodum Pavnia 12 ounce Glasses at Amazon
June 7, 2009
This little number will use ESE pods as well as ground coffee, so we thought at $145 bucks we just had to feature it. The Lello 1375 is a 950-watt espresso/cappuccino machine made of heavy-duty stainless steel. The thermoBlock 15-bar pump-driven system provides uniform, constant pump pressure, and there's a larger removable 2-1/4-quart water reservoir which can be refilled from the top at any time. The cup warming area allows up to 9 cups to be warmed before use. We say if you have a second summer house or your just looking for espresso on the cheap - this machine won't disappoint.
At Lello 1375 Ariete Cafe Prestige Coffee Maker