Italy vs. Starbucks

Minorly interesting story coming out these days that talks to the expansion strategy of Starbucks, now in 43 countries around the world. Apparently those not on the list includes developing nations, and one of the highest coffee consuming nations in the world; Italy. In a land where an espresso costs a single Euro, and those shots are served up fast, Starbucks is said not to be able to compete.

I guess they'll need to settle for the other 43 countries, and the ba-zillion outlets they plan to have by the turn of the decade. In the end, if they can help raise the quality of coffee wherever I go, great. From my (limited) time in Italy, they're doing pretty well already.

More at MSNBC

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December 27, 2007

Getting Started with Espresso? Try Pods or Ground

New Espresso machine for the holidays? Can't wait to explore the world of espresso? There are a couple of great ways to find what you love in the ways of espresso, and not for a whole lot of money.

ESE Pod Samplers - an easy way to get going is to check out an Espresso pod sampler. These packs come with a couple of pods of several different kinds of espressos to allow you to explore a wide variety without a lot of commitment. If your machine handles ESE pods, this is a great way to go. Consider this Espresso Pod sampler.

Ground Espresso
- Some purists may cringe, but I think that getting ground espresso from a shop or from the supermarket is a great way to get into espresso quickly and easily. Getting grinding right can take a while, and can complicate things, but getting already ground espresso can make life that much easier and much more enjoyable right out of the chute. The key here is freshness, and so, go to a supermarket that does a decent volume, or to a coffee shop that you trust to pick up some ground espresso. I have had luck recently at the store with Peet's ground coffee; they are newly distributed to the North East, and the stuff is pretty fresh. The crema is fantastic.

Later when you want to explore the next step of quality, get some whole bean and learn about the right grind to get the freshest espresso right in your home.

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December 24, 2007

Gift Cards Still an Option


Ok - so you still want to get that Espresso Machine? Shipping deadline past? Try giving an Amazon Gift Card.

Redeemable for all kinds of great Espresso Machines. I fully expect another round of some minor discounting in the days following Christmas, as people come back to use up those gift cards. Could be a nice time to pick up some deals.

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December 19, 2007

Best Selling Espresso Machines in time for Christmas

I am still getting a lot of emails and comments about what Espresso Maker to buy and so, on, but the bottom line is that you need to decide soon. To illustrate, Amazon is running a bunch of deals on shipping over the coming days to make sure you can get your Espresso Maker in time to put it under the tree.

Wednesday - Last FULL Day for 2-Day Shipping
Thursday - Order by 3PM (PST) and get 2-Day shipping
Friday - Last FULL Day for 1-Day Shipping
Saturday - Order by 1PM (PST) and get 1-Day shipping

All estimates are for getting items on or before 12/24; some items are excluded, and only on offers by Amazon.

Check out the Best Selling Espresso Machinesat Amazon and see what's up and perfect for that espresso lover in the household!

Need some recommendations - Check out out Holiday Espresso Gift Guide

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December 13, 2007

Bodum Columbia 8-Cup Stainless-Steel Thermal Press Pot

OK, I know this is an espresso site, but after I posted yesterday’s unbreakable French Press unit from Bonjour, someone pointed this Bodum French Press as another great “Take to Work” way to get awesome coffee.

The Bodum Columbia 8-Cup Stainless-Steel Thermal Press Pot holds coffee hot for two hours after pressing, for a nice cup after delicious cup of coffee while your co-workers look on in amazement sipping their hot Joe from the vending machine or the two-hour old burnt stuff left on the Mr. Coffee.

Holds 35 ounces hot for 2 hours, dishwasher safe.

At Amazon, the Bodum Columbia 8-Cup Stainless-Steel Thermal Press Pot

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December 12, 2007

Bonjour 3-cup Unbreakable French Press


Have to take a time out and recognize the value of a nice French Press Coffee. There are a ton of different French Press coffee makers, but this one caught my eye because it’s unbreakable, and quite honestly dirt cheap – 9 bucks.

I just ordered one for work and I know a few folks who will be taking one back to school once the winter break is over. This just solved the junk coffee at work issue, and I can’t tell you how many of these glass carafes I have broken. Polycarbonate carafe, and a French press.

Officially a 3 cup size – 12 ounces perfect for a single mondo-mug.

At Amazon the Bonjour 3-cup Unbreakable French Press

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December 11, 2007

Warm Winter Fires - The JavaLog


The weather has turned cold, and it’s time to stoke up the fire. Well you can do that and burn used coffee grounds by using the Java Log. I picked one up the other day at WalMart of all places, and stoked it up. It burnt well, and while it didn’t even remotely smell like a nice cup of coffee or espresso brewing, it was a great little fire. The grounds are gathered from a coffee plant that makes instant coffee, so the grounds are pretty much tapped out of any coffee smell goodness.

I think it’s a great way to hang out, enjoy a little warm fire and help keep some used coffee grounds out of the landfill.

Learn more about the Java Log at their website.

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November 27, 2007

Starbucks Eggnog Latte - More Calories & Fat than McD's Quarter Pounder


The Eggnog Latte is back at Starbucks - one of my favorites. I'll admit, I can come down off the high horse and enjoy a espresso concoction that will put a little extra girth on once in a while. I have always loved the eggnog latte, when made well, and will delight and treat myself many times between now and the end of the holiday season.

Just watch out the Eggnog Latte can pack some calories:

  • Grande - 470 calories with 2% milk, and 21g of fat, (11 Weight Watchers Points). That's 60 more calories AND 2g more fat than a McDonalds Quarter Pounder!
  • Venti - 610 calories and 27g of fat (14 Weight Watchers Points). That rivals the Big Mac at 540 calories and 29g of fat!

Hum, can I get fries with that latte? Ba, Da, Ba, Ba Ba, I'm Lovin' it.

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November 26, 2007

Starbucks Espresso Regalo - New Espresso Blend

Starbucks has a new Espresso blend out, Starbucks Espresso Regalo a 100% organic blend that is their first new espresso blend release in 30 years.

An Epicurean Adventure for Espresso Lovers
Starbucks first new espresso blend in nearly 30 years, Espresso Regalo™ is made from expertly roasted Ethiopia Yirgacheffe® and Costa Rica central valley, 100 percent certified organic arabica beans. It is a delicate coffee featuring an elegant and medium body with nuanced flavors of floral notes, peppery spice and tropical citrus fruit while finishing with soft hints of dark chocolate. It is a wonderful complement to the popular, bolder Latin American and Asia Pacific espresso that is sold in whole bean bags and served in store in all Starbucks® espresso beverages.

“We spend countless hours tasting and identifying some of the most special coffees around the world and occasionally we taste something that’s truly unique in flavor and quality,” said Anthony Carroll, manager, Green Coffee Quality at Starbucks, who was involved in the development of Espresso Regalo™. “This blend is one of those momentous creations that offer a flavor unlike any other espresso we’ve ever tasted, and we’re excited to share that with our customers.” Starbucks Espresso Regalo™ is available in 1/2 pound bags and retails for $8.95 in the U.S. and $11.95 in Canada.

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November 19, 2007

Starbucks Gingerbread Latte – Sugar Free – 130 calories


Starbucks is offering a new sugar free gingerbread latte at their stores this year. The now classic drink is available in a variety of sizes, and the 16 ounce size with no whipcream will set you back 180 calories, all coming from the 2% milk. Go with skim milk and you get by for only 130 calories; not bad when you consider you get the calcium along with the calories.

Cheers; Drink up.

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