Category Archives: Coffee & Tea

Maui Coffee — Back on the Map?

We all hear about the fabulously delicious Kona coffee, grown on mostly boutique plantations located on the Big Island of Hawaii, but a renaissance in Maui-grown coffee has begun, with MauiGrown Coffee’s record-setting 2009 harvest.

The plantation in western Maui is cultivating four different types of coffee plants: Typica, Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra and a Maui-specific strain called Mokka. Once the holy land of pineapple and sugar, the commodity trends for these products have suffered quite a bit, making room for the reintroduction of coffee agriculture on Maui. Visitors to the island can arrange for a tour of the plantation, or just taste the different blends that are served up at the company’s store, located in Lahaina.

News from the Front: Gail at The International Home & Housewares Show

We sent Gail out on a little recon this past weekend, to the International Home & Housewares show in Chicago. Here’s what she’s reporting back:

Delonghi: Charity Auction
Delonghi had a few artists design different front panels for a limited edition Artista machine — only 5 of each design will be made. They plan to auction these babies off on eBay, with the proceeds benefiting Oxfam International. We’ll post an update here with photos and details once this goes live.

Hourglass Coffeemaker
We wrote about this machine last week, and Gail had a chance to meet with this group at the show. No samples yet, but it is one of only two products at the show that are made with BPA-free plastic.

Handpresso in Color
One of our favorite gadgets for delicious espresso on the go, the Handpresso team has now added different colors to their available models, plus they’ve developed a travel pack that includes a thermos for hot water, 4 demitasse cups and a carrying case — we’re looking into adding some of these to the store.

On Chicago, and Her Cheap Date Ways
“I did go to a pub called Dublin last night and experienced quite a few characters. It was one of the local hang outs. Does that count?  One guy bought a round for the bar, myself included. He was well lubed up.  I had already had one beer and was quite full from that, so I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to choose my second poison. I hadn’t had much food all day so wandered out for chow.  It was interesting and Chicago is pretty cool.”

The show ends tomorrow, so we’ll post a follow-up later this week with Gail’s final notes on the show and possibly photos of the grand event.

Crew Review: Capresso Coffee TEAM

Any drip coffee lovers in the house? If you’re looking to swap out an older drip coffee brewer and are interested in a high quality grinding-and-brewing combo, Capresso’s Coffee TEAM is an awesome solution. You can program it to freshly grind and brew your drip coffee in the morning, so you’ll be lulled out of sleep by the softly wafting scent of java creeping out of your kitchen. Well, it’ll be either the scent or the sound of the grinder, but we’re all about accentuating the sumptuous here. In this video, Gail shows us the Coffee TEAM and brews up a delicious cup of coffee.

Stumptown Takes on the World

Well, maybe just New York City — but if you ask any of its residents, that is the world.

Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters founder, Duane Sorenson, is expanding their artisan roasting business from it’s Pacific Northwest roots directly into the heart of the city that never sleeps. As coffee lovers, we know that the complexity and diversity of flavor in coffee rivals the oft-lauded wine, but it’s an appreciation that hasn’t transcended coast to coast. Sorenson wants to change that by introducing the Big Apple to freshly roasted coffees and changing their perception of what coffee can be.

They’re one of our favorite roasters in Seattle and so if you’re in the NYC area and interested in expanding your coffee palate, definitely check them out.

Coffee, The Hard Way

It’s 1999, we’re in a crowded London disco sipping on the almost revoltingly medicinal cocktail rage that’s sweeping the British club scene: Red Bull + vodka. Sure, the energizing-yet-woozy effect balances well with the surreal lighting scheme and the pounding drum and bass, but we only needed one head-to-head with that high sugar and caffeine concoction to give it up for good — we had no love for ourselves the morning after.

