June 24, 2010

French Authorities Seize Ethical Coffee Capsules in France

Knew this would start getting ugly..... Recall Ethical coffee, run by a former Nespresso exec, is putting out capsules that work in the Nespresso machine, but according to them do not actually infringe on the Nestle patents. Well apparently French authorities acted on the request of Nestle to seize capsules at the Ethical Coffee plant in a first step that has to be leading to a court ordered shut down or standoff over the subject.

I am sure Nestle is asserting that Ethical Coffee infringes on its patents, and of course Ethical Coffee believes that they do not infringe on these patents. We'll see how this shakes out, but there are a lot of billable lawyer hours in the future over this one.

Related to this, Nestle is also involved with Sara Lee over similar allegations of patent infringement.

More at Business Week

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June 21, 2010

Illy Issimo - Easy Iced Coffee - Find Issimo in a Store Near You

Issimo RTD Coffee

Illy has broadened its rollout of Issimo Iced coffee in a can to a lot of major outlets this summer, giving more people a chance to try it out. I know that iced coffee is polarizing, soliciting looks of puckered up faces to lip smacking smiles. I happen to love it, and with the warmer weather setting in here in boston, I have turned my Nespresso machine into an iced espresso assembly line.

If you are looking to try it out, Illy has a store finder page to locate a store hopefully near you to buy and try it. I see it at a lot of Target and Whole Foods stores.

Illy sent out a recipe that takes Issimo to a new level:

Illy Issimo Raspberry Tempesta

1. Add 2C ice to a blender

2. Add one Can Illy Issimo Cappuccino to blender

3. Add 8 fresh Raspberries

4. Blend for 45 seconds or until smooth

5. Pour into 10 oz. glass and serve with a straw.

Quick descriptions from their website:

  • Issimo Caffè—Bold and energizing, with the full-bodied character of real Italian espresso plus a touch of sweetness; 6.8 fl oz cans, 155 mg caffeine.
  • Issimo Cappuccino—Uplifting rich and fragrant espresso taste blended with milk and cocoa, balanced with a hint of sweetness; 8.45 fl oz cans, 64 mg caffeine.
  • Issimo Latte Macchiato—A smooth and silky swirl of fresh espresso taste perfectly blended with a hint of velvety milk and sugar; 8.45 fl oz cans, 64 mg caffeine.
If you can't find Illy Issimo at a store near you, you can always find Issimo Iced Coffee through Amazon
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May 18, 2010

Starbucks to sell Flavored Coffee in Grocery

Starbucks announced that they will start selling flavored coffee at retail grocery stores under the Natural Fusions banner. The company will be selling cinnamon, caramel and vanilla flavored coffees for $8.99 per 11 ounce bag. Apparently over half of the drinks it sells in its stores are flavored drinks, making the move to a flavored line in grocery the next best thing apparently.

We'll see how this goes. Our expectations are that it will sell better than their Via that they recently launched into grocery with a little bit of fanfare. The need for Via is just so small, and the product underdelivers so badly, I can't imagine that they will be successful. Not only does it look and act differently, but for many who are slurping down bad regular coffee (Starbucks target here) it now requires pre-planing and a habit change. I tried to get rid of my original boxes at work and after one taste, no one wanted it.

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May 4, 2010

The Day the Office Coffee Makers Went Silent

So yesterday was an odd day working in Boston - the coffee makers were mostly silent at work. The water main break that happened over the weekend created a boil water advisory for most of metro Boston through the workday Monday.

I saw people toting coffee makers and gallon jugs of water into work early in the day on Monday for the morning ritual. It was a little surreal. Word spread through the office of what store was serving coffee and what store wasn't. The whole morning routine was thrown for a bit as a result. The office makers that are hooked into a water line were DOA for Monday, because they would have been pulling water from the contaminated water lines. Personally, my Nespresso Essenza that I have on my desk at work had "good" water in it from Friday, and performed perfectly in the face of the minor crisis. Clean water, relatively little water used with each brew - it was good for the day.

Today's a different day - back to the routine, water ban lifted and all is well. I am bringing in some Dusao and Livanto capsules to work today for a little variety.

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April 22, 2010

Earth Day: Start Composting Now, With Coffee Grounds

Sure, drinking coffee isn't exactly a sustainable and earth friendly habit. Plenty of sunk energy in each little cup of coffee. Let's see at a high level:

  1. Grow Beans

  2. Ship half way around the world

  3. Roast at really high temps using natural gas

  4. Pack and ship to consumer (varies by location)

  5. Brew using hot water and pressure extraction for espressos

I count myself as mildly green, and I am not about to give up my coffee and espressos; love them too much. I did decide to start composting my coffee grounds more regularly lately. They are a good source of Nitrogen, and I keep them in a reasonable mix with all of the leaves and grass clippings I gather around the yard.

When I brew drip, espresso from ground or ESE pods, or french press I collect the grounds and dump them on a huge leave and grass clipping pile we have near our house. Easy, and even the paper ESE pods disappear after a while. The one thing I need to "process" a bit are my spent Nespresso capsules. I take a paring knife and slit the underside of the capsule, dump the grounds and recycle the aluminum shells. Easy and quick thing to do about once a week. You can also use this device the Outpresso - make the job of getting the spent Nespresso capsules separated from the coffee a little bit easier.

If you really want to supercharge your collection and get more coffee grounds - stop by a local Starbucks store. I usually see a pile of bags sitting in the corner full of spent grounds - free to customers.

