Jura Signature Espresso Machines.

When it comes to home espresso machines, Jura is at the top of the list when it comes to quality, and execution, This morning I discovered that Jura has released the Signature line of espresso machines, and now I am lusting for one. (I need to make more money)

The limited edition Jura Signature line is handcrafted with high end materials like Colombian walnut, Northern Birch, Leather, Rhodium/Crystals. The materials match defined lines and are paired with features that Jura machines are known for. And if you are a tennis fan, there is a  Roger Federer Edition as well.

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“The uplands of Colombia are home to a rare variety of walnut which is renowned particularly for its even growth and the structure of its wood, which is very similar to that of the domestic birch. This is the reason why botanists often refer to the Colombian walnut as the night birch.

Only trees that have been felled after suffering unusual damage – through storms, for example – may be sold. Strict regulations make its sale highly complex and expensive.

In order to create and preserve the wood’s familiar black colouration, the Colombian walnut veneer is specially prepared. To achieve the desired effect, our specialists use natural sunlight and expose the wood to controlled doses of UV radiation. Only then can the wood be used to beautify the front panel of the coffee machine.

The last stage in the process is the hand polishing of the 15 coats of high-gloss lacquer

From the Jura Site.

Norwegian Wood.

Sometimes a new twist on an age-old product is just what the world needs, and leave it to the Scandinavians to take an object so steeped in Italian culture, and subtly update it in a new and unique way.

The Linje Espressomaker is a prototype originally created by Husby, Audun Grimstad, Åsne Kydland and Mariko Kurioka Rohde as an assignment for their design school. Thinking about what distinguishes Scandinavia, they decided to design the machine using wood. A natural choice for them. The result is this strikingly beautiful espresso machine that is not only a wonderful, functional design, but an object that is softened by the choice of materials used to produce it.

For a complete read on the design and construction process, go here.

The Perfect Pour.

I love a good cup of coffee, but getting one isn’t always that easy. I have a favorite coffee place that I go to pretty much every morning on the way to work, and they always get it right. It’s those other places I go to that claim to have real Baristas that tend to get it wrong.

But fear not coffee drinkers, the good folks over at Plaid, in New York City, have put together a great little poster to help the barista wanna-be get it right. Take a look at “The Perfect Pour: A Citizens Guide” poster. This is a simple easy to understand guide to what goes into a coffee drink and the portions you need to get it right. Now this won’t help the person at the espresso machine time a perfect pull, but it might help them keep from adding to much milk to your latte.

Chez Elle Creperie, First Visit Impressions.

About a week ago Emily Akins posted on Facebook about how excited she was that a creperie was opening in the Westside at 17th and Summit. I have to admit, I read her post and then filed it away. Well this morning we were at Fervere picking up bread for the family Christmas feast tomorrow, and I saw the open sign across the street and suggested we try out Chez Elle instead of grabbing breakfast at Blue Bird, which was the plan, and I’m glad we did.

Open only 8 days Chez Elle occupies the first floor of the Summit Condo building at 1713.  A wonderful little place with a warm bistro style atmosphere. They are offering a variety of both sweet and savory crepes, as well as gourmet coffees, pastries, soups and salads. The dining space wraps around to the right with comfortable bistro tables, club chairs, and glowing lamps. To the left is a coffee lounge where visitors are encouraged to sit and enjoy coffee while they read, surf the internet, or do that old-fashioned thing known as have a conversation. The room is filled with comfortable chairs and sofas inviting you to stay a bit longer and relax.

This morning we sampled two of the savory crepes. The Bonjour, a crepe filled with ham and Swiss cheese, topped with scrambled egg and hollandaise sauce. The crepe was lovely. Light and airy, filled with the perfect portion of savory ingredients, seasoned so well. I have to say I wish I would have been hungrier and ordered more off of the menu. I should have ordered at least one sweet crepe for contrast, but this just means I’ll have to go back again.

