December 3, 2012

Krups EA82 - SuperAuto Espresso Machine in Sheep's Clothing?


Superautomatics do just about everything for you; grind, tamp, extract, steam the milk and more. For that, they tend to cost a lot. The Krups EA82 is close, and gets the espresso end automated so you can take advantage of great whole bean coffee, and get the freshest cup of espresso on the block. What it won't do is automatically steam your milk right into your cup for you in the way a typical super automatic would. Sorry, you'll have to use the steam wand to do that.

The Krups EA82 holds a few day's worth of whole beans in the hopper (seals to keep beans fresher), grinds with its burr grinder, and extracts via their thermoblock heater and 15-bar pump. The heat time is fairly short, and the LCD screen gives you a quick and easy path to what's brewing: anything from an espresso to a taller coffee, it brews up to about 8 ounces.

The used espresso cake or puck gets ejected into a bin which will hold about 14 pucks. The 60-ounce reservoir should keep you going for a while. Pretty easy to maintain overall.

On sale now at a pretty good discount off the $1,200 list price; coming in at around $740 at this writing. Available in Black and Red.

At Amaxon - Krups EA82 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

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November 28, 2012

Nestle/Nespresso Expands its Special T machine In Europe - Tea Capsules


Nestle/Nespresso has decided to expand its Special T machine into additional countries in Europe after a long test in France and Switzerland. We first reported on this back in 2010, when they announced the launch, reapplying the success of the Nespresso Espresso machines into the Tea market. The machines are different; the espresso capsules need to be compact; the tea capsules need room to "Steep"

The Special T line of 25 teas plus special editions, and claim to harvest the finest 1% of teas in the world.

The Special T market expansion includes Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

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Nespresso Capsule Promotions/Sale


Nespresso is running a promotion right now at their Nespresso Club site that appears to be working really well…. in fact maybe too well. Are new buyers of the Pixie, the "U" or the Citiz clamoring for more?

Promo #1 - Buy 200+ capsules, and you'll get free shipping. Not bad; saves you about $7

Promo #2 - Buy 350+ capsules, and you'll get a free Nespresso Aeroccino 3, the milk frothing devices that changes your Nespresso Espresso into a Latte. These retail for $99, so this is a great deal, if you can run through the 350 capsules….Maybe I should think of this as a loyalty gift for those users who love Nespresso.

Huge Nespresso Demand?

The promos appear to be working so well that shipping at the Nespresso Club warehouse is in a delayed status. This is posted on the Nespresso Club Site:

"Nespresso is experiencing delays in delivery and orders can take up to 4 days to be delivered. We appreciate your business very much and will do our best to deliver as quickly as possible. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience and for choosing Nespresso."

So if you're a Nespresso Lover, maybe you should jump on these offers and grab a bunch of capsules, and pull down free shipping or a new free Aeroccino.

See the details at Nespresso Club

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November 25, 2012

Review: Starbucks Verismo 580 Espresso Machine


Starbucks is going hard to bring their new Verismo system to market, with full push button latte making capability. According to a recent article in the Wall St. Journal, nearly half of all adults aged 25-39, have at least one espresso drink per week. That's pretty astonishing, and creates the reference point of a $4-$5 coffee; making an at-home latte of about $1 pretty enticing.

Starbucks is promising to bring the authentic flavor of the cafe home to your own kitchen - "Starbucks quality at home." Given the ability to have a professional barista, freshly ground beans and freshly steamed milk prepared for you in a cafe, vs. the Versimo machine, using pods, make this a pretty tough comparison.

We've been using the Verismo for a few weeks now, and most of the drinks we've made are those Lattes that are supposed to taste as good as that cafe drink. Currently Starbucks offers ten different varieties and combinations of Pods for their Verismo Brewer. Sorry, you can't use Nespresso, CBTL, or any other branded pods in the Versimo brewer, and the Versimo pods don't fit those other machines either. Versimo is part of a KFee System of pods.

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November 23, 2012

Breville BES860XL Barista Express Espresso Machine


I had to point this one out; it's an impressive machine with a few features that make this a little coffee shop on your countertop. The machine has a built in conical burr grinder/doser on it so that you can grind and dose right into your portafilter, just seconds before you brew. Breville is pushing the fact that fresher is better here, as they talk of better flavor and better crema on your shots. We all know fresher is better; this machine helps you get there.

This machine gives you control over grind size, and grind amount, so you can dial in your best shot, and then pull that shot with either pre-programmed sizes, or pull your own size shot if you want.

Consumer vs. Professional

The machine has dual walled portafilter inserts, or commonly known as "Consumer" level ones that give you great crema time after time. The dual walled inserts have a small hole/holes that create the back pressure for proper extraction. The machine also comes with single walled inserts, that are a mesh, commonly known as "Professional" type inserts. For this, you'll need to properly tamp the coffee to get it dense enough, offering the back pressure to develop as it tries to squeeze through the coffee puck.

