March 29, 2011

Starbucks Plans New Single Serve Brewer in 2012


Starbucks is laying out plans for a new single serve brewer in 2012 as a follow-up to the announcement that they are moving into the K-Cup product format.

Claiming that they are expecting a billion dollars a year out of the K-Cup franchise, the coffee maker has big plans for their grocery channel future. no word on the format - pressure brewed like a Nespresso or a low pressure brew like the K-cup format. My hunch is both; why not?

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January 23, 2011

CBTL System Brewer- Single Serve Espresso, Coffee and Tea


A new single serve espresso machine has debuted from a coffee shop retailer with a footprint in several US states and several countries around the world. The CBTL brewing system is a capsule based espresso machine that offers the ability to not only brew espresso, but also regular coffee and tea; four varieties each for a total of twelve capsules currently.

The new line includes two machines the Contata and the Kaldi, which both include a twin pressure system allowing for 15-bar brewing of espresso and a lower pressure, 3.5-bar brewing of tea and coffee. The cups sizes are pre-programmed giving you the option of a short and long espresso or a regular 8-ounce coffee brew size.

The Kaldi (shown above) comes in 3 colors (blue, red and white), and retails for $149, while the Contata (below) comes in the one color and retails for $129.


CBTL also offers sachets that allow you to spice up your drinks with cocoa and vanilla powder - adding a little change up to the routine.

Full Press Release follows......More at CBTL

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December 1, 2010

Review: Nescafe Dolce Gusto Creativa Espresso Machine


The Nescafe Dolce Gusto line was recently expanded to increase its appeal and increase the footprint in the US by offering a wider array of features and price points. Ranging from about $89 - $169 the Nescafe Dolce Gusto makers hit a sweet spot of single serve coffee/espresso machines that are easily affordable at the low end for higher quality pump-driven espresso machines. Yes, the Nescafe Dolce Gusto line uses a pump-driven system that develops up to 15-bar of pressure to extract coffee in a very espresso-like manner.

With the pump driven system, and the wide array of espresso based drinks, I wanted to understand how the Nescafe Dolce Gusto stood up to other espresso machines and brewers. We were supplied with the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Creativa machine by Nescafe, which sits at the top of the line of four products: the Piccolo, the Circolo, the Melody, and the Creativa.


Regular readers are of course familiar with the Nespresso line of brewers, also by Nestle, that offer a wide variety of espresso capsule blends. The Nespresso line comes in above the Dolce Gusto line and is more targeted towards espresso aficionados while the Nescafe Dolce Gusto is targeted at people who want a simpler approach to making coffee house drinks at home.

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November 9, 2010

Review: Nescafe Dolce Gusto Creativa Arrives for Review


UPDATE: 12/1 - My Review of the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Creativa Machine has posted - check it out.

The new re-launch of the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Brewer line puts renewed energy behind the consumer focused coffee drink station that packs 15-bar pressure for a more true espresso extraction type brew. Nescafe/Krups provided me with the new Creativa brewer showing off the new capabilities of their top of the line product. The LCD screen allows you to pick your brew, resulting in the right amount of water to be pushed through the capsule; ranging from a short couple of ounces with an espresso to a full eight ounces with an Americano.

Unpacking the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Creativa

Obviously the Creativa comes well padded and wrapped for transit, giving you an easy view of the machine's profile after breaking into the styrofoam outer packaging. Included is a movable tray (with a blue film wrapper - take it off and see the shiny drip tray cover), and a knock-box type spent capsule graveyard container. Fill the back reservoir, plug it in and the unit is ready to go. The directions indicate that several rinses are required before brewing your coffee. The LCD screen gives you a "Rinse" option to make it easy.


Sampler - Variety Pack of Nescafe Dolce Gusto Capsules

The Creativa comes with a small set of capsules in a variety pack, allowing users to experience a few of the drinks that the Nescafe Dolce Gusto line is capable of brewing. The variety includes an Espresso, Caffe Lungo, Caffe Americano, the dual capsule set of the Cappuccino, Chococcino, and Latte Macchiato. The "Map" on the underside of the lid offers you a guide to brewing the products that will get you going on your way to Dolce Gusto-ness.