As of now, the menu has 12 savory, and 11 sweet crepes. In addition they have 5 breakfast crepes and 4 salads available. Based on what I had today I’ll definitely be going back. I want  to say this right now, if you are interested, go check this place out because I predict in a month or two it is going to be packed. The space is good-sized but it is so inviting I can see it becoming a local hot spot quickly.

Chez Elle is open Tuesday through Sunday from 7:00 AM until 3:00PM, but according to the owner the hours might change after they have been open a bit longer.

Design Friday. Illy Coffee

For this Design Friday post I wanted to talk about Illy coffee. Anyone who has traveled outside of the United States is probably familiar with the international coffee brand, and if you have been to a handful of major cities in the USA you might have come across one of their concept stores.

When I first started writing this I was going to focus on the packaging and the art cups that Illy produces, but as I have started gathering images and such the focus has changed to reflect the more global approach that Illy takes with its design and branding.

Illy is all about the visual presentation of product, store environment, packaging, interactive, and mobile are designed as a cohesive unit. The design components of illy caffè show that it is a company with a far-reaching vision. It is this design vision that has placed Illy firmly at the head of pack, positioning themselves as a company in the pursuit of beauty and excellence.

The Illy Bar Concepts works like this: the Core Bar is usually situated in a historic center, and functions as a meeting point that expresses the culture and the daily life of its location. Landscape Bars are set in busier areas, such as shopping malls or museums, and are meant to provide a restorative break. Transit Bars are spacious bars for travellers, located in train stations or airports; Community Bars serve regular customers in residential or semi-central areas; and Corner Bars are stylish, open-plan buildings offering fast service for quick consumption, or the get it to go crowd.

The cafe’s are beautifully designed featuring clean open architecture with natural lighting. The fixtures in each are designed to elevate and display the coffee brand, usually accented by artwork that features an artist sponsored by the Illy Art projects. Packaging focuses on prominently displaying the Illy brand on simple tin cans with easy to follow instructions in 5 languages. Coffee cups, and all other items in the store display the red Illy logo on a clean white background, helping to reinforce the brand at every turn. Illy also selects independent coffee shops with “relevance in their market” which are selected to use only Illy coffee beans and agree to do so for a three-year period. Baristas are trained to pull an Illy-quality espresso and given recipes for other drinks common to Artisti del Gusto shops. Illy provides art work, coffee machines, glassware and other branded touches, such as the red Illy umbrellas. Certified coffee shops are periodically monitored for consistency, and the certification can be pulled if the lattes aren’t up to snuff.

Not only is this is a proven way to expand with minimal investment, it’s also a way to increase the reach of a brand, and indoctrinates a much wider audience to the superiority of your coffee beans. In other words, it’s a great way to market your product in grocery stores and online outlets, without a national advertising campaign. A coffee shop on your corner is far better than a billboard, since it’s a place you already trust and whose coffee you are conditioned to love by association.

In addition to the store concepts Illy has developed a series of collectable limited edition cups and coffee tins all of which are designed by world-famous artist. In 1992, the first collection of designer cups entitled “Arts and Crafts”, which combined coffee with the aesthetics of the cup was introduced. Since then, illy has established a strong bond with the art world, constantly adding to the collection. And now, when you are in an Illy café you can drink coffee in an artist designed cup and read the story behind each concept. In addition you can purchase limited edition cups or tins at any of the cafe’s themselves.

As a forward thinking, and design focused company, Illy has been quick to innovate and embrace new technologies and outlets that allow them to expand their brand awareness, without expanding their physical footprint with additional stores. They have done this through the Illy At Home program. Via the website you can sign up to have the coffee delivered via FedEx directly to your home over the course of a year. Each month a set amount of coffee is delivered directly to you, and 3 times a year you receive limited edition collectable coffee tins, and or espresso cups. In addition you have the option of purchasing over time a Francis Francis espresso machine through the program. The concept is really well thought out. Illy promotes the brand, through delivery of a quality product, and then hooks you with special gifts all designed to reinforce the brand.

Illy does an excellent job through out every aspect of its visual presence of making sure that the red and white color pallet is displayed in a consistent manner and that the Illy logo is placed in locations that leave a memorable impression which can quickly be associated with what the company stands for.