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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, I've roasted my own coffee before, but I've never brewed my espresso in my own espresso maker. If you have ever done some electronics work, you might be interested to see how this was put together. Sure the "shot' is about 200 mls, but it's pretty evident once you look inside that this is homemade. If I made one of these, I'd have to knock a wall down to get enough counter space.
Warm sun, long days, and a great coffee? Yes, coffee in the middle of the summer - it's not just for the cool seasons anymore. With a single serve espresso machine, or even a single serve coffee brewer, you can brew a quick coffee over ice, and enjoy a cool coffee drink that welcomes in the heat of the day.
Here are a couple of ways to enjoy a cool coffee this summer:
1) Brew and Cool your own espresso - Iced Americano take a shot(s) of espresso, ice, a splash of milk and sugar to taste. I use a couple of shots and brew right into the glass to get a tall glass of refreshment.
2) Save the morning coffee for a cool drink later - If you are using a drip coffee maker, brew a little extra, and chill the left-overs as soon as you can in the refrigerator. Pour over ice later in the day or tomorrow.
3) Ready to Drink Chilled coffees - Starbucks and their Doubleshot are the best ones for my taste, and they are available in most grocery stores, but look around; you'll find Illy Issimo, and others too. Buy a few and see which ones you like, and you'll have a quick pick-me-up when you need it.
4) Hit the coffee shop - sure, you can make it at home, but sometimes it's great to indulge. Set aside some time to explore a few different ones in week. The next time you want a quick drink, you'll know what you like.
TIP: If you are brewing your own, I would recommend an all Arabica coffee blend. I've had a few Robusta espresso blends over ice and that solid coffee flavor that is so classically Italian as an espresso, comes across as a sour burnt rubber flavor on ice.
So, I'll be the first to admit that brewing a shot of espresso from a capsule made of aluminum is not the most environmentally responsible thing I could do, but I love the ease of use of single serve shots in a compact form. Nespresso has extensive recycling efforts in Europe for their capsules, and they are closing the loop per se on that waste stream. Nespresso is using that aluminum from the capsules to make the aluminum side panels for the new Pixie - a clever way to reduce their footprint just a hair in the grand scheme of things.
When I reviewed the Nespresso Pixie, I thought it was a solid little machine, with other "green" features, like an auto shut-off that comes pre-set to shut down the power after a few minutes of non-use. If you want to by-pass it the short time-out, you can change a setting, but I am pretty sure most consumers won't.
Scott Martin: Yea, me neither. read more Ironpeddler: Looks very nice...but for $1,700.00USD? I don't know... read more david: How did this sampling of Hiline's products go for you? read more Scott Martin: Erik, Answering a few questions: So the whirring is definitely read more Erik G.: Nice review! Just a couple of questions though. How hot read more