June 23, 2008

Hacked? - Jura Capresso F9/90


According to Security focused SC Magazine, an Australian man appears to have managed to hack into internet connected Jura Capresso F9/90 machines. With an optional connectivity package, the machines can be connected so that they can be remotely serviced.

Apparently though you can tell the machine to overpour the cup, thereby presenting a scalding hazard. Too bad you can't make the machine yell out a few commands, "Hey, use some decent Whole Beans Next Time will You?", "Back Again - get a life!". It's not the 9.5 Billion from Swordfish, but it might still be a fun laugh to make this work.

Anyway, in a statement, Jura said: "The Internet Connectivity kit which can optionally be acquired... will at no time connect the coffee machine to the world wide web. Its settings can therefore only be changed by the machine's rightful owner. JURA systems do not allow hacker attacks."

At Amazon the Jura Capresso F9

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June 17, 2008

JavaPop - Espresso Flavored Soda


Just in case you couldn't get to an iced espresso this summer, you can always take along a refreshing Coffee Flavored Soda with you. The folks at JavaPop make it easy. Sold in 4-packs the coffee flavored soda comes in a variety of flavors: Mocha, Hazelnut, Caramel, Vanilla and Espresso. The all organic ingredients and mantra that is it made from ingredients you can pronounce, make it especially appealing.

JavaPop is based in Vermont, and where do they get their coffee? Fellow Vermonter - Green Mountain Coffee, of course. The coffee that they use is not only organic, but fair Trade certified.

I picked up a 4-pack of the Espresso variety the other day and it is definitely a new experience. The first couple of swigs were an eye-opener, and as I came to finish the first bottle, I was pretty happy to say that I was shoving the rest in the frige to enjoy later. The flavor profile is not a deep, dark espresso flavor with bitterness and dark roasted notes flying all over the place. It's a regular coffee flavor, not too lightly roasted, and worth a try.

Check Out their Website: JavaPop

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June 11, 2008

Home Roasting in Beantown


Good article in the Boston Globe today on home roasting. While coffee is going stale on the store shelves, you can have the freshest cup in town if you roast your own. I reviewed the iRoast Home Roaster a while back and still enjoy the freshness of the roasts that I do. Since it's summertime, it's a great time of year to get outside and run through a few batches.

The article mentions Sweet Marias as a source for green coffee beans, and I think that they are excellent. I was able to get a nice variety of green beans ready to roast. The flavor differences among the different varieties are stunning and a lot of fun to explore.

I found that it was very easy to get a good roast and then blend a few different beans together to get a coffee that I loved.

ReadMore at BostonGlobe

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May 27, 2008

Monster Energy Drinks; Java Line - Yawn

Saw these and I had to try a few out. Monster Energy Drinks has a new line of Coffee inspired drinks out that follow the Monster tradition of juicing up your life with caffeine and a whole bunch of other energy enhancing stuff that is supposed to rock your world.

I picked up two to try out and see what the deal was: Loca Moca and Big Black.

On the can, they say "Enough with the coffeehouse BS Already!" clearly trying to distance themselves from either the Starbucks Double Shot that we all know and the big fluffy drinks that make the Starbucks experience either a good one for you or a gut wrenching experience.

Missed on Flavor - Both the Loca Moca and the Big Black were barely drinkable. The upfront flavor was decent for both, but finished with the classic bitter flavor that was a real turn off and a waste of the $2.69. I should have grabbed a couple of Double Shots on the shelf above these and walked away a happy man.

Missed on Energy - I have to say that when they said "Java Monster - half the caffeine and twice the Buzz" I was also a bit disappointed; I downed one of these and 15 minutes later took a nap I was still so tired. Sorry Monster; way too tame.

more at Monster

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May 24, 2008

Red Espresso Wins Espresso Best of 2008


best_redespresso.jpg red espresso has won the prestigious SCAA Award for introducing a new beverage category in the world of espresso. South African company red espresso earned SCAA’s 2008 Best New Product/ Specialty Beverage category for developing the world’s first tea espresso. The tea delivers a dark red espresso coated with a saffron-colored crema. The naturally caffeine-free red espresso contains no preservatives, colors or other additives. Red espresso is the first South African company to win an SCAA Best New Product Award and is also the first organization to earn an award in the specialty beverage category for a tea product.

More at SCAA showcases inventive coffee, tea, food companies with 2008 Best New Product Awards

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May 8, 2008

Kids Coffee Maker


OK so while this won't exactly make your espresso in the morning, it is a pretty cute toy that I think a lot of kids would enjoy. I know all kinds of kids play those kitchen games where they are always making and serving food and drinks to everyone in the room... pouring imaginary coffee and tea into colorful cups. Well here's a great little coffee maker that will add to the fun.

