August 9, 2006

Caribou Coffee Granola Bars


General Mills just released these Caribou Coffee Granola Bars and wow are they good. These are the Chocolate Mocha flavored ones, they also come in a Vanilla Late flavor. Don’t think that you are going to get a huge jolt from these things, because judging from the ingredient statement there’s only a few hundred MILLIGRAMS of coffee, not caffeine, coffee, in each bar. Either way, they taste pretty darn indulgent and I like them. Check them out at your local grocery store in the granola bar section.

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Mod Your Espresso Machine

Engadget has an interesting article on modifying an espresso machine to increase the power of the pump in ways that weren’t originally intended by the manufacturer. They replaced the little pump that came with the machine with a 1/3 HP motor driven pump. Anyway, it’s a little tour that you can safely take from your easy chair and appreciate what it takes to mod your espresso machine without anything blowing up in your face. So, sit back, enjoy an espresso and click below to see the mod.


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August 4, 2006

Homemade Mocha Concentrate

I used to make this ahead of time and refrigerate for a quick and easy pick-me-up in the summer. With about 10 minutes of work, you can have a nice concentrate in your ‘frige for a couple of weeks.

  • 6 ounces of strong espresso
  • 3/4 Cup of sugar
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons of vanilla extract

    Whisk espresso, cocoa, sugar, and cinnamon into a saucepan and bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and cool to room temp and add the vanilla. Put in sealed container and store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.

    How to Make your Mocha
    Take 1- 2 tablespoons of syrup made above and add to 1 cup of milk. You can heat the milk in the microwave for a hot drink, or mix in mocha syrup to cold milk & serve over ice for a cool summer treat. Adjust amount of syrup according to your taste.

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  • August 3, 2006

    Starbucks Earnings up 16%


    Starbucks announced that their earnings were up 16% for the most recent quarter versus the same period a year ago. They continued and will continue their breakneck pace of opening stores in new areas (target is 2,000 new stores in 2006). Wall St. appeared a bit worried though as their same store sales of stores open a year or more only improved sales 4% over year ago. That may indicate that they are having trouble growing sales thorugh quality service, and products. This is also an indicator that $3 gasoline may be cutting into the pocketbook of their consumers, and people need to buy gas instead of a Venti Late. Hey, maybe people need to invest in their own machines and make that delicious espresso at home?

    ArrowContinue reading: "Starbucks Earnings up 16%"

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    August 1, 2006

    DIY Espresso – PVC and a Caulk Gun


    This has been out there a while, but thought I would point it out to you just in case you had a free couple of hours, and some PVC laying around. While this is nice and portable, I think that the Preva xSport would be a much better choice for very portable, real espresso experience. (We took it up Mt Washington in NH, and thought it was pretty good. See a full review at our sister site,

    Anyway, check out what Engadget had on how to make an espresso maker in a few hours with some leftover pipe and a caulk gun.

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    July 27, 2006

    Basics of ESE Espresso - What is an ESE Espresso Pod?

    In 1998 a consortium of manufacturers made an agreement to have a single standard for espresso pods and makers to help people around the world to consistently make an excellent espresso. The ESE standard was born. There were 7 founding members and has grown to over 120 members today. ESE Stands for Easy Serving Espresso, and the standard sets the requirements for the pods – 7 grams of coffee, a proper grind, and a shape and diameter that allows it to be used only in ESE approved machines. The pods sandwich the coffee between two layers of sealed filter paper. esepod.jpg
    The diameter of the ESE pod is 44-45 millimeters, which is much smaller than the 55-60 mm pods that are available for the “Single Serve” coffee makers that have become popular in the last few years (learn a lot more about Single Serve Coffee at our sister site: The ESE Machines work in a similar way; to promote ease of use, and consistently good espresso. Fill the reservoir with water, turn on the machine, open the foil sealed package containing the E.S.E. pod, drop a pod into the pod holder and lock it into the machine. Turn the machine on and in about 30 seconds you will have a beautifully pulled espresso with a nice head of crema. Clean up is pretty easy too. Open the pod holder, dump the pod in the trash or recycle it, rinse the holder and you are done.

