August 13, 2007

Where's Peet?


If you'd heard about Peet's legendary coffee and were hoping to get some in your area, you may be in luck. They are in the process of moving into 1,000 grocery store outlets up and down the east coast. The good news is more for those of us who live in the northeast, as Peet's has moved into Stop n Shop, and Shaw's, while also moving into Giant Eagle near Cleveland. I've been a Peet's fan since my friend Price turned me onto them. So, hey raise your mug to Peet and go check out the new offerings.

The Peet's website has a lot of information about their coffees and their company; check it out.

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

August 6, 2007

Best Barista in the World - WBC Champ

James Hoffman of the United Kingdom won the 2007 World Barista Championship in Tokyo. Hoffman, who finished fifth in last year’s WBC, also received accolades for preparing the competition’s best signature drink. This drink included a tobacco infused cream with biscotti foam and milk chocolate; wow, now that’s pretty indulgent. I guess if you hang out in smoke filled cafes, you’ll get a tobacco infused drink anyway.

Heather Perry of Coffee Klatch Roasting in San Dimas, California recorded the highest finish by an American in the WBC and was also recognized for serving the competition’s best espresso. Perry won the 2007 United States Barista Championship in May. If you visit the Coffee Klatch roasting website, you can purchase the coffee blend that Heather Perry used to win the US championship in May. For a few bucks more, you can purchase the blend that went to the World Chamionship and came in second place. Pretty cool.

2007 WBC Results:
1. James Hoffman - United Kingdom
2. Heather Perry - United States
3. Carl Sara - New Zealand
4. Miyuki Miyamae - Japan
5. Anna Kaeppeli - Switzerland
6. Silvia Magalhaes – Brazil

WBC competitors must prepare and serve 12 coffee beverages, including four espressos, four cappuccinos and four original signature drinks of their own creation within a 15 minute timeframe. The judges evaluated the entrants on station cleanliness, taste, beverage presentation, technical skills and total impression. The WBC encourages and recognizes professional achievement in the art and skill of espresso preparation and service.

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

July 30, 2007

Best Latte Art - Vote Today


If you haven't voted, today is the LAST DAY to vote for your favorite Latte Art Video Contest over at Whole Latte Love. There are a couple dozen entries for you to look through and vote for, offering you a quick glimpse of what's possible with a little effort and a lot of skill.

Just double click on the image to pull the video up on You Tube, and check them out, then vote.

At Whole Latte Love

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

July 18, 2007

Summertime is time for Home Roasting


If you are craving the best aroma and the finest freshness from your coffee, then you need to check out home roasting. With few exceptions you can not get fresher coffee, and believe it or not, it is not that hard to create excellent blends using a home roaster.

Summertime is a great time to get into home roasting, because you can do it outdoors, letting the roaster vent free to the wind, and enjoy the fruits of your labor without any issue of getting smoke indoors.

I reviewed the iRoast Home Roaster and thought it was really a great machine. With its pre-programed roaster times, and an easy supply of artisan quality green coffee available online, it makes for a fast way to get started on the new hobby. In short order I was roasting an excellent drip coffee and a very good espresso blend. If you're really into your coffee, home roasting is a great way to investigate bringing your passion to a new level.

Read More at my iRoast 2 Home Roaster Review

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

July 10, 2007

Van Houtte being Sold - $615 Million


Looking to expand their business, Van Houtte was just sold to a private equity firm for $615 million. The maker of coffee and k-cups will utilize the newly found capital as a way to continue their expansion over the coming years. The company was started back in 1919, and the head of the family business indicated that while he was sad to make the decision to sell, he recognized that the company needed to grow and for that they needed deeper pockets to realize their expansion goals.

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

June 28, 2007

Espresso on Vacation


As many of us pack up and take off for vacations in beach houses and lakeside homes around the country, a lot of us might be leaving some beloved espresso makers behind. I know the perils of walking into a rented vacation house and seeing the yellowed Mr Coffee machine sitting there ready to crank out some hot brown water for your "enjoyment" and thinking that you wish you had some decent coffee for your vacation mornings.

This year, I am packing Moka Pot for the ride and a pound of my favorite espresso. These are actually pretty light and small, and will easily fit in my suitcase. Using it is very simle and in about 5 minutes you can be sipping a little bit of heaven. The Moka Pot espresso won't give you all of that high pressure extraction crema that you are used to at home, but it will give you a wonderful little cup of espresso to sip on that vacation that won't be marred by bad drip coffee.

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

June 26, 2007

Myths About Starbucks


There is a great article written from the point of view of a Starbucks insider over at the Consumerist, and it debunks a few myths about buying drinks at Starbucks. There are a lot of ways to get a drink made at Starbucks, and there are a lot of ways to lose a few pennies here and there; it adds up! Well this little write-up talks through a few tips on how to save a few cents very time you go there, and how to enjoy a quality espresso drink that even the SCAA would sanction.

Did you know that going for the Venti espresso drink is NOT a better value…. Less espresso in that huge drink. You’ll have to go check out the Consumerist to see why.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

June 5, 2007

Recent News at Starbucks


There are a few things brewing over at Starbucks that are worth mentioning. The first is that they are moving to a 2% milk in their outlets across the US. While the move may not be recognized by the casual buyer, both in terms of taste and lower caloric content, I am sure that they will collectively save about a few million calories a year across the chain. The real caloric savings would be to skip just one Frappuccino a year.... or Orange Mocha!

Yes, Starbucks has an orange mocha out these days. I have to say that while I tried one the other day, I am biased; I have never liked an orange and chocolate, so I can't say that I like it, nor did I expect to. The Orange cake that they have was actually pretty good though, and I would recommend that as a nice indulgent snack.

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

May 24, 2007

Terroir Coffee's George Howell Receives Better Coffee World Award


Good news for a local to these here parts..... The Specialty Coffee Association of Europe has just awarded the Better Coffee World Award to George Howell, founder and CEO of The George Howell Coffee Company. “US-based specialty coffee pioneer George Howell, was named the winner of the Better Coffee World Award, the association's highest honor.”

George proudly adds this to his other treasured prize, the Specialty Coffee Association of America Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in raising US specialty coffee quality standards as founder and CEO of the ground-breaking Coffee Connection. In 1999, after working as a consultant for the United Nations for two years, he conceived and co-founded the Cup of Excellence (with Susie Spindler, current executive director), the most prestigious and first-in-the-world coffee competition-internet auction. This program to identify and reward quality farmers is now working successfully in eight coffee producing countries. After leaving the Cup of Excellence in 2002 George founded the George Howell Coffee Company and its brand Terroir Coffee to further promote great farmers’ coffees directly to consumers.

If you haven't checked out his site, George has some great coffees, including a nice espressos.

More at Terroir Coffee

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

May 15, 2007

Are you a Super Taster?


With the average person having about 10,000 taste buds, and as we age, that number goes down. Well in typical tasting, you can only taste sweet, sour, bitter and salty, but then your nose comes into play and brings to life all of those wonderful aromas and flavors that are swirling around in your cup of coffee or espresso. As we age, the number of taste buds we have goes down and so does our ability to smell and pick apart that delicate balance of flavors that comes bundled in each high quality, well roasted coffee bean. Super tasters have the ability to pick apart flavors and aromas better than the rest of us, but it comes at a cost. Some reportedly can’t eat foods that are more bitter than others, like eggplant and broccoli.

Even if you aren’t a Super Taster, there are a few things that you can do to make a cupping or tasting experience better when you taste and compare coffee. For a full article on cupping, tasting and being a better taster all around head over to Roast Magazine.

ReadMore at Roast Magazine

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

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