Aug 20, 2012

Spotted: Starbucks Mélange d’été

 Mélange d'été

Maybe I haven’t been paying close enough attention at my local stores, because I don’t remember spotting this summery Mélange d’été at any Starbucks stores near my house – and certainly not with french packaging. I snapped this picture on a recent trip to Montreal, where it seemed to be a popular choice for people looking for a lighter roast. The blend is made with the Blonde roasts, so although I didn’t get to taste it (they were brewing dark roasts at the time), I would put my money on this tasting a lot like Veranda and being a good choice for those who prefer going blonde. I really liked this packaging design – I wish they had had a summery mug in matching colors, as I definitely would have picked up one even without getting the coffee.

Aug 6, 2012

What is Turkish coffee?

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is a favorite type of coffee among coffee lovers, but it is one of the less common ways to prepare coffee and you aren’t going to encounter it in your average coffee shop. Turkish coffee starts with ultra-finely ground coffee beans, which are boiled with water in a small pot until the mixture becomes foamy. It is then poured out into a small cup – grounds and all – and sugar or honey is added to taste. Some methods call for adding sugar to the grounds, but most cafes will allow you to add the sugar on your own after you order a cup. The grounds are allowed to settle to the bottom of the cup, while you sip the hot coffee off of the top.

Coffee made this way has an intense flavor and it becomes stronger as the coffee sits, as the grounds are still in the cup. The foamy head is a signature of turkish coffee, and while it can look similar to the crema on espresso, it is typically less creamy and much darker in flavor. It’s a great way to try coffee, especially if it is being prepared for you in a traditional pot, but drinking with the grounds in the cup takes a bit of practice or you’ll end up sipping some of the sandy grounds as you come below the halfway point.

Aug 1, 2012

Starbucks Reserve 100% Oahu Coffee, reviewed

Oahu Coffee

You’ve heard of Kona coffee. And you’ve probably heard of Kauai coffee. But you probably had never heard of Oahu Coffee before Starbucks launched its 100% Oahu Coffee as part of its Reserve line of specialty coffees. I know that I hadn’t heard of it. The thing that makes the Oahu coffee so special is that it is very rare. The first coffee beans planted in Hawaii were brought to Oahu around the beginning of the 19th century. Coffee grew well there, but the demand for other crops was higher and soon things like sugar cane replaced coffee. It grew so well that the Waialua Sugar Company on the Waialua Estate on the North Shore of Oahu eventually became one of the largest sugar cane plantations in the state. After decades of success, the sugar cane plantation eventually closed in 1996 and opened the door for other specialty crops to grow on that same land. Coffee and cocoa were planted, as well as tropical fruits. The Waialua Estate is the only coffee plantation on Oahu and that is exactly where this coffee comes from.

If you like Kona coffee, there is no question that you will fall for the Oahu coffee on your first sip. The coffee is velvety smooth, with a slight fruitiness and a marked taste of unsweetened chocolate. The cocoa notes really have a strong presence in the aroma of the coffee, as well. Much like Kona coffee, this dark roasted coffee has very low acididy, so it makes an exceptionally smooth cup of coffee that even those who don’t normally drink dark coffee like. I definitely like this coffee hot, but it is excellent over ice, where the chocolate flavors still come through and make for a surprisingly rich, yet refreshing, drink.

Jul 24, 2012

Fiat adds in-car espresso machine to new 500L

Fiat 500L coffee machine

I heard rumors of a car with a built in espresso machine several years ago, but I figured that it was a coffee-lover’s urban legend, or perhaps the kind of custom-mod that an ultra-rich car collector might add to one of his or her pricey rides. Apparently, however, Fiat is making this dream a reality. Fiat will be including in-car espresso makers in its 500L model. The machines are made by Lavazza and are designed to flow well with the rest of the car’s interior styling. They come equipped with two matching travel mugs, one for the driver and one for the passenger (or two for the driver, if you’re like me).

This caffeinated car will be available in Europe starting this fall, but the car itself – a four door version of the stylish, but tiny, Fiat 500 – isn’t scheduled to be released in the US until 2013, so we still have to stick to the drive-thru or traditional coffee shops until then.

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