People in Brazil can’t believe their eyes as freak snow blankets 40 cities

Snow in Brazil at night.
Some Brazilians are seeing snow for the first time.

  • Parts of Brazil have seen snow for the first time in 64 years due to an uncharacteristic cold spell.
  • In Rio Grande do Sul, the snow has threatened agriculture, with sugar and coffee prices rising.
  • The snowfall is exciting for many Brazilians who have never experienced it before.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Brazilians are marveling upon seeing snow for the first time in their lives, with rare low temperatures hitting the country and causing a rise in coffee prices.

Snow fell overnight on Thursday for the first time in 64 years due to a polar air mass traveling towards the country’s sub-tropical center-south, blanketing the streets.

Snow in Brazil.
Rare snowfall in Brazil.

More than 40 cities found themselves facing icy conditions, and at least 33 municipalities saw snow, according to the meteorology company Somar Meteorologia.

In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the snow has threatened agriculture, with coffee, sugarcane, and orange crops all potentially at risk.

Coffee and sugar prices have already risen across the world following Brazil’s uncharacteristic cold spell.

For some Brazilians, the novelty was an exciting opportunity to take pictures and make snowmen, with some expressing their disbelief on social media.

“I am 62 years old and had never seen the snow, you know? To see nature’s beauty is something indescribable,” said truck driver Iodor Goncalves Marques in Cambara do Sul, a municipality of Rio Grande do Sul state, speaking to TV Globo network.

Brazilians braced themselves for the coldest day of the year on Friday, with freezing temperatures and strong winds of up to 80 km/h (49 mph) across the country.

“It was worth it. Actually, you almost do not feel the cold because of how exciting the snow is. It is marvelous, it is marvelous!” Brazilian Joselaine da Silva Marques told TV Globo while enjoying the snow in Cambara do Sul.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 7 best coffee subscriptions in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Coffee subscriptions ensure that your favorite brew is always around.
  • They can also be a great way to try new flavors, origins, and roasters.
  • Our picks include Trade, Blue Bottle, and a cold brew subscription from La Colombe.

Coffee subscriptions offer a unique luxury: never having to wake up, shuffle to the kitchen, and realize in horror that there’s no coffee in the house. For many of us, a morning caffeine boost is non-negotiable, and the peace of mind in knowing that you have a steady stream of coffee coming makes a coffee subscription worthwhile.

And, there’s really a coffee subscription for everyone. Maybe you like switching up what you’re drinking each time, or maybe you want someone to curate your brew for you. Maybe you want a subscription for cold brew; either bags to make your own, or simply a cold brew gallon delivered each month. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it in the outstanding offerings below.

Here are the best coffee subscriptions of 2021

Our methodology

I’ve been working in the specialty food world since 2015, eating, drinking, learning, teaching. For these rankings, I tasted through the available coffee subscriptions, both from roasters and otherwise. This is what I was looking for:

Flavor and quality of the beans: Tastes vary, but there are some objective flaws in coffee beans, such as beans tasting burnt. This was less about how much I liked each selection personally and more about how balanced the coffees were and whether they matched their flavor notes. 

Ease of setup: Coffee should make our lives easier, as should subscription services. If a subscription was confusing to set up, or to understand when and what coffee was coming, that knocked off a few points. The best subscriptions also offered notes on preparing the coffees they sent. 

Ease of customization: If you’re traveling, slowing down on caffeine, or simply don’t want to continue your subscription, that should not require three emails and a phone call. Subscriptions were prioritized that made it easy to pause or cancel a subscription. Extra points were also given to subscription services that allowed the subscriber to customize the beans they received based on flavor profile and preferred method of brewing.

The best coffee subscription overall

a red ribbon runs between bags of coffee, a thermos, and a box with Trade coffee’s logo on it as part of the best coffee subscription in 2021

Trade’s coffee subscription service designed to turn coffee drinkers into coffee lovers.

Pros: Huge variety, easy to customize the coffee and shipping 

Cons: All the choices could be overwhelming for some 

We think Trade‘s subscription is the best of all worlds. Its mission is to “unite the nation’s top roasters directly with drinkers,” with more than 400 coffees available from roasters such as Joe, Atomic, and Broadstreet. 

As you’re setting up your subscription, you tell Trade how you prefer to brew your coffee, how you take it, your ideal roast and flavor profile, and the company matches you with your ideal beans. You know exactly what’s coming, the roaster’s schedule for roasting, when your bag was roasted (probably within the past few days), and why you were matched with it. 

It’s easy to adjust your delivery schedule, the exact beans you’re getting, and discover new favorites. Trade makes exploring coffee a fun, zero-headache adventure.

Read our full review of Trade Coffee.

The best coffee subscription gift

coffee grounds from Driftaway spill out of a brown bag onto a table with a cup of coffee and a pour over brewer as part of the best coffee subscription service in 2021

Driftaway is a tiny, sustainability-focused roaster, offering personalized coffee subscription boxes.

Pros: Easy to set up, lots of information about each origin

Cons: Just one roaster to choose from

The tricky thing with choosing a subscription gift is that it’s often hard to pinpoint the recipient’s preferences. For that reason, Driftaway makes an excellent gift. Every new subscriber gets a Coffee Explorer Kit, consisting of four 1-oz bags. Your recipient ranks each coffee, giving Driftaway insight into their preferences for future deliveries. 

