Have you ever wondered how green your coffee is? I am not talking about the quality of green coffee, but instead the environmental impact of one of the most popular habits in the world. Let's face it, a lot can go wrong;
Product is grown in a developing nation where environmental standards may be low - equipment belches pollution, erosion and runoff can be a problem in mountainous areas, etc.
Uncertain use of chemicals to kill insects, weeds, fungus, and to help fertilize the coffee plant all take their own toll on the environment
Shipment to your local roaster from half way around the world
Roasting with fire - can you say "Global Warming"?
Packaging - almost all coffee packaging uses a barrier of some sort. That usually means plastic, metal or both
Package that coffee up in a K-Cup, and you have a nightmare on your hands. I don't think things are really that bad, but you get the idea.
Over the last twenty years, there have been a lot of developments to counteract the perils above, enact change and improve the world through the coffee crop. One shop in Hamilton Ontario seems to be taking things to an extreme. Coffeecology sources their coffee with an eye towards sustainability and economic impact. They have also taken the notable step of packaging their coffee in mason jars that consumers return for a deposit. Want a weekly delivery of coffee? Sure, they handle local deliveries on their bike.
Read more at the Coffeecology website and at Treehugger who detailed out some of the greener steps that coffee shops and companies can choose to take.
Handpresso has a mission to get you espresso wherever you want it, and they just introduced the Handpresso Auto - a new espresso maker that not only heats the water, but creates a great looking espresso with 16 bars of pressure.
The Original Handpresso versions required a bit of pumping like you had a flat bike tire to get the pressure, and required you to have access to hot water. Two varieties allowed you to use either ground espresso or ESE Espresso pods. The New Handpresso Auto can turn out an espresso in just about 2 minutes; pretty good for a 12volt, go-nearly anywhere machine.
If you're worried about "making-while-driving", the folks at Handpresso clearly think stopping to make your espresso is a good thing. Check out their video below.
Price is $149 Euros or about $200. It will be shipping in Europe this Spring with no news on a firm US launch.
Yea, this blog writing it tough business, and sometimes we have to think a little outside the box; which is what we were doing when we saw the Voli news come across the Single Serve Espresso desk.
Voli is a vodka line that boasts about several great vodkas, flavored and regular, while offering lower calories that other brands of vodka. When I saw that there was an Espresso Vanilla Fusion flavor I had to bite. In addition to the Voli Espresso Vanilla Fusion, Voli also has a "Lyte" (think straight) version, a Raspberry Cocoa Fusion, an Orange Vanilla Fusion, and a straight Lemon flavor. The folks at Voli sent us on a few bottles, including the Lyte, the Espresso and the Raspberry Cocoa versions. I went out and supplemented what they sent with some more locally sourced bottles.
Last weekend, we had some friends over and we experimented with them, mixing up a few cocktails. The Espresso Vanilla Fusion Vodka felt right at home with a shot of espresso and a bit of sugar to sweeten things up. I liked it hot or cold, and even experimented with a little frothed milk on top - not needed, the Espresso and Voli were good on their own. The coffee flavor is certainly amplified, and smoothed with the fusion of flavors. Tasting the Voli straight, shows you the origins; darker roasted coffee flavors, void of bitterness, with a rounded vanilla note. I like it…. on to the second.
We also played with the Raspberry Cocoa Fusion in and around expresso shots, and I have to say this created some fun drinks. The best was a shot of espresso , over ice, milk, half a teaspoon of sugar, and the Voli Raspberry Cocoa Fusion. We served them up in martini glasses and they pretty much rocked. The Raspberry is fresh, and true without being to jammy sweet, and the blend with mocha gave the whole cocktail an indulgent cool chocolate bar feeling.
We also kicked the Lyte around the block a few times and liked that too creating a few old favorites with it. The flavor is good; clean, sharp with a nice finish and hey, the bottle design is eye catching too.
Voli Espresso Vanilla Fusion (Left) and Raspberry Cocoa Fusion (right)
Summary: The line of Voli Vodkas offer reduced calories, and with a bit of sugar and sometimes a splash of milk added, these cocktails were enjoyable and came in right around 100 calories. The flavors were a nice departure from the usual drinks, bringing a little mixology session to the espresso maker for a change. If you enjoy a drink or two, and since you are here at an Espresso blog you might like playing with these flavored vodkas along with espresso too.
You can read more about Voli at the Voli Website - they also have a search capability to see where you can buy it too.
The CBTL Americano is getting a push from Bed Bath and Beyond with a feature on the front page of their circular this week. The Espresso, coffee and tea maker features high pressure brewing, a large reservoir and several selectable cup sizes. The CBTL capsule system is based on the Caffitaly platform, and offers over a dozen different varieties of drinks.
On the back of my circular, there is a coupon for $5 off a $15 dollar purchase, making the resupply of capsules a little bit easier.
Starbucks announced that they are bringing a new single serve espresso machine to the market called the Verismo. This pressure brew system offers users an easy way to get espresso based drinks at home as well as regular brewed coffee. The move is shrewd on their part, as they have moved into the K-Cup arena to take advantage of the large installed base of Keurig brewers, while also bringing out a brewing system that will deliver superior products.
The Verismo system will be sold through Starbucks stores online starting this Fall, and will come with both coffee and milk-based pods to make the various coffee house drinks that people have come to expect. howard Schultz said, "We have long believed that the biggest prize within the segment is a high-pressure system that would give us the opportunity to deliver Starbucks-quality espresso beverages at home and at work for customers who desire the Starbucks® espresso experience outside of our stores."
