Recipe: Madcap Bellini

While the traditional Bellini utilizes Prosecco, a sweeter Italian version of the white wine bubbly variety, and peach puree, we liked the idea of pairing the more crisp Spanish take on bubbly, Cava, with a sweeter syrup. This lovely cocktail is an arguably perfect accoutrement to your New Year’s Eve festivities this evening.

Ingredients

Directions

Pour the peach syrup into a flute to taste — it varied here between 1/2 oz. to 1 oz., depending on the level of sweetness people preferred — then top with Cava. Toast, sip, celebrate!

Hot Blog on Blog Action: Daniel’s World of Coffee

If you’re looking for a little perspective on the specialty coffee industry, head on over to Daniel’s World of Coffee.

Written by a coffee connoisseur and professional in the specialty coffee industry, Daniel Humphries, the blog discusses everything from different kinds of coffee varieties to roasting technique to a favorite cuppa to just plain caffeinated rumination.

It’s a fun read and we often glean a few tips, tricks and facts from it each time we take a gander. He’s also got some great educational videos that show cuppings, classes and his thoughts on certain coffee-related subjects. Enjoy!

An Oldie but Goodie: The Saeco Incanto Classic

Would it be glib to say it’s called Classic for a reason? Probably, but we’re going to go with it anyway! The Incanto Classic is basically the newest, freshest version of the old Saeco Incanto SBS machines that we were refurbishing during much of 2009. They were so popular that we worked with Saeco USA to import a batch of the new Classics and we have them up for sale.

More reviews and a video to come, but definitely worth checking out. The steel construction is an anomaly in the superautomatic world, so that merits a second look in and of itself. With the same programming features/interface as the SBS and the Saeco Brewing System functionality, it gives you a lot of flexibility, but doesn’t require you to be a computer programmer to get a cup of coffee in the morning. And if you are a computer programmer, they do provide a great instruction manual that’s easy to follow. ;)

So, watch this space for more reviews/videos on the recently revamped Incanto Classic!

Crew Review: Ascaso Uno Professional with PID

Ascaso has just introduced a new version of their Uno Professional machines, this one comes standard with a PID interface. The PID gives you temperature control over the single boiler, so you can dial it in and manage it better for making excellent shots. The new version also features a side-access water tank (no reaching over the top) but lacks one of our favorite Ascaso features, the low water reservoir sensor.

Watch Gail as she walks us through the features, pulls a shot and steams up some milk on the new Ascaso Uno Professional with PID.

Crew Review: Ascaso Uno & Duo Series Comparison

Ascaso has released new iterations of their Uno and Duo series, adding an automatic Duo, as well, called the Tronic. In this video, Gail talks to us about the machines upgrades, how they differ from each other and their pros & cons.

Recipe: Make Me Blush

One of the best things about the holidays is having your pals over and serving up fun and exciting cocktails for their experimental delight. For us it is, anyway. Here’s a new member of our repertoire, featuring the ever-sumptuous pomegranate syrup — a deep, rich red that’s perfect for this time of year. Bottoms up!

Ingredients

Directions

Shake ingredients well & strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime for a little extra holiday spirit.

Health Watch: Coffee & Diabetes

A recent meta-analysis of 18 different studies revealed that the intake of coffee and tea (both caffeinated and decaffeinated) reduced the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, a form typically developed later in life.

The Archives of Internal Medicine evaluated studies that involved nearly 500,000 people and determined that there was a common link between people who drank 3 – 4 cups of coffee or tea per day and people who had a decreased chance — by a 5th or more — of developing this type of diabetes, sometimes referred to as ‘Adult Onset.’ Unlike the form often diagnosed in childhood, in which the patient does not produce insulin, Type 2 sufferers often produce insulin, but their cellular insulin receptors are unable to process both insulin and the sugars to which it attaches during metabolism.

Further analysis will be performed to confirm the findings, but preliminary reports suggest that each cup of coffee or tea per day can cut the chances of developing the disease by a multiple of 7%. So, you just have to drink about 14 cups a day, and you’re covered.

Snippet o’ Reg

We recently ran across this news story from a few years ago on Reg Barber, his history and a bit of his manufacturing in Victoria, BC, Canada. It’s great to see where these beautiful tampers come from, and it’s a nice reminder of why investing in a handmade accessory is always a good thing.

One of these days, maybe Reg will let us up there to tour his factory! Stay tuned.

Caffeine, Asian Style

We love reading about the different caffeinated traditions around the world — from Italy to Ethiopia, Argentina to Montreal — so when we ran across this excellent profile in the Wall Street Journal that discusses the best coffee available in different parts of Asia, we were captivated!

Including detail on the history of coffee in different regions and then providing some tips on where to find a good cup in Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan, the writers give great insight into the role that coffee plays in the life of these countries. Definitely worth the read.