Archive for the ‘ Coffee ’ Category

bag of money

The scoop is your coffee in 2014 might just be a little cheaper, seems that coffee producers produced more coffee this past year. Your cup of java may cost less whether buying it from the store or at your local coffee joint. This is great news for those of us who can’t say no to our cup of joe.

Coffee Prices Lower for 2014

Image courtesy of openclipart.org.

doctor and patient

A Japanese study has shown a positive correlation between moderate coffee intake and an improvement in cardiovascular health. Drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee improved vascular function for over an hour when compared to subjects who drank decaf. Lest you decide to lean heavily on coffee in your fitness regimen, however, remember that this was a relatively small study dealing with drinking only a single cup of coffee (how can you do that?) and that heavier use can lead to increases in blood pressure and actually decrease blood flow.

Perk up: Coffee may help blood vessels work better

Coffee Article: Coffee Primer

coffee_drawing

Back in the day, there wasn’t too much to know about coffee: just open the big can of Folgers, fire-up the electric percolator, and burn youself another cup of not-so-good coffee. Fast forward to today, where everybody’s got their own idea of what makes a perfect cup, and there’s a mermaid on every corner. If your coffee knowledge could use a boost, or you find youself confused by all the coffee lingo, maybe it’s time for a refresher course on all things coffee. Kelly Brannon of Kinetic Koffee in Arcata, California gives a brief run-down of all the important stuff, from beans through roasting, grinding, and brewing that perfect cup, along with several reminders of what espresso is—and isn’t.

Kelly Brannon: The Low-Down On Proper Caffeination

Coffee Article: Spray-On Caffeine

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For many of us, the principal reason for indulging in the nectar of the Coffea shrub is the taste. After all, there’s nothing like a yummy, yummy cup of coffee. There is, however, that other popular reason for indulging: caffeine. While it may not be as romantic as traveling to far-off destinations in search of the perfect cup, sometimes that buzz is what we’re really all about. Turns out there may be a new way to get that caffeine rush without having to dirty-up the old French press.

Sprayable Energy is a new product under development by a Harvard undergrad and a venture capitalist. The product is sprayed on the skin and is absorbed into the system transdermally. The developers claim that using the product will give you the focus and alertness that you would expect, with four sprays being about the equivalent of a cup of Java. You can try to find the product locally, or buy it through their website.

The New Coffee Is Made for Your Skin

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san-marco-coffee

Coffee Rating:

4.5 out of 5 coffee cups

San Marco French Roast Coffee Review

Medium Roast: Whole Bean

Price: $10.48, 1 lb.

San Marco Coffee was kind enough to send us three 1 lb. bags of their gourmet whole bean French Roast and their whole bean Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cinnamon flavored coffees.

San Marco Coffee, Inc. is a gourmet coffee roasting company specializing in selling wholesale coffee to restaurants, cafes, hotels & specialty retailers. You can also buy their coffee online as a regular retail customer. Their professional Roast Master roasts their coffee in the San Marco Coffee state-of-the-art roasting plant in North Carolina. San Marco hand flavors small batch roasted coffees, roasted fresh to order.

San Marco offers three coffee categories in whole bean or ground regular or decaf: Espresso, Gourmet and Flavored coffees. They also sell green coffee beans, gourmet teas and coffee equipment.

San Marco coffee is sold in 8 oz., 1 lb. and 5 lb. resealable bags with a one-way degassing valve so you can easily reseal your bag of coffee. They strive for freshness and always package their coffees immediately after they have been roasted and/or flavored. San Marco offers free shipping for orders of $79.00 or more.

When opening the package of the French Roast coffee it smells like a dark roast should with a robust dark roast aroma. The coffee is a dark roast and the beans are very oily, all you’d expect from a good French Roast coffee. The silver coffee bag reseals very easily, providing a good seal to keep the coffee flavor in. We ground the whole beans using our Infinity Conical Burr Grinder. The San Marco French roast was brewed in our Capresso SG120 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker, and also our French Press, and it was tasted with and without half and half.

When the French Roast coffee is brewed you can see and smell the dark roast of the coffee. The French Roast coffee tastes like a dark roast should, full-bodied and strong with a slight bitterness you expect from a good French Roast coffee. San Marco uses quality beans for their flavored and regular coffees. In the case of their French Roast coffee they use a European style dark roast that stacks up nicely to other French Roasts I’ve had, it produces a satisfying cup of dark roast coffee.

