Related entries in Accessories

I will quite openly admit that I don’t know much about tamping, and tampers in specific. What makes one tamper better than the other? Not sure, want to research.

But as far as attractiveness goes, this one did catch my eye:

I also think I’m partial to ones that are more natural looking - you know, wood or steel or things like that. Granted, I’d need one seriously high end espresso machine to warrant this puppy, but maybe it’d be an appropriate decorative piece given our passion.

Via kitchen contraptions

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Coffee for Christmas

Related entries in Fun with coffee, Recipes with Coffee

Here are some ways to bring the warmth of Christmas together with, what else, coffee:

- toss some chocolate covered coffee beans into stockings as the best morning treat

- make a coffee cake the night before to nibble on in the morning

- try some coffee pancakes - just add 1 tsp instant coffee to your flour when mixing. Not the best coffee, but the flavour is there.

- Jazz up your coffee - add peppermint or gingerbread or eggnog syrup to your drip, your americano, your mocha, your latte or your whatever

- whip up some heated eggnot and toss it into your coffee, topping off with some yummy nutmeg

- Brew some spiced coffee

Spiced Coffee Recipe (french press)

6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 nutmeg, cut into halves

1. Add the nutmeg and cloves to your french press and brew along with your coffee

2. Pour finished brew into cups with a cinnamon stick each

And Merry Christmas!!

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Coffee Music

Related entries in Fun with coffee

Who would think there would be so many songs about coffee? Locust St. has all the coffee songs listed for your mp3 listening pleasure…

Bob Dylan, One More Cup of Coffee.
Emmett Miller, You’re the Cream in My Coffee.
The Boswell Sisters, Coffee in the Morning and Kisses in the Night.
Jaybird Coleman, Coffee Grinder Blues.
Serge Gainsbourg, Couleur Cafe.
J.S. Bach, "Ei, Wie Schmeckt" (from the Coffee Cantata).


Via J-Walk

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Coffe at Microsoft

Related entries in Coffee Experiences, Coffee Opinion, Coffee Reviews, Coffee around the world

Robert Scoble points to a new Microsoft employee talking about his experience of his first six weeks working there. What may interest you is what he says about the coffee that Microsoft provides for his employees:

First, something negative that I hadn’t expected: the coffee. It sucks, all over the Redmond campus. I would never have thought that a company managed like Microsoft would be incapable of providing decent coffee to its employees. But it’s true. This stuff is gut-wrenching bad. Coffee-addict-repulsing bad.

Read the rest at Doug’s World.

Time for peppermint

Related entries in Other Drinks, Recipes with Coffee

Christmas is a time for many yummy things. But, to me, it’s a time for peppermint. For peppermint Americano. Peppermint mocha. Peppermint hot chocolate. And peppermint steamed milk.

I keep some peppermint in the cupboard for just those occasions. I am topping off my latest steamed milk a la peppermint.

You’d truly be surprised how well peppermint goes with so many things!

Mulling Spices Recipe & Mulled Apple Cider/Wine

Related entries in Other Drinks

To kick of Christmas and the decoration of our tree last week, we made some mulled cider. Here is how:

Mulling Spices

1 mandarin orange, or other orange

6 cardamom pods

1 tbsp cloves, whole

1 tbsp allspice, whole

12 cinnamon sticks of a small-average size

1. Eat orange but keep skin

2. Bake orange skin in toaster oven on 400degrees until golden and hard, but not brittle and burned

3. In a mortar, open cardamom pods and remove seeds. Crush some, but not all, to release flavour but not make into dust

4. Add remaining spices along with 1 tsp of orange peel, broken into little bits (reserve remaining skin for your next batch)

5. Tie into cheesecloth or like bag so it can be used in mulling. You can also use a few tea strainers in the same way. Cinnamon sticks can go free.

Mulled Cider or Mulled Wine

4L of apple cider or wine*

1. Dump the cider/wine into a large pot

2. Add mulling spices (in bag or tea balls) and cinnamon sticks. Heat to boil and simmer 25 minutes or more.

3. Serve warm.

*Note, you can use all of this at once, or do 4 smaller batches of 1L each.

