April 23, 2013

Coffee Week at NPR

NPR is going to be looking at Coffee, and bringing stories from around the world on the drink. The first installment was yesterday and is up not eh web for streaming. This one is a good overview of the coffee growing market, with tiny farms creating some of the best coffee in the world, and big mega-plantations in Brazil growing 40% of all coffee.

More at NPR for Coffee Week

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April 20, 2013

Review: Nespresso Trieste and Napoli Limited Edition Capsules


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Several times a year, Nespresso launches a special capsule that drives demand and excitement among users. The Variations are flavored capsules that come out for the holiday season, and then a couple of times a year, usually in the Spring and the Fall, Limited Editions come out focused on a special blend of coffees, backed by some powerful marketing concepts.   

Nespresso likes these for a few reasons, as it drives sales, excitement and a fresh story into the Nespresso line. Oh, yea, and they charge more for the capsules too.

This year, the Spring Limited Edition wraps the experience in the coffee culture of Italy, essentially coming home to the espresso culture's roots.

On the Strong Side

The Napoli capsules is a blend of South American, African and Asian beans that have a dark, complex and STRONG flavor with a bit of a Robusta finish. The capsule sis said to be an 11 on a 10 scale, much like the fabled Kazaar all Robusta blended capsule. With the Napoli, Nespresso is pushing a "Black Gold" concentrated coffee concept of taking the espresso as a Ristretto, (25ml) or an even shorter 15ml. I typically like this type of blend, so my money is on the Napoli in this kitchen for preference. No idea what it would register as a standard espresso (40 ml).

The Trieste is a bit less intense, but not by much. The Trieste capsules will be 100% Brazilian and African Arabica beans with a nutty and chocolatey flavor coming in at a 9 on the 10 intensity scale, also as a Ristretto (25ml).


RistrettoStrength.jpg
Nespresso recommends Ristrettos on both the Naoili and Trieste. The Napoli is said to be an eleven on their strength scale, while the Trieste comes in at a nine.


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April 16, 2013

Review: Starbucks Iced Coffee

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I like cold coffee drinks and have for a long time. I had to try out Starbuck's Iced Coffee when I cruised by it today in the market. Starbucks has long been into ready to drink coffee with its Frappuccino, and DoubleShot iced espresso.

Starbucks Iced coffee comes in four varieties, with one being low calorie. I like the idea of low calorie, but elected to pick up the base "Iced Coffee" and the Caramel versions, skipping the low calories version; maybe next time. Over at Single Serve Coffee, they mentioned that Starbucks is rolling out the products in select cities, with the Caramel available from Washington DC up to Maine. The rollout nationally will continue through the rest of the year.

How does Starbucks Describe the Taste for its Iced Coffee?

  • Iced Coffee - These beans and just the right touch of sweetness create a crisp, refreshing taste. It's the perfect way to stay cool all year long.
  • Caramel - These beans plus lusciously rich caramel flavor create a refreshing, pick-me-up taste. It's the perfect way to stay cool all year long.
  • Vanilla - These beans plus satisfyingly smooth vanilla flavor create a refreshing, pick-me-up taste. It's the perfect way to stay cool all year long.
  • Low Calorie Iced Coffee - These beans and just the right touch of sweetness create a crisp, refreshing taste. It's the perfect way to stay cool all year long without the guilt.

How Many Calories in Starbucks Iced Coffee

The low calorie version is a good "in between" drink, with 50 calories per 11 ounce serving. I like that they left in some stuff to make it semi-real. When you strip out everything, it's really hard to make something taste good.

The others - Caramel and regular "Iced Coffee" have 110 calories per bottle, with the Vanilla going a little higher at 120 calories.

More after the jump....

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April 11, 2013

Caribou Coffee Closing Stores and Rebranding Others to Peet's

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Caribou Coffee is struggling, and closing 80 underperforming stores. They are also rebranding 88 others to the Peet's brand. The private equity firm who owns Caribou also owns Peet's.

Stores in several states including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The remaining 450+ locations in other states will be the focus going forward.

More at Caribou Coffee

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April 9, 2013

Shipping Today: Nespresso Napoli and Trieste Capsules

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Nespresso started shipping their Limited Edition 2013 Napoli and Trieste capsules for the Spring season. The new pair of capsules are meant to capture the coffee culture of these Italian cities with different espresso blends, roasted to bring out a bold flavor.

The Napoli capsules is a blend of South American, African and Asian beans that have a dark, complex and STRONG flavor with a bit of a Robusta finish. The capsule sis said to be an 11 on a 10 scale, much like the fabled Kazaar all Robusta blended capsule. With the Napoli, Nespresso is pushing a "Black Gold" concentrated coffee concept of taking the espresso as a Ristretto, (25ml) or an even shorter 15ml. I typically like this type of blend, so my money is on the Napoli in this kitchen for preference.

The Trieste is a bit less intense, but not by much. The Trieste capsules will be 100% Brazilian and African Arabica beans with a nutty and chocolatey flavor coming in at a 9 on the 10 intensity scale.

Order now, if they prove popular, they'll be gone soon. Price is $0.70 per capsule.

Read more about our announcement a couple of weeks ago on the first signs of the Napoli and Trieste capsules.