San Marco’s French Roast is a full-bodied cup of coffee that would make any French Roast coffee drinker content when drinking it. This French Roast is perfect for your everyday coffee or when you want to savor a robust cup of coffee. I recommend San Marco French Roast for its rich, smooth coffee flavor.

Be sure to visit the San Marco Coffee Facebook page to “Like” their excellent coffee products!

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san-marco-coffee

Coffee Rating:

4.0 out of 5 coffee cups

San Marco Apple Cinnamon Coffee Review

Medium Roast: Whole Bean

Price: $10.98, 1 lb.

San Marco Coffee was kind enough to send us three 1 lb. bags of their gourmet whole bean French Roast and their whole bean Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cinnamon flavored coffees.

San Marco Coffee, Inc. is a gourmet coffee roasting company specializing in selling wholesale coffee to restaurants, cafes, hotels & specialty retailers. You can also buy their coffee online as a regular retail customer. Their professional Roast Master roasts their coffee in the San Marco Coffee state-of-the-art roasting plant in North Carolina. San Marco hand flavors small batch roasted coffees, roasted fresh to order.

San Marco offers three coffee categories in whole bean or ground regular or decaf: Espresso, Gourmet and Flavored coffees. They also sell green coffee beans, gourmet teas and coffee equipment.

San Marco coffee is sold in 8 oz., 1 lb. and 5 lb. resealable bags with a one-way degassing valve so you can easily reseal your bag of coffee. They strive for freshness and always package their coffees immediately after they have been roasted and/or flavored. San Marco offers free shipping for orders of $79.00 or more.

When opening the package of the Apple Cinnamon coffee it smells of apple and cinnamon, a real scent of fall. The coffee roast looks like a medium roast and the beans are somewhat oily. The silver coffee bag reseals very easily, providing a good seal to keep the coffee flavor in. We ground the whole beans using our blade grinder. The Apple Cinnamon coffee was brewed in our French Press, and it was tasted with and without half and half.

When the Apple Cinnamon coffee is brewed you can smell the apple and the cinnamon spice. The Apple Cinnamon coffee tastes of cinnamon, with a little apple flavor. The apple taste is not quite as good as the pumpkin flavor in their Pumpkin Spice coffee but it is subtle and flavorful. The spice does not taste like an extract you would use in baking, I appreciate the real spice flavoring used in this coffee.

San Marco uses quality beans, the underlying coffee used in this flavored coffee would be very good even without the flavoring. The Apple Cinnamon flavoring is subtle and the cinnamon is not too spicy. As with their Pumpkin Spice coffee, the apple and cinnamon flavors in their Apple Cinnamon coffee could be even stronger for me, the coffee is not so overly flavored that you can’t taste the coffee, which is often the case with flavored coffees.

The Apple Cinnamon coffee tastes of apple, with cinnamon the predominant flavor, with a very smooth, non-bitter aftertaste.

This Apple Cinnamon coffee is very subtle on the apple with some spicey cinnamon flavor. Apple Cinnamon is a fall flavored coffee for your everyday cup or anytime you want to enjoy a taste of the changing seasons. I recommend San Marco Apple Cinnamon for its smooth, robust coffee and subtle apple and spice flavor.

Be sure to visit the San Marco Coffee Facebook page to “Like” their excellent coffee products!

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san-marco-coffee

Coffee Rating:

4.5 out of 5 coffee cups

San Marco Pumpkin Spice Coffee Review

Medium Roast: Whole Bean

Price: $10.98, 1 lb.

San Marco Coffee was kind enough to send us three 1 lb. bags of their gourmet whole bean French Roast and their whole bean Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cinnamon flavored coffees.

San Marco Coffee, Inc. is a gourmet coffee roasting company specializing in selling wholesale coffee to restaurants, cafes, hotels & specialty retailers. You can also buy their coffee online as a regular retail customer. Their professional Roast Master roasts their coffee in the San Marco Coffee state-of-the-art roasting plant in North Carolina. San Marco hand flavors small batch roasted coffees, roasted fresh to order.

San Marco offers three coffee categories in whole bean or ground regular or decaf: Espresso, Gourmet and Flavored coffees. They also sell green coffee beans, gourmet teas and coffee equipment.

San Marco coffee is sold in 8 oz., 1 lb. and 5 lb. resealable bags with a one-way degassing valve so you can easily reseal your bag of coffee. They strive for freshness and always package their coffees immediately after they have been roasted and/or flavored. San Marco offers free shipping for orders of $79.00 or more.