Coca Cola Blak bottle

Related entries in Other Drinks

Here is what the Coca Cola Blak bottle looks like:

Kind of unusual for coke to make the bottle fully opaque, but it is fairly attractive. Almost feels Sci-Fi.

Via wikipedia

Pepsi Cappuccino

Related entries in Other Drinks

In the footsteps of Coca-Cola Blak, Pepsi has released a new product: Pepsi Cappuccino.

Not sure which came first, but in terms of markets, Pepsi is only launched in certain test countries such as Russia and Romania right now. I think Pepsi used to have a coffee-type product a long time ago, but it didn’t work out for them.

Via Strange New Products

Coca Cola Blak - Coke with Coffee

Related entries in Coffee news, Other Drinks

Coca-Cola announced a new product that combines Coca-Cola with coffee. This new product, termed “Coca-Cola Blak” seems a little crazy. We don’t really need any more caffeine in Coke.

Oh well, I guess it would taste better than Red Bull, if that’s what they’re aiming for.

The new drink, a combination of Coca-Cola Classic and coffee extracts, will be first launched in France in January before being rolled out in the United States and other markets during 2006.

A Coke spokesperson said Coca-Cola Blak will be a mid-calorie drink, similar to Coca-Cola C2, which was launched in April 2004 and contains half the sugar, calories and carbohydrates of regular colas. The formula for the new beverage is expected to vary based on local tastes.

Analysts have said one of the keys to the company’s future is capturing more consumers who have moved away from sugary soft drinks to diet versions, or to healthier low- or no-calorie beverages.

Via Strange New Products & ABC News

The Smart Lid

Related entries in Cups & Mugs

The Smart Lid is a new innovation in disposable beverage lids that tells the consumer if the lid is on correctly and if the beverage is hot - it goes from brown to red when placed on, then cools to brown when the liquid becomes less hot. The bottom of the lid will stay brown if, and only if, the lid is on correctly.

Neat application. I’m still more for advocating innovation in the green area - with biodegradable products mostly - than for more plastic. But, it is innovative.

Rancilio Espresso Machine for Sale

Related entries in Coffee Machines

I got an email yesterday from Mike, who has had to recently close a cafe here in Vancouver. He’s looking to sell his Rancillo Espresso Machine, but hasn’t had any takers so far. So, I offered to post the details for him, to see if that would help.

Rancilio Classe 10 SDE, Automatic espresso machine, stainless steel casing, with two filter groups, manual steam and automatic TSC, two hot water nozzles.

This machine is less than a year old, purchased December 2004 and used moderately for nine months in a small independent coffee bar. It has been well taken care of, cleaned every working day and serviced recently to replace rubber seals in filter group. Unfortunately, we had to close our shop and want to find a good home for our baby as we simply don’t have space for it at home.

Hooks up to water supply, drain hose at bottom to drain into catch bucket or hook up to drainage system. Runs on 220 V power supply.

Comes complete with three (3) chrome-plated copper portafilters - two double, one single, filter cleaning discs, cleaning brush, TSC cleaning hose, and instruction manuals.

What is the TSC?

An automatic steaming wand, with separate buttons to produce steamed milk for lattes or cappuccinos. Just put the right amount of milk into the steaming pitcher, place the pitcher on the rack with the TSC in the milk, and press the desired button. The machine will even remind you to purge the TSC afterward, which is accomplished by pressing either of the two steaming buttons.

Is it easy to clean?

Extremely! The Classe 10 has automated cleaning cycles, eliminating a lot of the tedious manual work. Most notably, the automatic backflush feature… load the cleaning discs right into the filter holders, add a bit of Purocaff coffee cleaner (or equivalent) load them into the groups and start the cleaning cycle… the machine will clean each group in alternating cycles.

