Crew Review: Keurig Mini Gourmet Single Cup Brewing System

We love drip coffee just as much as we adore espresso and just recently tried out Keurig’s Mini Gourmet Single Cup Brewing System. We’ve tested Keurig’s other models and while they feature larger water tanks, the Mini is wonderfully compact and a great option for kitchens (or offices!) that have limited counter space.

The single cup system features a very simple-to-use one-touch design: Press to open, insert your favorite K-Cup capsule, close the capsule portion and the back pops open to prompt you to fill with water for your 8 oz. cup. It brews in 3 minutes and is great for offices because it allows you to brew different kinds of coffees, teas and even hot cocoas, instead of sticking everyone with the same old pot of coffee.

The Keurig comes with a variety pack of 10 K-Cups to get you started, so it makes a great gift. Additionally, if you have a special favorite coffee, tea or cocoa blend, the reusable My K-Cup allows you to turn it into a compatible capsule.

Overall, we think the Keurig Mini is easy-to-use, has tasty options, leaves a lot of open counterspace and is a great value.

Brew Tip: Got Two Turntables and Microfoam

If you’re looking to rock like a pro barista, you need to perfect the art of microfoam — that glossy smooth steamed milk that makes latte art possible. It’s really not that difficult to pull off once you know the step-by-step process:

  1. Keep your steaming pitcher in the refrigerator/chilled
  2. Start with icy cold milk (about 34F degrees)
  3. Begin steaming by getting the milk to spin rapidly clockwise, then
    work the surface of the milk for about 15 – 20 seconds in one of the
    following ways:

    • Standard Steam Wand: Bring the tip of the steam wand to the top, so that it just barely breaks the surface to suck in air and milk
      simultaneously
    • Panarello Steam Wand: Submerge the wand so that the top of the
      milk and the air intake slot or hole are even, allowing milk and air to
      be drawn in evenly — if you submerged it above the air intake, you’ll
      just steam the milk; if you submerge it well below the intake, you’ll
      end up with fluffy, bubbly foam
  4. Plunge the steam wand all the way into the milk and then roll the milk for the remainder of the steam
  5. Temperature-wise, your milk should measure between 140F – 180F
    degrees — if it’s too cold, it will be chalky; if it’s too hot, it
    will be scalded
  6. Tap the pitcher on the counter to settle the milk and force any air bubbles to the top
  7. Prior to pouring, roll the milk slightly around the pitcher to
    incorporate the foam and the milk. The milk should have a shiny, glassy
    smooth surface that is free of any bubbles
  8. Pour to make your favorite latte art

More visually inclined? Check out our video.

Lavazza Whole Bean Blends Go Toe to Toe

Lavazza is renowned around the world for some of the best coffee available, and we’re often asked about the differences between their six main whole bean blends. So, we took these guys to the tasting lab and came back with a comparison chart that should help you pick the blend that’s going to taste best to you.

Some of the highlights are the smoky chocolate and loam undertones of Grand Espresso and Super Crema‘s sweet & earthy fruitiness. Our descriptions might not do them full justice, however, so why not have a tasting party yourself? You’re sure to find a favorite among them.

Health Watch: Caffeine & Pregnancy

Two universities in the UK have determined that excessive amounts of caffeine during pregnancy can impact the weight of the child as it’s developing, putting some babies at risk of a low birth weight.

What do we mean by excessive? Well, the study found that the babies of mothers who drank the equivalent of 3 or more cups of coffee each day tracked to a lower weight during each trimester of development. A low birth rate has been linked to health issues such as diabetes or heart disease later in life, so it’s important that a baby is born within the healthy range.

While the study has confirmed a link between caffeine and fetal development issues, scientists don’t think this should inspire pregnant mothers to abstain from all caffeine intake. Other health benefits still exist and a mother limiting her coffee to 1 cup per day should have no concern.

Compassionate Coffee

Coffee Kids is one of our favorite organizations and we heartily support its mission. Working to improve the standard of living in coffee growing regions throughout Central and South America, Coffee Kids have been around for 20 years and have built strong, respected bonds within these communities.

Please take the time to learn more about their mission and contribute if you can.