February 1, 2007

Frieling French Press

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While it may take you out of the normal espresso routine, there is something that is just exquisite and relaxing about sharing a pot of French Press coffee. One beautiful way of doing it is with a French Press Pot like this Frieling. It’s stainless steel with wonderful lines and a double wall construction to keep the coffee warm. The 23 ounce size should be able to handle a pair of mugs for that weekend coffee. A course grind is recommended for any French press pot, and not the fine espresso grind that you are used to. I often mix in some espresso roasted coffee into a more mildly roasted blend to get the type of punch that I like in a cup. Because of the brewing method of pouring near boiling water over coarsely ground beans, mix gently to wet, then steeping for up to 4 minutes, before an easy and steady plunge will deliver excellent coffee. When decanting, leave the very end behind to leave any fines that may pass the screen. The result is full-bodied delicious coffee.

At amazon

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January 31, 2007

Terroir Coffee - Daterra Espresso

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Terroir coffee is noted for its excellent single origin coffees that are treated to keep their freshness from farm to you by actually vacuum sealing the green coffee at the farm prior to shipment to Terroir Coffee where they were then stored frozen. The result; unmatched freshness and flavor.

I wanted to highlight a special espresso of theirs from Brazil; Daterra North Italian style. The espresso has a lot going for it; a wonderful flavor - rated 92 by CoffeeReview.com, it's Rain Forest Alliance Certified, and it was also the coffee of choice for the World Barista Champ to use as he won in competition. Not bad.

According to the website: "It has a floral baby-breathe, almond aroma. The cup is elegant, smooth, of one piece from first contact to aftertaste. It is honey textured, extra-sweet and lively, chock-full of mellow clean fruit, chocolate, nuts and refined butter-marzipan with a hint of vanilla. Other brewing methods produce a rich very mellow cup with nutty-chocolate flavors."

At TerroirCoffee

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January 30, 2007

Illy Valentines Day Special

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Illy is getting ready for Valentines Day with a special that runs through Feb 14th. If you buy any espresso maker, you will get a "Valentines Day starter kit" free. The starter kit includes heart shaped demitasse spoons, logo cups and some Illy sugar sticks, a $92 value (I assume the sugar isn't adding much here eh?).

The picture above features the FrancisFrancis X1 machine in brilliant red. They feature about ten machines that qualify for the offer.


ReadMore at Illy USA

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January 29, 2007

Donut? Will that be Regular or Decaf?

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So, without a usual cup of coffee in the morning, some people can barely function, and are in need of a little kick from come caffeine. Well, if one gentleman in NC has his way, you might just be consuming caffeinated baked goods. He's developed caffeinated donuts and bagels that contain up to 100mg of caffeine, which is quite a punch for regular folks who may not be used to much more than the 50+ found in some soft drinks. For those of us who may hit the espresso a few times a day, 100mg is about par for a pleasurable outing. This molecular scientist and coffee shop owner has come up with the idea to caffeinate his baked goods. He's also trying to patent the idea and shop it around to some pretty big names: Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks.

If any readers have ever gone through a sensory training class, they may remember that caffeinated water is THE definition and standard for bitterness. And apparently adding powdered caffeine to the baked goods had a bittering effect too. It wasn't until they essentially encapsulated caffeine that they were able to bake with it and have good tasting baked goods.

More at Buzzdonuts.com

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January 26, 2007

Organic Espresso Pods

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If you are looking for certified organic espresso pods, one option is to look at Compagina dell'Arabica Biologica Espresso pods from PodMerchant. The coffee in these pods is pesticide free, organically grown coffee, and is grown on certified and controlled plantations. Because coffee likes to be shaded when it grows, this coffee is grown intermingled with other trees like bananna, pineapple and papaya trees for shade instead of huge screens to form a more hospitable and sustainable environment.

Box of 18 pods at the PodMerchant

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January 24, 2007

Starbucks Forbidden from the Forbidden City?

