September 18, 2012

Sarista - New Single Serve Espresso and Coffee Machine

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The new Sarista is a pretty interesting machine as it modularizes the coffee making experience and tries to put whole beans into a "capsule-like" coffee funnel that ties your new machine to their whole beans. It might be a pretty cool invention, giving users a quick and easy way to make everything from an espresso all the way up to a whole carafe of coffee. Pop on one of at least six "Coffee Funnels" of whole bean coffee, pick a cup size and the Sarista grinds, tamps and extracts your coffee for you. The coffee funnels twist onto the top of the Sarista machine.

The Sarista Machine will retail for a little over $300 in the Netherlands starting in early October. It's from Sara-Lee, the makers of the Senseo pod-based coffee maker. The coffee funnels will come in six varieties to start: Mellow Flow, Bright Song, Revel Rich, Decaf, Pure Explosion, and Bold Burst. The cost will be in the $6+ range, and give a cost per cup of about $0.30. No word on any US launch plans.

See the video after the jump for some views on how the machine works.

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September 10, 2012

New Illy Cup Collenction - Daniel Buren

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Illy has a long tradition of offering limited editions of their espresso cups. Created by world renowned artists, these cups are made for avid fans and are not cheap. They are amazing to look at, and in the hand of an appreciative espresso drinker, they can make the experience more special.

This year, illy tapped France native Daniel Buren, who is well known for his use of stripes to redefine how the viewer's perspective can change the interpretation of space. His career has been in large scale installations that use both the space and art to transform temporarily in order to move his patrons to experience a different reality. This year's cup collection is released in tandem with Buren's installation "Monumenta 2012" at the Grand Palace in Paris. The installation uses transparent colored circles suspended above the floor to change the light coming through the glass ceiling, as well as mirrors and walls to engage the patrons as they walk through the space.

The cups and saucers are valuable for $225. The cups are classic illy, while the saucers use perspective and Buren's famous stripe to change how you experience the collection.

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For more on buying the Buren Illy Cup Collection, and see a video of the Monumenta 2012 installation, go to the Daniel Buren Cup Colleciton Page at Illy.

Read More in: Espresso Cups

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September 3, 2012

Nespresso Crealto Limited Edition 2012 Capsules - Now Available

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Nespresso has released Crealto, its 2012 Limited Edition Blend. It is a blend of washed arabicas, slow roasted to reveal a long finish in the flavor profile. With an intensity of 8, the Crealto is best suited to stand up to milk and/or serve as a good stark espresso.

The name is inspired by high cuisine - Createur + Alto; the high creator envisioned as a chef creating their best dishes to bring out the best in the foods presented. Nespresso sees itself doing the same with the beans that they present and hope that you enjoy the flavors that they were abel to bring out in their slow roasting process.

Nespresso says:

Crealto Limited Edition capsule

"The high intensity coffee is blended entirely from washed Arabica coffee beans, and its long roasting time cooks all the notes harmoniously, allowing it to develop round roasted notes that are long-lasting; giving Crealto its unique character and aroma. Crealto is best served as an espresso but can also be enjoyed with milk; releasing subtle nutty aromas."

These blends tend to go fast, and I just ordered mine; order yours to enjoy, and re-order if you like them. Nespresso ships 2nd day to your address. I often get it the next day since the distribution center is only a hundred miles from my house.

Order at Nespresso Club

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August 23, 2012

Euro Crisis Affecting Coffee Prices

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According to the WSJ, the European economic crisis is killing a rich coffee tradition for some in Europe, especially the coffee drenched southern countries. With the economies of Spain and Italy falling off the cliff, spending on coffee is plummeting too, as habits change, and trips to the cafe multiple times a day disappear in an effort to save Euros.

The belt tightening is also having an effect on the coffee markets, as Europe is developing a taste for cheaper coffee blend that include more Robusta, the cheaper cousin of the Arabica variety. Prices have dropped this year for the more expensive Arabica, while stockpiles of Robusta have fallen and prices have climbed.

What's this mean for European single serve espresso machines? It might mean a shift to home made espresso, and a resurgence of the popular brands as people shift to cheaper home-sourced espressos versus the expensive cafes. It might also mean a colossal shift to make your own in the good old Moka style pot for a few pennies versus a few Euros at the cafe.

What's that mean for the US? If the trend continues, expect lower priced coffee in our Main Street cafes as Arabicas continue to slide in price, if they didn't buy ahead with contracts pegged to higher expected prices. Don't expect deep discounts though; those hard fought price increases of the past are hard to give up again once you are pocketing the difference. And if they do come, don't expect huge changes; the price of Arabica is only down 20%, and that is only a tiny fraction of the cost of your Latté.

