March 5, 2010

Handpresso in the Badlands

Handpresso, the handheld Espresso machine, can get you an espresso just about anywhere you have hot water. Barry Sonnenfeld, director of such films as Men in Black, has a video posted where he shows off his espresso talents when he visits the Badlands of South Dakota and a few other famous sights around the country. Who knew Abe was such an espresso fan (watch the video)?

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

February 24, 2010

First US Espresso Cart?

Saw this and had to pass it along. Was this the start of the craze? Could the espresso tipping point have been reached via the espresso cart craze in Seattle? While Starbucks, founded in 1971, contributed to the craze, it was much bigger than just one brand. This very well could have been the first espresso cart in the nation helping to contribute to the wild west of espresso in the early days out in Seattle.

Two of the three owners of the cart features in this Seattle Times posting, are also the co-owners of the revered La Marzocco espresso machine company.

Check out the Photo and then the story that prompted one of the Co-owners of La Marzocco to mail in the picture - at Seattle Times.

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January 13, 2010

Good Espresso from Cheap Machines

Interesting article in the Boston Globe today that is worth a read - the findings are debatable, but they should certainly provide a bit of insight that makes people either cringe or nod their heads.

The premise is to find cheap machines on Craigslist, try out a whole bunch of coffees and then report back on how to get a good espresso out of the machines. Net, the finding that canned coffee from Italy is at least as good as any local coffee shop freshly ground ignores the fact that taste is subjective. I don't buy it. Find a better coffee shop. While I love some of the espresso coffees from Italy, and even use Cafe Bustello in a stovetop Moka Pot for Cafe con Leche, I don't think that they compare well to a freshly ground, well blended and roasted local blend that delivers layer upon layer of flavor and texture.

Another sad miss is the omission of steam vs. pump espressos. The extraction of even a low end pump machine is a lot better than steam based extraction.

What I do like about the article is that the author investigates about a dozen lesser known Italian Espresso roasts, and dives into the subject to examine a great subject - espresso on the cheap!

at The Boston Globe

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October 21, 2009

Roaster Highlight: PT's Coffee Roasting Company

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As part of our efforts to get the word out on great coffee, I wanted to highlight one roaster from Topeka Kansas that should be on your list of places to consider buying from. Their selection is impressive, not just for the breadth, but also for its recognized quality. Not only have they assembled a collection of coffees that regularly score in the 90's for cupping ratings by Coffee Review, but also because they won Roast Magazine's Macro Roaster of the year award for 2009.

They have a single store, serving up coffee, espresso and espresso drinks, but also roast about 200,000 pounds of coffee a year for other cafes around the country. Their high quality starts by seeking out rare green coffees and micro lots of estate grown coffees from around the world.

Their signature espresso roast, La Bella Vita, came in at a 92 rating from Coffee Review, has been used at their shop for espresso for 13 years, and has won barista competitions in the past.

Check them out: PT's Coffee Roasting Company

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October 14, 2009

Starbucks Alters Clover Plans - Is this Success?

Starbucks started testing the $11,000 Clover machines a while back and then turned around and bought the company, banking on the Clover as a new way to extract wonderful taste from the coffee bean, and a few extra dollars from its patrons. The three test markets, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco have over a dozen stores in each market using the device and selling the coffee for about $2 a cup. This morning the Boston Globe reports that Starbucks is pulling the Clover from several of the Boston stores, and re-deploying them to other stores. As they do this, they must be learning which stores, what traffic levels and what demographics drive success.

More at Boston Globe

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

October 5, 2009

Jura to Auction off One Pink Ena 5 Super Auto

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If you haven't noticed, everything is turning up pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month this month, and you too can own the only Pink Jura Capresso Ena 5 Super Auto if you are the highest bidder this month. The auction is to raise money for breast cancer awareness charities, and will close at the end of the month. So, fire up your inner espresso and go bid; maybe you'll win. At this writing the price is a cheap 345 GBP, well under its list price of over 700 GBP.

The Jura ENA 5 is the slimmest super auto out there, and certainly can bring powerful super auto capabilities to a small footprint area. When I reviewed the Ena 5, I thought that on balance it was a very good machine given its slim size.

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

October 1, 2009

ESE Pods on a Budget

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I had the chance to try out Pod Merchant's house blend pods and have to say that they are worth a try if you are looking for some pods on the cheap. The pods are sold for about $0.45 each while others are sold for upwards of $0.60 each; a pretty nice savings. I was able to try the 100% Arabica as well as the more classic "Blend" and both were true to their style with strong espresso flavor and a reasonably dark roast.

There is also a decaf. version available, as well as a "Stout" version which is seen in some other roasters where they tip the scale in favor of the Robusta making for a very strong, full bodied espresso that can really stand up when making a latte.

All four are available in a sampler too.

At Pod Merchant

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September 30, 2009

Starbucks Via (Re) Launch

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Starbucks is finally getting some steam behind their marketing campaign to sell in the Starbucks Via instant coffee product that launched early this year. The blend of microground whole bean coffee and instant coffee has been part of a grassroots campaign across the country this year to boost its awareness and stay away from the mainstream.

Starbucks has launches a pretty major national campaign to energize the product behind a taste test challenge to get its store patrons aware of the new away from home instant coffee. The ads are setting up a national taste test at local Starbucks to see if you can taste the difference between VIa and brewed coffee. The ad is clever enough to not make any claim of taste parity, but are instead saying that "We bet you can't taste the difference". I don't know what they will be brewing, but my hunch is that yes you will taste the difference. I was not at all impressed when I used Starbucks Via earlier this year, and the readers I heard from weren't either. Clever ad campaign, disappointing product.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

September 24, 2009

Starbucks App - Pay with your iPhone

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Starbucks has launched an iPhone App that let's you pay with your iPhone; not really, it allows you to display a bar code that acts like a pre-loaded Starbucks card allowing you to pay quickly and easily. The application only works in a handful of stores on the west coast and is definitely an experiment. You are able to re-load the "card" right from your application through a credit card.

Starbucks released another application for the iPhone that allows you to do the more mundane things, like find a local Starbucks Store, learn the nutritional value of their standard drinks, and save your favorite drinks and information.

Both are in the iTunes Store (iTunes Links)
Pay with your iPhone App
Store Finder App

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

September 1, 2009

Starbucks - Pumpkin Spice Latte Starts Today

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It's September, the kids are going back to school, the weather has started to cool, and the sweet Pumpkin Spice latte is available at your local Starbucks. Longtime favorite for the cooler weather, the flavored latte makes its debut as we start to march through the flavored latte parade - holiday flavors are right around the corner.


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

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