September 29, 2010

Cheers: It's National Coffee Day - Free Stuff and Prizes


Hope you have a great National Coffee Day today - we are already celebrating in grand style trying out some new coffee as well as some old favorites. Yea, we drink coffee a lot around

Free Coffee From
In honor of National Coffee Day, we're giving away a $25 Starbucks Gift Card to one lucky winner (US Shipping Only) who Follows us (@espressonews) AND Retweets our Contest Tweet.
We will contact the winner via Direct Message tomorrow......

Dunkin Donuts is celebrating by giving away some great prizes:

  • A five-day trip for two to tropical Costa Rica, including a visit to one of the region's premier coffee farms (with a personal tour led by Dunkin' Donuts coffee excellence managers) and other exotic adventures.
  • A trip for two to Boston, Massachusetts, home of Dunkin' Donuts' world headquarters, for an exclusive behind-the-scenes visit with the Dunkin' Donuts coffee excellence team. The day features personal coffee education, an inside look into how the brand brews the perfect cup of coffee, and lunch featuring coffee-themed recipes prepared by Dunkin' Brands' Executive Chef, three-time James Beard Award nominee, Stan Frankenthaler.
  • 60 months of free Dunkin' Donuts coffee, delivered directly to the winner's house.
  • To enter, visit the Contest Application on the Dunkin' Donuts Facebook page at between September 29 and October 20 and upload a video no longer than 60 seconds that expresses your love for Dunkin' Donuts coffee and why you believe you are the most passionate and loyal fan. Videos may not include footage taken inside a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant.

Also, today FilterFresh released results from a survey that uncover some fun coffee facts:

  • 72% of coffee drinkers say that it improves their focus,
  • also 72% of coffee drinkers say that they enjoy it with co-workers; it's a social thing, and
  • 69% of the people who consume coffee at work would make the next pot of coffee if they happened upon an empty one - hey; what about the other 31%? (Maybe this is a case for Single Serve Coffee Makers at work?)
  • Finally, FilterFresh is running a contest too. Filterfresh is launching a video contest that asks folks to show why they are the most caffeinated person in America.  The contest rules will be available online at in mid-October. Final entries will be due by January 15, 2011. The winning entry will be selected on January 31, 2011 and announced on the company's website.  

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September 29, 2010

Interview: Nespresso President and CEO


CNN/Money has a short but insightful interview with the US Nespresso President Frederic Levy and the CEO of Nespresso Richard Giradot. No stranger here at, Nespresso has been turning out some impressive numbers and 30% growth rates. The line is targeted at high end consumers, and at the convenience of getting high quality coffee.

One notable insight from the interview talks about their espresso variety and number of Grand Crus, allowing them to be well liked by 95% of the time when users try their products. I think that is one of the strengths of their system versus other systems. I firmly believe that there is no one "best" coffee in the world, but a set of coffees that are high quality, and when people can find the variety that they like, great things happen.

Read More about Nespresso at CNN/Money

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September 28, 2010

Nestle (Nespresso) in Talks to Buy Green Mountain/Keurig?

Rumor on the street is that Nestle is in talks to buy out Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), owner of the Keurig brand single serve coffee maker. If true, Nestle, maker of the Nespresso line of single serve espresso brewers would become the overnight single serve giant globally with a strong overseas presence and a strong US presence where brewed coffee and not espresso coffee is the norm. With the recent acquisitions by Green Mountain in the K-Cup space, pulling in Van Houtte and Tully's, they are quickly becoming a recognized player in the global coffee market.

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September 23, 2010

Andrea Illy Talks about Brewing and Drinking Great Espresso

The WSJ published a short article where it talks to Andrea Illy, the CEO and Chairman of the world known Illy coffee company. Sitting here drinking an espresso from the FrancisFrancis Y1, I enjoyed the article where he talks about his coffee drinking ritual and the keys to success in brewing espresso at home. He prefers a lighter roasted coffee for his espressos, and follows these general rules:

  1. Grind beans in a commercial grade grinder - most home grinders can't do an adequate job. This powdery grind will give you maximum extraction of coffee flavor. As long as you can grind what you need for just a few days, I would agree. I would not advocate grinding a pound of espresso if you are only going to drink a shot a week; the coffee will be terrible several months later by the time you finish it.
  2. Brew with water at the right temperature - 190F - 200F - hotter may extract off-flavors and bitter/burnt notes.
  3. Pull your shot for about 30 seconds on a single dose brew - longer times may over extract and pull out bitter off flavors.
  4. Drink your espresso immediately in a nice, pre-warmed cup that has the mass to keep the espresso warm, without cooling off the brew. Drinking it soon after brewing, he explains, offers the drinker the enjoyment of the crema, without losing the espresso's wonderful aromas that can dissipate as the espresso cools and loses its cream layer.

