Colorado Coffee – What I’m Drinking Now

For this blog (and because I love being adventurous with coffee, food, drink and everything), I’m trying out new coffees all the time. Last month I tried and reviewed several Caribou Coffees, flavored and regular. This month I got a local Colorado Coffee to try, Boyers Coffee, Aspen Gold Medium Roast. I also purchased a couple of my long-standing favorites, Lavazza Perfetto Espresso Roast and Lavazza Classico Medium Roast.

Colorado Coffee – Boyers Aspen Gold

Going from Caribou Coffee I didn’t really notice anything special about Boyer’s, it just seemed like a regular, all-around normally-good coffee. But then I finished the Caribou Coffee and started in on my Lavazza, and I can tell a distinct difference between these two brands. I love Lavazza, it’s light and smooth. But sometimes I find the Lavazza is just a little too strong for me (like now during allergy season, or if I’ve already had a few cups). Then I switch to my Boyer’s Aspen Gold Colorado Coffee. It’s delicious, a perfect medium roast, not too dark and not too light. Where Lavazza has a lighter general tone to it, the Boyer’s tone is slightly deeper, which I appreciate.

Local Colorado Coffee Boyers Aspen Gold can be found at boyerscoffee.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com and at local grocery stores in Colorado.

Boyers Coffee – They’ve been around a while

Colorado Coffee Company Boyers Coffee was founded in 1965, but only local Colorado residents have known about them, as they’ve just been in our local Walmarts and grocery chains. Recently, they made a deal with Walmart and now are getting national exposure, not to mention on Amazon as well. They worked out a deal with Walmart to create a special, exclusive “Mash-Up” blends of coffees, mixing beans from Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia, Sumatra and Peru.

Boyer’s was already in local Walmart s and grocery stores around Colorado, but this new agreement with Walmart for the exclusive blends came recently as a special invitation. This big change came after the Barrow brothers bought the company from the Boyer family in 2015. The Boyer’s roastery is located in a 1927 schoolhouse on Washington Street in Denver.

Boyer’s is now part of several companies owned by the Barrows which includes Luna Gourmet Coffee and Tea Company, Boulder Organic Coffee and Boca Java. This company, Barrows, is committed to ethical and direct trade and environmental responsibility. Currently the company is funding construction of a school in the same Peruvian village where one of their farming suppliers is located.

But I also love my Lavazza

Lavazza is local to Italy – an Italian company. They really know how to make coffee, especially espresso. A friend got me onto them because their espresso is so smooth, that you can actually sip a pure espresso without sugar – there’s no bitterness to it. I’ve never come across a coffee that can do this, until Lavazza.

Currently I’m drinking the Perfetto Espresso Roast as well as the Classico Medium Roast. They both work amazingly well as cafe americano, and I share about how to make that here. The Perfetto is especially rich in full-bodied flavor – yum.

Ways I like to Make my Coffee

I use my trusty Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso & Cappuccino Maker almost every single day. You can read my review about it here. Lately I’ve really been into cafe americano, especially since I’m mostly following the Belly Fat Cure menu plan these days, and for that coffee with a little bit of half-and-half is recommended. My cafe americano tastes so perfect with a double espresso shot (with any of these coffees), diluted with just a little bit of hot or boiling water (see how to make cafe americano here), a little sweetener added (Truvia or flavored Stevia) and a little bit of real half-and-half. It’s filling and yummy, and I’m losing weight, too.

But these coffees are just as good as Turkish Coffee in an ibrik – which I’ve written about here, and if you don’t have an ibrik, read this post. When I need to make a cup of joe as quietly as possible (like recently when my older son spent the night, staying up late with his brother playing Warhammer, and choosing to sleep on the Living Room Couch so he can be near our cat all night – see below), I use my Bialetti Moka Pot – that’s also yummy, and I write about that here. Making it Turkish Coffee style is also extremely quiet and works well for that, too.

Of course, you can also just make any of these into a cold brew in your fridge overnight, which is obviously the quietest method of all, and very rich and delicious as well as healthful. I write about that preparation here.

