April 14, 2012

How Green is Your Coffee?


Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

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.

Read More in: General News

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March 27, 2012

Handpresso Auto - Espresso on the Go


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.

Read More in: Espresso Machines

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March 18, 2012

Voli Vodka - Fewer Calories and Fun Flavors


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.

Read More in: General News

Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) social bookmarking

March 12, 2012

CBTL Americano Featured at Bed Bath and Beyond - Save $5


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.

Read More in: ESE Sales and Deals | Espresso Machines

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March 9, 2012

Starbucks Verismo - Single Serve Espresso Drinks at Home


UPDATE: Posted my Full Review of the Starbucks Verismo 580 Brewer

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."

(very little )More at Starbuks.com/Verismo

Read More in: Espresso Machines

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