We were recently pointed to this blog because of an entry on strange and beautiful espresso machine designs. The entry features models of our beloved Pavoni, highlights the multiple group options of the Elektra (yummy!) and shows off some cool designs from a contest by Nespresso.
Oh, and it also introduces us to a peculiar curvy wood grinder that is specially shaped for your loving embrace. Yeah, we don’t know, either…but whatever works, baby.
Written by the 2009 Irish Barista Champion, Colin Harmon, Dublin Barista is a great read — covering details on events he attends, training and education he takes part in, the process of starting up his own cafe and more.
We love checking in on it every now and again to see how the ‘other half’ live — you know, the highly skilled professional baristas who work with each other on an international level to explore and push the limits of what people define as specialty coffee. It’s not our corner of the coffee industry, but we learn a lot by watching from the sidelines, and you might, too.
What’s going on this month? Cancers should address any of their snafus right out of the gate if they want their coffee to rock all month long, while Scorpios will be a little conflicted about trying something new or sticking with the tried and true. Check out what’s going on for your sign.
One of the things we love most about coffee is all the different perspectives folks can have on it — and, like anything that can engage some level of connoisseurship, those that enjoy it range from Folgers enthusiasts to those who love to analyze all the elements that go into a great cup. God Shot is a blog created by the latter, someone who has worked as a pro barista and really digs perfecting espresso as an art.
While we have a deep and enduring love for coffee and all that it entails, we know we’re not the place to turn to if you’re looking for the defining principles of balance in espresso or a comprehensive analysis (parts one, two and three) of the state of coffee in San Francisco, but God Shot is. We appreciate the passion, the detailed assessment and the truly geeky nature of this blog — and we think you will, too.
In the coffee world, there is a lot of conversation around sustainability — environmental, cultural, social and economic. Some specific brands of commerce and marketing (such as the Fair Trade certification or the development of direct trade relationships between larger coffee roasters and coffee plantations) have begun to flourish and really mean something to us, the consumers, at the other end of the coffee mug.
We may try to buy coffee that we know has a socially conscious providence or we may elect to do business with companies that are trying to create more equality throughout the entire coffee production cycle, from tree to cup. Another way we can contribute is to engage in microloans — giving money to an international entrepreneur through an organization such as Kiva, because $25 really can go a lot further in some parts of the world. These loans are mostly paid back to the lending organization and then you can choose to take your money back or to roll it into another microloan to help someone else.
For an example of how such a program can positively affect the coffee agriculture business, check out this great blog article on Kiva that shares the impact of its program on coffee farmers in Costa Rica.
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.
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!
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.
Our birthday’s coming up in a couple of months and you can certainly make this gorgeous confection for us! Thanks in advance.
- 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
We ran across this photoblog a couple of weeks ago and really loved these photos of a coffee shop in Tangier that hasn’t been changed since 1958. They’re such a great snapshots of another era’s artifact-in-residence, we thought we’d share it.