Colorado Coffee if my local coffee – what’s yours?

I’d love to hear about other coffees local to your own city or state of residence. Please share what your local coffee company is, what their coffee is like – I crave your reviews for your local coffee. 🙂 Please comment below and let’s share together.

Okay, here is our beloved orange tabby cat, Spikey, next to whom my son slept all night long on the Living Room couch. Spikey is a funny cat, in some ways he behaves more like a dog, as he likes to hang out with one of his humans all day long (most days), and he likes daily attention from his different humans. Sometimes he’ll cuddle up in our arms like a baby. If there’s an empty box, suitcase, bag or other container, he’ll happily sit in it for hours – especially cardboard boxes or paper bags. He lays regular “cute traps” for us around the house, too. When my husband and I stretch or do yoga in our Den, Spikey comes and starts stretching with us, sprawling on the floor with his head upside down, reaching his front paws out to touch one of our legs or hands on the floor. Cat yoga!

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Falling in Love with Cafe Americano

I don’t know why, but Cafe Americano was never on my radar, and I didn’t really know anything about it. But when I had friends over last year, and I was making coffee for them with my Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino maker, one requested Cafe Americano. Real quick he taught me how to make a cafe americano. I tried it myself, and now it’s my new favorite coffee every morning, using my espresso maker.

What is Cafe Americano?

Cafe Americano is the Italian and Spanish phrase for “American coffee.” It’s an espresso shot diluted with hot water, making it more akin to a regular cup of joe, like from a Keurig or drip coffee maker. Legend has it that during WWII, American soldiers in Italy would order an espresso and then dilute it with hot water to make it more like their normal coffee back home.

This past winter I was wanting a milder coffee than my normal cappuccino’s and was actually looking into getting a drip coffee maker, but I really don’t want two main coffee makers on my counter. So this is the perfect solution. I was also wanting a break from consuming all the milk and non-dairy milks that were in my cappuccino’s – too much milk too often (I drink several cups a day). Making a cafe americano allows me to put in just a tiny bit of half-and-half or any milk I desire at the moment. Or I can drink it black for a no-calorie option.

“Long Black” is the Australasian term for a drink just like a cafe americano – only they pour the hot water first and then add the espresso. For a regular espresso they use the term “Short Black.”

As a kind of joke recently, Russia proposed they rename cafe americano a “Russiano” in their country. I don’t think it ever took, though, but maybe in their own country.

How to make Cafe Americano

Simply pull one or two espresso shots, and dilute it with boiling or hot water. I like mine boiling because I then add a smidgen of half-and-half. You’ll want to experiment – I’ve found that just adding a little bit of hot water makes for a full-flavored cafe americano – like about 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Some people might want to dilute it a bit more, and the strength and flavor also depends on which grounds you are using. So far my favorite is Lavazza Perfetto Espresso Roast. When I want something a little milder I use my Lavazza Classico Medium Roast.

This is just one of the various specialty coffees we can make with an espresso and cappuccino machine.

You can find lots of great Lavazza coffees (one of my all-time favorite brands) at Amazon.com and Walmart.com.

Iced Cafe Americano

What if you want an iced cafe americano? Simply pull your shot(s), then dilute it with cold water and ice and any other additions you want (cream or sugar). Voila!

How to make Cafe Americano unique and different

This past winter when I was sometimes on the verge of a cold, I discovered (invented?) Herbal Coffees – check out my post here. I learned to make these with cafe americano – after all, adding boiling water is similar to making tea. I had fun letting my Herbal Cafe Americano slowly transform into tea, then I’d add another shot or two of espresso and transition it back into a cafe americano, etc.

If you do that method you can add all sorts of interesting and unique flavors to your cafe americano just by using interesting tea bags – like Blackberry, Blueberry, Lavender, Vanilla, Blood Orange or Cinnamon. Of course, you can always flavor your cafe americano with coffee syrups, flavored stevia and/or creamers.

