November 29, 2014

Nespresso Vertuoline Brewer: Oprah's Favorite Things 2014

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Oprah has names the Nespresso Vertuoline brewer as one of her Favorite Things in 2014, recognizing its quality and flexibility to brew both coffee and espressos effortlessly for you and your guests.   

We reviewed the Vertuoline Brewer when it came out, and several months later, it's found a home among my regular rotation of coffee machines on the countertop (I have up to three going at any one time). Good choice Oprah.

At Amazon - Nespresso VertuoLine Coffee and Espresso Maker

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November 28, 2014

Bialetti Diva Espresso Machine


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Bialetti is the well-known maker of stove top brewers and they have made the jump to single serve espresso brewers in a capsule format.

The Bialetti Diva has a lot of the same characteristics we've come to know in a single serve espresso maker; easy access to the brewing chamber, spent capsule bin, easy-fill reservoirs, and more. The Bialetti Diva brews an espresso in just a few seconds using 20 bars of pressure to brew. The machine measures just 4.5 inches wide, 10 inches high and 14 inches deep.

The approach to espresso is different if you are an Italian-based company, and Bialetti does. They have named their espresso range after the regional tastes of Italy, and offer a set of five different capsules that should be able to capture most peoples' espresso tastes. Northern Italian blends are more typically Arabica blends that are lighter, and less aggressive, while the southern blends tend to use the less expensive Robusta, that is cultured into a bold expression of coffee with a lingering coffee flavor.


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  • Roma - a medium roast with hints of cocoa; a 50% Arabica, 50% Robusta blend
  • Venezia - a light roast with a hint of vanilla notes; 80% Arabica, 20% Robusta blend
  • Milano, a light roast with a lighter body, and floral and fruity notes; this is a 100% Arabica blend
  • Napoli - a bold, darker roast with bitter cocoa flavors; this is a 70% Robusta, 30% Arabica blend
  • Torino - a medium roast that has nutty flavors, and a smooth finish; a 75% Arabica, 25% Robusta blend
  • Decaf - a medium roast with cereal and toast notes, moderate body; 60% Arabica, 40% Robusta blend

At Amazon - Bialetti 06773 I Caffe d'Italia DIVA


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November 26, 2014

Review: Gevalia Peppermint Mocha Limited Edition

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It's that time of year, when the holiday flavors come flooding to the market, and Gevalia/Tassimo is not alone. On the heels of Pumpkin Spice, comes the Gevalia Peppermint Mocha T-Disks. Winter, and especially the holiday season seems to have the aroma stitched into its fabric, so it's natural to have the Gevalia Peppermint Mocha around to to help welcome the holidays.

The Gevalia Peppermint Mocha comes with eight large T-discks of peppermint flavored chocolate syrup, and eight Gevalia Espresso T-disks. The extra heft of the chocolate syrup disk may be a little surprising the first time you open the pack, as they are about twice the size of the espresso T-disks, and as a result, the package contains two boxes (4 per box) of the chocolate syrup T-Disks to the one box (8 each) of espressos.

Today, we're making the Peppermint Mocha on a Tassimo T-20 made by Bosch. More after the jump.

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November 19, 2014

La Marzocco Home GS3 - Commercial Legend in Home-sized Package


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La Marzocco has announced a home version of their legendary commercial machine. The machine is designed for the espresso lover who wants to dedicate a little extra cash and a lot of extra love to their espresso habit. The machine is a dual boiler set up with a dedicated 3.5 liter steaming boiler that will operate to get you the steamed milk you want at the right temperature and pressure for the task. Don't like filling a boiler? Yea, they thought so, you can have this directly plumbed into your house water supply.

The La Marzocco Home can be customized with a black finish, stainless, or with wooden accents of maple or walnut. Very cool. You can also take a quick shortcut and get it set up as fully manual or a pre-programmed auto-volumetric draw for consistent, but not very customized shots.

For this level of excellence, it will set you back around $7,000 - customizations can move the price up a bit.
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November 16, 2014

Review Nespresso Variations 2014 Capsules - Apple Crumble, Chocolate Mint, Hazelnut Dessert

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Nespresso released their 2014 Nespresso Variations capsules this past week in the US, and took a dessert theme this year. In past years, they have been all over the place with wild flavors that may not seem to go with coffee (Ginger, Chai, etc.), but are surprisingly good. My personal favorites were the Crystalized Ginger from the 2008 Variations, and the Apricot from the 2009 Variations, both unexpectedly good. Great ones don’t have to be wild either - a classic caramel is a great choice, and was popular enough to become a regular capsule that can be ordered anytime.

The capsules come reminiscent of little wrapped packages, and use the multi-colored print designs that they have been using recently to mark the special production runs. Even the ends of the boxes look like little wrapped packages.


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But are they any good? Sadly, this year isn’t going to go down in my “Best of” category. Nespresso tends to have a light hand with their flavors, favoring a Euro style taste.

Limited Edition variations 2014 are:

  • Apple Crumble - I thought this was the best of them all, with a nice baked apple aroma, slightly sweet, great with a hint of sugar to transform it into a sweet indulgence.
  • Chocolate Mint - Chocolate is tough to do in coffee, and neither flavors comes through strongly enough to make it great. Sorry Nespresso.
  • Hazelnut Dessert - Tried over and over, and it just comes off as a chemical soup of hazelnut flavors. Nut flavors can be hard to replicate, and this one misses the mark.

I really like the Livanto capsule as a base coffee capsule (I tend to drink this regularly), and had been anticipating the release of these since they published the poll results back in the early part of 2014, but they just didn’t deliver for me on the Chocolate and Hazelnut versions. Glad I ordered a couple of sleeves of the Apple Crumble.

If you are interested, they tend to go fast, and sell out by early December.

At Nespresso Club


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25% Off Tassimo Brewers at Tassimo Direct with GROVE Discount Code

Tassimo Direct is offering a 25% discount on Brewers right now, and on top of that, free ground shipping makes it a great deal. Use Discount code, "GROVE" to get the discount at checkout.

They are offering their T20, the T55, and the T47 brewers for purchase. See why Tassimo can brew a better single serve drink by customizing the conditions for brewing in the video below.

Get Discounts at - Tassimo Direct - offer ends 11/21

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November 7, 2014

Nespresso Capsule Price Increase November 10

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Prices are going up for Nespresso Capsules, including the Original Line and the Vertuo Line. The price increases are being blamed on Green Coffee cost increases. For those who down a lot of their coffee the price increase will be minimal; hey if you’re already shelling out for a $200 machine and like ordering capsules mail order (for many), a nickel increase might not matter. Original Line base Grand Crus will rise to $0.70 each, while the popular Kazaar will go from $0.70 to $0.75.

What might hurt the coffee capsule giant more are the optics of the VertuoLine increase on those capsules from $0.95 each for a coffee capsule to $1.10. The move above a dollar a cup may slow demand a bit more than the fact that it is only a $0.15 hit to the wallet.

Nespresso is probably in for a busy weekend; prices increase on November 10th, and sent out an email to remind people to get their orders in ahead of the increase. Clear some room for the coming Variations doing later this month….

Not missing a beat, the fine folks over at Hi-Line coffee dropped this graphic out to their mailing list yesterday. I think it says it all.

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