    Many espresso machines these days come with optional pod baskets. So, this is to say that you can choose to use espresso ground coffee to fill and tamp into the basket yourself, or use the pod holder to use ESE pods. Obviously we advocate making sure that the machine has a pod adapter. Pods really are a great way to get into making and drinking espresso at home. They can be expensive when compared to whole bean coffee, but we prefer them for convenience and consistency. One study out says that only 1 in 5 households that has an espresso maker uses it on a regular basis. Those 4 out of 5 cite the bother and mess associated with making espresso with ground coffee as a key reason that they stopped using their machine. Viva la pod!

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

    July 25, 2006

    Hilton to offer Lavazza coffee in its hotel rooms


    Hilton Hotels announced the launch of its new Hilton Serenity Collection in-room coffee system, featuring world-renowned Lavazza coffee from Italy, and an exclusive Cuisinart dual-cup, single-brew coffeemaker. The new coffee system begins shipping to select hotels today and will be implemented in more than 230 hotels in the continental U.S. and Alaska over the next several months. While it's not espresso, it's good news to hear that Lavazza is getting some US acceptance. Who knows, ESE machines might be close behind!

    Interested in Lavazza Grand Crema ESE Espresso Pods? - See our recent review on Lavazza Grand Crema ESE Pods

    "Guest surveys revealed that premium coffee was the single most important in-room amenity in the upscale segment," said Bill Brooks, vice president of product development, Hilton Hotels. "We continue to make the guest experience a priority by offering an exclusive coffee system unique to Hilton Hotels."

    ArrowContinue reading: "Hilton to offer Lavazza coffee in its hotel rooms"

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    July 20, 2006

    World’s Most Expensive Coffee


    So you thought that your Capp cost you a lot, or that pound of coffee from the corner coffee shop ran you a pretty penny? Well, there are some more expensive beans to be had out there. A Forbes article covers some of the most expensive beans that are being sold these days (some available, and some are not), and most come from highly coveted single estate sources, known for their care in handling of the coffee from plant to roasted state. This spring, an estate coffee form Panama (Hacienda La Esmeralda) set a record at auction for most expensive coffee at $50 per pound, green. This will result in a retail price of about $100; so drink up. The article runs down the top 10 most expensive coffees, including the # 1 Kopi Luwak coffee that is eaten by a marsupial, excreted and then “carefully” retrieved. I have had this stuff before, and let me tell you its price is driven by the exclusivity, not its quality, so move on to #2.

    ReadMore at Forbes

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    July 19, 2006

    Lighter Fare at Starbucks


    So, with the summer here, a lot of people are switching their coffee routines at the local coffee shop for some alternative drinks. Well, if you are also trying to watch your waistline, you could check out these fine beauties at Starbucks:


  • Iced Caffe Latte with Nonfat Milk Grande size = 100 calories, 0 gram fat, 9 grams protein, 25% Daily value for Calcium
  • Coffee Frappuccino Light (no whip) Tall size = 110 calories, 1 gram fat, 5 grams protein, 15% Daily Value for Calcium
  • Espresso Frappuccino Light Tall size (no whip) = 100 calories, .5 g fat, 4 grams protein, 10% Daily Value for Calcium
  • Espresso Doppio = 10 calories, 0g fat, 0g protein, 0% Daily Value Calcium.


  • Tazo Green Tea Lemonade Tall size = 90 calories
  • Green Iced Tea Tall size = 60 calories

    If you are watching calories, you may want to stay away from these:

  • Banana Caramel Frappuccino Blended Coffee – whip venti = 720 calories
  • Caramel Frappuccino Blended Coffee – whip grande = 530 calories
  • Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino Blended Crème – whip venti = 720 calories

    For reference, a Big Mac will only run you 560 calories, and a Whopper only 670 calories!

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
  • July 13, 2006

    SkyEurope serving Illy Espresso on Board


    Sky Europe, the Euro low cost airline, has introduced Italian Espresso and Cappuccinos on board so that you can taste the authentic Illy flavor while flying to your favorite Euro destinations. The system is designed for consistently great coffee. Made from nine varieties of Arabica beans, Illy unique leading-quality blend offers an unmistakable flavor and aroma, always constant in every cup and in any part of the world.

    “We are continuing our process of expansion and internationalization, which allows us to export Italian style coffee culture. This new partnership allows us to reach a new public to whom offer a full experience that is gratifying to both the sentences and the spirit” said Andrea Illy, chairman and CEO of illycaffè S.p.A.

    They are not the first to offer espresso on board, as Nespresso has been a supplier to numerous airlines around the world with their own capsule system.

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

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