Try your hand at composting too; here's an easy guide: Composting: An Easy Household Guide (The Chelsea Green Guides)

If you aren't into the leave pile thing, you could always splurge on one of these automatic in-house composting robots: NaureMill Indoor Composter

Either way, I raise my refillable mug to you and with you a Happy Earth Day.

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April 18, 2010

Indonesian Civet Cat Coffee - Still Want Some?

Many people may know it as Kopi Luwak coffee, but no matter what you call civet cat coffee, you definitely need to know why it can cost over $150 a pound. Sure it's rare, becoming less so due to fakes and new farming techniques, but the bottom line is that civet cat coffee has to be "processed" by a civet cat; yes eaten, fermented in their digestive tract and collected for washing and shipping. The NYT just published a good article that explains what's going on in Indonesia and how people are debating what makes the best civet cat coffee.

The idea is that the cat chooses only the best coffee cherries to eat, thereby only collecting the best beans to process. There's a debate over what methods are appropriate to "farm" and collect the coffee. Currently to meet demand, people are farming the coffee by feeding the cherries to caged civet cats while collecting the results. The original promise was for wild cats to collect only the best beans; does this stay true to the process? Is the flavor any worse?

The motivation is financial, as the farmers can get paid several times more for civet cat coffee than regular coffee. [As an aside; the NYT article cited farmers getting paid $9 a pound for this stuff. I want to know how many people mark this up from the $9 to over $150? Ouch!] I had Kopi Luwak a long time ago, and I have to recommend that you save your money. We were cupping coffees and the opportunity came up to cup this, and it was not impressive, with earthy tones and a lack of top notes that really didn't wow any of us as a straight cup let alone the fact that it was over $150 a pound.

Well worth the read at NYT

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April 15, 2010

Free Coffee Today at Starbucks - Bring Your Own Mug


Get your free coffee at Starbucks today when you bring in your own reusable mug. Sorry Espresso fans, it's for brewed coffee only. Head on over to the massive ad on NYT.com to see the quick movie of a coffee-based art installation on the street that grows from a single cup laid down on the street into a tree. I think they are trying to illustrate what saving all those cups could amount to, but, um, what about the thousands of cups that it took to make the point? Anyway, it's a cool concept and enjoy a free cup of brewed coffee on Starbucks today.

at NYT

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April 6, 2010

Sara Lee Planning New Espresso Capsules for France


Sara Lee is planning a new launch of espresso capsules for France this spring - "L'Or Espresso" The range of four capsules cover a broad flavor variety, and appear to be made of plastic with a single serve over wrapper.

"Our innovative L'OR Espresso capsules will provide consumers with delicious espresso coffee of the highest quality, conveniently available at major retail stores," said Frank van Oers, chief executive officer of Sara Lee's International Beverage and Bakery division. "Our product offers consumers another way of enjoying L'OR Maison du Cafe(R), a brand they have known and loved for many years, particularly for its quality and innovation."

"L'OR Espresso capsules come in four varieties: Delizioso, Decaffeinato, Splendente and Forza that differ in intensity, smoothness and roundness - from the milder Delizioso to the stronger Forza. All varieties are made with only 100% Arabica coffee and are fully UTZ-certified, guaranteeing that the coffee was grown and harvested in a socially and environmentally sustainable way."

The capsules are Nespresso compatible, so they will apparently fit in any of your Nespresso machines; not something Nespresso is happy about I am sure. Nespresso is Nestle's fastest growing brand, and Sara Lee plans on selling these capsules at a price point about 10% - 20% less than Nespresso's.


Full Press Release after the jump.....

ArrowContinue reading: "Sara Lee Planning New Espresso Capsules for France"

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April 4, 2010

Starbucks Opens Another Incubator Cafe

Starbucks has been quietly (as quietly as they can) adding a few incubator innovation cafes in Seattle trying to get their groove back and grow revenues from their coffee-intense real estate investments. Last summer, a new Starbucks format surfaced, without the Starbucks name, but instead a simple back to earth name; "15th Avenue Coffee and Tea".

Now they are opening another location, complete with adult beverages that will help the company experiment and grow - Roy St Coffee and Tea. If disciplined the approach is admirable, and growing the business in new and venturous ways is the only way a high quality company can become a "great company" - in Jim Collins parlance.

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March 10, 2010

Starbucks Bold Tour - Drink Coffee, Get Free Wholebean


Starbucks has rolled out an innovative plan to get people in the habit of coming to the shop, and drinking their coffee. Coffee drinkers who purchase a brewed coffee every week and track their experience through a Coffee Journey Card will receive a free 1-pound of whole bean coffee. Not bad for those who drink it anyway and if word of the program spreads, this might just get a few new users into the store too. The program started yesterday and runs through May 3rd.

"We have a remarkable selection of high-quality bold coffees from around the globe and we wanted to provide an opportunity to showcase them," said Dub Hay, Starbucks senior vice president, Coffee. "Highlighting bold coffees also provides a backdrop for us to implement the Pour Over brewing method which helps ensure our brewed customers can quickly have a bold coffee of their choice after 12 p.m."

Starbucks is also debuting the "Pour Over" method of brewing, also known as cone brewing where they will brew a cup of fresh decaffeinated or other bold coffee that isn't already brewed just for you. This sonds pretty appealing and offers a fresh cup instead of settling for a blend you aren't really interested in. They will take hot water, and pour it over the fresh grounds, filtering it through a cone right into your cup. I think that this is a great way to enjoy coffee and never fails to make a good cup if you start with a great ground coffee. More at Starbucks.


Full Press Release is below.......

ArrowContinue reading: "Starbucks Bold Tour - Drink Coffee, Get Free Wholebean"

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

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