He also noted that he enjoys several espressos a day ....

QWell worth the short read... at the WSJ

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September 22, 2010

Nespresso Ritual Espresso Cups and Saucers - Kazaar Companion


Nespresso launched their Limited Edition Kazaar capsule to much fanfare a few weeks ago in the US, announcing to the world that they have a 12 on a 10 scale for flavor intensity. Certainly some marketing hype to bring the uniquely flavored mostly Robusta capsule to the market. See our Review of the Kazaar Capsules for more on information on them.

The Kazaar launch was also paired with the announcement of the Nespresso Ritual Collection of cups and saucers along with spoons, mugs, bowls and yes a special sugar packet holder. The collection adds to the bulk push of the Kazaar Limited edition, and given the more universal design may just become a permanent member of the Nespresso offering.

The collection is inspired by the shape of the Nespresso Capsule, angular, tapered, and for the cups and saucers, a deeper fit that mates the two and stabilizes the cups in the saucers.

The cups are available in five sizes or styles, but at this writing the Ritual Ristretto is not available, making me wonder if these are proving more popular than Nespresso expected. The Nespresso Kazaar capsules came with the recommendation to brew up the intensely flavored brew at the Ristretto level, potentially fueling demand for the Ritual Ristretto Cup and Saucer.

The Cups and Saucers are in the following sizes:

  • Ristretto - 60 ml (2 Fl. ounces) - $25/pair
  • Espresso - 80 ml (2.7 Fl. ounces) - shown above - $25/pair
  • Lungo - 170 ml (5.7 Fl. ounces) - in a similar shape and profile to the Espresso Cup - $30/pair
  • Cappuccino - 170 ml (5.7 Fl. ounces) - Broader shape - see below - $30/pair
  • Mug - 270 ml (9.2 Fl. ounces) - no saucer - $30/pair


They also offer bowl sets to serve up your fancy treats and sweets with your coffee, and spoons that come in either espresso length of 4.1 inches or a longer 7.8 inches that will go well with the larger cups or the mug.   

Nespresso Ritual Collection Cappuccino Cup

Available at the Nespresso Club website and at Nespresso boutiques

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September 20, 2010

Starbucks Toffee Mocha Review and Tasting Notes


The Starbucks Toffee Mocha is a new seasonal creation for 2010, that comes to us alongside the seasonal favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte. I stopped by a local packed Starbucks to test one out. After wading through computer cords, and long occupied seats to the counter, I ordered up the new creation in the Grande size, setting me back nearly $5. I had to add the whip cream as the clerk indicated that most people were getting it that way today anyway. Salesmanship or not, I liked it.

Tasting Notes - Toffee Mocha

The Toffee Mocha has a definite nutty flavor up front, without trying so hard that it tastes like a chemical factory. A lot of nutty flavored syrups taste chemically and pungent trying to over do the flavor impact while coming off as artificial. This is a very very sweet drink without added sugar.

The dusting of cocoa adds to the mocha experience. The full bodied flavor is well recognized as a mocha with the nutty flavor fading the more you drink. Unfortunately, the sweetness remains without much of a hint of coffee in it. This is very much a coffee beverage with the emphasis on beverage. It is more like nutty hot chocolate than a latte. The quality of the toffee flavor is the only thing that separates this from one of those cloyingly sweet flavored instant coffees from a hot chocolate machine in convenience stores.

If you are looking for a sweet warm beverage as a pick-me-up, this is one to try. If you are looking for a great coffee with subtle nuances in the blend look elsewhere.

Nutritional Value - Starbucks Toffee Mocha

The Grande size Toffee Mocha is reportedly 350 calories with 7 grams of fat and 58 grams of carbs. Adding Whipped Cream will add about another 70 calories and 7 grams of fat. While the calories and fat content seem right, the other nutritional values at this writing don't.