Let's Pretend Coffee Maker at Amazon

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May 7, 2008

Mom's who Love Coffee - Coffee Bean Charm


Thought I would pass this along for that charm collector who loves coffee. Maybe a Grande Latte Skinny is part of her life on a daily or even twice-daily basis? Maybe it's time to admit that coffee is a big part of her life and signify it in gold. This particular charm comes in plated and solid silver and gold, so prices take up a wide range. Pretty affordable for everyone.

Coffee Bean Charm at Amazon

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May 2, 2008

Coffee/Espresso While Camping

With the warmer weather coming, there's ample opportunity to check out the woods and NOT leave behind the caffeinated comforts of home. The range of coffee makers is pretty huge, from cowboy rough to futuristic machinery, and everything in between.

You pretty much have four styles to choose from for coffee/espresso on the trail:

  1. perkpot.jpgPercolators - Your great grandfather used these and so did John Wayne - they work and they can turn out some hot-brown that does the trick, just might not taste that great. I used one camping and believe it or not, the body developed in the coffee through perking outweighed the negatives and all things considered, it wasn't bad. These are cheap, bulky and can make a lot at a time.

  2. SingleServeFrenchPress.jpgFrench Press - There are a ton of these on the market specially designed for away from home use. Shatter resistant plastic, a plunger and a splash proof lid all add up to a good package. Don't forget to plan for hot water though.

  3. MiniMokaExpress.jpgTiny Espresso Moka Units - these are cute and make some decent stuff; just not the high pressure that you are used to on your 15-bar pump driven machine at home or the machine at the local cafe. On the plus side, they are small and pack well, on the minus side, they are small and may need a few of these to kick start the morning.

  4. handpressosmall.jpgHandpresso Wild - New and different, this space age bike pump can crank out the high pressure that you need to get some decent extraction. It uses ESE pods which are easy to pack in and out, but again on the downside the unit only makes a shot at a time. It still won't pack the pressure of a commercial machine, but you won't be packing that and a 220 volt power supply into the wilderness to get quality that good. Read more about the Handpresso here are SingleServeEspresso.com

Good luck and if you need a GPS, check out GPSLodge for some tips.......

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April 29, 2008

Cafe Bustelo for a Cafe au Lait


Ever since I went to Latin America about a decade ago, I have enjoyed Cafe au Lait. I love it for its strong flavors and is unapologetic rough flavor that can only be tamed by a little milk and sugar. The brand that I ran into is pretty basic, Cafe Bustelo, which sells for less than $3.50 per 10-ounce can where I shop. I know it sounds odd, but the coffee always seems pretty fresh in the can as there are a lot of hispanic consumers buying it at our market, which keeps things turning over fairly often. To be clear, this is not your single origin fair trade arabica only blend, as it's got enough kick in it to think that it's got more than a robusta bean or two in there. That's OK, because I like the added body and flavor that a robusta blend has, and if you do, read on.

Whenever I am brewing for cafe au lait, I brew it in my Moka pot. This is a 4-cup (8-ounce) pot that makes just enough for me to enjoy a pretty good sized mug of cafe au lait in the morning. The whole proces takes about 6 - 7 minutes; and only about 1 of that is actual work. Fill the bottom of the Moka pot with water, add a few tablespoons of coffee to the grounds holder, screw everything together, and put it on the stove. I usually get the rest of breakfast going, and by the time I am done, the coffee is ready.

I usually add about 2-4 ounces of milk to the 8-ounces of espresso, with a good slug of sugar too. Wakes me right up.

more on Cafe Bustelo

Bialetti Moka Pots at Amazon

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April 28, 2008

New Starbucks Mastrena - Miracle Espresso Machine


So if you have been following the Starbucks news lately and have heard of their turn around plans, you have probably heard of the new miracle machine that they are betting the house on... or at least the store. The new Mastrena High Performance Espresso Machine at starbucks is being brought into the stores because the production line automation machines that are there now blew the feel of the place right out the door with their efficiency. No grinding, no hand tamping, no long waits, and as a result no magic. The Mastrena is supposed to bring back a little flair to the experience while keeping the production line efficiency that no doubt boosted the bottom line a while back.

The Mastrena is shorter and with the flying saucer orb on top to hold whole beans, it will get the store all aromatic and stuff as it grinds for your shot. I think that move in particular will help. In walking into a real cafe, the overpowering aroma of coffee has to hit you and embrace you; which just doesn't happen when the coffee is preground and stored in mylar air-tight bags only to be dumped into a hopper and auto-tamped.

I am not so sure that having the thing shorter is going to actually do anything for the banter or the chemistry of the place. I mean, I don't get much of that now, and never did. Anyway, they will be in 30 percent of the stores by the end of this year, and 75 percent by the end of 2010.


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