In no time we were brewing a Cappuccino in the machine, milk capsule first, then the coffee shot from 100% all Arabica ground beans.


We have a large assortment in of the Nescafe Dolce Gusto capsules, the espresso provided by Nescafe, and the rest, I shopped for locally. I will say that not a lot of stores (read "none") have the capsules in stock, or even have slotted them into the shelf plans, except for WalMart, who has taken a position and is selling the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolo brewer. I have also searched out online providers like CoffeeWiz who has a full assortment. (This is also where I buy my K-Cups by the case).

I'll report back on the performance of the Nescafe Dolce Gusto and give it a full review. I certainly do not believe that this is targeted at the high end aficionado who is into roasting his or her own beans on a regular basis, but instead as a transition machine for those who are interested in taking their coffee love beyond a cuppa joe.

More at Nescafe Dolce Gusto - their corporate website
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November 3, 2010

Gaggia for Illy iperEspresso Machine


Gaggia is a well known brand of italian espresso makers and they have just designed a machine for the Illy iperEspresso capsule system. the new machine features the easy use and clean up that you would expect with a capsule machine and the brewing capability for a traditional espresso machine offering quality high pressure brews and a wand system for steaming milk.

The height adjustable tray allows you to brew into a number of cup sizes, while the spent capsule chamber holds about a dozen used capsules before it needs emptying. The one liter water tank should carry most users for a solid week's use, while the 15-bar pump will deliver good extraction.

The iperEspresso capsules come in four varieties:

  • Medium Roast Espresso - classic red lid
  • Dark Roast Espresso
  • Lungo or long shots, and
  • Decaf espresso

At Amazon - Gaggia for Illy Plus Espresso Machine

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August 31, 2010

FrancisFrancis/Illy Y1 iperEspresso Espresso Capsule Machine Full Review

The Illy company has several iperEspresso machines out on the market, but none are as stunningly different in their design as the Illy Y1 espresso machine. The low body with its square design at first looks like as 9.5" square land grab on your countertop with room to spare and plenty of wasted space.

It's different though as I live with the Illy Y1 for a while as I find that it starts to fit well into the countertop routine. The unit becomes a storage area for my expresso cups and glasses, as the residual heat from the heater filters up in the left rear part of the unit to keep things warm. Overall I liked having the Illy Y1 around the kitchen and think it's a serious contender in the capsule market.

The FrancisFrancis/Illy Y1 Espresso Machine Basics

Tipping the scales at over 16 pounds the FrancisFrancis Y1 is no lightweight and the unit feels solid as a result. The water reservoir holds about 24 ounces, giving the unit a good operating range of at least a dozen normal espresso shots.

See the unboxing of the FrancisFrancis Y1 over at our sister site:

The 19-bar pump combined with the capsule design cranks out the espresso with a fine emulsion of oil and air to create a fantastic crema, rivaled only by a Nespresso machine. Each capsule contains 6.7 grams of coffee (Medium Roast variety), and is available in four varieties: Medium Roast, Dark Roast, Lungo (long shot), and Decaf. All capsules are sold in metal canisters and come 21 capsules to the canister, except for the Decaf which comes 14 to the canister. Considering prices, that comes out to be about $0.75 a shot for regular and over $1 a shot for Decaf; not cheap but not expensive given the costs of cafe quality espresso.

Spent Capsule Magic - Hats off to the engineers who designed the spent capsule chute - as you lift the lever for your next brew, the spent capsule gets dumped in a chute to be stored in the back of the machine. The lever snaps back down ready to accept the new capsule in the blink of an eye. Honestly if you aren't watching for it, you'd miss it.   


Part of the key to brewing with the iperEspresso system is the machine and capsule design that has teh brewing happen exclusively in the capsule, never touching the machine. The result of 19-bars pushing through the capsule and pouring straight into your cup is convenience, pure and simple. The machine stays clean, the mess goes into the spent capsule bin, keeping the machine primed for a clean shot next time around.