If you want to really indulge, make your cafe americano with any flavors (or none), then top it with a dollop of sweet, vanilla freshly-whipped whole cream. I make my own whipped cream – take a cup of whole whipping cream, add a little sweetener (sugar, truvia, etc.), add a dash of vanilla, and whip it with your beaters until it’s thick and little peaks stand up on their own when you lift the beaters out. Yummm.

When you want your espresso maker to make a regular cup of coffee

I contend that a cafe americano from my espresso machine tastes much better than a normal cup of coffee from Keurig or regular coffee maker. There’s just nothing like a deep, dark, full-bodied espresso shot – and I can taste that even when it’s diluted with hot water. I also like how I can pour in boiling water, making sure it is really nice and hot. And right now, while I’m following the Belly Fat Cure eating plan, a tiny bit of half-and-half is all I need for a delicious cup of cafe americano.

Have you made cafe americano? I’d love to hear from you – what are your favorite methods, have you done anything fun and unique with it? Please comment below. 🙂

Hi, I’m Jerilyn Winstead and I’m a writer and coffee snob. You can find my author and writing news and tips as well as life hacks at www.jerilynwinstead.com and all things coffee on this blog. Besides coffee and writing, I love larping (live action role-play) and medieval re-creation, zombies, costuming, reading, all kinds of art mediums (visual art, knitting and spinning, crafting, performing arts), hiking, camping, yoga, hanging out with friends, movies and good TV shows, travel, horse-back riding, cooking, baking and eating gourmet foods and desserts, spirituality and unusual topics – like alchemy, as in my first novel. I am also a mermaid and swim in my mermaid tail whenever I get a chance – especially in our oceans. I also love history and am currently learning about Egypt (ancient and modern) as well as learning how to read and write Egyptian hieroglyphs – so much fun! Sometimes I think I should have been an archaeologist.

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Go Green – The best Coffee Travel Mugs to keep with you

There are a few simple steps we can take which will collectively make a huge difference for the earth. One is to stop using disposable coffee mugs. Learn to take a coffee travel mug with you (and there’s one for anybody’s purse or pocket – see below). Both regular and insulated coffee travel mugs work well. I was inspired when I spent a month at my parent’s home in Kentucky. My dad puts a normal medium-sized coffee mug into his leather briefcase-type carry bag (and yes, it fits!). Every Sunday at church he uses that instead of the Styrofoam cups offered. He takes it everywhere, even on his recent European trip hitting Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Since then, I’m learning to grab one of my own coffee mugs – either a regular one, or an insulated coffee travel mug. The nice thing about a coffee travel mug is they come in a variety of sizes, so you can easily find one to fit in your own carry-bag or purse (or just have one in your car).

Stojo Silicone Collapsible Cup

Yes, you can get a collapsible coffee mug made from silicone. This one is sleek, comes in a variety of colors, comes with a silicone straw if you want iced coffee, and collapses to 2.5″ thick – you can actually fit this into your pocket. For those who really don’t want a bulky coffee mug of any kind in their bag, this one is for you. Because it’s silicone it’s dishwasher and microwave safe. It comes in a variety of sizes, too, but most people will want the 16oz travel mug (4″x4″x6.5″).

You can find the Stojo Silicone Collapsible Coffee Cup at Amazon.com, Etsy.com and TheGrommet.com.

S’well Tumbler

If, like me, you want something that’s looks like a work of art, this insulated stainless steel coffee travel mug is the one for you. It holds 18oz too – the perfect size for a Starbucks Grande with a little bit of room at the top. The S’well Tumbler comes in gorgeous shades and designs – like white marble or natural wood – even though it’s a stainless steel travel mug. It also comes in some classic solid colors, too. It’s high-grade stainless steel and BPA free.

You can find the S’well Tumbler Insulated Coffee Travel Mug at Amazon.com, Swellbottle.com and Revolve.com.

