Espresso

Three New Capsule Espresso Systems

Three New Capsule Espresso Systems

Convenience-first single-serve coffee brewing devices are on a roll in North America, fueled by the success of the Keurig and its K-cup capsules. In Europe, where espresso rules, the Nespresso espresso system has had similar blockbuster success. Both systems use rigid capsules rather than tea-bag-like paper pods that characterized earlier (and less commercially successful) single-serve […]

How Does One Rate Milk!?

How Does One Rate Milk!?

We’re currently testing new capsule espresso systems for July’s featured article.  There are three: the Starbucks Verismo, the Keurig Rivo (with coffee capsules produced by Lavazza), and a dark horse, the Singolo, with machine and capsules produced in Italy and imported by a Canadian company with distribution in the United States. We are benchmarking these […]

By July 3, 2013 Read Article
Single-Serve Coffee and Espresso Reviews

Single-Serve Coffee and Espresso Reviews

Machines that utilize a pod, capsule, or K-Cup packed with ground coffee to brew a single serving of coffee (or espresso) are very popular.  According to the latest data from the National Coffee Association, thirteen percent of the U.S. population drank coffee made in a single-cup brewer. We first evaluated coffees brewed on single-serve machines […]

By June 28, 2013 Read Article
Top-Rated Espressos from the First Half of 2013

Top-Rated Espressos from the First Half of 2013

As we approach the mid-way point of 2013, we decided to take a look back at the top espressos from the first half of the year.  Six espressos earned 94 points, the highest score for an espresso so far in 2013.  Three of these coffees are from U.S. roasters: Thirty-Thirty Coffee Co. by Momma Bear […]

By June 19, 2013 Read Article
Are Espressos A Bargain?

Are Espressos A Bargain?

Coffee Review evaluates and rates coffees that are intended for both espresso and non-espresso brewing.  We are agnostic on brewing method from the point of view of rating a coffee.  So, it’s reassuring to see that the average posted score for espressos (92.10) by American roasters in the first half of 2013 is nearly identical […]

By June 18, 2013 Read Article
Lighter and Brighter: Single-Origin Espressos

Lighter and Brighter: Single-Origin Espressos

Coffees from a single farm or cooperative roasted for espresso preparation – aka “single-origin” or simply “SO” espressos – are now a familiar presence on high-end coffee menus and counters in North America, and in many East Asian countries as well. But it was not so long ago that the argument ran that a single […]

Not Your Same Old Panama Coffees

Not Your Same Old Panama Coffees

It’s a tribute to how much the specialty coffee world has changed over the last ten years that the style of coffee traditionally associated with Panama – clean, soft, balanced, gently fruit- and floral-toned – hardly showed up among the coffees nominated by roasters for this month’s article. True, Panama coffees of any kind very […]

The Presso Non-Electric Home Espresso Machine

The Presso Non-Electric Home Espresso Machine

If you frequent any one of the high end specialty coffee shops around the country these days you have observed the popular revival of manual, hands-on brewing. The movement has spawned books and blogs and even contests world-wide, but I think that the most beneficial thing to come out of it all is the consumer […]

By August 24, 2011 Read Article
Tall-Drink Espressos: Best Blends for Big Milk

Tall-Drink Espressos: Best Blends for Big Milk

One old-time coffee generalization certainly got shot down by this month’s reviews: the notion that the way to get pronounced espresso flavor in large (i.e. caffè latte-sized) volumes of hot milk is to roast the hell out of the coffees. The idea used to be that the burned pungency of darker roasted coffees would cut […]

By September 2, 2010 |Reviews Tasting Report
Porta-filter densation

Porta-filter densation

I was talking to Scott Callaghan the Australian barista champion just before he left for London for the World Barista Championship and I mentioned to him about “densation.” It’s a clumsy word but its similar to the principle that occurs with the sorting of green beans in a good dry-mill where you have a ‘densimetric’ […]

By June 13, 2010 Read Article
Espresso. Is Your Coffee Too Fresh?

