December 22, 2011

CBTL Americano Espresso and Coffee Maker Arrives for Review

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The CBTL Americano is a capsule based system that allows you to brew coffee, tea, and of course espresso. The system has its roots in Italy, and so does the coffee, which is packed in Italy. The CBTL machine is based on the Caffitaly capsule system which is offered in several countries. Here in the US, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has introduced the CBTL Americano machine in the US and is selling it through their website as well as Bed Bath and Beyond.

The CBTL® Americano model features six cup sizes, automatic beverage proportioning for consistency cup after cup, a 50 oz water tank, adjustable drip tray, automatic capsule ejection, used capsule storage, and energy saving features and retails for $149.99.

CBTL® is designed to be used exclusively with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s array of more than 20 hand-selected premium espresso, coffee, hand-plucked whole-leaf tea, and specialty flavored capsules. With the one-touch milk frother and The Coffee Bean famous French Deluxe™ Vanilla and Special Dutch ® Chocolate powders, you can make your own delicious vanilla lattes, chai tea lattes, cappuccinos and more.

The CBTL Americano just showed up today for review, and we've already brewed up a couple of capsules. We're going to crank out a bunch over the holidays and get back with a full review after the New Year.


More at CBTL Website for the CBTL Americano



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December 19, 2011

Gift Idea: Bodum Pavina Glasses

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The Bodum Pavina line is a pretty cool line of glasses and offers enough sizes to fit most any need. I like the espresso shot glasses, especially in the cooler months because the eespresso shot stays warmer longer in the double walled design. The glass is borosilicate glass that is mouth blown and dishwasher safe. While I have heard of some breaking, the tough laboratory style glass has never broken on me and I simply love the look. I have a set for espresso and a set of regular coffee/Lattes (15-ounce).

They are available in a wide variety of sizes - espresso (2.5 ounce), 8.5 ounce,12 ounce, 15 ounce and the super sized 21 ounce. They are also available in white porcelain with colored grips.

A couple of my favorites at Amazon - Bodum Pavina 2-1/2-Ounce Double-Wall Espresso, Bodum Pavina Double Wall Glass, 12-Ounce

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December 16, 2011

Nespresso The Citiz vs. The Pixie - Which is Better?


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Nespresso has two very good espresso brewers that are similar in style and purpose, which has a lot of people asking Which is better, Nespresso Citiz or Nespresso Pixie? I think the answer might be both, but let's take a look why.

Nespresso Citiz

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The Nespresso Citiz was influenced by the tall and slender sky scrapers in the city landscape and was introduced in 2009 offering a new take on compact and effortless espresso brewing. It came in a handful of colors, and with a relatively small footprint, took over as my favorite Nespresso machine very quickly.

The tank is 1 liter, and the empty capsule bin holds about 10 capsules, giving you ample periods of time between any "maintenance". The Citiz also features automatic brewing - push the button once to start and it automatically shuts off when the Espresso or Lungo is brewed. These brew volumes are user changeable.

The Citiz also shuts off after several minutes when not used. No more is the machine on all day when you forget that it was on after you left for work.



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December 11, 2011

Breville Dual Boiler Retro Espresso Machine BES900XL

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I came across a review lately that I wanted to pass along on the Breville Dual boiler Espresso machine. The designers at Breville took this one in a different direction sparing little in an attempt to make sure that the Dual Boiler meets the needs of the high end consumer of espresso.

While many other pump driven espresso machines offer you a single boiler that heats water for brewing to less than boiling then does double duty as a steaming boiler, the Dual Boiler, well you guessed it, doesn't. The dual boiler system gives you instantaneous ability to flip from brewing to steaming and back without any lag, and without any concerns about water temperature and quality. It really doesn't stop there, that's just the beginning. this is an impressive machine.

more after the jump.....

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December 7, 2011

Konitz Espresso Cafe Cups


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Here are some fun Espresso Cups from Konitz that reminds me of a fun espresso cafe. They jump out a bit more than a plain white espresso cup, but they look more fun than over the top.

So, while the We'll see how they shape up versus Bodum Pavina Double Walled Espresso glasses are still my favorites, these from Konitz would fit in nicely in my kitchen.

