Crew Review: Mahlkonig Pro M Grinder

We were recently given the opportunity to test out the Pro M grinder from Mahlkonig, a commercial-grade grinder manufacturer well-known throughout the pro coffee community, but with grinders that are generally too big, size-wise, for the average home kitchen. The Pro M, however, is petite and powerful — we really loved its design and performance and hope to carry it in the future.

Recipe: Sleep with the Fishes!

If you’re having a rough time of it and are unable to find dreamtime no matter where you look, incorporating a little bit of the good ol’ snooze-inducer tryptophan into your evening routine may be the answer. And who wants just plain old warm milk these days? Trick it up with this lovely sugar free recipe that is certain to warm your belly and send you to sleepyville.



Steam milk using your espresso machine or warm it over the stove/in the microwave. Mix together the sauce and the syrup, pour in a bit of the milk and thoroughly incorporate, then top with the remaining milk. Climb into bed, sip it slowly and then dream big.

Cupping Velton’s Single Origin Coffees

We’ve been offering Velton’s Single Origins coffees via our roast-to-order program for several months now, and we just recently rotated out one available option for a new one: The Ethiopian Sidamo Moredocofe was cycled out to make room for the new Peru Pichanaki. This new variety is full bodied with a very sweet and buttery-smooth flavor. It has a spicy tropical fruit and clean sugary-citrus finish — and we love it!

Since we hadn’t cupped these on camera before, we thought that the introduction of a new option deserved a tasting review. Watch as the crew (+ Velton) tastes the Guatemala Huehuetenango, Costa Rica Tarrazu and Peru Pichanaki. Tripleyum!

Crew Review: Rancilio Epoca S1 Tank Commercial Espresso

While perhaps not totally at home in your kitchen, this commercial-class machine is an excellent choice for locations that will not be doing a ton of espresso drinks but still want to be able to whip up the drinks in a timely, expert manner.

The Epoca S1 comes with an internal water reservoir (no plumbing) and runs on 15 amp / 110 volts, so you don’t have to have special electric outlets installed. It’s not a super mobile machine, however, because it’s a bit unwieldy, so may not be the best choice for caterers, but if you’re staying in one spot this could be the solution for your small cafe.

Watch Gail take us through the features and show us how this little baby performs.

Nespresso Testing

When we started carrying Nespresso machines, we didn’t realize they would be some of the most hotly debated machines in our store. Folks are not sure if they perform well — can they really make good espresso with a capsule? What is their brew temperature? Do their milk frothing options function well?

You know that we firmly believe that there is a market for every machine, and while these guys are definitely not going to please an ardent purist, they have a well-loved place in many homes throughout the world for a reason: They’re easy to use, no-mess and make espresso similar to what you find on a standard superautomatic espresso machine. Arguably their one drawback is their proprietary capsules, and some folks don’t dig having to purchase them only through Nespresso’s coffee club. But if you can get around that and you’re looking for a simple solution to get your morning java fix, this definitely could be the choice for you.

Since we get all kinds of questions about how the Nespresso functions, we did a few tests to show temperature, water volume and milk frothing temp so that folks would know if the basic function would meet their specs. Watch Gail run them through the gamut!

Recipe: Creole Fudge Cake

Craving the scents, spice and flavors of the American South? This sweet dish, inspired by Louisiana bakeries, is a culinary road trip to the bayou.


Fudge Cake

  • Cocoa powder for dusting pans
  • 1/2 cup brewed espresso
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2  1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)

Coffee Buttercream Icing

  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold espresso
  • 2 tablespoons cream


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease 3 (8-inch) round pans and dust with cocoa.
  • Place the espresso, brown sugar and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the chocolate melts and the brown sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  • Beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Mix until light and fluffy.
  • Add the cooled chocolate mixture, beating well.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl to combine. Beat the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture alternately with the milk.
  • Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes before turning out onto wire rack.
  • To make Coffee Buttercream Icing, beat 2 sticks of softened butter and 6 cups of powdered sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer. Beat in 1/4 cup cold espresso and 2 tablespoons cream until smooth.
  • When completely cool, frost between layers, on top and sides with Coffee Buttercream Icing. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Makes 12 servings.

Recipe: The Dallas Morning News

Crew Review: Saeco Talea Giro Refurb

We are refurb crazy these days! Our techs are churning out new batches of certified refurbished machines faster than we can tell you about them, and the next up for review is the first generation Saeco Talea Giro superautomatic. It has almost all of the same features as the newer Plus version, the primary difference being that it does not have a bi-pass doser (even though it has the chamber and the lid to tease you!).

Watch Gail review and demonstrate one of the recently refurbished models.

Health Watch: Say ‘Hello’ to Coffee and ‘Goodbye’ to Diabetes

For those of you who’ve been trying to find a legitimate excuse to cut down on your coffee intake for health reasons, hold that thought for a second and thank UCLA researchers who’ve given all of us another reason why we shouldn’t kick that caffeine habit quite yet.

For quite some time now, researchers have had an inkling that coffee has had a connection with preventing type 2 diabetes. And in fact they were right.

What researchers have found is that caffeine aficionados were least likely to develop type 2 diabetes, as the java works as a protective agent by increasing the plasma levels of sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHGB). The SHGB protein regulates the biological activity of the body’s sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen which has been long been thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

As Science Daily reported, after Atsushi Goto, UCLA doctoral student in epidemiology, and Dr. Simin Liu, professor of epidemiology and medicine with joint appointments at the UCLA School of Public Health and the David Geffen School, tested 359 new diabetes cases with 359 said to be healthy controls out of 40,000 women varying in both age and race, “they found women who drank four cups of caffeinated coffee each day had significantly higher levels of SHBG than did non-drinkers and were 56 percent less likely to develop diabetes than were non-drinkers,” explained Mark Wheeler of the UC Newsroom.

“Early studies have consistently shown that an “inverse association” exists between coffee consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes,” Liu said. “That is the greater the consumption the lesser the risk of diabetes. It was thought that coffee may improve the body’s tolerance to glucose by increasing metabolism or improving its tolerance to insulin.”

Liu adds, they now know that SHBG is indeed critical as an early target for assessing the risk and prevention of the onset of diabetes. They now know the protein can be influenced by dietary factors like coffee intake in affecting diabetes risk. The lower the levels of SHBG, the greater the risk beyond any known diabetes factor.

But diabetes prevention is only the beginning of the health benefits coffee may give us. In a number of other studies, one in particular published in the Wall Street Journal and referenced by Top News, coffee has been found to possess antimicrobial agents that aid in the prevention of tooth decay. Other studies have said it decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases in women by no less than 24 percent, protects men from Parkinson’s disease while also increasing their metabolism and may also help the condition of short-term memory loss and is a helpful factor in aiding headaches.

So before you back away from that latte, just remember that one cup of espresso can provide you with loads of health benefits, so you might as well ask your barista for that double shot.