The art of use is very popular. Designers are constantly challenged to find ways on how to keep our stuff altogether. Effective and esthetic organizational architecture minimizes clutter and should simplify our lives. If you’re a single cup brewer keeping your pods together can be a real problem. Here are a few capsule keepers that might be up to the task. Chosen for their simplicity, flexibility, reliability and economy of space (benchmarks for effective organizational design), we’ve added one other criteria, pleasing to the eye.
Keurig has its own swivel towel and there are plenty wire and mesh storage drawer units but if you want to create your own pod art you can always commission a design team to build your own custom-made coffee pod holder like this one from FSM Design & Fabrication LLC.
According to the cleaning mavens at Proctor and Gamble, Italian women spend 21 hours a week on household chores as opposed to Americans who spend just four. Italian women supposedly wash their kitchen and bathroom floors at least four times a week. American women just once.
On occasion Italians still hang their laundry out to dry and iron nearly all their wash, even socks and sheets. They don’t understand our obsession with plug in “air fresheners” and don’t believe that food odors are offensive. They open their windows to let the fresh air in even if they live in the cities. Italians also spend time sweeping the sidewalks and streets in front of their entry ways and like to use traditional cleaning supplies. In Italy the Swiffer Wet Mop was such a flop that the company took it off the market.
Can the Japanese make espresso? In a country so committed to tea with a choreographed ceremony that considers every movement and gesture – can there be a place for the art and science of Italian caffe? Surprisingly Japan is considered to be one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world with a passion and love for coffee that is spreading more and more.
エスプレッソ , the Japanese word for espresso, is becoming so popular it’s not uncommon to see coffee shops and espresso bars amid the neon and buzz of Tokyo and the shrines and temples of Kyoto. Although the Japanese coffee culture may be in its embryonic stages, like a chrysalis waiting to become a butterfly the Japanese are embracing a new way of thinking about coffee and steamed milk.
With creative methods of brewing as ceremonial as any tea ritual, the Japanese style of making and drinking coffee is reflected in the Hario syphon coffee system. Not quite the la bella vita crema of espresso but made well enough to transport you to a zen-like state of coffee satisfaction.
Known for making high quality heat-resistant glass, this Japanese company has been manufacturing glassware since 1921. With systems and vessels that look like beakers in a chemistry lab yet combined form visual works of art, Hario’s coffee (and tea) brewing systems produce a rich bodied flavorful drink with precision and beauty.
*watch this video on syphon coffee from Intelligentsia
Are you ready for an Italian Spring Break?
With winter behind us and spring ahead now is a good time to bring “la bella vita” into your life. If you’re like most of us, it’s been a long winter and you’re ready to leave all the gloom and doom behind. Begin by changing your mind-set.This Spring resolve to clear your mind, enrich your palate and soothe your body and soul. Spring seems to me to be a much better time to do this than in the rush of a New Year’s resolution. So spring ahead with a new attitude and create a lifestyle that values beauty, art, culture, good food and wine and create an Italian inspired Spring.
Read more about one of my favorite Italian painters who used fruits, flowers and vegetables in unconventional ways to capture the exuberance of Spring.
Italian paparazzi took an aerial shot of the Easter Bunny lounging in Artesina in the Italian Alps near Cuneo only to find out that he was an imposter. Made out of wool, this rabbit is a knitted art installation made by Gelitin, a group of 4 Viennese artists known for creating sensational and amusing art events. Lying on a hill in the northern Piedmont, the Pepto Bismol pink rabbit is 200 feet in length and 20 feet high. Installed in 2005, it took 5 years to assemble and looks like a stuffed toy knitted by a Gullervian grandmother for a Brobdingnagian child. Annual celebrations have literally knocked the stuffing out of the pink hare although the installation is expected to last until 2025 before the fluffy pink rabbit is reclaimed by the mountainside.
To give you an idea of just how big this rabbit is take a look at the people touring the installation walking on top.