Order at the Nespresso Club


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April 7, 2013

KonaRed Coffee Fruit Beverage - Made with Coffee Cherries

KonaRed is a beverage that is made with the coffee cherry, or coffee fruit into a beverage focused on healthy living. The beverage is made from the coffee fruit exclusively from the islands of Hawaii, and makes a point of tracing its fruit source for a Farm to Table promise.

Interestingly the coffee fruit is said to have several anti-oxidants, which can help in several areas of a health regimen.

From the company, "Hawaiian KonaRed Coffee Fruit is extremely high in antioxidants such as, Quinic Acid-antiviral and Ferulic Acid- anti-inflammatory. The Bioavailable units measured on the ORAC scale is an astounding 2,501 per gram. That means when you consumer KonaRed the antioxidants are being absorbed at a high cellular level in your body, instead of being wasted or digested"

Check out their video.

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April 5, 2013

America's Best Coffee Shops


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If you haven't seen it, the short article and associated notes of each coffee shop is worth the read. The Daily Meal has posted a list of their favorite coffee shops around the country. I think it would have been great to visit all of these in research, but I am sure this was a team effort.

Ultimo Coffee in Philly was ranked number one, and a favorite of ours, Gimmie Coffee number two. Ironically, the coffee-love between the two top shops was already going on as Ultimo has been serving up Gimme's award winning Finca San Luis as their guest coffee of the month.

You have to love some of these shops, as you click through the winners. Familiar ones are there, and then some unfamiliar ones, with some great unique features that catch your eye, or just make your mouth water reading about their care of preparation for espresso.

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April 4, 2013

Unconfirmed: Nespresso Napoli and Trieste Coming April 10

Trieste LE Spring 2013 capsule

My sources are indicating that the new Spring Capsules from Nespresso, the Napoli and Trieste capsules will be available from Nespresso Club April 10 at the call center, and online a day earlier.

The capsules are usually announced early in the week, so we'll see, as the announcement could be as early as next Monday or Tuesday.

A lot of people have been asking "When will Nespresso's Napoli and Trieste capsules launch in the US?" - they've already launched overseas, and we usually get the news and the capsules a few weeks later. The time is ripe for a new Spring Limited Edition.

Of course, as soon as we get some in we'll post a review of the Nespresso Limited Edition Napoli and Triste capsules.

The new Limited Edition espresso capsules focus on the coffee culture of Italy, and will be packing some stiff espresso credentials, coming in high on Nespresso's intensity scale. Read more on the Nespresso's Napoli and Trieste Limited Edition Espresso Capsules.

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March 28, 2013

Coffee and Climate Change

There is an informative article that I wanted to pass along about the effects of climate change on coffee. There is a lot at stake here, and some of the potential changes might be loss of growing regains in what we know today as great coffee regions; Africa, Guatemala, and more.

With warming, you might start to see the plains of Texas emerge as a Robusta growing region like Brazil.

Even if you aren't convinced that climate change is a threat, the article talks up what's going on today to fight the emerging issue of the Coffee Rust fungus.

Worth a read at US News & World Report

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March 27, 2013

Review: Aromo ESE Espresso Pods - Boost, Bounce, Buzz and Buzz Lite

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As the snow clears off our deck, and the weather turns warm here near Boston, it's a great time to enjoy a new set of espresso pods and take in the change of seasons. Today we take a look at the Aromo ESE Espresso Pods that were sent over a few weeks back to us here at Single Serve Espresso.

Aromo covers a good space with their four different pods, including a decaf version. With a lighter blend (Buzz) to a full bodied, and complex blend (Boost), I think most espresso lovers will find something they like.

To try the range, I got one of their samplers with a nice selection of their four blends; they have a couple of different ways to try out their blend and roasting expertise. A Mixed Up sampler with 18 total pods, or a special Free sampler (just pay shipping) with a pair of all four blends. The folks at Aromo provided us the Mixed Up sampler for this review - enough for a couple of weeks' worth of espresso drink in' fun.

ESE Pods - Easy to enjoy

Recall the ESE Pod is an easy way to enjoy espresso in machines that have the ESE Pod adapter for their portafilter - most consumer espresso machines come with them. The pods are made, and foil wrapped in a pouch for convenience . Aromo can ship smaller, 18-packs for those in short-term relationships, as well as fully committed 100-packs that should last a while.

I like the ease of use, and the quick clean-up. The ESE pods make espresso something I can do in the morning or in a pinch later in the day. No grinding, no mess; rip open the pouch, put the pod in the portafilter, crank it on the machine and you are ready to go. There are folks who are not interested in pre-packaged espresso, and I can understand that, but for me, I just don't have the time in the morning to do the whole routine, but I do have the time to enjoy a shot; that's why ESE Pods work for me.

Brewing the Aromo ESE Pods

For this review, I used a Cuisinart EM200 machine for this review - it's a good go-to brewer, with plenty of brewing and heating power for my espresso.

Across the last two weeks, I have been having about a shot a day of the Aromo espresso pods, and have really enjoyed them. Overall, there is a good balance of body, acidity and roast that really screams espresso here. when you open the pouches, the coffee aroma of the pods is good; not stale with a rich chocolate and deep roasted smell that is inviting and worth a quid check each and every time.

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Good Dark espresso, with a decent nice layer

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