July 29, 2010

Concrete Lavazza Espresso Machine


OK - it's weird and it's not really for sale, but the Yanko Design studio has put together a working design for a concrete machine based on Lavazza parts. The simple design shows off the brewed cup well and offers some cool post-modern industrial street cred with the chips and rough marks for those who have to have the latest look. I like the rough hewn buttons that look like they were cast using ancient techniques.


I like the fact that they use the Bodum Pavina glass for the demo - they're my favorite for espresso.

More at Yanko Design via SlashGear

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July 21, 2010

The Best Iced Coffee/Espresso Glasses


OK - I drink a lot of coffee, hot, cold, good and bad and I use a variety of cups and glasses to enjoy that coffee, everything from paper cups (hate them) to large mugs, to diminutive espresso glasses and cups. Long time readers won't be surprised to hear that I still love the Bodum Pavina espresso glasses for enjoying my espresso, especially in the wintertime when the insulated glass keeps the shot warmer. It shouldn't be surprising then to to hear that the Bodum Pavina 15-ounce glasses are some of the best iced coffee/espresso glasses I have come across.

The folks at Bodum have made these glasses from Borosilicate Glass - yes laboratory glass to be tough and handle both cold and hot. I end up dropping ice cubes right into the glass, brew two shots of espresso right in on top of the ice, and top of with a bit of sugar and milk. When I brew, I usually use a Nespresso capsule (Livanto is my preferred regular flavor for iced and hot), on the Nespresso Citiz brewer so I can flip up the shelf that I use for shots so I can in fact brew right into the Bodum Pavina glass. Easy and fast to brew up a double with room for two shots, plenty of ice and a splash of milk if you desire.

In the summertime around here, the humidity makes for a lot of condensation on the side of a regular glass which usually means a coaster to keep the pool of water at the bottom of the glass. Not true with the Bodum Pavina glasses because of the double walled construction. The outside layer stays at room temperature and doesn't make that pool...... while also keeping your drink cooler longer.

Clean up? I put it right in the dishwasher and that's it.

At Amazon - Bodum Pavina Double-Wall Thermo Glasses- 15-ounces

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July 19, 2010

Starbucks Via Iced Coffee Review


Starbucks recently announced a new Starbucks Via variety for iced coffee - just in time for the warm summer weather. Starbucks Via - for hot coffee was launched last year with fanfare offering it as the way to have high quality Starbucks coffee away from home. The idea behind Starbucks Via is that when you combine instant coffee and microground coffee beans you get a better tasting drink. Starbucks up-versioned the Via product by adding sugar to make it "Lightly Sweetened".

So while most people (including me) thought that the Via for hot coffee was fairy mediocre, the Starbucks Via for Iced Coffee looks promising. I recently grabbed a pack at a Starbucks store on the way to our beach vacation where I had plenty of time to enjoy cool coffee and hot weather. See below for our thoughts and suggestions...... I was on my way to vacation and picked up a package of these in the airport Starbucks - someone had grabbed one of the packets out of mine - sadly only got 4 for the price of five.

ArrowContinue reading: "Starbucks Via Iced Coffee Review"

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July 16, 2010

Betacup Challenge - Solutions Abound to Disposable Coffee Cup Waste

We all know that the empty cups from the trips to the coffee shop pile up somewhere and add a lot of volume to the waste stream; 58 billion waste coffee cups go into landfills a year globally to give you an idea of the magnitude according to Betacup. Betacup is working to reduce that number, and they recently ran a contest to figure out how to best reduce that number. Offering solutions is easy, changing habits is hard. Here's what the winning entry offered as a solution:

Karma Cup - Simple to implement and just as cheap; place a blackboard at the head of the line where each person who brings in a reusable cup gets to check off a box. The 10th person to check off that box, gets their beverage for free. The incentive becomes a community based solution and brings a community together to solve the issue. My hunch is that there is a tipping point after which the community exerts subtle pressure on others to join in.

I liken this to reusable bags at the grocery stores. While we are not to 100% use, I leave mine at home way too much, the prevalence has made a big jump. No laws had to be enacted to eliminate plastic bags in general, numerous shoppers show up with their bundles of bags and stores have gotten behind it. It's not nirvana yet, but the US has made a surprising jump without drastic measures in my mind. A social program like the winning idea above could just tip the scales for coffee cups too.

The Betacup challenge was sponsored in part by Starbucks. The winning team got a $10,000 prize.

Read about the winning entry, and the other great entries at The Betacup

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July 15, 2010

Caffeine and Its Effects on You, Your Brain and how to "Unwire" Yourself


If you are reading this blog, odds are that you love coffee and you are pretty comfortable with caffeine intake. Call me crazy, but it's just a wild guess. Lifehacker has a great post on caffeine and its effects on you, what it really does, and what it doesn't really do.

It seems that caffeine actually blocks adenosine receptors that in part help determine when you are tired and need a little rest. With that receptor blocked, you can then go ahead and work or party late into the night without seeming so tired. The caffeine addiction is a downside for some and your body can scream out when you don't get that daily fix. Those headaches can show up in as little as 12-24 hours without the drug. Darn convenient for those cuppa-joe drinkers every morning.

Lifehacker's round-up also suggests that those caffeine fueled late night work sessions will help you power through tasks better than hard thinking work. Some work suggests that caffeine fired work is better at low-thought task work than heavy lifting brainiac thought processing. Something I can vouch for; I am useless late night even with a full tank of espressos on board trying to apply any critical thinking. Partying, great. Solving for world peace, not so good.

If you are into caffeine's effects on your brain, or want to learn about how to get a little more out of life on caffeine, check out Lifehacker's post; well worth a read.

ReadMore at Lifehacker

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