Cleaning the TSC is also easy. You attach the small cleaning tube to the intake nozzle, add cold water to a 1 litre pitcher, add Purocaff (or equivalent) dairy cleaner, place the tube and the TSC in the pitcher of water, and start the TSC cleaning cycle. After a moment, you just need to replace the used water with fresh cold clean water for the rinse… and a couple of minutes later you’re done!

What is this machine worth when brand new?

The Classe 10 SDE normally retails at about $8500 US/$10,000 Canadian.

Contact Mike for details.

Starbucks doing celebrity product placement

Related entries in Coffee news

One of my fellow b5ers, Gayla, caught this news before I did. A new tactic by Starbucks. Now, we know that Starbucks has primarily built itself off viral marketing - stuff on the streets, word of mouth, and most nontraditional marketing efforts. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that they have co-opted the huge attention being placed on Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner (”Bennifer”) by offering them a sponsorship contract.

Considering that people are absolutely obsessed with Jennifer’s upcoming baby, often posting every picture out there as a “bump watch”, being the favorite mom-to-be, and that their relationship is very hot in the news, a product placement comes at a good time. I’m sure it hasn’t slipped the minds of the marketers behind this that placing a large Starbucks cup in Jennifer’s hand while pregnant could potentially get them more to-be or nursing mothers, who might otherwise stay away. It’s all about image.

A Lowdown spy reports that the caffeinated couple has snagged an exclusive “seven-figure” contract with Starbucks Coffee Co. to drink, be photographed with and generally promote the popular java around the country.

“It’s a relatively new deal,” says the insider. “And considering how often they are photographed with the stuff, I’d say they’re working pretty hard.”

Bennifer II - who married in June and are expecting a baby girl any day - are rarely seen in public without their trademark oversize cups emblazoned with the ubiquitous Starbucks logo. And with his career in the dregs and hers on hold, a hefty endorsement deal could be just their cup.

Of course, the rumors are being denied, as they would even if they were true. Guerilla marketing is guerilla for a reason.

Pic via popsugar

Solar Roast

Related entries in Coffee Machines, Coffee around the world, Fun with coffee

Solar Roast is a roasting company in Oregon that uses 100% organic and fair trade coffee and uses most "Earth Friendly" roasting methods. They can claim this because their roaster doesn’t use any fossil fuels: it uses the sun.

Roast Master Michael Hartkop wanted to create a truly organic roasting method and with the help of his brother David they built Helios.

Helios uses a 10 foot solar collector to focus the sun’s rays onto a drum roaster. This is enough to reach temperatures of 600 degrees Farenheit. The mirrors automatically track the sun, using solar power for the electronics, making roasting possible all day long. Of course, this only works on sunny days, so roasting during winter in the Pacific Northwest is a bit of a challenge.

They have a nice list of single origins and blends, but they seem to be out of stock right now. I’ll give them a try in a few months, when the sun comes out again.

Coffee in Disneyland

Related entries in Coffee Experiences, Coffee Reviews, Coffee around the world

Yep, I held true to the reviewing thing. I actually tried coffee from Disneyland. *shudder*

Oh, it was not fun, let me tell you. We went to what looked like the most “main” in terms of coffee at Disneyland, the Blue Ribbon Bakery on Mainstreet.


Now, the first clue here is that the cafe is sponsored by, and served by, Nestle. Oy. I was in for it there. Well, I decided to get an Americano, and Ianiv a plain old drip coffee. Can you tell which is which?


Well, the one on the left was the Americano. And you can see me trying below. What you don’t see is the grimace on my face. Oh my. I have to say it was as bad as any coffee from a random gas station that was brewed 4 hours ago kind of thing. And it was watery. So watery. Skimping on pennies for sure. Ianiv’s was a tad more horrible, and perhaps even more watery. Lovely.


Restore your coffee grinder

Related entries in Grinders

Although mechanical grinders are really great for grinding your coffee at home (we have one!), they can break down.

This guy found an old grinder at an antique store and decided to restore it. Took it apart and fixed it. And shared the pictures and how to.

Check it out here.

Via Make