Review: Starbucks Discoveries - Chilled Espresso Beverage (Caffe Mocha, Caramel Macchiato, Vanilla Latte)

Starbucks Discoveries At Grocery

Starbucks has launched its Starbucks Discoveries series of products with partner Pepsi to bring three flavored coffee drinks in ready to drink form to you grocer's chilled section. We thought we'd Review them and give you a snapshot of another cool summer coffee drink.

The 1.5 liter (1.49 actually) packs look different, and come with a screw cap that unleashes the Vanilla Latte, Carmel Macchiato (you need to supply your own "Macchiato"), and Caffe Mocha. The carton is notable because it's some masterpiece of packaging shape; who knew a machine could fold something like this. It's not a regular gable top carton; it's some

My world needs more coffee, and Starbucks Discoveries are a pretty good fit. The flavors are not stand-out, but the drink is a bit indulgent, and sweet, with a hint of the signature flavor at the end. Mocha has a bit of a lingering chocolate flavor, while the caramel has a bit of a salty sweet caramel flavor. Not bad, but it doesn't scream coffee…… at all. Maybe it whispers coffee at best. It doesn't hit you over the head with sweetness either, so maybe a decent balance.

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July 3, 2013

Nespresso Variations: Masala Chai for ths US


Nespresso has announced that the results of its consumer vote are in, and one of the Variations flavors this year will be Masala Chai. Sounds like a pretty new flavor choice, and was run off Masala Chai, Cioccorosso, and Liminto. The voting was conducted worldwide where nespresso does business, and in the US, and a few other countries Masala Chai won. Across most of Europe and in many other countries the Cioccorosso came out on top.

Masala Chai is an obvious blend of typical chai spices into the Livanto base for the Variations. The Cioccorosso is a blend of chocolate and red fruit flavors. Both sound pretty good, and with both going to production, I'd like to try both.

Look for the 2012 Variations coming out in late November here in the US.

Check out the worldwide results at Nespresso Variations

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May 28, 2013

5 Tips for Great Iced Coffee this Summer


We drink a lot of coffee, and if you're at a blog on espresso, you probably do to. Not everyone drinks hot coffee all summer long, and with the first heat wave of the season coming this week, we thought we'd offer a few tips on getting a cool treat in a coffee kind of way.

  1. Skip the ready to drink variety from the store - they generally taste the same, and are not as fresh as your own, generally cost more and it wasn't heat processed like a moon rock.
  2. Choose an all Arabica blend - the "traditional" blends of espresso include Robusta coffee, which while I love that full bodied dark flavor in hot espresso, it comes across as a bit of rank pungency in an iced coffee.
  3. Get a pair of these glasses - they are different, and can handle hot and cold drinks. I brew right into them and ice. The special glasses make the occasion.
  4. Keep a little cream in the fridge as a treat for "chill" weekends - espresso over the rocks with a splash of cream is an excellent indulgence.
  5. Try something new - drinking iced coffee is different and you might like a different blend hot than cold. Variety is the spice of life.

Cheers; see you on the balcony/patio/deck or in the park.

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May 22, 2013

Nespresso CEO Talks Expansion in the US and China

The WSJ had a conversation with Nespresso's CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin to talk about Nespresso's plans, and hurdles in the global marketplace. At a high level, Nespresso is using George Clooney in Europe as their spokesman as he supports a more mature market, while Penelope Cruz is the spokesperson in the US, where the market is just developing.

Nespresso has hit some speed bumps with competition getting around their patent fortress, and while that creates some headwinds, Duvosin is kind in his words indicating that competition is good. I think the PR spokesperson took care of that for him.

Finally, Nespresso expects that they will continue to expand in the US, and start to expand in China, noting that China will be a slow and steady expansion.

Read the whole interview at the WSJ

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May 1, 2013

Great Espresso Video - Taking a Coffee Break

In the tradition of Stomp, this video takes a walk through a simple coffee break in the Sanremo UK shipping dock. This maker of espresso machines takes a fun look at what that coffee break might sound like.

Via Giz

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April 30, 2013

Illy Recipe Contest


Illy has a recipe contest up on their Facebook page. You'll need to create your best recipe and submit it to win one of the fabulous prizes…. channeling some hawker mojo here. The best recipes will go into their seasonal recipe book.

Once you like them, and submit your amazing recipe, you'll be eligible to win a Francis Francis X7.1 iperEspresso Machine, one (1) can of iperEspresso Medium Roast Capsules, one (1) can of Ground Drip Coffee Medium Roast, one (1) set of four (4) illy Logo Cappuccino Cups and one (1) set of four (4) illy Logo Espresso Cups.

More at:

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April 25, 2013

Nespresso Loses Patent Battle to Dualit in UK

Nespresso has long battled for patent control over what goes into its machines, and the UK just ruled for Dualit, and will allow them to continue to sell their Dualit capsules in the UK under the Dualit NX name.

This comes months after a German court ruled that compatible capsules can be sold there without infringement issues on Nestle patents.

Tough day in court for the coffee giant who sells billions per year in the Nespresso unit, who just broke ground on a third Nespresso Capsule manufacturing center.

Below is a quick video from the folks at Aromo Coffee showing the Dualit capsules.

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April 24, 2013

How to Set the Brew Size on Nespresso Machines (and reset it)

It's easy to set a new brew size on most automatic Nespresso machines. These are the machines where you can hit the button, and the machine shuts off when it reaches the right pour size. This usually includes Citiz, Pixie, Latissima+, and more.

How to Customize your Brew Volume

If you decide that you want to alter the size of the espresso shot, you can easily create a new "espresso" and "lungo" setting for yourself in a few simple steps:

  1. Insert Capsule in machine to brew.
  2. Press and HOLD the desired brew button that you want to alter the brew volume on
  3. When the Espresso shot gets to the desired level, release the button.
  4. You now have set a custom brew size that will allow you to get that brew volume each and every time you brew.

How to Reset your Nespresso Machine

Okay, so you don't like that brew volume setting anymore, or you accidentally set it to some insane level, it's easy to return the Citiz to the factory settings. Again a few easy steps:

  1. Switch the machine off
  2. Press and hold the "Lungo" brew button
  3. Switch the machine on
  4. Release the Lungo button

Yes, it's that easy.

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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


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).

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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