The Barista Express uses a 15-bar Italian pump to extract the espresso.

The Breville Barista Express also has a fully functioning steam wand that allows you to properly steam milk for a nice Latte. You'll want a thermometer to get precise control.

the half pound whole bean hopper and the 67 fl. ounce reservoir will keep you in business for a good long while.

Currently $200 off MSRP at Amazon - Breville BES860XL Barista Express

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November 22, 2012

CBTL Americano Brewer $99 Today at Macys


Macy's is running a Thanksgiving Day sale on the CBTL Americano brewer for $99, down from the $149 regular price. Pretty good deal on this single serve espresso machine. The CBTL runs on Caffitaly capsules that are commonly available at places like Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, as well as online at the CBTL Website.

The CBTL Americano can brew several sizes, including espressos and larger cups of coffee. With several varieties to choose from, the capsule selection is good. Check out my full review of the CBTL Americano if you want to learn more. Also, more at CBTL Website for the CBTL Americano. See the video below too!

At Macy's - CBTL Americano for $99

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Nespresso U vs. Pixie Espresso Machines

Nespresso Pixie


Nespresso U

Nespresso continues to bring out better and better advancements in its machines, and with the newest Nespresso U in the market, one has to wonder, which is better the Nespresso U or the Nespresso Pixie?

Nespresso Pixie

The Nespresso Pixie is, was introduced in the Spring of 2011, further pushing the engineering limits to get the most minimalistic espresso machine that meets consumer needs for convenient, excellent espresso. The reservoir is downsized, and seemingly so is the spent capsule storage - meaning that you can go through almost 10 espressos before emptying the capsules or adding water. Still OK in my mind.

The Pixie, as you can imagine from its name is all about being small, and it is. I love the small footprint on my countertop. It takes up almost no space at 12.8"x4.3"x9.2".

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November 21, 2012

Review: Nespresso Variations Capsules 2012


UPDATE 12/10: Coconut and Macadamia Nut are out of stock in the US.

Nespresso releases a Variations series of three capsules every year for the holidays, and this year they went a little nutty - Macadamia, Coconut and Hazelnut. I usually do not drink flavored coffee, well pretty much never, but I do look forward to the Variations every year to see how espresso can be enjoyed and complemented with some exotic flavors. Some of my favorites from the past are flavors I'd never drink regularly, including Crystallized Ginger and Apricot. For me, the annual Nespresso Variations flavors add to our Christmas holidays, like a little treat in a busy season.

Nespresso describes their flavors this way:

  • Coconut - perfect harmony between the coconut notes and the Livanto Grand Cru creates a gourmand experience reminiscent of coconut macaroons.
  • Hazelnut - The combination of lightly roasted hazelnut notes with the Livanto Grand Cru reveals a praline flavor, giving it balance in the mouth
  • Macadamia - Rich savors of the Macadamia nut combined with the roundness of the Livanto Grand Cru develop a surprising freshness, revealing citrus notes.

more after the jump…...

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Review: Nespresso Hawaii Kona Special Reserve 2012


Nespresso released their super-Special Reserve earlier this month, in the form of a very limited edition, at some pretty exclusive prices. The Hawaiian Kona is not a blend, but 100% from Kona, and Nespresso has tried to coax as much out of the capsule as they can. The capsules cost $2 each, so each sleeve is not the usual $7, but instead nearly three times as much. The sleeve is unique in that it opens from the side, and not the end. I like the silver embossed treatment - it lives up to the $2 per capsule price tag.

Nespresso says:

"Discover 100% Hawaii Kona Special Reserve. Characterized by an intensity of 5, Hawaii Kona Special Reserve gradually releases its exceptional roundness that will captivate you with its complex array of aromas. Due to the low volumes of production, it will be available in very limited quantities for a limited time only Characterized by an intensity of 5, Hawaii Kona Special Reserve gradually releases its exceptional roundness that will captivate you with its complex array of aromas."

more after the jump……

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November 20, 2012

Delonghi EC-702 - Stainless Steel Espresso Machine


The DeLonghi EC-702 is a sharp looking machine, ticking off a lot of the features that you need to get authentic espresso in an easy to use machine at home. No, it's not push button automatic, but it does have the features that you need to extract good flavor, and steam milk for a nice Latte.

With a 15-bar pump, the extraction pressure is sufficient to create that creme layer on top of your espresso, in its easy to use portafilter - add grounds, tamp and extract. The stainless steel boiler keeps things tasting clean, and the cup warmer helps you serve espresso at the right temperature. Especially good in the wintertime. The EC-702 also uses the ESE Espresso pods.

This is in the sweet spot for consumer espresso machines; full featured enough to get you a good coffee, but not so expensive as to break the bank.

It happens to be on sale now with a $20 rebate (through 12/31), selling for $139 at Amazon , after rebate.

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