September 30, 2009
Starbucks is finally getting some steam behind their marketing campaign to sell in the Starbucks Via instant coffee product that launched early this year. The blend of microground whole bean coffee and instant coffee has been part of a grassroots campaign across the country this year to boost its awareness and stay away from the mainstream.
Starbucks has launches a pretty major national campaign to energize the product behind a taste test challenge to get its store patrons aware of the new away from home instant coffee. The ads are setting up a national taste test at local Starbucks to see if you can taste the difference between VIa and brewed coffee. The ad is clever enough to not make any claim of taste parity, but are instead saying that "We bet you can't taste the difference". I don't know what they will be brewing, but my hunch is that yes you will taste the difference. I was not at all impressed when I used Starbucks Via earlier this year, and the readers I heard from weren't either. Clever ad campaign, disappointing product.
September 24, 2009
Starbucks has launched an iPhone App that let's you pay with your iPhone; not really, it allows you to display a bar code that acts like a pre-loaded Starbucks card allowing you to pay quickly and easily. The application only works in a handful of stores on the west coast and is definitely an experiment. You are able to re-load the "card" right from your application through a credit card.
Starbucks released another application for the iPhone that allows you to do the more mundane things, like find a local Starbucks Store, learn the nutritional value of their standard drinks, and save your favorite drinks and information.
Both are in the iTunes Store (iTunes Links)
Pay with your iPhone App
Store Finder App
September 14, 2009
Nespresso has released their Singatoba special Edition for the fall, and it is available now from the Nespresso Club. The special edition is make from "100% Blue Batak Arabica grown around Lake Toba in northern Sumatra." Nespresso is using a technique called split roasting from the sounds of their description to do a shorter roast on the early harvest in order to preserve the light fruity notes, while roasting more slowly and to a darker endpoint for the more mature beans in order to develop the flavor intensity and strength. With a "fruity and woody" flavor profile, the capsules sound interesting. They have an intensity rating of 8.
The Nespresso Limited Edition Singatoba cups are designed by Laurence Bost, to have a gentle dance interspersed with small highly prized coffee beans, representing a circles of children dancing hand in hand.
I already ordered mine up from the Nespresso Club store; hurry, these usually sell out.
At Nespresso Club
September 9, 2009
So, if you aren't into the glam and glitz of the metallic look of the Jura Capresso S9, the subtle black look of the black Jura Capresso C9 super automatic. The C9 super-auto is still a powerful machine, offering all the functionality to get you from whole bean to espresso in short order. The 64-ounce water reservoir with integrated Clearyl cleans the water of contaminants, while the burr grinder grinds the whole beans using one of six fineness settings. The ground espresso is then tamped and extracted at 18 bars of pressure. The C9 also offers easy programmable settings to get your drink each and every time. The sidecar milk thermos holds milk cold for up to 8 hours on the countertop. A quick hit and the Jura C9 steams or froths milk right into your cup or mug. Not bad - it's what a super auto is all about.
At Amazon the Jura-Capresso 13422 Impressa C9 Super Automatic Coffee-and-Espresso Center
September 7, 2009
Breville has a cool new machine out that grinds and tamps your espresso before you pull your shot. The unit comes with what sounds like consumer portafilters and a pro-sumer portafilter. The consumer based one offers a small pin-hole to help create enough back-pressure so that oil and water can be emulsified to create that wonderful crema. The pro-sumer portafilter has a more open mesh at the bottom and relies on a proper tamp and grind size to create the back pressure. Kindof like professional barista work on training wheels.
The unit comes ready with an 8-ounce whole bean container, a steaming wand, a water reservoir, a conical burr grinder and the ability to set the dosing to a single or double shot.
So there are are super-automatics that offer a one button operation, and there are semi-automatics that rely on you to use your own grinder or ESE Pod, and then there is this that lies innovatively in the seam between the two. I like the step up, offering you the ability to try out how to emulate the pro with various grind and tamp settings.
At Williams Sonoma - Breville Espresso Maker with Integrated Grinder
September 1, 2009
It's September, the kids are going back to school, the weather has started to cool, and the sweet Pumpkin Spice latte is available at your local Starbucks. Longtime favorite for the cooler weather, the flavored latte makes its debut as we start to march through the flavored latte parade - holiday flavors are right around the corner.