Saturday, April 12, 2014

Capresso EC-50 - Perfect Espresso? Easy-Peasy!



Capresso EC50


Stainless Steel EC50
Water Reservoir

"The Perfect Shot"

I have had this Capresso EC-50 for a couple of months now.

I've waited to write this review because I wanted to be absolutely sure that this machine was really as good as it appeared.  

I've been fooled before by affordable espresso machines that work well for a couple of cups and then the problems surface.

I can honestly and comfortably say, for the money, this is it.  

For 99.99 (that's under a hundred bucks), you can have perfect espresso, cappuccino, lattes and more.  

Keep your coffee shop visits to a minimum.  This thing will pay for itself in no time.

To sum it up:

  • Visually appealing
  • Not confusing
  • Minimalistic control
  • Very smooth espresso
  • Nicely finished
  • Good platform for the cups
  • Allows you to customize your espresso (allows you to add more water, less water)
  • Perfect every time


And last, but not least, even I can use it!




*(Capresso provided me with a free EC50 for the purposes of preparing this review, which in no way, has limited my complete enjoyment of this machine)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

An Interview With Paul Odom, President of Fonté Micro Coffee Roasters



I can say, without reservation that Fonté Coffee is one of the best coffees I have ever had.  Imagine my delight when I had the opportunity to "e-chat" with Fonté's Founder and President Paul Odom.



How old were you when you had your first cup of coffee?



PO:  I must have been 3 or 4 years old when I took a sip of my Father's coffee.  



I remember it being pretty bad. Today I might refer to it as sour and underdeveloped.  

I did notice that with enough sugar and milk it was much more tolerable, 
but I am purist at heart and enjoy the aroma and the flavors without adding anything else.

Where did you learn to roast coffee?

PO:  Seattle. I learned how to roast coffee on a little 25 kilo Probat I purchased 
from a failing Seattle coffee company.

Who was your coffee mentor?

PO:  Steve Smith. Without a doubt, Steve is the most tenured coffee person in Seattle.  

When I met Steve in 1992 we made a six month deal that he would show me how to roast and 
we have now been working together for 22 years.  When I first met Steve at a tasting, 
our palettes seemed to be in agreement. After talking, we also realized that our goals 
were similar too. We were both interested in focusing on the craft of coffee roasting and 
seeking out special beans to create flavor profiles that coffee lovers would appreciate.


What makes a great coffee? 

PO:  Handpicked second or third pass coffee from respected farmers. 

After that, coffee that is roasted 72 hours prior has the most fresh, vibrant taste.  
There are other important factors such as a proper grind setting, proper water to coffee ratio, 
the purity of the water with mineral content that allow for best possible taste experience.  

For me, my favorite cup of coffee is our Bin 16, primarily made up of award winning coffee 
from Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Guatemala in a French press.   
I always travel with this coffee and my French press.



What are the advantages of microroasted coffees over “big lot” coffee roasters? 

PO:  We can focus on our craft with our master roaster, who enjoys utilizing the roasters 
to perfect taste profiles which have the ability to make sure that our popular blends 
maintain consistency for customers who love their certain coffees.  

Also, Micro Roasters have fun!  We can be creative, seeking out unique, exciting small lot 
coffees around the world and share them with our coffee lover customers who want to 
experience more elaborate flavor profiles.  

We also work with individual chefs who want to create a custom blend to suit their menu.  

We don't have to sell our coffee on price,  I have found that people are willing to pay more 
for our coffee due to our distinct flavor.  This is the exciting part of the business for us!  

We have the advantage of having a creative fluidity that big lot roasters may not be able 
to afford to do due to volume or to meet profitability goals. 


What are, or do you have expansion plans for Fonté?

PO:  Because we’re a family-owned company we are very conscientious about our 
expansion plans and evaluate each opportunity with care.  

We are looking to open more bars in Seattle and have always been interested in adding 
a Fonté Coffee bars in San Francisco, LA and New York City.



Where can we find Fonté outside of the Seattle/Washington area?

PO:  We have clients throughout the United States.  