Dishwasher and microwavable safe - capacity 3-ounces

at Amazon - Konitz Espresso Writing 3-Ounce Cups and Saucers, Set of 4, Black/White also with the same design as Latte Cups - Konitz Café Latte Writing 12-Ounce Cups, Set of 4, Black,White

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December 6, 2011

Outpresso - Great Gift for the Green Nespresso Lover

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Outpresso is a compact device that separates the coffee from the aluminum in Nespresso coffee capsules, making it feasible to put the spent aluminum capsules in the recycling bin. The Outpresso make short order of your used Nespresso capsules, and since there are no broad scale Nespresso recycling programs here in the US like there are in Europe, you need something to easily do it yourself.

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Recycling is pretty easy. Just put the spent Nespresso capsule in the little indentation on the Outpresso, push down the lever and squeeze out the coffee grounds. They stay in the little bin underneath. I tap the grounds out in a bowl for composting or right into the trash depending on the time of year and the mood I am in. I rinse the grounds off the crushed aluminum capsules and put them into my metals recycling bin. Done. It takes about 5 minutes a week. - See my Full Review of the Outpresso.


So, if you have a green Nespresso user on your gift list, consider the Outpresso.

At Outpresso USA

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December 5, 2011

Illy Collection 2011 - Francisco Clemente

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Illy has an iconic espresso cup design and uses it to show off some wonderful artistic creations each year. Illy invites artists from around the world to reinterpret the espresso cup, with various painted versions. This year, artist Francesco Clemente, the Italian born contemporary artist created several different cups for the collection that include colorful explosions to brighten your day.

These Illy Collection Cups are available in a collection of six espresso or six cappuccino cups for $150 and $175, respectively.

At Illy - Francesco Clemente Illy Collection Cups

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December 4, 2011

Krups XP4600 Silver Art Collection Espresso Machine; Design Flair Included

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I saw this and thought it was one of the sharper designs to come out of Krups in a while. TheKrups Silver Art Espresso machine (XP4600 model) looks like an amazing machine that has some pretty good stats backing it up to offer a solid cup of espresso any time you want. It has a 15-bar pump with a quick heating thermo-block heater.

The exterior of stainless and chrome with a wooden handle to the portafilter. The reservoir is nearly a quart, with a portafilter that will handle either ground coffee or ESE Espresso pods. The unit is programmable and of course the steam wand will allow for well steamed or well frothed milk.

At Amazon - The Krups XP4600 Silver Art Collection Espresso Machine

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December 2, 2011

Nespresso Variations 2011 Review - Chcolate, Cherry and Vanilla Blossom

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Once again, Nespresso has brought a surprising set of variations to brighten up your holiday season. This year, they continued with a few running themes, sour fruit, and indulgent confection, and again give you a chance to pause and wonder if these flavors are meant to go with espresso.

I learned a long time ago to just go with it and trust that if I didn't like something, it was only about $12 lost. More often or not, I have really enjoyed the flavor variety, and there is no time like the holiday season to enjoy a little whimsical indulgence. If I judged a book by its cover, I may never have tried a few of my favorites like Crystalized Ginger from 2008 and Apricot from 2009. Of course, I also like "regular" flavors like last year's reprise of the Almond flavor in the 2010 Variations.

Base of Livanto

If you enjoy the Livanto capsule blend on a regular basis, like I do, you're probably pretty happy to have the 2011 Variations based on this capsule. I would pick it because it is a dark but still moderate blend that has enough acidity to play up sour fruit flavors, but is not overly acidic to kill anything requiring a velvety smooth body.

more after the jump.....

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December 1, 2011

Nespresso Capsule Holder Carousel

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I ran across this the other day and wanted to pass it along. I am always on the lookout for capsule holders because I hate having the capsules rolling around in a kitchen drawer. Some are vertical holders, while some mount on the wall, some are handmade out of bamboo, but this one is a carousel much like those designed to hold K-Cups.

Great Accessory and Gift for the Nespresso Drinker

It holds up to 40 capsules, and rotates 360-degrees with a chrome finish. The carousel is about 10-inches high and about 6-inches in diameter.

At Amazon - Nespresso Carousel Capsule Holder

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Scott Martin: Erik, Answering a few questions: So the whirring is definitely read more
Erik G.: Nice review! Just a couple of questions though. How hot read more
Scott Martin: SH, Excellent question - added a section to the review read more
SH: What about machine sound/vibration during the brew process? If it read more
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