February 12, 2009

Starbucks Introducing Instant Coffee?

Apparently the PR group at Starbucks is telling associates that they are going to begin selling instant coffee, saying that they have been working on this technology for some time and that the flavor can replicate the flavor in the cup. So, while freeze drying can make a pretty good cup of coffee, the struggle is also making the aroma and the body that you come to expect in a regular cup of coffee. I have seen the idea that has coffee microground to super fine particles that are actually put right in the cup; no filtering, giving flavor and body. We'll be interested in seeing (and tasting) the sometime in the near future to see how it stacks up.

At Seattle PI

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February 9, 2009

Got a Starbucks Card - Get Custom Rewards


Yea, it's not a lot, but it's something for nothing and that's not bad these days. Maybe that Starbucks card is worth a bit more than you think. The deal is that if you sign up and register the card at Starbucks, you can get s small handful of free extras. You can get free drink customizations (add soy or a shot of flavor), a free beverage when you buy wholebean, a free refill on brewed coffee, and up to 2 hours of free Wi-Fi every day.

So, dig that thing out of your wallet, go register it at Starbucks.com and start enjoying something for (almost) nothing. Don't have one, and like that stuff for free? - well then either buy one, or design your own; it's easy.

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February 5, 2009

NYT - Playing in the Coffee Maker Aisle

Great little story about the various toys that you can find in a high end kitchen store that all are associated with coffee. Wow - always a lot of fun to read about the discovery of the coffee maker, as well as the art form that coffee making and drinking can become.


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January 27, 2009

Starbucks has Big Job Cuts Ahead


Update: It was announced today that they are going to cut 6700 jobs and close an additional 300 stores; ouch. Apparently the bulk of those cuts will come from the store closings. The store closings further point to the weakening economy, the potentially bad real estate choices that they made, and the fact that caffeine addictions are portable - you can get your fix at home, or at a cheaper place down the road.

Latte traffic must really be down, as the Seattle Times is reporting that Starbucks will be making job cuts in the coming weeks, potentially up to 1,000 people. The targets are said to be the field employees, district managers and staff at its headquarters, not baristas (this time). Recall that Starbucks laid off about 2,000 employees last year as they also shut underperforming stores.

I was in a handful of Starbucks yesterday mid-town Manhattan and there seemed to be a steady flow of people, but there were no lines out the door, as only a couple of people were there at any one time. So, while the stores were packed, it might have been the vagrants and the fact that it was bone chillingly cold so folks were seeking some warmth wherever they could get it.

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January 16, 2009

Win a trip to Costa Rica from Cafe Britt

Head over to Cafe Britt, home of the great Costa Rican coffee maker, to check out their contest for a trip for two to Costa Rica - 5 days, 4 nights in the San Jose Marriott - check out a cupping at cafe Britt, and enjoy a little Central American Sunshine. If you don't win the grand prize trip, you still could win other prizes including a boat load of coffee......

More at Cafe Britt

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January 14, 2009

Coffee Health Update

Well, I should have known after all of the conflicting articles about coffee's health effects not to get too excited. When the article that said coffee drinkers who drink a cup or more a day had a 50% less chance than on-drinkers of developing oral cancer, I thought great! The data was collected after studying 38,000 people in Japan.

Now on a much smaller scale, a study found that people who consumed high levels of caffeine, 330 mg, or about the amount in 7 cups of regular coffee, are three times more likely to have hallucinations or hear voices. The effect is thought to be because of the release of cortisol in the bloodstream which is believed to be tied to delusions.

Maybe I rinse and spit my espresso like I was cupping it all day?

More on Oral Cancer and Coffee, or Delusions - take your pick.

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December 22, 2008

Pinzon Contemporary French Press


Sure I like espresso but I also like to take time out for French Press coffee - this one caught my eye for its great looks and low price. The 8-cup Pinzon French Press holds 32-ounces of coffee, and has a stainless steel plunger.

About a tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee per "cup" works fine, pour in hot water, let it steep up to five minutes, plunge and pour. The press is rated "8-cups" which is to say, 8, four ounce cups. I get a couple of mugs out of one "8-cup" French Press.

At Amaxon - Pinzon Contemporary 8-Cup Coffee Press

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December 21, 2008

Starbucks Card - Earn Towards Lattes with Every Purchase

starbucksCard.jpgJust about everyone has a credit card in their wallet or purse from some company, firm, airline, store, or whatever. If you think that you would rather be earning lattes with every purchase made instead of whatever else you are doing today, maybe the Starbucks Duetto Visa is what belongs in your wallet....

  • Earn Cash back to buy Lattes - 1% on all purchases
  • Become a "Gold Card" patron - meaning you save 10% on in-store Starbucks purchases
  • Free refills on drip coffee

Yea, sure at 1% back, you'll need to spend over $300 on the card to get that Latte, but hey, maybe that's one afternoon shopping for you and this isn't going to phase you one bit.

A lot more at Starbucks

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December 16, 2008

Biodiesel from Coffee

I should have posted on this the other day when I noticed a small article on the idea, but now that the NYT has a full blown article on it; I'll just have to pass it along. Biodiesel from coffee grounds; sounds great. I am a big fan of biodiesel, reading up on it when I can, and see it as a supplement to our fuel supply. When I saw this I thought "Yes! More good stuff from coffee."

The idea is simple, waste coffee grounds still contain oil, and that researchers from the University of Nevada figured out how to convert that oil to Biodiesel that can run in most diesel cars without modification as an additive to regular diesel at a minimum. Of course the problem is collecting the used coffee grounds and then processing them efficiently. One hope would be some sort of mass collection in urban areas of the waste coffee stream, and converting it in smaller quantities to biodiesel. The other thought is to set up production next to coffee manufacturers that do the extraction at the plant - think instant coffee. The question here is if the coffee beans in that stream actually have anything left of value. Won't solve the world's oil addiction, but it may change how we think about waste streams locally and offer a better more economically feasible approach to certain businesses. I don't think I'll be setting up a still and a conversion process anytime soon in the garage here at SingleServeEspresso.com.

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December 12, 2008

Nespresso Variations - 2008 Ginger, Caramel and Mandarin


Nespresso has just introduced the seasonal flavors for the Nespresso Variations 2008 - Mandarin, Caramel, and Crystallized Ginger. These usually sell out fast ahead of the holidays, and I am adding them to my Buying Guide this weekend.

Last year the Almond was my favorite, and we'll see this year. I'll be brewing them up in my Essenza C100, but they also work in the whole line of Nespresso capsule brewers, like the Le Cube C185 that I recently reviewed. I just got my shipment today, along with some recipe glasses, so we'll play with those too.

At Nespresso Site - Nespresso Variations 2008

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