2012 Holiday Gift Guide - Coffee Grinders

The 2012 Holiday Gift Guide continues with coffee grinders.  Grinding your own coffee is an important step in making great coffee at home.  Check out these coffee grinders - ranging from "entry level" blade grinder to a "high end" burr grinder.

Blade Grinder - Mr. Coffee Electric Coffee Grinder

This is a great "entry level" coffee grinder.  3 grind settings and a chamber maid cleaning system, including a bowl scraper to dislodge coffee from grinding area. Wide upper collar and a flip-top lid for mess-free filling and emptying.  Easy to clean with a removable, dishwasher-safe grinding chamber.  Available in black, white or red from Amazon ($19.99 for black grinder). 

Burr Grinder - Krups GVX Burr Grinder

Considered by Mike Crimmins (Daily Shot Coffee) as "one of the best" in the fifty dollar price range.  Anti-static bean container holds up to 8 ounces of ground coffee.  Quantity selector for 2 - 12 cups and a fineness selector of 17 settings.  The burr milling process produces consistently ground beans while preserving the coffee's natural aroma. Auto shut-off feature.   Quality construction, available in black or black/brushed stainless steel.  Available from Amazon for less than $60.

"Premium Level" Burr Grinder - Encore Coffee Grinder by Baratza

For the "serious" coffee drinker.  This grinder will not only get the job done, it will do so with precision - producing even grinds that are key to great coffee. The "new and improved" Encore coffee grinder is the perfect grinder for those who love drip-coffee, manual brews and espresso - with accurate coarse grind for manuals brew methods (pour-over, Aeropress, French Press, Siphon and Chemex) and the specially designed burrs give a precise grind with minimal fines for a flavorful, balanced extraction for making espresso. The upgraded burrs give a great grind, featuring a completely new redesigned gearbox and Swiss-made grinding wheels. The efficient DC motor keep the coffee beans cool, even during extended grind times. The combination of electric and great speed reducers, which slow the burr to 450 RPM, ensures a smooth bean feed and reducing noise, heat and static buildup. Automatic & Manual Operation with 40 grind settings.  Easy to clean with removable burrs with no tolls.  Available on Amazon for $129.

"High-End" Burr Grinder - Breville BCG800XL Smart Grinder

Considered one of the best grinders for home, the Breville BCG800XL Smart Grinder has 25 grind settings for french press, drip, percolator and espresso coffee.  Perfect coffee starts with the precise amount of freshly ground beans and this grinder features Dosing IQ™ which automatically calibrates each dose every time the grind settings are adjusted, depositing the ground coffee into Portafilter, grinds container or drip filter baskets.  The bean hopper has an air tight lid and locking system for easy removal, storage and transfer of coffee beans.  Black LCD Screen clearly shows grind setting, number of cups or shots and the customized grind amount.  Available on Amazon for $199.95.

For more information on grinding your own coffee, check out Get Into the Grind.  Thanks Daily Shot of Coffee, for the list and reviews.  

What's your favorite grinder?  What's on your wish list?


2012 Holiday Gift Guide - Coffee Makers/Brewing Devices

The holiday season is once again quickly approaching, here are a few suggestions for coffee makers/brewing devices for the coffee lovers on your list.


A new way of brewing your coffee. The AeroPress brews delicious coffee, 1- 4 cups per pressing, American or Espresso style.  The use of ideal water temperature and faster brewing yields rich flavor with lower acidity without bitterness.  The total-immersion system of the AeroPress permits extraction at a moderate temperature and a short brew time, a rapid yet robust extraction of flavor. Water and grounds are mixed together for 10 seconds then gentle air pressure pushes the mix through a micro-filter in just 20 seconds, avoiding the bitterness of long brewing processes such as drip brewing. The air pressure also gently squeezes the last bit of goodness from the grounds, further enriching the flavor. The total brewing time is only 30 seconds and results in an exceptionally smooth brew. The micro-filtered coffee is pure and particle free so it can be stored for days as a concentrate.  The chamber of the AeroPress is nearly self-cleaning, requiring only a 10-second rinse of the plunger.  Compact and perfect for travel. The AeroPress includes 1 press, 1 funnel, 1 scoop, 1 stirrer and filters.  This is a very affordable brewing option - available for less than $30 at Amazon, and that is with 350 bonus micro filters - enough to last 2 years.  Replacement filters and a stainless steel filter are also available through Amazon. 


