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?

Ingredients
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
Ice
Fresh Strawberry (optional garnish)

Directions
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.

US Barista Champion: Michael Phillips

As we wrote about last week, the US Barista Championship took place this past weekend in Portland, Oregon, and the winner is: Michael Phillips of Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago.

Each barista is responsible for creating three drinks for the judges — a simple espresso shot, a cappuccino and a signature drink — and are evaluated on the quality of product, overall technique, speed and cleanliness. Michael Phillips’ custom drink sounds quite lovely: A companion affair featuring a hot concoction of dark chocolate, brown sugar, sea salt and diced almonds balanced by a cool combination of freshly pressed blackberries, simple syrup and iced coffee.

Michael will join National Barista Champions from around the world at the SCAA’s annual exposition, which will be hosting the World Barista Championship this year, and battle it out to determine who will reign as the world’s most accomplished coffee slinger for the next year.

Selecting a Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

One of the things that sets the crew here at Seattle Coffee Gear apart from the rest is that we have a storefront that features over 60 machines on display for anyone to come in and check out during their selection process. The experience of coming into the store, asking questions, working with Gail and understanding which machine meets your needs and your budget is fairly unique in this space, so we thought we’d make a movie in an attempt to replicate that experience for folks that don’t live in the Seattle area.

If you’re in the market for a semi-automatic espresso machine and aren’t sure where to start, this video is a great primer for what we think are the best in class machines that will fit in anyone’s budget.


Part 1: Gail talks about the different types of machines and then discusses the Saeco Aroma and the Rancilio Silvia semi-automatic espresso machines.


Part 2: Gail continues up the semi-automatic espresso machine line with an introduction to the Quick Mill Alexia and Rocket Giotto Premium Plus.

Coffee, From Dusk ’til Dawn

One of the aspects of coffee that we dig the most is the interconnectedness across cultures and nations. As the second highest traded commodity, the buying and selling of this little bean is serious business for both farmers and connoisseurs — and being on the consuming end of the spectrum, learning about the life and experiences of the folks who grow coffee has definitely deepened our appreciation for the brew.

To that end, we found Zach Dyer’s Java Enabled: Portrait of a Coffee Farmer very illuminating. Zach spent time working on a Mexican coffee farm and randomly found beans from that specific field in a DC coffee shop about a year later. The discovery inspired rumination on his experiences working with Braulia Lopez, a coffee farmer who supplements her income by driving a taxi in town. It’s a wonderful snapshot of the life of a coffee farmer and a great read for java lovers everywhere.