Contigo West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug

If, like me, you have a “drinking problem” and end up getting coffee on your clothes almost every day, this is the travel coffee mug for you. It’s classic looking, and the superior Autoseal lid technology won’t let stray drops decorate your outfit. It comes in both 16oz and 20oz in a large variety of shiny and matte stainless steel colors. With this Thermalock insulated coffee travel mug your drink will stay hot up to seven hours and cold up to eighteen hours.

You can find the Contigo West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug at Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com.

Kinto Travel Tumbler

This is a chic fashionable insulated coffee travel mug which keeps your drinks hot up to seven hours. It comes in several neutral shades with a Feng Shui modern-art vibe – minimalist and professional-looking, in two different sizes. The lid screws off so you can sip it like a regular coffee mug.

The Kinto Travel Tumbler is found at Amazon.com, Kintostore.com and at the Museum of Modern Art store (store.moma.org).

Okay, if nothing else, you have to check out the Museum of Modern Art store website. All is can is WOW.

Yeti Rambler

For people who love the power of Yeti – like their camping cooler – you will love this double-walled insulated coffee travel mug. It features a mag-slider lid – using magnets to keep your lid closed – and comes in a large variety of fun colors. The sweet thing is that the entire mug – all of it – can go in the dishwasher. It’s insulated stainless steel. Yeti has a variety of coffee travel mugs in different sizes.

You can find the Yeti Rambler at Amazon.com, Yeti.com and EBay.com.

Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Flask

This double-walled insulated classy coffee travel flask comes in several sizes and will keep your drink hot up to six hours and cold up to twenty-four. As a flask it has a wide-mouth opening with a flip-cap, so you can sip it like a regular mug or like a normal coffee travel mug. It comes in a bunch of pretty color options, is made of stainless-steel and is BPA free.

The Hydro Flask Travel Coffee Flask is found at Amazon.com, Backcountry.com, HydroFlask.com and REI.com.

Or just a regular coffee mug

Another option is to purchase a local coffee shop’s travel mug – the bonus is that you get a good discount at that shop every time you refill your mug. I did this with Pike’s Perk Coffeehouse – they offered a smaller size than normal coffee travel mug. I love the smaller size as it fits well in my purse, it’s a “Small” at the coffee shops, and it keeps my coffee hotter longer while I’m enjoying my writer’s group at that coffee shop every week. This is the one I grab to take to church, too, as I don’t worry about it breaking. But you can use a travel coffee mug, any of them, at chains like Starbucks and get a cup discount.

Plus coffee travel mugs are just so much prettier than disposable cups.

Of course another option is to do like my dad and simply carry around your own favorite coffee mug from home. Be careful if it’s ceramic and might break. For my fitness program I love to larp (live action role-play), and for that I bought a beautiful, small wooden coffee mug from EBay.com. It won’t break through all my fantasy adventures, I loop through its handle to hang on my belt, it looks medieval being made of actual wood, and my larp character, a dryad, hates metal, so its perfect.

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Best Espresso Machines for Home Use 2019

Nothing starts your day better than a perfectly smooth, rich espresso or cappuccino. If you want one of the best espresso machines for home use, here are several to consider. Espresso machines can go super-high in price, as we know, so the ones here are in affordable ranges – starting with the best espresso machine for $600, to some almost-as-good espresso machines for home use under $200 and under $100. You can find the one that best fits your budget.

I’ve done my online research and these machines came on top out of ten machines and eighty hours of testing. Keep in mind that if you go for something super cheap, like less than $50, you’re going to get a machine that works the same as a moka pot – making strong coffee, but not a true pulled espresso shot.

The Best Espresso Machine 2019: Breville Barista Express

This is the around-$600 model, but look at what it does to achieve the ultimate espresso: it automatically grinds the beans for each shot, it doses the grounds directly into its portafilter, and it has a decent milk frother. This machine is larger (13.25″ x 12.5″ x 15.75″) and looks like a professional machine at Starbucks. It doses a higher 9-22 g of ground coffee instead of the weaker 11-13g that other home machines do – this makes it taste like the shots you get at cafes. It has a grind size dial and monitors precise pressure and temperature at the right moment to make the best shot of espresso.