When opening the package of the Pumpkin Spice coffee it smells wonderful, very spicy when you open the bag of beans. The coffee roast looks like a medium roast and the beans are somewhat oily. The silver coffee bag reseals very easily, providing a good seal to keep the coffee flavor in. We ground the whole beans using our blade grinder. The Pumpkin Spice coffee was brewed in our French Press, and it was tasted with and without half and half.

When the Pumpkin Spice coffee is brewed you can smell the pumpkin pie spices, especially clove and cinnamon. The Pumpkin Spice coffee tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove with a little pumpkin flavor. The spice does not taste like an extract you would use in baking, I appreciate the real spice flavoring used in this coffee.

San Marco uses quality beans, the underlying coffee used in this flavored coffee would be very good even without the flavoring. This is very good seasonal coffee, the flavoring is subtle and not too spicy. The pumpkin spice flavor could be even stronger for me, the coffee is not so overly flavored that you can’t taste the coffee, which is often the case with flavored coffees. The Pumpkin Spice coffee has a good spiciness along with a very smooth, non-bitter aftertaste.

If you like flavored coffees and are looking for a delicious cup of seasonal coffee, San Marco Pumpkin Spice is the perfect choice for your holiday celebration. This Pumpkin Spice coffee is ideal for your everyday coffee or when you want a taste of the holidays and changing seasons. I recommend San Marco Pumpkin Spice for its smooth, robust coffee and subtle spice flavor.

Be sure to visit the San Marco Coffee Facebook page to “Like” their excellent coffee products!

Coffee Article: Crazy for Coffee

APA DSM-5

You always knew you were “crazy for coffee,” but understood that was a metaphor for your enthusiasm for our favorite beverage. Turns out you may actually be nuts.

The newest iteration of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) actually includes a diagnosis for both caffeine intoxication and for caffeine withdrawal. This doesn’t mean that every time you’re jonesing for a cup that you’re off to the funny farm, but does recognize that the addictive nature of caffeine can, in extreme cases, seriously affect your life. I wonder if we’ll now be able to write off that trip to Starbucks as a medical expense?

A Coffee Withdrawal Diagnosis

coffee beans at different stages of roasting

With many things in life, the more you’re willing to put into them, the more you’re likely to get back out. Go the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread, and you’re all set for your next PB&J. Grab the ingredients and bake that loaf at home, and you’re not going to want to waste it on something as pedestrian as that–heck, you might polish it off with just a stick of butter and a big grin.

Back in the day, making a cup of coffee at home meant buying a can of Yuban and firing up the percolator. Technically the result is coffee, but it’s sure not very satisfying. Now if you want to do it right, you go buy some nicely roasted beans, crunch ‘em up in your burr grinder, load up the French press, and go nuts. Still looking for more? How about roasting your own coffee beans.

While industrial-sized coffee roasters use industrial-sized coffee roasting equipment, you can cook up a batch using a popcorn popper. Get your green (unroasted) coffee beans from a local vendor or online, fire up the popper, and go to town. While it may take some getting used to, including the inevitable under- or over-roasted batch or two, eventually you’ll be roasting your coffee with the best of ‘em. Hey, maybe you can enjoy a cup of your home roasted coffee with a slice of your home made bread.

How to Roast Coffee at Home

Image courtesy Wikipedia

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cafe francais copy

Coffee Rating:
4.0 out of 5 coffee cups

Whittard Cafe Francais Coffee Review
Dark Roast: Ground
Price: $7.75, 8 oz.

Whittard Coffee was kind enough to send us three of their ground coffees for review. Whittard takes pride in buying the best coffee beans for their coffees and are coffee blending and tasting experts. Whittard tailors its products to his customers and is known for their customer loyalty. Whittard’s is one of the few places that will grind freshly roasted coffee beans to customers individual tastes. Whittard is also know for their tea with 130 varieties of tea, and blends their own teas and infusions. If you are looking for chocolate Whittard’s carries 18 varieties of luxurious hot chocolate, tempting chocolate lovers with everything from White Chocolate and Strawberry to Chilli. Whittards sells specialist china, equipment and glassware alongside their drinks. Whittard also has coffee gifts available on their website so you can share your favorite coffees with friends and family.