Although Italy cannot claim St. Patrick as their favorite son, they can claim espresso and the fact that Patrick’s parents were citizens of Rome. So it’s easy for Italians to translate the green in their flag to the “wearin of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day. There are many Irish pubs in Italy and you can be sure they will be serving Guinness on draught and Irish whiskey on March 17th along with pasta and pizza and Irish Espresso.
Here is a recipe that we have adapted from home roaster and coffee aficionado Jim Slaughter who claims it makes the “best Irish coffee in the world”. Combine the whiskey and brown sugar together in a heat-resistant container. Then use the espresso steamer to heat the whiskey until hot and the brown sugar is dissolved, about eight to ten seconds. Transfer to an Irish Coffee mug and carefully pour the lightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon held just above the surface of the coffee as you pour to get a creamy float on top.
- One Irish Coffee Mug about 5 or 6 fl. oz.
- One long shot of good espresso (Lavazza Super Crema)
- Two fingers of decent Irish Whiskey (Jameson or Bushmills)
- One generous teaspoon of demerara or brown sugar
- FRESHLY prepared heavy cream sweetened with white sugar, beaten until it’s the consistency of custard, but not whipped to fluffiness.
Legend has it that shortly before the 1923 Targa Florio motor race in Sicily, Alfa Romeo driver Udo Sivocci found a four leaf clover by the roadside. He persuaded his team to paint a Quadrifoglio Verde symbol on his Alfa Romeo RL for good luck. He won the race, scoring Alfa Romeo’s first major international victory. From that day on, the cloverleaf (Quadrifoglio Verde) symbol has appeared on Alfa Romeo racing cars and some production cars around the world
The Alfa Romeo Alfa MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde (Cloverleaf) has the style, performance and safety features to be my lucky charm. Powered by a 170 HP 1.4-litre Turbo MultiAir engine, the MiTo SBK Limited Edition goes from 0 to 60 MPH in about 7 seconds, all the while returning 49 MPG with relatively low CO2 emissions (139 g/km). A carbon fiber dashboard, red stitched Sabelt Alcantara sports seats, 17 inch satin titanium finished wheels and rear parking sensors would make anyone feel lucky to own this MiTo from one of Italy’s iconic makers of cars.
When we think about the color of coffee we think about warm brown, deep rich chocolate or dark espresso but the birth of the bean begins green.
Green coffee beans arrive at the roasting facility in large burlap bags to begin a life changing process that will alter their taste, color and aroma making them into a world-wide cultural icon. When roasted, the green coffee beans expand and change in color, taste, smell, and density. Sugars begin to caramelize; colors begin to change from light to golden brown, to medium brown, dark chocolate then black. Science and art combine to bring the best characteristics out of each bean. Dark espresso roasts maximize the sweetness and aroma while minimizing the bitterness and acidity. Italian roasters like Lavazza and Illy seem to be able to coax the best of the beans creating a true metamorphosis.
Icon logos are immediately recognizable as a link to social media sites. The sky blue box with the Twitter T, the dark blue box with Facebook F, Google’s G+ and the scripted black W of WordPress are all familiar images that connect us to networks of friends and followers with a click or a touch. The on-line universe is populated with share and like buttons and pins to inform and influence others about what we considered to be important.
Well for our online community of coffee drinkers here is a single cup coffeemaker with the look of a social media icon. The WMF1 Coffee Pad Machine with a cup enclosed in a white or black cube highlighted in color (berry, kiwi or stone) seems like the perfect social media logo for coffee lovers. Created by Designafairs, it makes an immediate visual impact that screams COFFEE.
The art of microfoam has risen to new heights. A few sites like ilovecoffee and java aficionado are posting pictures of dimensional cats and bears floating on the surface of your morning cappuccino looking as cute as can be. I have trouble with a simple swirl so I’m in awe of the masterful baristas who define gravity to create a 3-D foam.
Italian baristas – how about a microfoam Tower of Pisa? Now that would be an exceptional cup.