But we liked the idea — you know, a little bit of a pep in your step balanced by vodka’s ability to smooth out the wrinkles — so when we read about Bendistillery Spirit’s coffee-infused vodka, Cofia, we thought it might be right up our alley. They’ve taken their delicious vodka and blended it with hazelnut-flavored coffee beans to create an award-winning flavored vodka that has a bit o’ caffeine and sugar, but nothing close to the heart-race-inducing levels you’d find in an energy drink. If it’s anywhere near as tasty as their Crater Lake Vodka, we can’t wait to sip it over ice.

International Sipping Tips

If you love coffee as much as we do, you make some time to hunt it out in any city you’re traveling in so you can experience that culture’s unique approach to the delicious brew. Since we’re in Seattle, we have tons of options, but few really excellent cafes with skilled baristas serving up espresso in a talented and thoughtful way — but that culture is slowly changing (we hope!).

So when we ran across this article, which gives recommendations on the best coffee drinking cities in the world, we were quick to bookmark it for future reference. While we wish we had the time and money to make a grand tour of it, when we do end up in Vienna or Buenos Aires, we’ll definitely refer to these tips to make the most of our java experience.

Health Watch: Coffee & Liver Disease

Good news for all you coffee lovers out there:multiple studies indicate coffee has liver protective benefits.

Dr. Sanjiv Chopra regularly quizzes his patients about their coffee intake and, if it’s not contraindicated due to other conditions, he recommends they incorporate about 2 cups of coffee per day as a preventative therapy. The evidence which swayed Dr. Chopra’s practice includes:

  • People who drink 2 cups of coffee each day had a 50% reduction in hospitalization and mortality from chronic liver disease
  • Two cups of coffee per day decreases the incidence of primary liver cancer by 43%
  • 1 cup of coffee per day can equal a 20% reduction in their risk of developing alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver — and two cups will reduce that risk by 40%

Similar effects weren’t found in tea or decaf coffee, so the metabolic cause of this protective behavior is still being studied. And no, this doesn’t give you license to down numerous coffee-and-alcohol bombs, seemingly yet another example of the sage advice to do everything in moderation.

Recipe: Poolside Sangria

We don’t know about you, but after months of on-and-off snow storms and icy winds belting our neck of the woods, we’re more than ready for a little faux-summer. What better way to channel the warm summer months than into your wine glass?

1/4 oz. Strawberry Monin Syrup
1 oz. Coconut Monin Syrup
4 oz. White Zinfandel wine
3/4 oz. Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Sweet & Sour Mix
Lemon-Lime Soda to taste
Fresh Strawberry (optional garnish)

Pour white zinfandel, Monin Coconut, Monin Strawberry, ruby red grapefruit juice and sweet & sour mix into a mixing tin. Spindle mix for a two count. Pour over ice. Top with lemon-lime soda and garnish with a strawberry.

Crew Review: Lavazze Blue Superautomatic Capsule Espresso Machine

If that stained Mr. Coffee from 1987 is spending more time baking coffee than brewing it and you find that visitors to your business are less than impressed by the caffeinated offerings from your office kitchen, it might be time to upgrade. We vote for eschewing the world of drip coffee for the exceptional flavor, performance and per-cup customization that is the Lavazza Blue superautomatic capsule espresso machine.

Featuring several styles of espresso, tea and even chicken soup, this machine is a perfect fit for a small business’ kitchen, and can even be configured for coin operation to help balance the cost of the capsules. Watch Gail as she talks about the features of this machine and brews up some delicious espresso.

That’s One Talented Tongue

Bringing new meaning to the phrase ‘silver-tongued,’ professional coffee taster Gennaro Pelliccia recently made headlines because Costa Coffee took out an insurance policy on his talented tastebuds worth nearly $14 million.

Backed by Lloyd’s of London, the policy is similar to those taken out on Betty Grable’s legs, Jimmy Durante’s nose and ballerina Vera Zorina’s toes — basically, if one of your appendages is making you and/or someone else a lot of money, they want to make sure that if anything happens to said appendage, they won’t be up a creek. This policy, however, is one of the single biggest policies ever taken out on an individual, which goes to show just how essential Pelliccia’s tongue is to how Costa does business.

We’re assuming Gene Simmons is making an appointment with Lloyd’s as we type.