When opening the package of ground coffee the Cafe Francais ground coffee had a strong french roast smell. The Cafe Francais ground coffee is made from a blend of Colombian and Brazilian arabica beans. The Whittard Cafe Francais coffee was brewed in our Capresso SG120 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker, and also our French Press, and it was tasted with and without half and half. Whittard provides whole bean coffee, as well as coffee grinds for Cafetiere, Espresso, Filter and Turkish coffee brews.

When tasting the brewed Whittard Cafe Francais coffee it has a good deep French Roast flavor for a ground coffee. Whittard’s Cafe Francais coffee tastes of chocolate with a satistying dark, smooth flavor and slight bitterness known in French Roast coffees.

The Cafe Francais brews up to a smooth, dark roast coffee that tastes great every time you brew it. This is a sturdy, good tasting ground French Roast that makes life a little easier when you need a fast cup of java. I recommend Cafe Francais ground coffee, it makes for a tasty everyday cup of coffee you’ll enjoy every day.

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santosandjava

Coffee Rating:
4.0 out of 5 coffee cups

Whittard Santos and Java Coffee Review
Dark Roast: Ground
Price: $7.75, 8 oz.

Whittard Coffee was kind enough to send us three of their ground coffees for review. Whittard takes pride in buying the best coffee beans for their coffees and are coffee blending and tasting experts. Whittard tailors its products to his customers and is known for their customer loyalty. Whittard’s is one of the few places that will grind freshly roasted coffee beans to customers individual tastes. Whittard is also know for their tea with 130 varieties of tea, and blends their own teas and infusions. If you are looking for chocolate Whittard’s carries 18 varieties of luxurious hot chocolate, tempting chocolate lovers with everything from White Chocolate and Strawberry to Chilli. Whittards sells specialist china, equipment and glassware alongside their drinks. Whittard also has coffee gifts available on their website so you can share your favorite coffees with friends and family.

When opening the package of ground coffee the Whittard Santos and Java coffee had a strong dark roast smell for ground coffee. The Santos and Java coffee is made from a blend of Brazil/Indonesia arabica beans. The Whittard Santos and Java coffee was brewed in our Capresso SG120 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker, and also our French Press, and it was tasted with and without half and half. Whittard provides whole bean coffee, as well as coffee grinds for Cafetiere, Espresso, Filter and Turkish coffee brews.

When tasting the brewed Whittard Santos and Java ground coffee it has a deep roast flavor with dark chocolate and hints of sweet fruit. The Whittard Santos and Java coffee has a smooth flavor for a ground coffee with minimal bitterness. This is a robust dark roast ground coffee, there is plenty of oomph here which is not always the case with ground coffees.

Whittard’s Santos and Java coffee is a good choice for dark roast coffee lovers who like the ease of ground coffee. Santos and Java coffee is one of the better ground coffees I’ve tasted in quite awhile, featuring a smooth, dark roast coffee that tastes great every time you brew it. I recommend Santos and Java ground coffee, it makes a great everyday cup of coffee, a ground coffee you’ll enjoy again and again.

Java Junkies Infographic

Coffee fans, check out this cool coffee infographic “Is America a Nation of Java Junkies?”, with info on coffee, everything from caffeine intoxication to how much coffee the USA drinks. Click on the infographic to get a close up view.

Is America a Nation of Java Junkies?
Source: Top Counseling Schools


Coffee Rating:

4.5 out of 5 coffee cups

Rogers Family Coffee Company Hurricane Espresso Decaf Review

Espresso Roast: Whole Bean

Price: $10.59, 12 oz.

Rogers Family Company was kind enough to send us four bags of their gourmet whole bean Organic Coffee Company brand for review. Rogers Family Company is a privately held, 100% family-owned and operated company that was established in 1979. Rogers Family Company uses only the finest Arabica beans for their coffees, featuring Regular (Full-City) Standard Roast, Espresso Roast, French Roast, and an Extra Dark Roast. Rogers Family Company sells whole bean and ground regular, decaf and flavored coffees as well as OneCup products for use in Keurig brewers at great prices.

Unlike some other coffee companies that let their coffees rest before packaging, Rogers Family Company locks the coffees’ freshness right away as they seal the roasted coffee away from the harmful effects of the air within minutes of roasting.

Rogers Family Company brands include Organic Coffee Company, San Francisco Bay Coffee, Black Mountain Gold Coffee, Fairwinds Coffee, Jerusalem Kosher Coffee, Pleasant Hill Coffee, East India Tea & Coffee and Organic Tea Company. Their philosophy is to guarantee customers that they will love their products or your money back. The company provides free shipping on orders of $50 or more (excludes shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and any international states).