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September 17, 2010

New Starbucks Toffee Mocha - Tasty Treat with 70 Day's Worth of Calcium?


Starbucks is talking up their new Toffee Mocha hot and cold drinks this fall as a seasonal addition to the menu. The blend of flavors is certainly indulgent and according to Starbucks is made with "Espresso, toffee sauce, fresh steamed milk foam, and cocoa powder."

When looking at the Starbucks website for the Toffee Mocha, I was struck by the nutrition that they pack into the drink. After a closer look, it appears that in a Venti sized drink, you can get ten weeks' worth of calcium (7000%) and 1,000% of your recommended level of iron; that's 10 day's worth! That's as much calcium as 230+ regular glasses of milk and as much iron as over two hundred eggs. Ouch!

Humm, since these things don't taste like rusty bits of chalk, I am thinking someone messed up their math on the website. Anyway, Like the Pumpkin Spiced Latte, the Toffee Mocha is only around for a few weeks.

UPDATE: See my Tasting Notes and Review on the Starbucks Toffee Mocha


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Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe - Make This Fun Fall Recipe at Home

So it's Fall, and a lot of people are going nuts over the Pumpkin Spice coffees, lattes and espressos out there; Yes, I like to indulge every now and then too. It's not hard to make these at home if you have the right syrups. Enjoy the cooler weather and the pumpkin spice; soon it will be time for a Eggnog Latte right around the corner.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 oz. (2 Tbsp.) Torani Pumpkin Spice syrup
8 oz. (1 cup) milk
1-2 shots (1/4 cup espresso or 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee) espresso

Dash of Pumpkin Spice or Nutmeg

Instructions with an Espresso machine:

Add Milk and Torani Syrup together and froth/steam on your espresso machine. Steam together Torani and milk. Pour steamed flavored milk to about 1/2 inch below the top of a 16-oz. glass. Add espresso and top with a thin layer of foamed milk. Dust with Pumpkin Spice or Nutmeg on top.

Making it without an espresso steamer: Use an Aerolatte Milk Frother , or simple Manual Glass Milk Frother to foam the milk and syrup then add to the espresso.

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September 16, 2010

Elektra Espresso Machine Explodes at Sainsbury

The Sainsbury chain of stores is shutting down all of its Elektra espresso machines after one blew up in its store this week. The apparent pipe rupture caused the machine to explode sending several people to the hospital; later to be discharged. The picture on the linked page at the BBC shows the machine after the explosion.

While the boilers are only a liter or two, the resulting pressure build-up and force can be significant when something goes wrong. While these are complex machines, a simple over pressure valve failure can allow the machine to over-pressurize and find the weakest part, often with dangerous consequences.

Elektra, maker of the machine says that in in their 50+ years in business they have never been involved in an accident.

ReadMore and see image at the BBC

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September 15, 2010

Vietnamese ESE Espresso Pod Review


For the last few weeks we've been drinking a lot of ESE Pod espresso from Heirloom coffee; specifically three blends, the The Indochine Estates Espresso, a Highlands Full City Roast Espresso pods and the Decaf Espresso pod.

The Indochine Estates Espresso uses a little known Excelsa variety for its blend and full flavor. It has a solidly dark roast and is well in the Bold category for flavor development in the cup. the espresso is 95% Bourbon Arabica with 5% Lam Dong Excelsa coffee, a blend that develops some complexity in the cup. In cupping the pods deliver a strong flavor and aftertaste of espresso, with a bourbon or whisky flavor, moderately acidic with a strong almost Stout beer style finish. These pods are strong and come three to a package - which are a good choice for households that plow through the espresso. The price per pod is a little lower because of the reduced package costs.

The Highlands coffees come in single pod packs and are lighter roasted than the Indochine Estates, but don't confuse that with a weak character. These are classic Robusta style blends that offer a full flavor profile and finish. The Full City Roast product comes 5-sachets to the box (one ESE Pods per sachet), and offer both lighter roasted notes of grain and a bit of caramel when you entice it out with a little sugar, while also offering an acidic flavor with bakers chocolate. The strong finish of the Robusta doesn't disappoint.

I have been testing and brewing on the Cuisinart EM-200 brewer that allows me to set the volume on the shot and keep it constant across my testing day in and day out.