Each shot brewed comes out with a fantastic crema on top; no excuses here. The pressure and capsule design help to emulsify the oils and air to create the intoxicating look on top. Flavor-wise the Medium Roast capsules create a good solid shot that is versatile, offering a reasonable flavor for short shots as well as longer shots. I used the Medium Roast as an iced coffee; its clean finish making a great drink. I like the Medium Roast for its lattes also, but my perfect milk drink would use a darker roast with a more traditional (strong finish) flavor profile.

Buying Options

Illy offers a few options to buy the FrancisFrancis Y1, which of course include buying the machine outright and then buying capsules too. you can buy the Y1 from Illy for $295 and then buy capsules for about $16 each, ($20 each with shipping if order is under $75). The other option is to sign up for their Membership Program which offers the machine at a lower rate and automatically sends you capsules to your house each month. You'd better like the coffee because they come three a month; about 60 shots a month if you are drinking the caffeinated varieties. According to their website, you can cancel at anytime and keep the brewer.

FrancisFrancis Y1 Espresso Machine - Wrap-Up


  • Easy to use - capsules are clean and convenient
  • Compact size - only 9.5" square and fits under the cabinet with room to brew
  • High Quality blends available - four blends, cover most coffee tastes
  • Great looks - love the design
  • Place to store espresso cups - some think it's messy - I like storing cups there.


  • Expensive capsules - At over $1 for Decaf and about $0.75 for caffeinated varieties
  • Limited varieties - If you want to brew your local roast, of want to experiment, the line-up of four blends doesn't match competition, nor is there a brew your own option

More at Illy on the Francis Francis Y1 Espresso Machine for a special introductory price of $125 plus convenient home capsule delivery! and the iperEspresso Capsules separately.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 24, 2010

Electrolux EBA63810X In-Wall Espresso Machine


Not that I have one of these in my future but I thought I would pass it along as a great example of high fashion kitchen design meeting an espresso passion. Espressos, lattes and cappuccinos are just a button or two away with this in-wall espresso maker from Electrolux. It has a 15bar pump and a 1.8 liter water reservoir, you can easily create a round of espressos for anyone at the party. The unit is a super automatic drink station that can easily adjust the strength, brew temp and size of brew to your liking.

Price is $2,950 AUD at Elextrolux

Via Appliancist

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August 12, 2010

The Slayer - "The Ferrari of Espresso Machines"?


The Slayer is a relatively expensive espresso machine coming in at $18,000, but also a very specialized machine, hand built in Seattle that allows the barista to adjust flow and pressure through the brew cycle. So while Starbucks has worked hard to take the barista factor out of the brewing cycle with their push button to brew machines, the Slayer goes in the opposite direction allowing the barista to experiment and delve into areas not yet explored on other more simplistic machines.

So while there are only a handful of the machines in North America according to this Giz post, there are more coming - like a recent one (Open in September) to Thor of Toronto, where it is proclaimed the Coolest Espresso Machine on the Planet. Below you can see a video that describes a little bit of how the Slayer works.

Let's face it, it the Machine was called the DE-8650, it wouldn't be nearly as news worthy, eh? More at the Slayer Website on the Slayer Espresso Machine

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August 11, 2010

Lavazza and Green Mountain Team Up - More Espresso for US


So Lavazza and Green Mountain - makers of the Keurig Machines in the US, are teaming up to co-develop new machines, espresso capsules and let's face it some fun new ideas for sale in the North American market. not only does the deal have Lavazza buying some GMCR stock, but it has a distribution of espresso machines in the US as a part of the deal. While we all like a new design and machine, the better distribution of espresso machines in the US may help leapfrog some adoption barriers in the US.

The agreement hopefully will bring some hybrid machines capable of doing regular and/or espresso coffee, or at least some options to make the K-Cup experience closer to that of a coffee bar; frothing, and finishing with milk.

So, we'll keep our eye on this, as will our sister site We like Lavazza's ESE pods a lot (my favorite ESE pod for hot espresso), and the Keurig machines are a step change in ease of use for drip coffee. Should be a fun marriage to watch.

Via SingleServeCoffee

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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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