Saw this and had to pass along - Arvid Häusser, a 23-year-old German design student at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar designed this new espresso machine prototype. It changes the design parameters of the typical espresso machine to split up the components, move the design to the wall and free up the counter space.
The Water reservoir is in the left vessel, while the pump and heater are in the right vessel. The drip tray is height adjustable. While the whole thing, exudes Dr. Frankenstein's lab, I am pretty interested in the design because I happen to like chemistry lab.
CBTL has struck a distribution deal to get their CBTL brewers and coffee capsules into big box stores, opening up the units to a channel that reaches millions of people a day. As I was shopping this weekend, I stumbled onto an end aisle display at the local Target store which had the CBTL brewer on it; little did I know that I had seen the effects of this major distribution move.
The CBTL Brewer and Capsule display had several coffees, teas and "mixers" in the line; I picked up some English Breakfast Tea, and a couple of versions of Espresso (Continental and Premium) that I liked when I reviewed the CBTL Americano Espresso Machine.
CBTL Briosa Espresso Machine
Target had the CBTL Americano for $149; the same price as the CBTL website. The Launch also marks the introduction of the new CBTL Briosa; a value priced machine at $119. See below. The Briosa claims to use high pressure, and looks to have the cup controls down the side, while no doubt keeping the same lever action single serve cartridge loading and ejection capabilities.
Typically, Brazil produces a pretty uninspired coffee, filling in as the base coffee notes, the cheaper non-objectionable character actor in blends that you buy in a grocery store. There is also a huge supply of instant coffee that comes from Brazil, that is processed in country and exported as instant powder to blenders around the world; I won't paint a picture of that bean quality, but you get the idea.
In the WSJ today, they talk a little bit about a resurgence of sorts in quality for some Brazilian beans. Typically, Brazil has "lowland" coffees that are not expected to develop the most wonderful flavors. Recently though some small roasters are talking up the nutty-sweet flavors of higher quality Brazilian beans that can deliver Cup of Excellence type quality. The local to Boston owner of Terrior Coffee Roaster, Geogre Howell was quoted int eh article, who has offered a Brazilian coffee for some time in his repertoire.
Personally for me, I has seen Brazilian coffees that tend to have a cereal note to them that I don't like; but am open to new ideas and would love to see higher quality come from any growing regain ready to step up their game. How about you?
The NYTimes has a nice little rant article about the high cost of single serve coffee brewers, pointing out that people are paying about $50+ per pound of coffee when buying in a single serve format. Obviously you can get coffee for a lot less than that, even darn good coffee; the kind of micro lot coffee that would blow your socks off. Most people either get it or they don't - it's about consistency and convenience. It's not about amazing nuances in the cup that you can get from freshly roasted beans, and it's not about low cost, even though you can rationalize that you are wasting less.
Massive Revenue and a Total Shift in the Industry
What's interesting are a few tidbits in the article. Nespresso sells only 8% of the coffee in the world, as measured y weight, but 25% of the dollars spent on coffee is for Nespresso; that is a stunning number. I didn't realize that the franchise was that big.
Keurig sold 4 million brewers leading up to the Christmas 2012 holiday, and about $715Million in K-Cup coffee packs. Can you imagine what it will be next year after those 4 million brewers get cranking? Sure the there is a patent expiration coming, but at a couple of cups a day per brewer, that's about $300+ million in retail sales for Q4 2012. Can you say $1 Billion in retail sales per quarter?
The big market shift is in the reframing of the cost for coffee. Older people think in terms of cost per pound, can or brick bag of coffee. Younger people reframe the cost of coffee versus what it costs at the coffee shop. So while $50+ per pound is a lot versus that bag of whole bean at the store, $0.60 per cup versus that $4 Latte I had yesterday is cheap.
Competition for Keurig and Nespresso
Finally, what these folks need is a little competition for their brewers. That's coming.
I mentioned the patent expiration that Keurig is going to deal with as competitors may be able to make dents in their installed base of brewers.
Also good news for Nespresso fans too; Amazon is bringing Ethical Coffee capsules to the US later this year. Should get interesting as this maker of Nespresso compatible coffee capsules must be gearing up to take a dent out of this market, where Nespresso has a toe hold, but Keurig has the emerging standard locked down.
If you've been reading up about quality coffee in the US, then you've probably heard of Intelligentsia Coffee. THese roasters are on the leading edge for finding and promoting the best coffees in the world, both macro crops and micro lots.
Intelligentsia has a seasonal Espresso for you to try, called Sapsucker Espresso - according to Intelligentsia says, "Rooted in the distinctive flavor of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, the seasonal Sapsucker Espresso is accented with light and crisp Colombia and grounded by a velvety Bolivia to present a unique experience. Immensely floral, buttery, lemon-like, and silken, the flavors are rounded by an effervescent red apple sparkle and a sweet herbal quality."
Available in a variety of package sizes, the main one being a 12-ounce for $18, and from whole bean down to espresso grind in thirteen different grinds, listed by maker. Yes, they include some of the trendy and niche makers like Chemex, and Hario.
ASIF KHAN: THI MACHINE IS GOOD BUT I M IN JEDDAH SAUDI read more litlnemo: I am quite disappointed in the Chai Masala. There's really read more alicia: when does this come out in the US? read more mary lee quebrado: HI,my friend just visited your coffee shop an he recommended read more John Grabowski: I've had the new Kazaar and I also had the read more