Tag Archives: latte

A Portable, Recyclable French Press

Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Everybody has their own morning routine. Mine happens to include making a good cup of coffee. Mind you, there are several ways of crafting what tastes best – since “best” is typically relative. If you drink coffee, I’m wondering how you choose to make it (if you make it at all).

I need caffeine to get me going… in more ways than one. It provides quite a boost of energy, ya know? Okay, so I could down a 2 liter bottle of some random soda, but that’s full of junk. At least coffee and water are natural ingredients, yo!

The Xpress SmartCup Lid is faster and easier than using a normal French Press. It also cleans up in a snap. XPress is comprised of a disposable/recyclable lid, rod and press that will fit most standard 16 & 20oz. hot cups.

French press systems deliver a superior flavor profile, smoothness and finish for both coffee and tea. The XPress lid technology delivers the preferred qualities of the coffee drinking experience to everyday coffee lovers at an affordable price (compared to restaurant French press).

So, French Presses can be messy – and they’re far from portable. What say you to this little piece of coffee tech?

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

How to Make Espresso at Home

Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Just before I left for France the other day, I decided to make myself a cup of Espresso. One of the sponsors of the LeWeb conference I spoke at was Nespresso, and they sent a unit to all of us as a gift! So, I decided to try it out, and let all of you know what I think… since it really does make an excellent cup of espresso!

The genius thing about the Nespresso is that it’s easy to use, and there’s no mess involved. You fill up the container at the back, press a button, and out comes the espresso. I probably already drank more than I should, but who cares?! I like it!

I also have a container that allows me to server cold or warm milk, to allow me to change up how I want to serve the drinks. Once I finished making my espresso, it was a very simple matter to clean the Nespresso machine. Simply pull the container out, and clean it off. It pops right back into place very quickly.

You can buy different espresso flavors, of course. You can join a club and receive even more options than what the standard machine comes with.

I’m very happy with this machine. It’s easy to use and to clean… and it tastes great. The Nespresso is now my best friend. Thank you for the gift that is going to keep on giving in my house!

What’s your favorite coffee-type machine?

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

How to Steam Milk

Christopher Alexander caught a few of my random tips about making coffee and espresso last week. He submitted a milktacular addendum for latte lovers:

For steaming milk – which is the most critical part of making a latte (which btw, shouldn’t have any foam in or on the beverage) – cappuccino’s contain foam, so does a macciato – but it’s not critical which one does or doesn’t unless someone has requested something specific from you. StarBucks doesn’t seem to know 100% that a Latte shouldn’t have foam – to which I typically order “Latte – no foam, wet, extra shot” meaning I do not want any foam on my Latte, wet means “seriously, no foam please”, and please add an extra shot of espresso” – I don’t tend to like weak coffee… 😉 Dry on the other hand would indicate more foam – than milk – which is more Cappuccino-like.

The section on how to produce the milk foam, while instructional and will produce good foam, there’s nothing like getting a Cappuccino from someone who is a master barrista – and knows that the relationship with your coffee starts with perfect foam. Tiny bubbles, silky smooth combination of milk, bubbles, and a smooth transition into your coffee is what makes people come back for more. Producing milk by moving the cup or frothing jug around the steam wand tends to produce large bubbles as does frothing from the bottom of the jub / cup. Drinking a Cappuccino with bubbles larger than our eyeballs like the ones we’ve all made as kids – tends to reduce the experience. Keeping the cup / frothing jug stable and allowing the steam to circulate the milk in the vessel allows us to heat the milk evenly – and produces smaller bubbles. Point the steam wand at an angle into your steaming vessel, along the edge – so it circulates the milk simply by the current it produces.

If you’re seeing larger bubbles while you’re steaming your milk – you can turn off the steam wand, and tap the jug on the counter to burst those bubbles and then return to frothing your milk. Also, allow the steam tip to sit just below the surface of the milk – and your foam quality will increase. NB: Before you begin steaming, remove the ‘water’ from the steam tube before inserting it into your milk by turning on the wand for a few seconds without the steam wand in your milk – you want steam, not cold water or condensation from the steam wand. I’d venture to say the same thing about your espresso – run the hot water through it before pulling your first shot – or even better pull your first shot – and do as the Italians do – toss it – it’s a nice tradition to ensure you’re getting the best quality coffee from your large investment.

Hold the frothing vessel with both hands, until you can no longer hold onto it – you might be able to smell the point at which the milk begins to carmelize – this is bad – and you want to take it off the steamer before that happens – then again, you might like that as I do from time to time. Deeper richer flavours are just at that point – but some people find it offensive.

Personally, I’m not much of a milk fan. If I put anything in my coffee, it’s heavy cream (the REAL deal).