Fiat 500L to include espresso maker option.

July 17, 2012 · Filed Under Equipment and Supplies, Gimmicks, Humor · Comment 

Fiat 500L's in-car espresso maker.Yes, it’s true.  The Fiat 500L will be the first production consumer automobile to include an espresso machine as a trim option.

Ridiculous?  probably.  Marketable?  Absolutely.  Available in the US?  Odds are slim.

Let’s be honest, would you really want an espresso made by your car from a tiny pack of pre-ground Lavazza espresso blend?  I guess that depends on how addicted and how desperate you are.  I know I’ve been there.

Check out more pictures and more information (including a promo video from Fiat, and another video from Autoblog that shows the contraption in all its.. well.. glory?) by clicking here.

Coffee Maker by Tom Metcalfe: Artful Brewing

I’m not saying this is the ideal way to make a cup of coffee, but you can’t deny how cool it is.

It roasts.

It grinds. It brews.

Three operations. Three tools.

A 5 minute video showing the process. From green bean, to cup of coffee. All from one table-top design set.

COFFEE MAKER from tommetcalfe on Vimeo.


(SOLD!) Probat L12 for Sale (SOLD!)

March 30, 2009 · Filed Under Equipment and Supplies, Roasters · 8 Comments 

Win a Sonofresco Roaster and Help Coffee Farming Families

From Coffee Kids

(all links made active by tx-coffee)

This is a good cause, with a chance to win something for yourself.

If you can, please donate!

Coffee Kids recently had a Sonofresco Table Top Roaster donated by Elan Organic Coffee for a drawing/fundraiser at the SCAA Expo. The roaster, valued at $3,500, is easy-to-use and appropriate for small cafes and home roasting enthusiasts.

The drawing will be held at the Coffee Kids Reception on Friday, April 17 at 5 p.m. at the SCAA Expo. Tickets for the drawing are available for a suggested donation of $25 (five entries for a donation of $100) and participants need not be present to win. Please visit Coffee Kids Donate page and enter SCAA in the ‘memorial/gift’ field when you make your donation.

All proceeds from the drawing will benefit Coffee Kids’ efforts to help coffee-farming families improve their quality of life.

Thanks much!

New Tech in the World of Coffee

I was looking through some Flickr updates, when I come across this interesting looking machine that reminds me of a Clover, and some experiments I’d seen done over at Jim Seven regarding water measurment by weight, rather than volume.

Well, here it is.  The Marco Uber Boiler.  It’s been situated to deliver water at temperatures of .2C precision by weight into whatever vessel of your choice.  Precise temperature, precise measurement, both in a neat in-counter package.  This does what Clover couldn’t.(just my opinion)

It’s not in production yet, and James says, “For those interested I’d recommend e-mailing Marco, and they will keep those interested up to date on the boiler.”(via) Click Here for the full report from James Hoffmann.

The next bit of tech for the coffee industry is an espresso machine project that I’ve been following for awhile, but was just recently finished into a functional prototype.  It has since made quite a splash, and it has gotten more attention.  It is the Slayer Espresso machine.

It’s low, it’s sleek, it has exposed group heads, it has steam wands and levers that remind one of Synesso, it boasts temperature control/stability, exposed paddle group heads, and… pressure profiling control?

I know that La Marzocco has released their paddle machine (which, btw, Cuvee was one of the first to have acquired), and it has made a splash, but not in the same way as this one.  Maybe it’s because it is from an independent, rather than from a prestigious manufacturer with a long history.  Maybe it’s because they’ve been blogging about its progress since it began.  Or, maybe it’s because it was developed from the same folks who started Treuh, except for Mark Barnett, who went on to found Synesso.

Either way, this piece of espresso tech holds a lot of promising potential.  Also not in production yet, I’ll be keeping an eye on this one for updates on its progress.

That’s all the news for today!  I’m sure that’s more than enough to hold you over for awhile.

Wisdom for home enthusiasts: Grinder first.

When budgeting for an espresso kit for home use, keep one thing, and one thing only on your list.

The grinder.

Nothing can have as great an impact on your entire coffee experience at home than this often overlooked piece of equipment other than the coffee itself, with water as the next in line.

Too often, I hear and read people who are just starting out asking which machine they should buy, and neglecting to even consider purchasing a grinder, let alone wondering if the quality of the grinder is of much concern.

Here’s an easy rule of thumb to consider when it comes to the importance of variables (it’s not absolute, and it’s not 100% accurate, but it works on a broad spectrum for this purpose).

Consider the order of events and what tools are used along the way in preparing a cup of coffee.

The first thing you grab (1) is the coffee.  Then the coffee is ground (2) in a grinder.  Then the water (3) is heated.  Then the two are combined for a certain amount of (4) time. Then the saturated liquid is separated from the grounds (5).

(1) coffee
(2) grinder
(3) water
(4) coffee/water dwell (contact) time
(5) brew method/filtration

Following this logic, step one would be to buy fresh coffee.  Do not pre-grind it.  Honestly, it would be better to dose the whole beans into a zip-lock and stomp on it with the heal of your shoe than to start with pre-ground coffee. (this includes buying whole beans and having your neighborhood coffee retailer grind them for you.  Don’t do it!)  If you honestly cannot afford a decent grinder, go to your local discount store and buy a $10 whirly-blade “coffee grinder” that looks something like this:

No, the grind quality will not be as good, but if you have it ground at the store, your wonderfully fresh coffee will be fresh no more by the time you get it home. (not to mention, by the time you brew a cup the following morning)

If you are allocating a certain amount of dollars for a brewing setup, please consider this:  You can brew a wonderful cup from a $4 Melitta pourover that, while less convenient, will trump any cup made by an average automatic drip coffee maker off of your favorite department store’s shelf.  Consider also that the grind quality will be the most important factor following the coffee quality (coffee quality includes freshness, or days since roasting).