A bit of controversy is brewing (sorry – had to) over a small Starbucks kiosk that is inside the Forbidden City, the Chinese Imperial Palace in the middle of Beijing. The controversy over the western brand having the outlet in the imperial city was apparently started by a blogger who was stunned to find the kiosk, and was put out over the apparent lack of respect for the grounds. (The back story here is also that the blogger published the article, and then proceeded to get over a half a million hits on his post, which was then picked up by Chinese news outlets.)

I went to the Forbidden City a few years ago, and was stunned with the beauty of the place as I walked around getting a personal tour from Rodger Moore, of James Bond fame, who narrates on the little tape recording. You certainly get an awesome understanding of how beautiful this place was in its time. I guess I am more shocked that any kiosk would be allowed in there; but hey it’s not my call.

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January 22, 2007

Hormone Free Milk at Starbucks

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Starbucks recently announced that it would start using hormone free milk at its cafes, starting in New England and on the West Coast, moving nationally soon. This follows on the heels of their move away from Trans Fats. The move is an interesting one as more and more people are buying hormone free milk, and/or organic milk. I live in the Boston area, and major milk brands around here are following this trend and moving their mainstream branded milk to the hormone free variety. You can still buy the good old-fashioned non-organic, hormone laden variety in a store brand if you want, but clearly there is a big enough demand for the product that has the healthier perception. I am always interested in these types of trends when they move towards mainstream acceptance. We’ll see if the trend continues on this. The Business Week article below talks about McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts not moving towards hormone free milk, so when they do, I guess we’ll know that the make-over is nearing completion.


ReadMore at BusinessWeek Online

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January 16, 2007

Caribou Northern Lites Lattes - Only 80 Calories

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So a lot of people have been asking about calorie content in their normal lattes, and with the New Year's resolutions still fighting to hang on, I thought I would pass along some news about Caribou Coffee's new Northern Lites Lattes. The small (12 ounce) Northern Lites Latte is only 80 calories, and a medium is only 120 calories. the latte is made with skim milk. They are also available in the following flavors:

  • Vanilla
  • Caramel
  • Turtle
  • Raspberry
  • Hazelnut
  • Chocolate Raspberry
  • Kahlua®

    Not quite as good as an eggnog latte, but at about 1/4 of the calories, not so dangerous either. Available through early March.

    More at Caribou Coffee

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  • January 15, 2007

    Illy Cups Calendar

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    OK, so I am a few days late with this, but you might still be looking for a calendar and a darn good looking one to fill in that gap on the wall. Well Illy has a nice looking calendar that features images of their cup collections with this year's calendar.

    16" by 24" on heavy paper

    More at Illy

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    January 12, 2007

    Meth Coffee - the New Buzz

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    Meth Coffee launched itself in San Francisco the other day selling a super caffeinated brew that also includes Yerba Mate, an herb that is loaded with caffeine and is reportedly good for mental alertness in a way that caffeine alone can’t. Boasting an intense buzz and cocoa-tobacco finish, Meth Coffee is fresh-roasted within 48 hours of shipment to jumpstart workaholics, thrill seekers, artists, and subversives seeking an exciting new fuel for their endeavors.
    Unique Taste and Buzz with Antioxidants. Huh, a shot of espresso sounds so pedestrian now.

    The flavor of Meth Coffee's Arabian and South American beans with yerba mate starts as a smooth, herbaceous attack that runs to a soft tobacco-cocoa finish. Yerba mate's presence produces a gradual buzz arc for periods of intense play and creativity that some drinkers find more cerebral than coffee alone. Research has shown that yerba mate contains mateine, an alkaloid stimulant similar to those found in coffee and chocolate, as well as significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

    A quick check of WebMD comes up with this on Yerba Mate: “There are observational reports that yerba mate, when used in large amounts or for prolonged periods, may cause cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.” But how long is prolonged and what’s a large amount anyway.

    More at Meth Coffee

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