Home espresso enthusiasts often say that if they could change one thing about the early days of their espresso equipment purchases, they would have invested in a better grinder. While there are a multitude of factors that play a part in a high quality shot extraction, the impact of the coffee ground itself cannot be overstated.
We love to adulterate our favorite brew with all manner of sauces, syrups and additives — we’ve even been known to throw a little bit of cayenne into the mix. But salt isn’t something that comes readily to mind when we’re concocting a new espresso recipe.
Cut to the Taiwanese, who are going gaga over ‘Salt Coffee’ — brewed coffee topped off with two layers of milk and cream infused with sea salt. The craze was inspired by their current mass-love for all things sea salt because of its higher mineral content and improved health benefits over regular table salt. 85 Degree Bakery Cafe, Taiwan’s largest coffee chain, developed the idea and imbibers report that it’s not so much a salty brew, it’s just a heightened taste sensation…which makes sense, given salt’s uncanny ability to accentuate the positive in nearly every other flavor.
We’re heading to the testing lab to develop a salt coffee recipe of our own!
We sell several semi-automatic espresso machines (such as the Saeco Aroma or Via Venezia, any of the Brevilles or DeLonghis that feature a pressurized portafilter basket. This is a major functional difference from other machines, like the Rancilio Silvia or Rocket Espresso semi-automatic espresso machines, which have non-pressurized baskets similar to commercial-grade machines. In the photo to the right, you can see the physical difference between a non-pressurized basket (on the left) and a pressurized basket (on the right).
OK, so they look different — but what do they do that’s different? Well, we think it’s all about forgiveness.
We love the taste, we love the perk — now we can love caffeine for one more reason: A memory boost. A few years ago, researchers in Austria found that caffeine improved the short-term recall in participants. Subjects were given either 100mg of caffeine or a placebo, then they were given MRIs and asked to recall a series of numbers shown to them shortly before. The scans showed more activity in the areas related to attention and short-term memory in participants who had the caffeine dose instead of the placebo.
In another study, researchers found that caffeine may assist in memory attention and cognitive ability in women over the age of 65. While it doesn’t stave off the development of dementia, it does appear to slow down the process. In fact, the improvement got significantly better with age: Coffee drinkers were 30% less likely to have a decline in memory at the age of 65 and 70% less likely over the age of 80!
These delectable delicacies are perfect for dinner party desserts or an afternoon snack — you’ll need to keep them refrigerated.
- For Cupcake Batter -
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For Cream Cheese Filling -
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in the center of the oven.
- Line muffin tins with paper liners — muffins should be 2.5 inches in diameter, recipe calls for 20 muffins total.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the dry ingredients with an electric mixer on slow speed.
- Add the liquid ingredients and beat on medium speed until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
- Pour the batter equally into all 20 cupcakes.
- For the filling, put cream cheese, espresso, sugar, salt, egg and vanilla into a medium sized bowl and beat until smooth.
- Stir in mini chocolate chips.
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese filling into the center of each cupcake.
- Bake the cupcakes for 20 – 25 minutes (monitor closely, they may bake more quickly depending on your oven), or until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
- Remove and let cupcakes cool in muffin pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully unmold to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Chow down!
We carry a diverse selection of Lavazza’s whole bean coffees, and sometimes the bags are puffier than others, so we asked our importer to give us the lowdown on bean packaging.
It’s fundamental to their freshness that they are packed in manner that will give them a long shelf life — if they’re allowed to oxidize, flavor compounds and aromatic properties will slowly degrade. To preserve freshness, Lavazza immediately packs their beans directly after roasting in high-barrier multilayer material that guarantees perfect vacuum packaging.
The roasting process, however, allows for the release of carbon dioxide and this represents 90% of the gas that forms inside of the package. To keep the bag from bursting, one-way valves are sealed into the package to allow the gas to escape without letting any air in. This one-way valve system guarantees vacuum packaging, even though the bag may sometimes be “puffy” and not compact.