Third Wave coffee on Nightline


Nice piece on Nightline from early this summer about Third Wave coffee (i.e. what I’m usually referring to on this site). I only wish the newswoman didn’t open with such a lame segue, “and we turn now to the daily grind.”

via Portafilter

posted by on 11.09.2010, under Misc., Videos

Nespresso coffee clock


While cool in theory, it’s fitting that Nespresso is reusing its aluminum capsules and coffee grounds to power a clock. This way we can accurately count down how much time we have left before we completely destroy our planet for stupid conveniences like Nespresso capsules and their unsexy cousin, the K-Cup.

Designed by Mischer’Traxler for Vienna Design Week, the installation—in Nespresso Austria’s storefront—shows how the contents of six used capsules can be wired together to power a small clock. The whole exhibit (96 capsules) could power a small radio. How neat! But, I can’t help but wonder how many clocks could be powered by the energy used to manufacture, ship, and dispose of the Nespresso capsules in the first place. I doubt Nespresso user’s will be turning all their old capsules into batteries anytime soon.

While I usually herald such clever reuse in design, the fact that this was funded by a company whose entire business model revolves around disposability, it makes this nothing more than an creative green washing of their image. There’s nothing sustainable about a product that has a 30 second life span before it’s thrown away. Yet, it was still named one of three winners in a competition titled, “Sustain.Ability.Design.”

Photos via Dezeen

posted by on 11.08.2010, under Design, Misc.

How coffee is made*


Taylor Pemberton designed this fantastic infographic illustrating coffee’s journey from port to purchase. According to his website, this is just part of the complete project, so I’m not sure what else he has in store. Hopefully there’s a preface to this in the works that will show the first half of the process.

Coffee couldn’t be “made” at all unless it were grown, picked, washed, dried, sorted and packed by the farmers at origin. If he’s done his research, I doubt he will ignore the most important part of coffee production process.

Overall great work, I look forward to seeing the rest of the project.

(click the image for a larger view)

posted by on 11.02.2010, under Design, Misc.

Brew Method: The AeroPress


If you haven’t heard of an Aeropress, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to brew your coffee. This relatively new invention has been rapidly rising to prominence in the coffee world recently, it even has its own World Championship. While, its initial popularity was among home brewing coffee geeks, many cafes serving specialty coffee now have one behind their counter as well.

The Aeropress was invented just 5 years ago by Alan Adler, who also invented the Aerobie flying disc. To be honest, when I first heard about the Aeropress, I dismissed it as a gimmick destined for SkyMall and late night infomercials, precisely for that reason. Afterall, what could a guy who makes frisbees and yo-yos, know about brewing coffee?

Apparently quite a bit. The Aeropress has made some of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had—and in some of the better cafe’s I’ve visited, it’s used exclusively to brew drip coffee. Adler’s intent for inventing the Aeropress was based on his personal desire for a cup of coffee that was as full in flavor as a French press, but created a cup that was cleaner, smoother and less acidic.

Adler’s solution was to affix a thin paper filter, which allows for a fine grind, to a plastic tube a svelte 2¼ inches in diameter. (The smaller surface area is easier to plunge.) In many drip methods, the size of the grind dictates how long the coffee brews. But with the AeroPress, you choose the grind, and you decide when to plunge. –New York Times

While the Aeropress is extremely simple to use, it is also open to a wide range of experimentation. One great aspect of the Aeropress is the ability to play with various grinds, brew times, and water temperatures to achieve new results. However this can unententionally lead to endless hours of trying to dial in the “perfect” cup. The clean up is also remarkably simple, it packs well for travel or camping and it only costs about $30. Just add coffee grounds, hot water and plunge.

Shop for AeroPress

Photo by Chris Kolbu

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posted by on 11.01.2010, under Brew Methods, Misc., Products, Videos