If money is tight, and you don’t mind things lacking in convenience, you can always look for a used Zassenhaus hand grinder on e-bay, get ahold of Brown for their Hario hand grinder, or try getting a grinder made from Texas Coffee Grinder Co. (in order of least to most expensive).

Of course, if you choose to go the electric burr grinder route, do NOT buy the grinder without first taking a good look at the burrs.  They should be sharp.  Rub the back of your fingernail against a sharp burr edge.  If you don’t end up with a thin shaving of fingernail (ignore the gross factor), it’s not sharp enough.  And if the grinder isn’t conical, and the flat burrs don’t come close to resembling this: 

…then don’t buy it.  You would be better off saving your money and getting similar grind quality from the $10 blade “grinder” we mentioned earlier.

Regardless of which grinder you choose, please… buy your beans whole from your favorite Texas coffee roasting company.  They’ll be glad you did, and your cup of coffee will see a considerable improvement.

Win a Hottop KN-8828B!

December 8, 2007 · Filed Under Coffee, Equipment and Supplies, Events, home-roasting, Roasters · Comment 

 I was talking to a friend of mine about home roasters, and he told me to:

Hey, let folks know that is running another contest. Top Prize is a Hottop KN-8828B!

This friend is one of the judges of this competition.  The idea is to build a bean cooler that can cool a minimum of 4lbs. of coffee right out of the roaster to 150F as quickly as possible.

Sounds like a task, but with a prize like this:


I’d say you’ve got more than enough motivation. :o)


I received another email today from another member.  It reads:

Hi all:

Just wanted to say hi and a huge thankss for the contest plug.

It is heading toward some very inventive stuff. Join in!!

Warmest Regards,


Bahama Buck's serves what?

September 26, 2007 · Filed Under Coffee, Equipment and Supplies, Espresso, Retailers · 6 Comments 


Bahama Buck’s Original Shaved Ice Company



Bahama Buck’s retail stores are now equipped with La Cimbali superautomatics from Texas company, The Espresso Connection, in Houston.
That’s quite a jump from the frozen treat business straight into espresso. I asked who the roaster was, and the response was interesting. I was told that they have their own beans. I am assuming, however, that the roasting is outsourced and merely private labeled, though I can’t say that with absolute certainty.


Apparently, this jump has not yet been announced, so the menu is not there, but the machine most certainly is.

The only question I have, is about the employee training. Bahama Buck’s is a chain with over 22 locations (and growing).. which makes moving directly into espresso no small task. I guess that’s where the purchasing of Super Automatic machines comes in.


I don’t know about locations around you (if you have any), but the ones I’ve seen have always been pristinely clean. Always a joy. If the same attention to detail in shaved ice and smoothies is applied to the coffee, the result could be worth trying.



Texas Coffee Grinder Company

September 19, 2007 · Filed Under Coffee, Community, Equipment and Supplies, Machines / Grinders · 10 Comments 

If you’ve been into this whole Specialty Coffee thing for very long, you’ve undoubtedly heard of, and witnessed the cult-like following of the very famous Zassenhaus hand coffee mills. The reason for its fame? Quality of build, and quality of the burr mechanism. It’s actually meant to be USED, and not just as decoration.

The company has all but disappeared, and distribution to North America came to a hault some time ago, so people have been driven to look for previously used units on e-bay or in Buy and Sell boards on various coffee forums.

I am extremely pleased (and quite proud, as a Texan) to have found and to now introduce a company IN TEXAS building hand-grinders that are built to be used, and used for years to come.

It is the

Texas Coffee Grinder Company

“Old fashioned coffee grinders custom made by hand”.
“The boxes are made from select 3/4 inch thick, 100 % hardwood and weigh about 8-10 lbs!”
The mill is a premium grade cast iron mill. It is a strong hand crank, fully adjustable burr type grinder.”

Texas Coffee Grinder Company

Prices are fairly consistent at around $150. Don’t let the price tag scare you. That’s a bargain for a “real deal” wood box hand coffee mill. There is a catch: It is NOT espresso capable. Not a big deal if it allows you to travel with a French Press or pour-over more easily without having to worry about pre-grinding and praying to the volatile aromatic gods that the coffee doesn’t go stale before it’s used.

All “Texas Coffee People” get a generous discount of over 10%!
(Click Here.)

Texas-based Coffee and Espresso equipment vendors list

September 10, 2007 · Filed Under Coffee, Community, Equipment and Supplies, Espresso · 1 Comment 

I’ve started compiling a general list of coffee and espresso equipment vendors local to those who would be inclined to visit this site.

It’s been asked a few times, now, where one could find needed equipment in Texas, as it was wished to support local business.

The list has started, but is far from complete.



If you are a vendor, or if you know of a vendor that was left out of the list, I can assure you, it was unintentional. Please give us a website, location, and business name via the CONTACT FORM and I will be happy to add it to the list.

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