IndochineESEPods.jpgThe Highlands Decaf deserves special mention. It's the best Decaf that I have tasted, not shying away from being bold and full bodied; not weak-kneed and wimpy like so many other decaf ESE pods on the market. The shot has a rounded smoky flavor with nice toasted notes. The reduced acidity is apparent, but keeps a balanced flavor profile. The shot retains nice caramel and chocolate flavors. Again, this is a Robusta blend, so if you are looking for a squeeky clean finish, this doesn't have it; instead it has a nice fuller bodied finish that comes with more "Classic" espresso blends. I happen to like this type of flavor, so if you like it, it's well worth trying.

The Pods are available at Vietnamese Coffee Online and all of the coffee or pods are imported and sold by Heirloom Coffee in Mass.

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September 14, 2010

Nespresso Kazaar Limited Edition Espresso Capsules Arrive for Review [Video]

Yesterday Nespresso announced the on-sale for the new Nespresso Kazaar Limited Edition Capsules for the Nespresso brewer line. The buzz is certainly about the coffee blend - high concentration of specialty grown and processed Robustas, with an intensity rating of 12 on a 10 scale. Yes, concentrated flavor strength here. I have tried a few of these and even at a normal shot setting this is intense. UPDATE: See our Review of the Kazaar Capsules for more on information on them.
The Kazaar capsules are available at Nespresso Club and at Boutiques across the country. I ordered mine yesterday and then just showed up today. Pretty impressive since it was only promised for 2-business day delivery. Nespresso also has a cup and saucer collection available as a companion to the Kazaar launch, called the Ritual Collection. It is available in several sizes from Ristretto up to Lungo, plus a cappuccino and a mug.

How Long will The Nespresso Kazaar Limited Edition Espresso Capsules be Sold?

Well the answer here is that "It Depends"; this is a Limited Edition and depending on demand worldwide, the limited supply will run out sometime. Typically these Limited editions are around for about a month or longer, with popular ones lasting less than a month. Given the buzz on this one, Nespresso had better made enough to supply the world's curiosity; if not Kazaar will be a short affair. My recommendation is to get some now and don't delay. If you like it, re-order as much as you want without waiting too long.

The Nespresso Kazaar capsules can be brewed in the new super slim Nespresso Citiz, the Nespresso Essenza C-100 or the Nespresso Le Cube brewers.

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September 13, 2010

Nespresso Kazaar Espresso Capsules: 12 on a 10 Intensity Scale Launches Today in US

UPDATE: We have Nespresso Kazaar in for Review; see our post with video of the new Kazaar capsules brewing in our Nespresso Citiz brewer.

UPDATE: See our Review of the Kazaar Capsules for more on information on them.

Nespresso has released the long awaited (we talked about it last month) Kazaar Espresso Capsule for the US today that offers an intensity of 12 on their "10 scale" for an impressive delivery of flavor and buzz-worthyness. With a series of innovations in sourcing, and processing they are able to deliver a blend with extremely high quality Robustas to deliver the flavor intensity. Robustas in high percentages are usually frowned upon due to their off-flavors and general bad all around attributes. By working with growers, Nespresso has been able to change the quality level enough to bring the Robusta content up in a way that not only carries through their flavor intensity, but leaves the off-flavors behind.


"Kazaar is a complex and audacious blend of two very different Robustas and one Arabica, skillfully crafted to reveal unsuspected aromatic qualities. The Conillon Robusta from Brazil, never used before for an espresso blend, has been treated as an Arabica to reveal an extreme intensity in all its purity. The second Robusta in the Kazaar blend, the Robusta from Guatemala, newly cultivated and still rarely used, creates a smooth texture in the cup. The Cerrado Arabica bean from Brazil brings out a subtlety and roundness to the blend."

Nespresso also uses split roasting and a new grinding process to further coax the desired flavor profile from the blend.

The capsules are available today either at Nespresso Boutiques or online at the Nespresso Club. Kazaar, sealed in a deep dark blue capsule to keep all its aromas intact, will be available in a sleeve of 10 for $6.20.

Nespresso also has a cup and saucer collection available as a companion to the Kazaar launch, called the Ritual Collection. It is available in several sizes from Ristretto up to Lungo, plus a cappuccino and a mug.

