October 24, 2006

Time to go Back to Class


Well, it's time to go back to school folks and learn a bit about coffee; the espresso variety. Saeco is a well known maker of high end espresso machines, and they have just launched a re-do of their Seaco University, a website dedicated to educating about espresso coffee. The info is mixed and targets newbies and has a few tidbits for die-hards too. The new site features several "picks" of the month, such as Coffee of the Month, Recipe of the Month, Coffee Topic of the Month, and Shop of the Month. They've got a fair amount of info up there, so its worth a trip over there to see what they've got. You won't be getting any credits for the coursework, but hey the research trips to the cafe are great.

ReadMore at Saeco University

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Ghirardelli Intense Dark Espresso Escape

GhirardelliEspresso.jpgOK, so recently we brought you word of a new Hershey’s Espresso flavored Special Dark chocolate bar, well I decided to go back out and search the aisles for similar products, and today we have the Ghirardelli version: Ghirardelli Intense Dark Espresso Escape. Unlike the Hershey’s bar, the Ghirardelli bar actually has ground up coffee beans in it, and the taste difference is dramatic. I’ll admit that the taste difference might just be in the chocolate, because the espresso flavor is not overwhelming. The ground up beans are really undetectable, as they probably put them through a similar conching process that the cocoa beans go through to make them silky smooth. So, if you like dark chocolate, and want a hit of espresso, try the Ghirardelli. It’s not a sweet bar, but its flavors are smooth and complex, and for a little bit more in price, a lot better value than the Hershey’s.

More at Ghirardelli

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October 23, 2006

Make your own "Red Espresso"

So, with the story the other day on Red Espresso, a pressure extracted herbal tea (Rooibos tea), I decided to see what I could do on my own. So I picked up some Celestial Seasonings African Tea - Moroccan Pomegranate Red at the store which is a red, slightly sweet fruity tea and brewed it in the Breville Café Roma Espresso machine that recently arrived for review. Overall, not hard to do, but this is totally off the plan for what these machines were made to do, so try it at your own risk. I used the Espresso Pod Filter.

ArrowContinue reading: "Make your own "Red Espresso""

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October 22, 2006

Fair Trade Coffee - a Review of Where it's Been and Where it's Going

There's a good article in today's Boston Globe that talks about Fair Trade Coffee, where it is going and where it came from. With its origins in Europe some 30 years ago, the idea of paying a little bit more to farmers, and leveling the bargaining table instead of pitting huge corporations versus small farmer co-ops fighting for daily sustenance. Transfair USA has been the proprietor of the Fair Trade label and certification program, and says that over 100 million pounds of coffee has been roasted under the certification program since 1999. This means that over $75 million in extra payments has gone to help 800,000 people in 25 countries.

ArrowContinue reading: "Fair Trade Coffee - a Review of Where it's Been and Where it's Going"

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October 20, 2006

Red Espresso - The Espresso from Tea

Coffee? Tea? Or Both? – In an interesting mash-up, we find that a South African company is doing well with their Red Espresso, a tea based drink that extracts Rooibos tea much in the same way you extract espresso coffee; under high pressure with a small volume of water. Tea has long been talked about for its healthy properties, will this herbal tea espresso catch on for a new super healthy, super cool way to enjoy a bit of coffee tea shop culture?

The Red Espresso is the basis for many drinks including red cappuccinos, red lattes, fresh reds (Rooibos tea and fruit juice) and red shakes. According to red espresso Managing Director Peter Ethelston, “It’s not a traditional tea and it’s not coffee. In fact, red espresso straddles the two markets – offering a drink that has the sophistication of café culture combined with extraordinary health properties.”


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Review: Hershey's Special Dark Espresso Flavored Chocolate Bar


So I ran across this limited edition Hershey’s Special Dark Espresso flavored chocolate bar in the store yesterday. Since I tried the Caribou Coffee Granola Bars and like them a lot I thought I would give this a try. I mean come on, chocolate and coffee flavors are made to go together, right? Well, this bar is Espresso flavored, and does not have any coffee in it; I was a little disappointed in the coffee flavor too. It tasted more like “old coffee” than a nice espresso, or even those Caribou Granola bars. So, if you like Dark Chocolate, and mediocre coffee flavors, give it a try. If not, steer clear and let someone else buy it. (Glad it's a limited edition!)

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More Reader Reviews for Stomping Grounds Espresso Concentrate

So, if you haven't heard, we're giving away some Stomping Grounds Espresso Concentrate as part of our mailing list sponsorship from them. Last month, they gave a few readers some free espresso concentrate, and we continue to get more comments in from these readers on how good the stuff is. So, don't just take our word that it's good, read some other comments from readers too (Click on the names to go to their comments):

"The flavor is fabulous, rich and sweet and the fact that you can just pull it out of the cupboard when you want a treat is great." - Ramona

"I received a sample of the vanilla flavor. I thought it was very good. I especially liked it cold over ice or as a coffee smoothie." - Bruce

Stomping Grounds Espresso Concentrate is available at their website and nationnwide at Cost Plus Markets.

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October 19, 2006

You want to run a Coffee Shop?

So you fancy yourself a coffee shop owner? Come on, we've all had that idea while sitting in a coffee shop, "I could do this.... how hard can it be?" Well try your luck out before you buy and check out this new game Coffee Tycoon. This simple to play and hard to master game lets you run your coffee shop in a turn based system that has you paying baristas, determining advertising levels, and hopefully gaining more customers in the process. As you gain more customers, you open up the potential to add stores, or buy better equipment to drive sales higher! To win, you need to get a million customers. Free demo available or full version for around $20. Fun little diversion while sipping your latte.


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October 18, 2006

Starbucks Recalls 8-cup Barista Aroma Coffee Brewers

Starbucks Corp. is recalling about 73,000 Barista Aroma stainless steel eight-cup coffee brewers sold at retail outlets because of a potential fire hazard. These are coffee brewers, not espresso machines, but I thought I would post it just in case you espresso-heads picked one up in your recent trip to the corner Starbucks.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Seattle-based Starbucks said the coffee brewer has defective electrical wiring that can result in overheating, smoking, burning and melting. Starbucks has received 23 reports of melting in the units but no reports of injuries. The $100 coffee brewers were sold between March 2005 and September 2006. The recall only affects the eight-cup coffee Starbucks Barista Aroma brewer, not 12-cup or single-cup brewers, Starbucks says.

ReadMore at the Consumer Product Safety Commission

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October 13, 2006

Cafe Goes All Plastic - Credit Cards That Is

Snap café in Georgetown has stopped taking cash for payment on their coffee and pastry. After 5 months of not taking cash, life is easier running the café: no runs to the bank, no change to make, and no worries about employees stealing a handful of cash out of the drawer. With lower credit card fees, the plastic only policy has made things a bit easier and a bit more economical for the café. Could this be the precursor for a cash free society?

More at NPR

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