Oh how those Italians love their espresso. And starting in October, they'll be able to have a doppio on the go in the new Fiat 500L.
At the presentation of the car to the global press in Turin this month, Fiat announced that the 500L will be "the first standard-production car in the world to offer a true espresso coffee machine."
The espresso maker will be an option in the new, bigger, four-door 500L that goes on sale in Italy in October and in the rest of Europe shortly after. (Think of the 500L as the Fiat 500 equivalent of the Mini Cooper Countryman -- there's even a vague similarity in silhouette.)
Fiat says the machine "is perfectly integrated in the car with a deck designed expressly by Fiat." The espresso machine, which comes with matching cups, is being made for Fiat by Italian coffee importer Lavazza -- known as "Italy's favorite coffee" -- and uses the company's "A Modo Mio" coffee pods. Lavazza also runs a Starbucks-like coffee chain.
The 500L, which is being built in Serbia, is due in the U.S. in 2013, but the espresso maker seems unlikely in the current climate of concern over driver distractions in cars. You could argue that it would do wonders for driver alertness.
The 500L may be oh so Italian, but Fiat said at the presentation that it also will have a very American touch that shows the company's Chrysler connection: A branded Beats Audio (Beats by Dr. Dre) premium sound system like that in the Chrysler 300.
A new study from Portland State University researchers has shown that the Northwest's fame as a destination for coffee (and caffeinated techies) doesn't come without its environmental costs. Waters off the coast of Oregon were found to have elevated levels of caffeine, a drug that, in the Pacific Northwest, can only be traced to human activity.
The researchers expected to find higher levels near the outflow of waste treatment plants (where the remains of that Trenta end up, at the end of the day), but instead found the spikes of jolt juice lingering in relatively remote locations. Since humans are still the only possible source of the caffeine, the researchers are guessing that big rainstorms that overpower the sewer system and septic tanks in the state parks might be to blame for the findings. Yup, even Oregonian nature lovers are java junkies.
The amount of caffeine that counts as "elevated" is pretty minor, but the study cites some earlier research showing that even small amounts of caffeine can have an impact on marine life. Any fishermen out there noticing a little extra flop in their catch?
liQuid heaVen has NEVER and will NEVER use the extender Robusta in our coffee. Period. End of story. We have settled on and will continue to use 100% Arabica hand picked beans cultivated for their flavor
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Coffee roasters quietly pulled off a financial feat last year that went unnoticed by most customers: Adding a higher proportion of cheaper, lower-grade robusta to their grounds as the price of top-notch arabica beans surged.
As new data reveals the surprising extent of that substitution, which appears to have been far more widespread than experts had thought possible, the industry faces a vexing question: As the price premium for arabica beans returns to historically normal levels, will roasters switch back?
The short answer seems to be no.
The "swing" in demand was surprisingly decisive and swift. U.S. robusta imports rose by almost 80 percent in the first quarter of this year versus a year ago, while arabica fell by close to a third, International Coffee Organization data shows, likely reflecting purchases made during last year's rally.
"What we're realizing is that everybody underestimated the amount of demand in robusta because everybody thought ... that there was just a (certain) amount of robusta people could add to their blends," said Ernesto Alvarez, chief executive of U.S.-based coffee merchant COEX Coffee International.
Part of the increase in robusta demand can be explained by changing tastes as some U.S. consumers sought out lower-priced brands due to soaring prices. Lower-cost makes Folgers, owned by U.S. roasters J.M. Smucker, and Kraft Foods' Maxwell House both won market share last year, research shows.
The data are beginning to provide some credibility to widespread market speculation that some U.S. roasters have raised the robusta content to a higher level in their top-secret blends than many thought - in effect sacrificing quality in order to keep their profit margins.
The trend started last year, with U.S. robusta purchases from Brazil, the world's second-biggest robusta grower, tripling to 813,000 60-kg bags in 2011. While the total was still much less than the 5.84 million bags of arabica brought into the country, the rate of growth outpaced the premium grade's 3-percent rise year-on-year, ICO data showed. (Graphic: http://link.reuters.com/qub28s)
Now, however, market forces have reversed. The arabica premium has shrunk by almost 70 percent from its 2011 high of nearly $1.90 per lb to around 60 cents, making it far less financially advantageous to buy the lower-quality blends.
Experts say roasters have likely reached the limit of how far they can push the fine balance between robusta and arabica in their blends, but they may be able to maintain that ratio if it is economic and there is no consumer backlash.