A manual method of brewing, similar to drip coffee, producing a better tasting and smoother coffee.  The Chemex filter drip method eliminates bitterness and the slow brewing allows full flavor from the bean.  The conical shape concentrates the grounds at the bottom of the filter, allowing for a flavorful coffee without sediment.  Chemex has been around for 40 years and remains one of the purest methods of brewing coffee.  Elegant, eco-friendly and simple to use, and you choose the strength of your coffee.  How simple is this process?  Place the grounds in the cone-shaped filter and pour hot water over them.  Why the wood collar?  It serves as an insulated handle.   A classic style that would be appreciated by any coffee purist.  Available for less than $40 at Amazon.  The Chemex coffee filters are also available through Amazon.

French Press

French Press coffee has a faithful following - many coffee lovers and geeks alike LOVE French Press coffee.  Easy to use - add coarsely ground coffee (the "rule of thumb" is 1 rounded Tablesppon per 4 ounces of water), pour in hot water, wait a few minutes (for brewing) then slowly press down the plunger.  Easy process with a rich, aromatic result.  Pressed coffee extracts the perfect amount of essential oils and acids from the coffee bean, maximizing the flavor of the coffee, and the 3-part stainless steel filter helps in this extraction.  This Bodum French press has a 8-cup (34 ounce) capacity, serving 2-3 people.  Also less than $40, available at Amazon.  

While looking at the classic Bodum on Amazon, The Bodum Eileen, a tribute to Eileen Gray (furniture designer, architect and pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture), caught my eye.  Classic Bodum with a beautifully detailed stainless steel frame to protect the glass carafe. Built to withstand the rigors and crowds of a cafe in Paris - the city that Gray loved most.  

Zojirushi Fresh Brew

In the words of Daily Shot of Coffee blogger Mike Crimmins, "For a lot of reasons most drip coffee makers produce lackluster coffee. This is one of the few that I can actually recommend without any reservations."  Sleek and stylish with a 1.5-liter stainless-steel, thermal carafe that will keep coffee hot for hours.  Electronic clock/timer with preset function, auto shut-off for safety and a "pause-and-serve" funtion that stops the flow of brewing coffee for 30 seconds if you find yourself unable to wait for the entire pot to finish brewing.  The "brew-and-serve" lid is a clever design allowing the carafes's lid to be on during brewing with a small cap to help keep the heat in the carafe after the coffee is ready.  Available for less than $90 at Amazon.

Technivorm Moccamaster

This is one of the few auto-drip coffee makers certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America to brew at optimal temperatures.  Constructed in Holland, it is one of the most durable and best quality coffee brewers available.  Aluminum housing and stainless steel thermal jug - the thermal container (1.25 L capacity) will keep brewed coffee at the optimal temperature.   Available at Amazon for $299.   

Thanks to Daily Shot of Coffee for the list and reviews.  

What's your favorite coffee maker or brewing device?  


2012 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival ~ Festival Winners

The 42nd Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival was held November 3rd-11th with events taking place at the Sheraton Kona Resort, the Old Airport Pavilion and throughout farms and villages along the Kona Coast.  The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is the oldest and most successful food event in Hawaii, paying tribute to the generations of coffee farmers.

The winners of the 2012 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival are:

Coffee Farms

Kona Coffee Crown Division

  1. Ariana Farms Ono Kona Coffee

Kona Coffee Classic

  1. Kona Rainforest Coffee

Coffee Labels

  1. Pu'u Nani Farms
  2. (Tie) Makahiki Farms and Wakefield & Sons
  3. Kona Rising Coffee Company (Vienna Roast/Rooster)

Sponsors Award (Tie)

  • Piko 2 Piko and Hualalai Harvest

Website Winners

  1. Kuaiwi Farm
  2. Halama Farms 
  3. (Tie) Buddha’s Cup and Konaloha Coffee Company

Sponsors Award

  • Rancho Aloha

Recipe Contest

Professional Entrée

  1. Glenn Bitle, Jr. (Kenichi Pacific): Mac Nut Crusted Mahimahi with Kona Coffee Beurre Rouge
  2. Patti Kimball (Kimball Catering): Kona Coffee Beef Brisket
  3. Angela Kenyon (Four Seasons Hualalai): "Mauka to Makai" Carpaccio Duo

Professional Dessert

  1. Patti Kimball (Kimball Catering): Kona Coffee Cheesecake with Coffee Caramel Sauce
  2. Cathy Barrett (Kailua Candy Company): Hawaii Island Bounty "For the Love of Kona"

Amateur Dessert

  1. Gwen Edwards: Kona Coffee Brigadeiros
  2. Chai Neo: Konalicious Coffee Cranberry Shortbread
  3. Barbara Housel: Kona Coffee Cream Cupcake

