January 10, 2013

Bialetti Mini Express Single Serve Espresso Machine


Most people know Bialetti for its iconic Moka Pot brewer that boils water in the bottom, forcing it up through the espresso cake and into the top reservoir. It brews at about 2-3 bar and makes a decently strong cup of coffee/espresso. They have also announced a new single serve brewer that uses capsules to brew espresso at 20 bar, giving users the espresso flavor, look and taste that they look for these days.

The Bialetti Mini Express espresso machine is designed to fit in a small space, and give great authentic flavor brew after brew. The 20 bar extraction system assures a great extraction every time, with plenty of crema and flavor in each cup. There is a 20 ounce reservoir, and a spent capsule bin that holds up to 10 used capsules.

There are five capsule varieties available, including:

  • Milano - "An espresso that is always smooth and light-bodied,with a pleasing aroma." this is a light and balanced espresso.
  • Venzia -"A round and delicate espresso, with rich vanilla accents." Light with a vanilla note.
  • Roma - "An intoxicating coffee aroma with a rich, bold taste. " Strong profile with dried fruit notes.
  • Napoli - "A full-bodied and intense espresso, with a unique aroma." Full flavored with a hearty body and full finish. I would suspect this has a hint of robusta in it to give the full body and flavor finish.
  • Italia Deca (Decaf) - " A decaffeinated aromatic coffee with a velvety, enveloping texture." Medium to light body.

This machine and capsules are different than the iconic but weird Bialetti Mokona single serve espresso machine.   

On sale now at a discounted $149 at the Bialetti Shop

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January 6, 2013

Nespresso Capsules Upcycled to Watches


While you may be good about recycling, are you up cycling things around your house to new uses? I've been using the Outpresso to recycle my Nespresso Capsules, but I never thought I would see a watch face made from a crushed Nespresso capsule. The flattened capsule forms a uniquely designed face of a beautiful wrist watch. Each one is slightly different given the crushing behavior of the used capsules.

The watchmaker, Blacier, uses a hand winding mechanism, and proudly displays the non-battery, green state of their watch's mechanism via the clear glass back plate. The hand winding should last for approximately 42 hours according to their website, so daily winding is recommended.

Cost of the Blancier watches start at 495 Euros…. at Blancier Watches - Grand Cru Watch

Another way Nespresso Capsules are being used is that they are being recycled into Pixie side panels. Seems like a nice closed loop system…..

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January 1, 2013

Resolution: 5 Ways to Learn More About Coffee

There are tons of resolutions out there; most made to be broken. One that might stand a better chance is to learn more about coffee, its origins, roasting techniques and how to be a better brewer.

Your odds of keeping this resolution are probably better than let's say losing those twenty pounds….

Here are a few ideas to kickstart the process:

  1. Learn how to cup coffee - cupping is easy, and fun, we've written about the flavor wheel, and if you have a high quality coffee roaster/cafe near you they might even help you learn. We've been to cupping sessions at Gimme Coffee (Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine), where they walk you through the process. If you are a regular at a local coffee shop, they might run a session just for you and a few friends for some kind of consideration.
  2. Read About Coffee - might sound boring, but learning the differences between Robusta, and Arabica is important to understand how to get a great cup of coffee, and why Robusta isn't all bad. You might start with a book like: Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee, or simply a magazine like Roast, an industry zine that talks to roasters and conneseurs alike. They have a few articles available each issue for free at the Roast Magazine website
  3. Find a locally Roasted Coffee - a lot of people are happy to drink pre-packaged coffee from the grocery store, or pre-dosed single serve capsules fro single serve brewers, but tasting locally roasted coffees hours or days after roasting is a vastly different experience. Buy a couple of roasts that are of different origin, brew them up and look for the differences. Learn what you like, and what you don't. If the coffee is really fresh, drink it over a week's time and notice how it changes. We have a local roaster who sells at our local farmer's market. Not always my favorite type of coffee, but always fresh and amazing to taste.
  4. Buy Cup of Excellence Coffee - Cup of Excellence is a program to recognize, and auction off some of the best coffees grown in the world. Several roasters sell these highly regarded coffees, and pay dearly for the micro-lots that are truly some of the best in the world. Search the CoE directory for a Roaster, read up on their available coffee and mail order it.
  5. Brew in a new way - Not all of us can buy a new Marzocco espresso maker, but trying a new brew method might just help you learn more about how the brew method changes the coffee flavor. There is a french press, a pour over cone(not only plain cones, but something like a Chemex Drip Coffee Carafe , a pour over cone with a steep time (Clever Coffee Dripper), Espresso (of course), electric or stove-top percolator (yes, this is worth trying to experience the body that develops in this brew method), a Moka Pot espresso type. or even an Ibrik/Turkish Coffee Pot. Lots of methods, each with its own flavor appeal, and a way to appreciate the art of the brew just a little more.

Happy New Year.

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December 21, 2012

Battery Operated Espresso Machine - Coffee on the way to the Apocalypse


Ok, so maybe the world isn't ending yet, but just in case things start to fall apart, you can bring your battery operated espresso machine with you. This new item is a battery operated espresso machine from Trisa Electronics delivers about 16 shots before the end of the battery's life.