Espresso. Is Your Coffee Too Fresh?

As with many subjects related to coffee you will find a variety of opinions regarding freshness within the coffee industry. Take for example the question of storage, for every roaster that recommends storing your coffee in the freezer or refrigerator there are many more that perish the thought. No matter the number of roasters that […]

By April 19, 2010 Read Article
American Espresso Blends: Boutique and Bigger

American Espresso Blends: Boutique and Bigger

Specialty espresso is currently in the throes of a creative explosion. I think of it as “post-Italian” espresso, a dynamic community of baristas, blender/roasters and motivated aficionados remaking espresso as a global connoisseur’s beverage with passionately contested barista competitions, non-traditional brewing innovations, and freshly conceived blend designs. The goal of this month’s tasting reviews was […]

Convenience First: Espresso Pods and Capsules

Convenience First: Espresso Pods and Capsules

It is no surprise that over the last decade the more moneyed elements of the coffee industry have been trying to figure out how to simplify espresso brewing to the point that a consumer can produce a properly rich, smooth-tasting espresso shot without struggling through a complicated process that can be as daunting as upgrading […]

By January 19, 2009 |Reviews Tasting Report
Single-Origin Espressos 2008

Single-Origin Espressos 2008

Those new to espresso connoisseurship may be surprised to learn that producing this dense, aromatic beverage from coffee of a single origin rather than from a blend of coffees from different origins is a mildly controversial practice. Traditionalists argue that the espresso system extracts flavor-bearing components from coffee so efficiently that a single coffee from […]

Italy Seen from America: Nine (Genuine) Italian and Three American Espressos

Italy Seen from America: Nine (Genuine) Italian and Three American Espressos

Italians must both wonder and cringe when they observe the amazing globe-trotting journey of espresso, a beverage system so quintessentially (and once so exclusively) Italian. Setting aside the implied stereotype that associates Italian-Americans with gangsters, the scene in an early episode of The Sopranos in which Silvio encounters a Starbucks-style espresso bar for the first […]

Better Than You Think: Decaffeinated Espressos

Better Than You Think: Decaffeinated Espressos

The term “decaffeinated espresso” gets even more snickers from coffee insiders than do allusions to ordinary decaffeinated coffee. The assumption seems to be that espresso is such a strong intensification of coffee-ness that drinking a decaffeinated version of it is a particularly perverse contradiction. In fact, decaffeination and espresso can be surprisingly well suited to […]

Readers’ Choice Espressos

Readers’ Choice Espressos

Well, special readers. The majority of the espressos reviewed this month were nominated by the roasting companies that produced them. I assume that a roaster knows what his best products are, so it also may be logical to expect these espressos to impress. Most did. Of the twenty-eight we tasted, nine scored 90 points or […]

By October 6, 2006 |Reviews Tasting Report
Better than Ever: Boutique Espressos

Better than Ever: Boutique Espressos

What’s a boutique espresso? How about a coffee designed for espresso brewing produced by a very small roasting company for local customers ranging from neighbors to nearby cafes and kiosks. In my most rigorously Platonic version of this definition, the people doing the roasting are ex-baristas (professional espresso machine operators) who got fed up with […]

Nice Going: Readers’ Choice Espressos

Nice Going: Readers’ Choice Espressos

Coffee Review readers appear to have good taste in espressos. Of the fifteen espressos tested for this review, all were nominated by Coffee Review readers. Of those fifteen, seven achieved scores of 90 or over, and two more hovered in the 88/89 range. This success rate is considerably higher than typically achieved when I simply […]

By September 7, 2005 |Reviews Tasting Report
Progressive Crema: Organic and Fair-Trade Espresso Blends

Progressive Crema: Organic and Fair-Trade Espresso Blends

Here are three things you need to understand to fully appreciate the achievement embodied in the exceptional espresso blends reviewed this month: First, the espresso brewing system produces its best results from coffees that are balanced but complex. Typically, it takes a minimum of three different coffees, often as many as five, to produce an […]