The foam, the crema, the aroma and taste – all create a sensory experience that define the art, beauty and savor found in a cup of well-made espresso. The art and craft of espresso took on a new meaning in 1992 when Illy first began to think about the idea that art can enter the lives of people through a small object of daily use, in this case a coffee cup. Working with leading contemporary artists, Illy commissioned a series of collector’s cups (now there are more than 70 in the series) and later coffee cans decorated with limited-edition works of art.
The latest Illy can features German born artist, Kiki Smith. Living and working in New York City, Smith is known for combining feminism with magical elements and evocative storytelling . The 250g Illy coffee can she designed is a poetic expression of flowers, butterflies, suns and moons “the natural charms of day and night”. Like all of Illy’s art designed cans, avid collectors find any number of ways to re-purpose (flower vase, pencil holder) these iconic works of art. I especially like the idea of using the latest can design for making a tin can lantern to create a perfect glow on a magical summertime evening.
Team Billy Goat Members
Eric,our marketing director, is spending the week mountain biking in the Nantahala National Forest in southwestern North Carolina. For the last 15 years he and a group of friends (Team Billy Goat) have a biking bromanace once a year camping and riding the trails on land said to more closely resemble coffee spatters than official survey lines.
More than 516,000 acres cut across the crest of mountain ranges and waterfalls to the river valleys and lakes below making the trail loops and switchbacks of the Nantahala bikeway a popular destination for off-road bycycling.
Like any white, green and red-blooded Italian male, Eric wants, needs and must have his morning espresso but sitting around the camfire on a brisk cold morning waiting for your Moka pot to boil may not be the best way to tackle the 4-loop trails of the Tsali. So on next year’s ride we’re having him trail test the Handpresso Espresso Wild, a portable handheld espresso machine that weighs just 2.05 pounds. Perfect for espresso to go. The Handpresso Wild pulls a 16 bar pressure, just as high and in some cases, higher than an electric espresso machine but uses power you create manually, much like with a bicycle pump. There are two models, one that uses pre-packaged E.S.E. pods or one that uses freshly ground coffee beans. All you need is hot water, which is easily made over your fire. All I would need is a Brioche S’more made with Nutella to make me one happy camper.
I think we all pray to the first cup of the day. It’s a silent prayer, sung while the mind is still foggy and blue. “O Magic Cup,” it might go, “carry me above the traffic jam. Keep me civil in the subway. And forgive my employer, as you forgive me. Amen” ~Stewert Lee Allen in The Devil’s Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee
Robert Downey, Jr. by Michael Comte
Oh how many fond memories are linked to a cup of coffee. A ritual to begin the day and an ending to a satisfying meal. A time to be alone with your thoughts or together with friends. A drink to begin or end relationships. Inspiration for your next project or support to keep going on. A cup of coffee is often our only companion in times of happiness or sadness sharing our joy or soothing our pain.
We can only imagine what Robert Downey, Jr, is thinking as he stares into the darkness of his cup of espresso.
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
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.
Yes, you heard right, that’s just what Milan based Venezuelan designer Enrique Luis Sardi wants us to do. Sardi’s ingenious mind has come up with a way for us to have our cup and eat it too.
Collaborating with Italian coffee maestro, Lavazza, Sardi created a cookie coffee cup that you can eat when the drink is gone. Lined with a special icing sugar that works as an insulator making the cup waterproof and sweetening the drink at the same time, the pastry cup becomes an eco-conscious vessel for your brew. Lavazza known for being one of the most socially responsible companies in the coffee industry and Sardi’s passion for innovative design seem as perfectly matched as an espresso with a perfect crema.
Up until now the patterns made in the foam or crema of espresso drinks might be a flourish of flowers, a heart or even words of love. Some can get pretty intricate but a cloud texting company, thinking “out of the cup” has taken the art of microfoam one step further. Using a Jura Impressa Xs90 espresso machine with SMS and printing capabilities plus other techno components, Seattle (of course) based company Zipwhip has come up with a system that makes latte art the next now choice for marketing your brand.
Textpresso is an espresso machine that can not only send and receive text messages, but can also print those messages on coffee foam using edible ink, opening the door to a world of personalization possibilities from imprinting your phone number for coffee pick up to identifying your company’s brand. Expedient yes, great marketing yes but . . .
In my mind nothing can replace traditional latte art as first practiced in Italy where foam is a sensual expression of the art and science of espresso.
Forward this video to time 17.06 for some awesome latte art!