With a 350ml reservoir, the machine will be good for 7-8 shots. It can take an ESE espresso pod, making this an easier on-the-go experience. If you need a quick charge, a 12v power cord helps out in a pinch if your car is still working wherever you are.

Retail price is about $550.

Via the Appliancist

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December 19, 2012

Krups 5280 Stainless Steel Espresso Machine


A lot of consumers are looking for a machine that provides some authentic pump-extracted espresso, with a minimum amount of work to get high quality results. With a machine like the Krups EA5280, preparing a good espresso comes easy. We aren't talking about high-end customized extraction here, but we are talking about good espresso from your own ground coffee, in an easy to use package.

Krups EA5280 includes a feature to tamp the ground coffee, called Precise Tamp, that reportedly sets the right pressure on the grounds before extracting. This is less important in a consumer model than it is at your local barista's, but it adds to the confidence that your espressos are going to be great.

The Krups EA5280 also includes a portafilter that can use ESE espresso pods, an easy to use steam wand, and a 15-bar pump. Comes in a nice looking stainless steel.

UPDATE: Price is about half off right now at Amazon; $192 down from $399 list price.

At Amazon - KRUPS XP5280 Pump Espresso Machine

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December 18, 2012

Don't Forget the Espresso Cups


Espresso machines are great, and if you;re giving one as a gift, maybe you should grab an espresso cup or something to put that new latte in it. Here are a few ideas to help out.

  • Bodum Pavina(or any Bodum glass line) - these are made from lab glass, and are handblown. Your creation looks oh, so cool in it. The beverages float in the doubles walls. Dishwasher safe. Get the Espresso ones for an espresso lover and maybe the 12-ounce for the Latte variety. These are really my "go-to" cup/glass on a daily basis.
  • "Espresso" Cups - these are simple espresso cups that have "ESPRESSO" written across them in black and white. A fun design take on the espresso cup.
  • nespressocupglass.jpg
  • Illy Art Cups - usually pretty stunning in their design, and often collected, these cups are designed by world renowned artists and issued annually. There are some less expensive and classic standard illy cups in their collection too. One of this year's art cups is shown above.
  • Nespresso Cups for the Nespresso lover - If you have a Nespresso machine, and love the system, try their cups too. They currently have the clear glass ones available at the Nespresso Club.

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December 14, 2012

Special on CBTL Americano - Free Capsules with Purchase


CBTL and Target are running a special - buy a CBTL Americano and get four free boxes of capsules. That's worth about $45. The CBTL Americano brews the CBTL capsules which come in several coffee and espresso varieties as well as several flavors of tea. I like the Premium Espresso the best for its slightly sweet and caramelized flavors.

Below you can see the price tag at Target for the CBTL brewer, and the special offer for free capsules.


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Buy a Nespresso Machine - Get $100 in Capsules


Nespresso has a deal going on right now that will give you a $100 credit from the Nespresso Club store after buying a Nespresso Machine for $199 and above. The special runs from 11/23 through 1/21/13.

Nespresso has 16 Grand Crus to choose from, and delivers to your house in a couple of business days. I've been pretty happy with my deliveries, and after running through the sampler that comes with the machine, you can pretty much nail it down to one or two that you like, and grab a few boxes of them in the first order.

Eligible machines include; The narrow and sleek Nespresso Citiz, the even smaller Nespresso Pixie, the espresso and latte brewing Lattissima Plus, The big and powerful Nespresso Maestria. The Nespresso U is technically eligible, but watch out; Amazon sells it for $198.95, five cents less than Nespresso's stated $199 floor. Not sure if this makes a big difference, but I'd hate to lose out on $100 of free capsules over five cents. Nespresso does list the New Nespresso U as one of the potential machines, but I am not sure about the requirements on your proof of purchase and how they might check the purchase amount.

See more at the Nespresso Rewards page where you enter your information for the credit. The credit is good for one year after you receive it.

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December 11, 2012

Keurig Rivo - Espresso Machine System - Video

Keurig is no stranger to brewed coffee, but they aren't well known for their work in espresso. They announced earlier this year that they are working with Lavazza, the famed Italian coffee company to bring an espresso system to market in the US that uses Lavazza coffee, and a milk frothing system to address the US market tastes.

The Keurig Rivo Machine

With 15-bars of pressure, the Rivo brings out coffee flavors like only pressure can, leaving a née creme on top. The capsules, in several different espresso varieties, are from Lavazza, including Intenso, Classico, Delicato and Decaf.

Using fresh milk the frothing is going to take place in a sidecar, letting you manually pour the milk from the carafe into your cup. not elegant, but it works.

Brewing the espresso gives you the push button choice of shorts and longs, and brews in under a minute. the reservoir is on the side, where it is easy to refill.

Check out the Keurig promo video below of the Keurig Rivo:

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December 6, 2012

Review: Cafe Vergnano Nespresso Compatible Capsules


We recently talked about Cafe Vergnano Nespresso Compatible Capsules in Australia and they are now available in a limited fashion at some Bed Bath and Beyonds.

There are several Nespresso compatible capsules on the Euro market: Sara Lee's L'Or EspressO, Denner, and Ethical Coffee. You may also be able to refill your own stainless steel capsule in the near future.

More after the jump…..

ArrowContinue reading: "Review: Cafe Vergnano Nespresso Compatible Capsules"

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