"If the consumer has accepted the product well, and it's selling well, I don't see them going back to a higher arabica content, unless something's triggering it," said Carlos DeAldecoa, president of Maximus Coffee Group in Houston, which roasts coffee for 11 roasters, buys green coffee, and processes instant and decaffeinated coffees.
Smucker declined to comment on any changes in its green coffee purchases for proprietary reasons. Kraft said it could not share specifics about its blends.
ROBUST ROBUSTA DEMAND
Not all roasters can introduce lower quality beans to their blends. Those with premium taste and aroma profiles may not have the flexibility to use robusta beans, which typically have a less appealing taste described as earthy and bitter.
But those that can dabble according to price and bean availability - typically the national retail brands sold in supermarkets - set their sights on robusta beans in 2011 to help lower the cost of their brewed blends as arabica prices soared.
A steep and steady 11-month rally more than doubled the ICE benchmark arabica coffee futures price, lifting the market above $3 per lb to a 34-year high in May 2011 and pushing the arabica premium over robusta futures to nearly $1.90 per lb. (Graphic: http://link.reuters.com/bat58s)
"We're certainly seeing a change in the blends to include a higher percentage of robusta than they did in the past," said DeAldecoa.
Victor Garcez, chief executive of Italian-based Cafeco, which steams robusta beans on behalf of roasters to improve their quality, says demand for steamed robustas doubling at Cofaco's Vietnamese facility during the coffee rally as roasters tried to squeeze more out of lower-quality beans.
Massimo Zanetti USA, a mid-sized roaster that makes brands including Chock full o'Nuts and Hills Bros., was one of the only companies to discuss the blending issue publicly.
In November, it said it had increased its robusta usage by over a quarter year-to-date in order to reduce the impact of soaring Arabica prices and keep its retail prices as low as possible.
Arabica futures have since dropped nearly 50 percent to two-year lows at $1.561 per lb on Thursday, while Liffe robusta futures rallied on surging demand to an 8-1/2-month high at $2,269 per tonne at the end of May. They have since eased back to around $2,100.
Meanwhile, Liffe certified arabica stocks in Europe have seen an uninterrupted decline for 10 straight months, falling nearly 60 percent since mid-July 2011, indicating firm demand.
PRICE VS PALATE
So far many consumers have been more sensitive to prices than their palates, drinking less premium coffee or buying cheaper brands last year as coffee companies hiked prices multiple times, according to Garima Goel Lal, beverage analyst for consumer analyst Mintel, in Ithaca, New York.
Those who cut prices in response to the falling futures market won market share. Folgers' share retail volume climbed to 21.6 percent in 2011 from 19.7 pct in 2010 and Maxwell House rose to 10.5 percent from 10 percent in 2010, Euromonitor International data showed.
"If they didn't see any impact on their consumer from a quality standpoint, they might not change it because ultimately their total blend cost is going to be lower than it was years ago," DeAldoca said, speaking in general terms.
And without any resistance to the new blends, there is little incentive for roasters which have aided their profit margins with the new brew to switch back.
Some traders have taken steps preparing for the change to be long term.
COEX, which trades 3-1/2 million 60-kg bags annually, recently opened offices in Vietnam, the world's biggest grower of robusta, and Holland, strategically located for West African imports, to source robusta beans.
"We used to be an arabica house completely. Five, six years ago we traded no robustas. Now it's 40 percent of what we do," said Alvarez.
The Coffeebrewer is a disposable
French press. Inside the pouch is a filter with 26 g of freshly ground specialty
coffee. To brew 3 cups of coffee, all you need is to open it, pour 1/2 L hot
water into it, and let it brew 5-8 min. Now we know we're all about single serve
coffee, but we think this coffee in a bag hits the mark. It's contained,
portable, and makes a great cup of coffee.
How does it work?
- Coffee looses 60% of carbon dioxide--its flavour--when it is ground! That is why it is of utmost importance to pack it as quickly as possible.
- The characteristics of different coffee bean varieties react most differently in pod brewing than when drip brewed.
- Roasted beans in the northern Italian tradition (normale), or in the southern Italian tranditon (tostattura scura) are guaranteed to have the thickest crema you've ever seen! Good luck in finding them.
- In brewing coffee, use fresh cold water; hot water produces a stale taste and water provided by a water softener gives an off bland taste to the coffee.
Why brew one cup instead of a pot?
- There is less waste with pods.
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At home my signature coffee, liQuid heaVen will be YOUR choice, YOUR coffee! Fresh, fast, and amazingly convenient, with a smoothness and no bitter aftertaste.
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Higher Antioxidant Properties In Torrefacto-Roasted Coffee