Category Archives: Weblogs

Internet Cafe Hobo

Back in the bad old days when Internet access was not easy to come by in the US, cafes offering a little jitter with your surfing proliferated. They catered to travelers and students, artists and writers; they were community centers and neighborhood hangs. But as the cost and availability of ‘net access changed, their ability to support themselves as a web hub declined — and cafes with computers for rent by the minute morphed into cafes with BYOL(aptop) and misc. wi-fi access policies.

Since we spent some of our coffee slinging years behind the bar of an Internet cafe, you can understand why they hold a sweet little place in our hearts. So it’s no surprise that when we ran across this BBC web documentary series that’s tracking a journalist as he’s traveling around the world from Internet cafe to Internet cafe — reporting on the stories he finds along the way — we really dug it. Now we’re sharing! Complete with maps of his travels, snapshots and audio as he explores how the Internet cafe is still a big part of many communities around the world.

The Caffeine Poster

We’ve talked before about how much caffeine is in different forms of coffee preparation, and we’ve even covered the relative caloric intake of many drinks compared with food. But if you’re looking for something a little more visual-oriented, check out the Caffeine Poster created by Randy Krum over at Cool Infographics.

Now it’s easy to reference how much caffeine you’re taking in each day via different drinks — from different forms of coffee to the legendary Jolt soda. Plus, it has a couple of fun facts incorporated in it, such as the date of National Coffee Day (wait, isn’t that every day?!) and how much caffeine you have to ingest before you feel the, uh, love.

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!

Home Barista Wish List Giveaway 2009

One of our favorite online stomping grounds, Home-Barista, is running a holiday Wish List Giveaway contest to promote awareness of their website and others in the online coffee and espresso community. If you’ve got some time to kill or are looking to pick-up some brand new toys, check out the full details of the contest on their site. They are also a rich information source for more technically-minded home espresso enthusiasts.

We’re participating as sponsors this year and so will be offering three different levels of prizes:

Have fun while increasing your espresso knowledge and maybe winning a little somethin’ somethin’!

Is Crema Sacred?

We get a lot of questions about crema: What is it, how can I get more of it, where does it come from, etc. We’re going to get Gail in front of the camera soon to talk about and experiment with crema, but first up let’s reference James Hoffman’s strongly posited belief that crema is, in fact, ‘rubbish.’

What we love about this video is that he questions some of the basic ideas behind espresso, and when the pros who devote their lives to learning all there is to know about their passion start messing around with core ‘truths’, we all benefit from their innovations at some point. There’s talk about how the crema is a chemical result of the espresso extraction process, and we’ve noticed that the crema from different coffee bean types is produced differently — even roast types will have a different crema story, when pulled from the same machine.

Ultimately, again, it’s all about flavor and what you like in your coffee; we’re going to do some experiments so expect more to come on this topic. You can check out what others are thinking about in this opinionated forum topic on Home Barista.

Recipe: Espresso Chiffon Cake with Fudge Frosting

Our birthday’s coming up in a couple of months and you can certainly make this gorgeous confection for us! Thanks in advance.

For the Cake (Makes an 8- or 9-inch triple-layer cake)

  • 1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as soybean, canola or vegetable blend
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons freshly brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottoms of three 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with rounds of parchment or waxed paper, but do not grease.

In a medium bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, espresso and vanilla; whisk lightly to blend. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.

In a large mixer bowl with an electric mixture, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Raising the mixer speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining half cup of sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form; do not whip until stiff or the cake will shirk excessively upon cooling.

Add the espresso-egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together just enough to combine. Add one-fourth of the beaten egg whites and fold them in to lighten the batter. Fold in the remainder of the whites just until no streaks remain. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for about 18 minutes each, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pans. When cooled, run a blunt knife around the edge of the pans to release the cakes. Invert onto wire racks and remove the paper liners.

For the Espresso Syrup (Makes 1 cup)

  • 1/3 cup hot, freshly brewed espresso
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark rum, such as Meyer’s

In a bowl, stir together the espresso and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the rum and let cool to room temperature.

For the Fudge Frosting (Makes about 5 cups)

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.

For the Main Event
To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Soak the cake with 1/3 cup of the Espresso Syrup. Spread about 1 1/3 cups of the Instant Fudge Frosting evenly over the top of the layer. Repeat with the next layer, more syrup and more frosting. Finally, top with the third layer. Soak it with the remaining syrup and frost the tops and sides with the remaining frosting.

Source: Also includes great step by step photos, tips and variation suggestions

Recipe: Triple Chocolate Espresso Coconut Cookies

We’ve definitely been in a baking mood lately — everything from cobblers to breads to complicated Italian dishes (timpano!) — and these little vittles have definitely found a tiny place in our hearts (and not so tiny spot on our waistline!).


  • 1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw organic cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pastured butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup non-refined sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 large pastured egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fair-trade semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raw unsweetened organic coconut flakes


  1. Whisk together the flour, espresso, baking soda & powder, salt and cacao.
  2. Beat the butter until fluffy, then beat in the sugar, egg and vanilla.
  3. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture, stirring until just combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips and coconut flakes.
  5. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, pulling them out while still moist and soft.
  7. Allow to cool 5 minutes, serve warm.


Keep MacGyver Outta the Kitchen

The Australian version of the popular blog site Gizmodo features the mad cooking skillz of one MacGyver Chef in all his ‘glory.’ Now, we’re not recommending the Poached Chicken & Couscous made in a coffeemaker recipe outlined in the blog post, but it did give us a laugh.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so precious, eh? Who knows what lengths we might reach for if we were forced to cook out of a Super 8 motel room? Something tells us we’d probably just skip the chicken prep, though, and settle in for the night with a six pack instead.