The Nespresso Kazaar capsules can be brewed in the super slim Nespresso Citiz, the Nespresso Essenza C-100 or the Nespresso Le Cube brewers.

Full press release below.......

ArrowContinue reading: "Nespresso Kazaar Espresso Capsules: 12 on a 10 Intensity Scale Launches Today in US"

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September 8, 2010

iCoffee: Nespresso On the Go


Sure it's only a design, but the idea of having a few shots of Nespresso on the go sounds pretty good. While there are other ideas to get espresso on the go, like Handpresso, none to date have tried to capture the Nespresso experience in a convenient on the go fashion.

The cups would be porcelain while the water tank would hold enough water to at least support the four-shot battery charge. Conveniences like spent capsule trays and fresh capsule holders aren't discussed in its write-up at Yanko Design.


Via UberGizmo

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September 7, 2010

Why Barista's Are Worth Their Weight in Fair Trade, Shade Grown Organic Coffee Beans

I visit a lot of espresso shops, chatting with patrons and baristas about the topic of the day, coffee beans and flavors in the cup. It's a great time that always has me discovering what's important and what's not in the coffee shop, often carrying away one little nugget of information that gives me new insight into the beauty of coffee. In these conversations you can find that baristas range from hourly workers who pull a paycheck and don't otherwise care to artists immersed in their trade delivering the very best that they can each and every pull.

The one thing that keeps me coming back to a coffee shop is the love for the art in a barista; the serious craft work that elevates a barista above the class of an operator, to a caring specialist and maybe even an artist.

"Dialing-In" the Shot for the Day
Unknown to many drinkers, some barista/artists take the time every morning to "dial in" their espressos for the day of shift. They warm up the espresso machine to steady state temperatures, and test the espresso for the day under different conditions and brew times to come up with what they feel offers the very best expression of the flavors that their coffee offers. It is under those conditions that they brew the shots for the day. While temperature and humidity of the day, the coffee blend flavor subtleties and the grind will affect the flavors, the barista/artist will work to tease the very best shot each and every day no matter what the conditions. For this I say "Thanks".

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September 2, 2010

Nespresso Espresso Capsule Storage Holders

So while I still like my own free Nespresso Capsule holder, there are a couple commercials ones that work well and are more appealing. You can make your kitchen just a little bit more like the inside of a Nespresso Boutique - neat, modern and decorated with Nespresso capsules everywhere. Swissmar makes a couple below that are chrome and stainless to make the unit fit in anywhere.

I like this Swissmar wall mount holder in particular that fits on the side of the cabinet or even on the inside of our pantry door (near the Nespresso Machine of course). It holds 40 capsules and comes with adhesive strips to mount it - no nailing and no drilling.


The Swissmar Countertop stand below fits easily on a kitchen counter and is still a very neat look without taking up a lot of room. It holds 40 capsules and measures 14.5 inches tall - easily fitting under most cabinets.


So while Nespresso has their own line of Nespresso capsule holders, cubes, trays and wall mounts, they are not inexpensive. If you want to have the authentic look, check out their line at Nespresso Club.

The Nespresso capsules can be brewed in the new super slim Nespresso Citiz, the Nespresso Essenza C-100 or the Nespresso Le Cube brewers.


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September 1, 2010

Petspresso - Coffee Grounds in an All Natural Organic Pet Shampoo

A True Coffee Addict who loves all things coffee? Maybe just interested in using an all natural product to wash your dog? There is a new dog shampoo that promises all natural ingredients including coffee grounds that apparently neutralize pet odors in a base castile peppermint shampoo. It is brought to you by the Coffee Bump.

So maybe this is a good use of used coffee grounds beyond warming your house and composting?

"Petspresso is a foaming dog shampoo for all breeds made from organic ingredients, including essential oils, designed to reduce dryness in the coat and neutralize odors through the use of coffee grounds as an ingredient. Petspresso was created as an alternative to many of the chemical pet care products on the market as an eco-friendly option for pet owners who would like to avoid chemical ingredients in their dog shampoo. The Coffee Bump focuses on the use of real coffee grounds as the leading ingredient within Petspresso since they are proven to neutralize stubborn odors and exfoliate dry and flaking skin from the coat."

UPDATE: Now with link to product page: From the Coffee Bump

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