Rogers Family Company’s charitable and environmental efforts are admirable as well.

The Rogers family owns and operates coffee farms in Mexico, Panama and Rwanda. The company strives to solve the poverty that exists in coffee communities by improving the education, housing, health, and sanitary conditions for workers and their families on farms where they do business. Rogers Family Company has a Community Aid Program that has restored thousands of acres of rainforest, planting their own coffee on organic, shade grown farms. They stand for premium, sustainable, fair and direct trade coffee at prices you’ll appreciate.

Nominate an active duty soldier overseas in a war zone and Rogers Family Company will send him or her a bag or two of free coffee. One look at the long list of thank you notes on this page and you have to admire the Rogers family for their generous donations to our troops.

When opening the package of coffee the Hurricane Espresso Decaf whole bean coffee had the smell of a dark espresso coffee. The coffee beans were dark for the espresso roast with a good amount of oil on the coffee beans. Hurricane Espresso is Decaffeinated using the Natural Water Process. We ground the whole beans using our Infinity Conical Burr Grinder. The Hurricane Espresso Decaf coffee was brewed in our Capresso SG120 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker, our French Press and our espresso machine, and it was tasted with and without half and half.

When brewed the Hurricane Espresso Decaf coffee has a strong roasted espresso taste with no bitterness. I’ve often encountered a good amount of bitterness with espresso coffee but Hurricane Espresso delivers a very smooth and mellow flavor. This blend of dark roasts makes me happy to taste a dark decaf coffee with such a good espresso taste. This full bodied espresso will please any decaf coffee lover. The decaf espresso tastes divine from the espresso maker and excellent using the French Press as well.

Rogers Family Company whole bean coffees are roasted by a master roaster. The Rogers Family method of packing coffee beans right after roasting keeps flavors intact to deliver one fantastic cup of java! Hurricane Espresso is a full-bodied dark roast espresso that produces a very good cup of decaf. I would recommend Hurricane Espresso Decaf to espresso lovers who want the strong smooth taste of an espresso in decaf form: all the flavor with none of the caffeine.

LIMITED TIME OFFER Receive a sample of Rogers Family Company gourmet coffee for $1.99 with free shipping to lower 48 US states only (HI and AK excluded) via USPS First Class Mail. The 2-ounce trial size pack is perfect for one full pot of coffee. Click here to see their Coffee Specials and Sales.

Be sure to visit the Rogers Family Coffee Company Facebook page to “Like” their excellent coffee products!


Coffee Rating:

4.5 out of 5 coffee cups

Rogers Family Company Rainforest Blend Review

Medium Roast: Whole Bean

Price: $10.59, 12 oz.

Rogers Family Company was kind enough to send us four bags of their gourmet whole bean Organic Coffee Company brand for review. Rogers Family Company is a privately held, 100% family-owned and operated company that was established in 1979. Rogers Family Company uses only the finest Arabica beans for their coffees, featuring Regular (Full-City) Standard Roast, Espresso Roast, French Roast, and an Extra Dark Roast. Rogers Family Company sells whole bean and ground regular, decaf and flavored coffees as well as OneCup products for use in Keurig brewers at great prices.

Unlike some other coffee companies that let their coffee rest before packaging, Rogers Family Company locks the coffees’ freshness right away as they seal the roasted coffee away from the harmful effects of the air within minutes of roasting.

Rogers Family Company brands include Organic Coffee Company, San Francisco Bay Coffee, Black Mountain Gold Coffee, Fairwinds Coffee, Jerusalem Kosher Coffee, Pleasant Hill Coffee, East India Tea & Coffee and Organic Tea Company. Their philosophy is to guarantee customers that they will love their products or your money back. The company provides free shipping on orders of $50 or more (excludes shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and any international states).

Rogers Family Company’s charitable and environmental efforts are admirable as well.

The Rogers family owns and operates coffee farms in Mexico, Panama and Rwanda. The company strives to solve the poverty that exists in coffee communities by improving the education, housing, health, and sanitary conditions for workers and their families on farms where they do business. Rogers Family Company has a Community Aid Program that has restored thousands of acres of rainforest, planting their own coffee on organic, shade grown farms. They stand for premium, sustainable, fair and direct trade coffee at prices you’ll appreciate.

