Crew Review: Pasquini Livia 90

One of the first higher end espresso machines we carried, the Livia 90 is a great little compact machine that comes with either automatic (with programmable dosing) or semi-automatic functionality. Watch Gail talk about the machine, what she likes and doesn’t like about it and how it compares to other machines in its class.

Global Coffee Habit

From the creamy depths of a French Cafe au Lait to the sugary tar of a Cuban Coffee, the little brown bean is reinterpreted time and again all over the world. If you’ve ever wondered what coffee is like beyond your neck of the woods, this cool little synopsis by Sebastian Rotella for the LA Times is a great primer on what you’ll find from Buenos Aires to Baghdad.

What’s your favorite coffee preparation? We have been digging on a long shot mixed with Monin’s incredibly delicious Cinnamon Syrup — it’s an awesome little afternoon pick-me-up that gives us a sense of the exotic.

New! Saeco Incanto Certified Refurbished Espresso Machines

One of the historical wonders of the Saeco superautomatic espresso machine line, the Incanto is a great little machine for a great little price. We purchased a lot of used machines from the manufacturer and are putting them through the wringer to refurbish and certify them for resale.

Our techs are going through them from top to bottom, replacing parts as needed, thoroughly testing and then cleaning them. An original design defect in the steam manifold is being fixed with upgraded parts, so these machines are actually better than brand new!

Watch Gail discuss this machine — how we refurbish them, their features and perfomance and how they compare to other machines on the market today.

Beyond Kona: Hawaiian Coffee

The Big Island of Hawaii is the home of the world famous Kona coffee region, which has long been touted as producing some of the tastiest coffee in the world. But it’s not the only source of delicious Hawaiian coffee — as we wrote about last month, Maui is undergoing a renaissance in coffee agriculture, and there is also a pretty serious emergence of another coffee growing region on the Big Island itself: Ka’u.

Big Island Video News has an interview with a Ka’u farmer that is quite interesting and they also show the recent Coffee Festival held in the area to promote the coffees from this region. Also, if you live in the islands or are planning on traveling there sometime soon, this great guide gives you a run down of the expansion of coffee agriculture throughout the islands, as well as some tips for visiting different plantations.

We’re hoping to get to the Big Island later this year and look forward to sampling some of these emerging beans. Aloha!

New! Espresso Gear Tools

Soup up your home espresso setup with these professional-grade tools! Featuring polished stainless steel and highly durable rubber accents, Espresso Gear developed commercial-quality barista tools driven by their passion for great espresso. We think the design is a wonderful blend between form and function — elegant, stylish and simple.

Our favorite item is their Click Mat, which is the only pressure-sensitive tamping mat on the market. Allowing you to change the pressure sensor weight between 22lbs. and 55lbs, the mat will signal when you’ve tamped to the set pressure — giving you the ultimate tool in calibrating your extraction.

Recipe: Diva Tofu-Chino Parfaits

We all try to cut caloric corners every now and again, and this dessert has the potential to deliver on the flavor without taking a toll at our waistline!

Diva Tofu-Chino Parfaits
vegan, makes 4-8 servings, depending on cup serving size.

Cinnamon Vanilla Mousse

  • 1 box vegan vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups soy milk
  • 8 oz. firm tofu (1/2 pack of tofu)
  • 2 Tbsp Veganaise
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (my substitute for cornstarch)

Spicy Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 box chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk
  • 8 oz. firm tofu (1/2 pack of tofu)
  • 2 Tbsp tofu
  • 1 Tbsp Veganaise
  • 4 Tbsp sweetened high quality cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder (my substitute for cornstarch)

(for a richer chocolate flavor melt 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips into the pan when heating pudding mixture)

Other:

  • 2 shots espresso
  • 1/2 cup crushed almonds
  • 1 cup crushed organic graham crackers or vanilla cookies


Equipment: blender, lidded pan, cappuccino or parfait serving cups.

To make:

  1. Add add vanilla ingredients, except tofu to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add in tofu and blend again until smooth.
  4. Add blender contents to pan.
  5. Turn stove on med-high.
  6. Stir constantly until mixture begins to bubble.
  7. Continue heating on medium and stirring until mixture thickens a bit and large bubbles break through.
  8. Heat can be turned to medium-low if you are worried about burning the pudding.
  9. When pudding has thickened, remove from heat and pour back into blender.
  10. Re-blend until smooth.
  11. Be
    careful, make sure to vent blender and a heated blender can easily
    build up pressure to explode. Be careful. Never point blender towards
    face.
  12. Repeat entire process with chocolate pudding.
  13. Set puddings aside, but no need to refrigerate yet. A thin, still-warm pour will be better for presentation anyways.
  14. Prepare 2 shots of espresso.
  15. Crush the almonds and crust crackers.

Assembly of cups:

  1. Fill serving cups with a 1/2 inch layer of ‘crust’. (crushed cookie or cracker.)
  2. Pour in a nice layer of chocolate pudding.
  3. Add a thin layer of almonds.
  4. Add 1 Tbsp of espresso to each cup. Use more or less depending on your tastes.
  5. You can even substitute de-caf, coffee or chai tea instead of espresso.
  6. Add a layer of vanilla pudding.
  7. You can add more chocolate than vanilla or more
    vanilla than chocolate. Or equal amounts of both. It looks more like a
    cappuccino if you use more vanilla as top layer.
  8. pouring the pudding while it is still warm will allow for a more even line-pretty presentation. Cooled pudding can clump more.
  9. The top garnish layer is a sprinkle of cinnamon and a tsp of espresso. A few almonds also looks nice. You can garnish with whatever filling you decide to use.

Filling
subs: If you don’t eat nuts, or would like a different center layer,
try these: peanut butter, dried blueberries, fresh fruit, goji berries,
more crushed crackers/cookies, soy cream, sponge cake, pan fried
bananas, another type of crushed nut.

Notes: Chill cups until firm before serving. Adding
more tofu will make a thicker, milder pudding. I actually like this
with a bit more tofu-the thicker the better to my taste.If you do not have Veganaise, you can sub with a Tbsp of white or apple cider vinegar.