Hand Pressed Espresso

There is a scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief” where Grace Kelly, and Cary Grant stop for a picnic lunch of fried chicken and beers after eluding the police in the south of France. There is a romantic nostalgia about it that has always drawn me in. Not because of the picnic thing, although if Grace Kelly had asked me to go for a drive in her metallic blue 1953 Sunbeam Alpine Mk I and stop for a picnic, I wouldn’t have said no. I’m not sure where the feeling of nostalgia comes from, maybe it’s the idea of a leisurely way to spend time your best gal, and enjoy the countryside in the South of France. Ok I’m getting lost in my thoughts here. What got me going on this tangent was an email I got this morning for the Handpresso Complete Outdoor Kit. Seeing the machine in it’s carrying case along with cups, and napkins got me to thinking about two things. First the scene in “To Catch a Thief”. Second, wouldn’t it be awesome to have an espresso while

What got me going on this tangent was an email I got this morning for the Handpresso Complete Outdoor Kit. Seeing the machine in it’s carrying case along with cups, and napkins got me to thinking about two things. First the scene in “To Catch a Thief”. Second, wouldn’t it be awesome to have an espresso while hiking in the woods? OK the second thought is a lie. I’m not going to lug this up the mountain so I can have an espresso on the trail. I’m more likely to hike up and down the mountain and stop at the coffee place in town for a cup while I rest my feet and review the photos I took. I do like this thing though, and I kind of want it even though I have no practical reason for it.

From a design perspective, this is a thing of beauty. From the themo-molded EVA case to the cups, what is there not to like about the look of this? Even the Handpresso machine is a stylish little device capable of delivering a creamy espresso with 16 bars of pressure.

Handpresso was established in Fontainebleau, 55 km south of Paris which might be the reason it made me think of “To Catch a Thief”.

Have Your Coffee and Eat It Too.

20130112-101737.jpgFor the last couple of days I’ve been dealing with some sort of sinus/flu thing. The one thing it and my meds have done is take away any form of taste. I’m talking about physical taste, the kind you get from your tongue. This morning I made coffee and thanks to my medicine it has fabulous metallic quality to it. I can’t wait until I can taste a full body espresso, with a fabulous crema.

All this coffee talk leads me to this, the “Cookie Cup” from Venezuelan designer Enrique Luis is an edible Cookie Cup for Italian coffee company Lavazza. The cookie cup is made of pastry that is covered with a special icing sugar that works as an insulator making the cup waterproof and sweetening at the same time. Pretty ingenious design if you ask me.


Espresso, Vertigo, Go.

Yesterday morning I suffered a massive vertigo attack. I’ve never had it before, and I hope I never have it again. Here it is 36 hours later, and I’m still dizzy with occasional waves of nausea. One of the side effects of vertigo comes from the meds they give you. That side effect is “drowsiness”, and like the dizziness it sucks.

What better way to overcome drowsiness than a fine cup of espresso, and what a better way to serve it up than with a fine espresso machine like this one designed by Arvid Hauser.

The espresso machine is wall mounted, and manufactured from porcelain and wood. The wall mount helps free up kitchen counter space, and the exposed components “make the coffee preparation process comprehensible for the user”.  I just like the sculptural quality of the espresso machine and the natural materials used to construct it.

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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.

Dolce Gusto!

I’m one of these people who likes the idea of having a fancy espresso machine in my home, but can’t justify dropping over a grand on an automatic system that will be used to make espresso’s once or twice a week. I used to have a semi-automatic Francis Francis X-5 but when the boiler failed I gave it up. Then I saw this beautiful piece of machinery, and my interest in home espresso has been rekindled.

This single serving espresso machine from Dolce Gusto, according to the website, makes excellent Lungo, Aroma, Cappuccino, Chococino and Latte Macchiato Ice as well as 3 types of espresso. It is equipped with 15 bar pressure pump to extract the best flavors, and features patented automatic pressure adjuster based upon the drink of your choice. he futuristic look of Dolce Gusto is further enhanced by blue LED back light. And it goes to hibernate saving energy after being idle for 20 minutes. The new coffee maker is available in white or charcoal gray for $220.00, or $250.00 depending on the finish. The machine is manufactured for Docle Gusto by Krupps.

I know the site makes bold claims about what it can make, but the look is what sold me. I’ll have to wait and see if any reviews start popping up though before I pull the trigger. I’m always a little bit worried about pre-pack coffee, and Dolce Gusto is owned by Nescafe.

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.