This machine has over 2,400 reviews on Amazon with 73% five-star ratings – people really LOVE this unit. But with the few bad reviews (10% 1-star), some of it was due to the burr coffee grinder component breaking, and the customer service at Breville is so bad it’s practically non-existent in the reviewers’ experience. So it may be that on a few models the grinder doesn’t last long – maybe buying an espresso machine without this feature (and grinding your beans yourself) is the best way to go. One reviewer did finally get a replacement machine from Breville, and the new machine worked so much better overall he believes the first one was just faulty all through.

Another negative review mentioned it only lasted about two years. Another said the machine is inconsistent with the quality of its shots. But again, 73% gave five-star reviews with lots of tips and details and they love this machine for home use.

NOTE: Breville makes a stand-alone burr coffee grinder that works amazingly well – the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. It’s $180, however. If you get your own grinder, make sure it is a burr grinder – those grind the best grounds.

The Breville Barista Express BES870XL is found on Amazon.com

Best Espresso Machine for Home Use under $200: Cuisinart EM-100

It’s interesting that this one, second only to the Breville Barista Express, is a third of the cost. The Cuisinart EM-100 is smaller at 12.6″L x 8.2″W x 11″H. This one won’t grind your beans for you, but its powerful enough to brew espresso from even fine grounds. This espresso machine has a milk frothing arm and a built-in cup warmer – not bad. You won’t find these pulled shots quite as strong and perfect as the Breville one, but this affordable model came in second. I’d say this is an excellent value for the price.

On the Best Buy site there are only thirteen reviews, but they are 54% five-star, 23% 4-star and 23% 1-star. One complaint is that the machine is very loud. Also, one customer went through two units with both having significant functioning issues – Cuisinart admits that they’ve had some recent quality issues with some of these units.

The high reviewers love the machine, it’s affordable and tasty, though considered a basic espresso machine.

You can find the Cuisinart EM-100 at Best Buy.

Best Espresso Machine for Home Use Under $100: Mr. Coffee ECMP50

If you’re on a tight budget, this is the espresso machine for you. Though the flavor isn’t quite as strong or smooth as the Breville or the Cuisinart, it still pulls beautiful shots full of flavor with good crema. The frothing wand is a bit short for frothing, however, and this unit does not come with an included milk frother pitcher (unlike the others) – but again, a small milk frothing pitcher is an inexpensive accessory and you can get one at Amazon (or even use any little pitcher you have on hand – if it’s not metal, you can even pre-warm your milk in the microwave first). This one is 12″L x 11″W x 12.5″H.

The 289 online reviews are mostly five stars (157), but the few lower ratings (33 1-star) are because this machine is said to last only about 1.5-2 years in general.

The Mr. Coffee ECMP50 can be found at Walmart.com.

Other Espresso Machines for Home Use

These are the machines tested that didn’t make the cut for the top three of 2019:

  • Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista (though this is the one I use and I LOVE it – especially the milk container that heats and froths your milk of choice.
  • Mr. Coffee Cafe 20-oz Steam Automatic
  • Mr. Coffee Four-Cup Steam Espresso System
  • Aicook 3.5Bar Espresso Coffee Maker
  • DeLonghi EC702
  • DeLonghi EC155
  • DeLonghi EC3420
  • Capresso Four-Cup Espresso & Cappuccino Machine
  • Brentwood GA-125 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
  • Imusa Four-Cup Electric Espresso & Cappuccino Maker

Conclusion

For the best espresso machine for home use, there are so many options, but this tried and tested short list gives you the best of 2019 (and I’d include the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista as a fourth option). I suggest you get the most expensive one you can buy, as the higher the price the higher the quality of the espresso shots – and you’ll notice the difference in taste and texture. It seems, in my experience and of other reviewers, that most espresso machines for home use last around two years – even these here. If you’ve had a machine last longer than that, please comment below – I’d love to see if there’s one that actually goes the long haul.

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