Author Archives: Kat
An intriguing new study from the University of Colorado indicates that warm drinks lend themselves to more friendly feelings. Participants in the study were randomly given hot cups of coffee or glasses of iced coffee, then asked to assess the relative warmth of a series of fictional characters. The result was that they were 11% more likely to rate a complete stranger as welcoming or trustworthy if the participant had been holding a warm beverage versus a cold beverage.
Psychologists attribute this to possible early conditioning in infancy, when bonding and trust building with our parents could have been in an environment of warm bodily temperature -- just think of all those baby blankets! -- so that we are more likely to associate the actual physical temperature with the relative warmth and openness of someone's personality.
Whatever the root cause, it's clear that the age old practice of socializing over a hot cup of coffee helps build and expand on the warm bonds of friendship -- so why not invite your friends (or someone new) over for an espresso today?
Today marks one of the most historic general elections in American history and we hope you've taken the time to make your voice heard by voting!
Afterward, you might want to get together with some of your favorite people to either celebrate or drown your sorrows, depending on your political perspective and the election's outcome. An election party/commiseration wouldn't be complete without a delicious espresso martini!
- 1 1/2 fluid ounces Kahlua
- 1 1/2 fluid ounces brewed espresso
- 3 fluid ounces vanilla vodka
- 1 1/2 fluid ounces Creme de Cacao
- heavy cream or half-and-half (optional)
- Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3 full with ice.
- Add ingredients and shake well until very cold.
- Strain into a martini glass.
- In a plastic bottle with a narrow tip, add some heavy cream.
- Starting from the center of the drink, start a spiral and cirle to the outside of the glass.
- Then take a stirrer or a toothpick and starting in the center of the drink, drag the stirrer to the edge of the glass.
- Return to center of the drink, and repeat procedure in 'pie segments' to make a 'web' with the heavy cream (or make any design that you'd like).
Get back to espresso's roots with these gorgeous and easy-to-use manual espresso machines by La Pavoni!
Featuring a variety of beautiful finishes - from chrome with wood accents to gold-plated brass -- La Pavoni's traditional lever-style espresso extraction is an espresso purist's (and an esthete's!) dream. We have expanded our selection of these strikingly designed espresso machines, so you can choose from different boiler capacities, frothing functionality and finishes. Providing the most control over every aspect of espresso shot extraction, La Pavoni's manual machines are perfect for the espresso perfectionist or budding enthusiast alike.
Regular maintenance of all your espresso or coffee related apparatus is essential to extending their longevity in your home or office. We talk a lot about how to keep your espresso machine healthy, but grinders need a little love, too!
One easy way to do this is, once a week, adjust your grinder to the coarsest setting possible, then run it for a few minutes to flush out any fine grinds that may be stuck around the blades, etc. This regular maintenance will decrease the likelihood of clogs and ensure evenness in grind. We recommend doing this on all stand-alone grinders and also if you have an espresso machine or coffee maker that features an internal grinder.
If you have an espresso machine which features a panarello tip on the steam wand (such as a those from Saeco or DeLonghi), learning how to steam milk to your preference can take a few tries. Here are some tips on how to produce different kinds of milk textures using this type of steam wand:
- Super Fluffy Foam: If you keep the air intake (hole or slit) above the surface of the milk, you'll create big foam and bubbles.
- Steamed Only: Fully submerge the air intake in the milk to produce steamed milk with no foam.
- Microfoam: Keep the air intake level with the milk, drawing in equal amounts of milk and air.
- Overflow Watch: If your foamed milk is about to overflow from the pitcher but it's not up to your preferred temperature, simply submerge the wand completely (up above the air intake) and continue to steam.
We just read this fascinating article about a study from earlier this year that indicates regular coffee consumption can decrease the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's later in life.
Researchers found that caffeine may cut the risk of dementia because of its ability to block the adverse effects of high cholesterol on the body's systems -- one of which may be the breakdown of the blood/brain barrier that protects our brain tissue from potentially harmful chemicals in our bloodstream. There have been previous studies to indicate that the breakdown of this barrier may contribute to the development of dementia and Alzheimer's.
The research centered on rabbits, which were given a high cholesterol diet over a 12 week period, some of which were also given the equivalent of one cup of coffee per day. At the end of the trial, researchers found that the blood/brain barrier in the rabbits that had the coffee supplement was far less deteriorated than the rabbits with no supplement. The results of this research are a very interesting step in determining both new restoration therapies and preventative
So sip your daily joe knowing that it's not only delicious -- it's brain food!
The Rancilio Silvia is one of our best sellers and we think we know why: It's an excellent mid-range machine that balances professional quality with economy.
To help you during your decision making process, here is our crew's review on the pros and cons of this machine:
- Steam Wand - Includes a traditional steam wand generally seen on higher end machines and does not have a pannarello frothing attachment
- Case & Components - It's stainless steel with a brass boiler and brew group, connected by copper tubing, which results in less mineral (scale) build-up and a
consistently maintained temperature throughout extraction
- 3-Way Pressure Release Valve - After you pull your shot, this valve will release the steam and dry the espresso in the portafilter, resulting in a dry 'puck' that is less messy to dispose
- Requires a Quality Burr Grinder - As with all non-pressurized espresso machines, consistently ground
espresso is required; some low-end grinders can't grind evenly enough, which can result in frustration when first using a Rancilio Silvia
- Single Boiler - Since brew temperature and steaming temperature are different, using a single boiler means you'll have to switch back and forth between these temperatures
- Poor Pod Adapter - We have received many returns of the Rancilio's pod adapter with reports that it doesn't work very well and doesn't allow you to switch easily between grounds and pods without uninstalling the adapter
Have you ever thought about taking a volunteer vacation? You know the kind, where you give a little while you get a little? Earthwatch has some of the most amazing working vacations available, all concentrated on working with scientists and researchers to measure, examine, explore and understand nature and our place within it.
If you're a coffee connoisseur, planning a trip to learn about how you can help in the development of sustainable coffee agriculture could bring more meaning -- and adventure! -- to your daily mug. Earthwatch offers a 15-day expedition in Costa Rica where you assist in field experiments to improve the ecological sustainability of shade-grown coffee. The research station is located in one of our favorite spots on earth -- the breathtaking Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve -- and involves hiking to different coffee plantations and collecting data for the experiment. They currently have stints planned for the first half of this December, or a few next year in March, July and November.
Please let us know if you choose to go -- we'd love to hear all about your experience!
Irish Coffee Tart or Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream & Warm Chocolate Sauce? Who can choose? We certainly can't -- and now, we don't have to!
We love Betty Rosbottom's elegant and treat-filled book Coffee: Scrumptious Drinks & Treats so much, we just had to offer it in the shop. We highly recommend adding this book to your kitchen's library; it's chock full of wonderful espresso-inspired recipes that will keep you, your friends and family sufficiently sweetened.
If you're planning on transporting or storing your machine, it's important that you drain the boiler of any residual water from the last use. The main reason is so that it doesn't freeze, expand and damage the internal components.
Here's a guide on how you can drain your boiler before you store or ship it. This care tip is essential to the longevity of your machine, so don't skip it!