Our clients are primarily luxury hotels and resorts, some that have famous chefs presiding 
over their restaurants, as well as owner operated coffee bars that we feel have panache 
and style everywhere from Los Angeles to New York, Las Vegas and more.  
We love working with these creative people!    

Our clients are listed on our website at fontecoffee.com.  

We also have a presence with Sur La Table at surlatable.com  and 
Amazon Fresh at amazonfresh.com.

What’s your preference – light roast or dark roast? 

PO:  prefer the right roast, depending on the coffee it’s safe to say during second crack.  


 
Paul Odom




Steve Smith

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Yuban Single Serve - Who Knew?




Who knew that lurking in the aisle of my neighborhood chain drug store would be one of my "new" favorite single-serve coffees?

I walked into the store and picked up the weekly ad and saw that coffee was on sale for 5.99 for 12 single serve cups.  I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I realized it was Yuban coffee!

 I didn't even know Yuban came in a single serve.  

It may be "new," but, it's still got the same old flavor that I remembered.

I'm not too elitist to say that some of the best coffees are the old-timers.

I'm happy to see that Yuban has "reinvented" itself and entered the single-serve game.  It's all about staying relevant, without compromising yourself just to be "en vogue."

Perfect for that end of the day "light and easy cup," just before I settle down to watch mindless TV!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Put Down the Phone and Pick Up A Cup!

PUT DOWN THE PHONE AND PICK UP A CUP!!

We hear so much about texting and talking while driving, but what about those people who can't seem to take a coffee or lunch break without their telephones up to their ears?

Honestly, I like a good phone conversation as well as the next person, but I think it's all gotten a bit out of control.  Like where do we go from here?

I was walking back from lunch the other day and realized that no one was paying attention to their surroundings, the traffic signals, the other pedestrians, the elderly, disabled, pets and babies.  People are completely addicted to their smart phones, which isn't so smart, sometimes.

I tend to not walk and talk because I don't want to get distracted and step out into traffic or become the victim of a "snatch and grab" which is not at all uncommon in large cities.

So, I thought, "What if everyone decided to, for one day only, not use their cell phones during lunch or break and instead find a nice coffee shop and have a cup of coffee and a cookie or sandwich or other snack?"  Wouldn't that be a great way to decompress without that constant need to be "connected?"

Just to literally "dial it back."

I have a feeling that we might realize that there are better ways to connect with people than by phone.  There's a good chance you might make a new friend or business contact over coffee without using any data or cell plan.

Will you accept the challenge?  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cheating on Coffee with My New "Crush" - Teavana Marshmallow Macaron

Teavana Marshmallow Macaron Herbal Tea

Coffee, I will never leave you.  

But, there are some teas that just know how to initiate a love affair before you even know it has started.

Every night for the past few days, I've craved the new Marshmallow Macaron herbal tea from Teavana.  

Teavana is one of those places where you have to be careful.  You're walking through the mall, minding your own business, and bam out of nowhere you see those big dispensers saying "Free Sample."

You come in for a sniff and leave with a hole in your pocket.  So many options!

This tea actually tastes like Marshmallow and Macaron!  Don't know how they did it.  There's even little marshmallows in the tea.

It looks like trail mix!  But, it's tea.

I love my coffee but this stuff is creeping into my bedroom at night!

Can't fight it?  Steep it.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Peet's Columbia Nabusimake Fair Trade Organic Coffee

Peet's Columbia Nabusimake

I feel bad telling you about one of the best coffees of the year from Peet's when they've already roasted their last batch.  Final roast was March 18th.

It's been a crazy work-week and I hadn't had time to let you know.  But, there is a very good chance that there is still some of this great stuff in your local Peet's coffee shop.

Columbia Nabusimake is "fair," as in fair trade, but also "fair" as in "fairly balanced."  The perfect amount of "pow" combined with the perfect amount of "just right" to make this chocolate-y, robust blend bold but not too bold.

You can no longer purchase it online, but there is absolutely nothing stopping you from visiting every Peet's within a 40 mile radius of your home until you find it.  It's the weekend.  The perfect time for a "coffee hunt."

Peet's Columbia Nabusimake (organic and fair roast) - a limited offering - available only in select Peet's coffee shops.