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September 27, 2006

Reversing the French press

Hammacher Schlemmer is offering a new product called the "Acid Reduction French Coffee Press." Like a traditional press, it steeps coffee in hot water and then filters out the grounds. This one simply reverses where the grounds go, pulling them to the top instead of pushing them to the bottom. This takes them out of the remaining water, preventing the over-extraction that causes too much bitterness and acidity.

It's a neat idea and reasonably priced around $30. But I'll stick with my own solution: using a mug big enough to hold all the coffee in the first place.

[Via Slashfood.]

September 20, 2006


Skillet Doux has the lowdown on "espesso," a new coffee creation being test marketed in Chicago. The product is a mixture of espresso, sugar, a secret thickening agent, and, in some flavors, milk. The stuff that results is thick enough to cling to the cup when turned upside down, a quality control demonstration reminiscent of the Dairy Queen Blizzard.

The fact that Espesso is sold by Lavazza and seems kind of gimmicky probably turns off a lot of purists. But if a competitor in the World Barista Championships came up with it, my guess is aficionados would be applauding his ingenuity (though at twelve hours prep time, it couldn't actually be used in competition). The espresso flavor sounds especially promising:

Then, I moved on to the espresso which, conversely, was in no danger whatsoever of being mistaken for any traditional foodstuff. Though the process was exactly the same, the absence of milk made for a significant mental disconnect between flavor and texture. It felt like a wet yet light and firm mousse, but the flavor was full-on unadulterated espresso. And it was potent. We're talking pure, intense coffee flavor in cold, fluffy form. I dug it. My only complaint was that I thought it far too sweet, but as mentioned they've only been serving it for a couple of days, and I get the impression they're still working the kinks out.

And as for foodie cred, Espesso was created by Ferran AdriĆ”, a pioneer of molecular gastronomy.

Whenever I go to Chicago, I already know where my first coffee stop is. But for shot number two, this sounds interesting enough to try.

[Via Slashfood.]

September 14, 2006

The Times takes notice of espresso

A good article appeared yesterday in the NY Times dining section taking note of some of the excellent coffee shops that are finally popping up in the city. The article does a good job capturing the things that are important to the baristas who are really putting themselves into their craft. With any luck, this high-profile publicity will get more New Yorkers paying a visit to the shops they mention. It's also great to see espresso recognized in the dining section as a drink worthy of serious foodie consideration.

Update: Damn you, New York Times! It's corrected now, but the original version of this article said Ninth Street Espresso was using Common Grounds coffee. This seemed wrong to me, because I was pretty sure they were featuring Counter Culture. And who the heck is Common Grounds? Sure enough, I spoke with a friend at Counter Culture, and it was a mistake that robbed them of some well-deserved publicity in the print edition.

September 5, 2006

Science of Coffee

Cosmic Variance has a very interesting post on the Science of Coffee,

One part I particularly enjoy is the chart titled Cumulative Chemical Composition of Espresso with Increasing Extraction Time, which simultaneously tracks the concentrations of multiple compounds as a function of extraction time, side by side with a key that explains their role:
Compound : Aroma
2,4-decadienal : RANCID
ethylgujacol : SMOKE
2-ethyl-3,5-dimethylpyrazine : CHOCOLATE
2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine : CHOCOLATE
Go see the rest.

September 3, 2006

Cokoffee In Pods -- Should Peet's Be Worried?

Coca-Cola set to brew up tea and coffee business,

Faced with slumping demand for its flagship soft drinks, Coca-Cola Co. is stepping out of the cooler and into the hot beverage market, launching a new line of brewed lattes, teas and coffees set for a worldwide debut in Toronto next week.

Canada will serve as a global test market for Coke's foray into the premium coffee category with a brand that will be called "Far Coast."

Coca-Cola adds coffee, tea "pods" to soda lineup

Coca-Cola's Far Coast system will use "pods" to brew fresh coffee and tea, and it initially will be offered in Canada, said John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest. Coca-Cola has invited reporters to an event in Toronto on Wednesday to introduce new "hot brewed beverages" that have "inspiration from a Far Coast."
Premium coffee in pods? Leave a comment.


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