Nominate an active duty soldier overseas in a war zone and Rogers Family Company will send him or her a bag or two of free coffee. One look at the long list of thank you notes on this page and you have to admire the Rogers family for their generous donations to our troops.

Rainforest Blend is 100% Organic and shade-grown coffee, which is beneficial for both the environment and for the local birds and wildlife in the rainforests and cloudforests of Central and South America.

Rainforest Blend is a Regular (Full-City) Standard Roast coffee according to the website but tastes closer to a darker roast coffee when brewed. When opening the package of coffee the Rainforest Blend whole bean coffee had the roasted smell of a dark roasted coffee with surprising herbal notes. The coffee beans were uniformly dark with slightly oily shine, always a good sign for a darker roasted coffee. We ground the whole beans using our Infinity Conical Burr Grinder. The Rainforest Blend coffee was brewed in our Capresso SG120 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker, and also our French Press, and it was tasted with and without half and half.

When brewed Rainforest Blend is a delicious tasting coffee with chocolate tones and refreshing hints of herbs. Rainforest Blend is a complex blend of coffees that creates a unique, flavorful cup of coffee when brewed. I’m a fan of dark roast and this medium roast coffee is one I’d be happy to drink daily. Rainforest Blend is full-bodied yet very smooth tasting and makes for an excellent cup of java.

Rogers Family Company whole bean coffees are roasted by a master roaster. The Rogers Family method of packing coffee beans right after roasting keeps flavors intact to deliver one fantastic cup of java! Rainforest Blend is a perfect choice for your everyday coffee when you want a great tasting coffee to start off your day. Enjoy Rainforest Blend on the weekend or whenever you want to take time to savor a truly delicious cup of coffee. I highly recommend purchasing Rogers Family Company Rainforest Blend coffee for its smooth, full-bodied, complex flavor.

LIMITED TIME OFFER Receive a sample of Rogers Family Company gourmet coffee for $1.99 with free shipping to lower 48 US states only (HI and AK excluded) via USPS First Class Mail. The 2-ounce trial size pack is perfect for one full pot of coffee. Click here to see their Coffee Specials and Sales.

Be sure to visit the Rogers Family Company Facebook page to “Like” their excellent coffee products!

By Melanie Rose

Overview

Unlike shopping for coffee machines, when one is sorting through espresso machine reviews espresso machine reviews, who is manufacturing and delivering that machine is a very important question.

There are a lot of companies jumping on the very hot espresso wagon since Starbuck’s made coffee and espresso drinks an international trend. Many have been making coffee machines for many years. But an espresso machine is a very different animal.

Espresso is fussy at best and impossible at worst. Many factors go into creating a great shot, such as the grind of the bean, the temperature of the water and the pressure applied when tamping in the portafilter basket.

So when you begin to shop for an espresso machine, all of these factors and more come into play. Nobody addresses them like the legendary Italian espresso machine manufacturers. These companies are the forerunners of the industry who came first with machete blades to carve a path for the rest.

Nuova Simonelli is one of those luminaries. Located in gorgeous Belforte del Chienti in eastern Italy, Nuova Simonelli is an industry leader who consistently designs reliable high-performance products. They have been making espresso machines since 1936, when Orlando Simonelli made his first espresso machine: the appropriately-named “1936″.

This first endeavor was an inNuovation for the period, and technically at the forefront of its kind. Since then Nuova Simonelli has had many years to hone and perfect the craft of creating espresso machines.

In doing the research for this article, I found Nuova Simonelli’s vision statement:

“We have based our identity on the emotions aroused by a great espresso. Experience, technology, inNuovation, and design are the means we use to convey this.”

It’s a great vision statement that speaks directly to the espresso lover.

But Nuova Simonelli has primarily been a designer of the big commercial machines you see at fancy restaurants and the local boutique cafes. Oscar is for the home and office. So how does it measure up? Read on.

The Oscar is a super-automatic espresso machine that offers the following features:

  • Suitable for home, office or small eatery. Won’t produce enough espresso per hour for a boutique cafe.
  • Heat-siphon circulation heating. Simultaneous steam.
  • Coffee dispensing option.
  • 2.3 liter water reservoir.
  • Water-stop valve.
  • Direct water connection option.
  • Use espresso grounds or pods.
  • 1 liter drawer with position adjustable according to height of cups.
  • 360° adjustable steam nozzle.
  • 12-cup holder.
  • Full-color ABS bodywork, which guarantees that scratches will be invisible.
  • 58 mm commercial group and portafilter.
  • 1200 watt heating element.
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches.
  • Shipping Weight: 65 pounds

Don’t worry, I realize that if you haven’t shopped for espresso machines before that most of these features will read as gobbledygook to you. We’ll be discussing most of them going forward.