College Culinary Student Entrée

  1. Samuel I. Varron (Hawaii Community College-West Hawaii): 100% Kona Coffee Crusted Pork with Kona Coffee Cream Sauce
  2. Kennocha Berhane (HCC-WH): Kona Coffee Rubbed Steak

College Culinary Student Dessert

  1. Samuel I. Varron (HCC-WH): 100% Kona Coffee Baklava
  2. Gary Cyr (HCC-WH): Cheesecake Express(o)
  3. Sherrie Kahiwa (HCC-WH): Kona Coffee Chocolate Macaron with Nutella-Coffee Ganache & Fresh Bananas

High School Culinary Student Entrée

  1. Cameron Linden (Konawaena High School): Kona Café Fajitas

High School Culinary Student Dessert

  1. Shakira Shoble (Konawaena High School): Mocha Cupcake with Dulce de Leche Filling & Coffee Frosting
  2. Narain Gambir (Konawaena High School): Kona Coffee Graham Squares

UCC Hawaii Kona Coffee Picking Contest

Senior 60 and above

  1. Joyce Nozaki, Holualoa, HI 
  2. Misako Canby, Irvine CA. 
  3. Ellen Kato, Kealakekua, HI 

Junior Boys and Girls 13-17 years old

  1. Claudia Vazquez
  2. Ale Cisneros
  3. Makayla DeBarge

Keiki 8 to 12 years old 

  1. Dayhtan Barawis
  2. Gene Bushau
  3. Kalani Aquino

Open 18-59 years old 

  1. Eric Nienolez
  2. Guadalupe Nunex
  3. Zyman Barawis

Pee-Wee 5-7 years old

  1. David Vazquez
  2. Dylan Leinomen
  3. Eli Wicklander

Akachan 0-4 years old

  1. Francisco Vazquez
  2. Stephen Marquard
  3. Azure Tatzmann

Amateurs / New Pickers

  1. Catalina Ekesler
  2. Naomi Bishop
  3. Masayuki Honma

Corporate Challenge

  1. Bank of Hawaii Team 1
  2. Bank of Hawaii Team 2

Miss Kona Coffee 2013

  • Guinevere Davenport

Miss Aloha Hawaii 2013

  • Sloanne HewLen 
  • 1st Runner Up Cathryn Orton
  • 2nd Runner Up Mahina Kahoalii

Swimsuit Winner

  • Sloanne Hewle

Talent Winner

  • Cathryn Orton

Photogenic Award

  • (Miss) Rebekah Mersburgh

Congenialty Award

  • (Miss) Mahina Kahoalii

Popularity Award Winner

  • Tiffany Kutsunai 

Miss Kona Coffees Outstanding Teen

  • Keahi Delovio
  • 1st Runner Up Miranda Lugo

Talent Award Winner (Teen)

  • Anela Deaguiar

Photogenic Award (Teen)

  • Kuulei Ichishita

Congeniality Award (Teen)

  • Keahi Delovio

Alaska Airlines, Sheraton Kona and Festival 7 Day Giveaway

Nicki & Jeff MacKenzie - Victoria, BC


Presidential Bites - Obama and Romney Latte Art

There have been many "unofficial food polls" in the months leading to the election today - from the 7-Eleven Coffee Cup War to beer wars to burger polls.  

Thanks to Mattun at TokyoOtaku Mode for the the Latte Art.

Images courtesy of Twitter/ latte_artist_jk

Which latte gets your vote?


2012 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

42nd Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

November 3rd - 11th, 2012

Recognized as the oldest and most successful food festival in Hawaii, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival was also listed as one of Forbes Magazine's Best Fall Food and Wine Festivals.

Praised for its fine, aromatic and memorable taste, Kona coffee will once again take center stage at the 42nd annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival from November 3-11, 2012.  

The annual Kona coffee harvest that has sustained Kona's agricultural community for more than 185 years is celebrated every November. The award-winning Kona Coffee Cultural Festival honors Kona's cultural heritage and recognizes the accomplishments of Kona coffee pioneers, farmers and artisans.

Each year the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival hosts over forty special event. Visitors, residents and veteran Kona coffee pickers compete in the Festival's Kona Coffee Picking Contest, or gather in Historic Kailua Village to watch colorful lanterns light the evening sky as Kona's heritage is celebrated with community groups in colorful ethnic costumes. Festival fun continues with a recipe contest, Kona coffee tastings, a scholarship pageant, two-days of Kona coffee cupping competition, farm tours, cultural workshops, art exhibits, an outdoor concert and much more!

For a complete schedule, visit the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival events page.