Pictured - Coffee Bean Charm

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August 15, 2012

Rivo Espresso Machine - the New Kid on the block?


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Word is out that Keurig owner, Green Mountain Coffee has trademarked the name "Rivo" - it means stream in Italian. While the world has embraced their K-Cups, the patent expiration is sure to bring a lot of competition to the market. Not content, Keurig brought out the Keurig Vue, a new maker, with new "V-cups" that allow you to compost the grounds and recycle the cup itself. The lack of "Green-ness" has been a call of detractors for a long time.

Rivo Espresso would Join a Crowded Market

Green Mountain is said to be working with famed Lavazza, of Italy, on machine development, which would inject a lot of experience into the project. The market is going to get crowded; not only do you have existing standard espresso machines, but you have Nespresso, Illy's iperEspresso, CBTL's CafeItaly systems, and the forthcoming Verismo machine line from Starbucks.

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August 5, 2012

Caffe Vergnano - Nespresso Compatible Capsules

The Nespresso capsule wars continue to rage in Europe, and recently, an Italian court told Caffe Vergnano that their capsules do not violate the Nestle patents protecting the Nespresso system and its capsules. They did ask for a labeling change, but that's minor. I see that they are available in Italy and Australia for now. If they come to the States, I'll let you know. They were just launched last month in Australia.

Others who are selling or trying to sell Nespresso compatible capsules include; Sara Lee's L'Or EspressO, Denner, and Ethical Coffee. You may also be able to refill your own stainless steel capsule in the near future.

They have four varieties of their Caffe Vergnano 1882 coffee, Intenso, Cremoso, Arabica, and Decaf. Caffe Vergnano comes in biodegradable plastic capsules, made of Biode plastic, which has been certified as biodegradable under controlled conditions.

Here's an ad for the capsules.


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July 31, 2012

Starbucks A More Earth Friendly Cup Sleeve

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So they used to double cup, then they brought out the brown cardboard sleeve, and now Starbucks has worked to get less material overall, more post-consumer content, and an overall more friendly cup sleeve. They are calling the new sleeve the EarthSleeve, and it was developed by an Illinois company, LBP Manufacturing.

Considering the millions of sleeve that are in use all across the country on a regular basis, this could make a big difference.

I really try to avoid these things- maybe my fingers are numb, but it's not that hard with a cup holder to minimize the "burn time". I tend not to use a reusable cup when out on the road, like a business trip, where it's just not as easy to deal with bringing your own. I know it's the best way to minimize the waste - sometimes it just doesn't happen. I figure if you are going to take a sleeve, something that minimizes waste is a good place to start.

More about EarthSleeve at the Starbucks Site

Via InHabitat

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July 29, 2012

Capsule Holder for CBTL Capsules


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If you get into the capsule game, you are going to eventually need a way to store those capsules. I recommend living with the machine a while before figuring out your official solution. This way, you can figure out what you really need and get a storage holder that fits your needs. Do you need a lot of variety? One Version for each drinker in the house? Are you done with experimenting and have found the ONE variety that works for you?

The carousel capsule holder shown here is one option if you want to see more than one variety easily and quickly. It takes a bit of counter space, but the ease of being able to have a few different capsules at your fingertips just works. It's about 6" x 6" x 15" high, rotates and wipes clean.

Available at CBTL and at Amazon - CBTL Capsule Holder

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July 25, 2012

Peet's Coffee Goes Private - $1B sale

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Peet's is one of the big names in specialty coffee here in the US, and while some think they may have gotten too big to be cool, they certainly hold true to keeping a reasonably high expectation for quality coffee distributed throughout the country and through their shops.

A private German firm, Joh. A. Benckiser, has bought Peet's for $1Billion. Not bad for a little coffee company that was started by the Dutch born Alfred Peet, in Berkley CA, back in the 1960's.

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July 23, 2012

Best Coffee Offer Ever? - Beanstock Coffee

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This is one of the coolest coffee offers I have seen in a long time - buy a year's worth of coffee, pay up front and you get a 50% coffee bonus, plus some goodies like a canister and a travel mug. That's four bags of coffee a month for a year; that's a lot of coffee.

The specifics are at their Facebook page, where you'll find their phone number to set up the deal. It's limited to the first 30 to sign up.

Beanstock coffee got their start over a decade ago in Wellfleet, MA - on Cape Cod. And yes, they have an espresso.

Beanstock Coffee Facebook Page, and the Beanstock Coffee Website

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