The Review

The first thing to know about Oscar is that the casing is ABS plastic, not stainless steel. This is unusual for an Italian machine, but the plastic casing is durable, portable (catering events, anyone?) and a lot of folks are so fond of Oscar that they have chosen to personalize the plastic casing by decorating it. The unit comes in black, red and gray.

The biggest plus to this plastic casing is that it doesn’t show scratches. Still, if you are a lover of the sleek and stunning stainless steel Italian designs, you might turn your nose up. But, you won’t get one of those machines for $1,000, which is about what you will pay for Oscar.

Espresso is made by forcing pressurized water near boiling point through a tamped disc of ground coffee and a filter in order to produce a thick, concentrated syrup. Therefore, the boiler is a crucial element of the process. Nuova Simonelli outfits Oscar with a 2.3 liter heat exchange boiler made of 99% copper, which is widely known to be the best conductor for stable water temperature.

The semi-professional Oscar is also manufactured with other commercial grade components, like the heavy duty grouphead made from marine quality brass. Piping materials are carefully considered for perfect balance and temperature stability as well. You get the same 58mm portafilter baskets that the commercial machines on the market use. Also, Oscar can be plumbed into your water system or you can use it’s substantial 3.2 liter reservoir.

A rare feature amongst home espresso machines is the ability to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time. But the heat exchanger in this espresso machine allows you to multitask so that there is no lag time between pulling shots and adding the milk for lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatios. The machine takes from 10 – 20 minutes to heat up.

Oscar’s buttons and settings make it easy for anybody to use this machine, and it’s quite possible to pull a superb, quality shot of espresso every time, with no wasted coffee going down the drain.

The 360-degree adjustable panarello wand for milk frothing is powerful and efficient for getting the right temperature and consistency for your steamed milk.

One feature that a lot of reviews won’t get into is customer service, but I feel that it is very important where espresso machines are concerned because of their finely tuned design. Particularly the Italian machines, which can be more temperamental. In researching the customer service at Nuova Simonelli I was very pleased to find that they have high dedication to customer service, and spend roughly 240 days of their year educating customers in using their equipment. They also offer a 2 year warranty with the Oscar espresso machine.

User Experience

If you take a peek at the inside of this machine, you will be thrilled with the quality you find. And cleaning plastic is so much easier than stainless steel. Just wipe it off with a damp cloth.

The quality of espresso and the consistency of quality are spectacular, and it’s so easy to use Oscar with it’s minimalist interface. Two buttons and a steam knob are all you have to worry about. You don’t even need to figure out what each feature does if you don’t want to.

The factory settings are right on, so just take Oscar out of the box, set up your espresso grounds or pods and push a button. Easy.

Oscar has a compact footprint so you don’t need a ton of counter space, and can hold up to 12 cups in the railed cup warmer at the top of the machine. But you won’t be able to put a large mug or glass in the brew area. The drip tray can be adjusted by reversing it to accommodate different cup sizes, but don’t expect to put your 20 oz ceramic mug in there. This is an espresso machine, and it’s designed for the smaller espresso cups.

Any Drawbacks?

If you want a sexy Italian machine, this isn’t the one. Oscar is perfect in almost every respect, but the plastic casing eliminates it from the chic and hip categories.

The plastic accessories like the portafilter handle and the grill are susceptible to cracking, but not to any great extent or hindrance of using the machine.

Some people don’t like that it does not have a hot water valve, but in all honesty this is usually a commercial machine feature, and most home espresso machines don’t have one.

Oscar’s low water indicator isn’t as efficient as it could be in that it certainly tells you that the tank is low on water — right about the time the tank is out of water, so you could get stuck mid-shot without water. Best remedy: keep an eye on the water level.

In Conclusion

Whether you are a new espresso fan or experienced home barista, with Oscar you may never have to upgrade to a newer or better machine.The few drawbacks that Oscar does have do not qualify as deal breakers.

However, the stability and durability of manufacturing and quality and consistency of the machine’s espresso output make it a solid winner and great purchase.