The gifter chooses between a one-year, six-month, or three-month subscription, delivering either every month or every two weeks (there are more options if you’re subscribing for yourself). The size of each delivery can be 8 ounces, 12 ounces, or 1 pound, and they can set up either a whole bean subscription, a ground subscription, a cold brew bag subscription, or a “Mystery Kit” where the names are hidden (don’t worry, they can find out what they’re drinking at the weekly virtual tastings). 

The recipient also gets an account from which they can pause their shipment, change their address, or whatever else, and the bags even come with their name on it. 

Read our full review of Driftaway Coffee.

The best coffee subscription for flexibility

A box containing bags of Blue Bottle coffee sits open next to two cups of coffee as part of the best coffee subscription boxes in 2021

Blue Bottle is one of the largest specialty coffee roasters, offering consistency and flexibility.

Pros: Lots of coffee to choose from, seasonal blends

Cons: Just one roaster to choose from

If you’re a little wary of the idea of subscriptions, try Blue Bottle‘s. For one thing, it offers a way to try it at little cost — the first bag is free and you only pay the $5 shipping. You can try any of its three subscription offerings this way: the single-origin, blend, or espresso assortments. 

Your subscription can be as little as a six-ounce bag, each of which is freshly roasted, and the brand offers lots of information on how each coffee should be prepared. It’s easy to pause or cancel your subscription if you choose not to move forward.

Read our full review of Blue Bottle.

The best coffee subscription for beginners

bags and cups of coffee from Atlas Coffee Club sit on a world map as part of the best coffee subscription in 2021

Atlas Coffee Club makes specialty coffee easy, fun, and accessible.

Pros: Explore coffees from around the world, lots of information about origins and brewing

Cons: Just one roaster to choose from

With Atlas‘s subscription, you’ll learn a lot about different regions, their typical coffee flavor profiles, and what makes each one special. Each month, you receive 6 to 24 ounces of freshly-roasted coffee, flavor notes, a postcard, and brewing tips. 

As you’re setting up your subscription, you choose how much coffee you want per shipment, whether you want it every two or four weeks, your roast preferences, and whether you want it ground or not. It’s a great way for new, enthusiastic coffee drinkers to dip their toe into the specialty coffee world in an accessible, fun way. The website offers clear, illustrated guides on topics from “how to make coffee with a French press” to “how to make coffee without a coffee maker.”

Read our full review of Atlas Coffee Club.

The best small-batch coffee subscription

A box containing bags of coffee from crema.co sits open next to a plant as part of the best coffee subscription in 2021

Crema.co is community-focused subscription service offering 57 independent roasters from across the country.

Pros: Try a wide range of craft coffees, find coffee tailored to your preferences

Cons: Fewer roasters offered than some other services

Crema.co offers a lot of great features that overlap with some of our other picks: their first shipment to you is a Discovery Kit — where you figure out your preferences by tasting through a selection — and the subscription is easy to customize. 

The initial quiz is a little more interactive, asking for specific tasting notes you like and letting you know your percentage match with each brew it’s recommending. But, two unique things about Crema.co are a) its focus on tiny independent roasters b) you can take the quiz to be matched with your perfect coffee and order it by the bag, rather than setting up a subscription. 

It also has a personality-driven, informative newsletter and is proudly not on social media. If you like to feel like you’re supporting cool humans, rather than a corporation, Crema.co is a great choice.

The best coffee subscription for freshness

hands hold a bag of devocion coffee as part of the best coffee subscriptions in 2021

Devoción is 1 Brooklyn-based roaster who takes its beans from origin to roast in 10 days.

Pros: Some of the freshest coffee on the market, explore Colombian coffee terroir

Cons: Just one roaster to choose from, can only subscribe to one blend at once

If you’re committed to (or even a little obsessive about) your produce and meat being as fresh as possible, why should your coffee be any different? Brooklyn-based roaster Devoción works with Colombian growers, who harvest coffee year-round and claims “faster transport from origin to cup than any other purveyor,” which can be in as little as 10 days. 

Devoción’s coffees are flavorful, balanced, and unlike anything else on the market, thanks to its unique supplier relationships. The subscriptions are to individual blends (you can take a quiz on your preferences to be matched to your ideal blend), unlike other roasters offering subscriptions with more variety, but the coffee is next-level enough that it’s worth considering.

The best coffee subscription for cold brew

Packages of La Colombe cold brew on tap sit in a fridge as part of the best coffee subscriptions in 2021

La Colombe is one of the country’s best-known roasters, offering a wide range of products.

Pros: Always have pre-made cold brew in the fridge

Cons: Can only try one cold brew blend with that subscription

Thanks to its smooth flavor and higher caffeine content, cold brew is a staple for many coffee drinkers, especially in the summer. If keeping cold brew around is high on your priority list, consider the cold brew subscription from La Colombe

A one-gallon box with a push-button spigot will be delivered every one, two, three, or four weeks and your subscription can be paused or canceled at any time. The airtight box has a shelf life of 30 days, so if you end up with a little extra as you’re figuring out your ideal timing, it should last until you get through it. 

The La Colombe cold brew is made from dark-roasted Brazilian beans, known for their chocolatey, rich flavor.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Behind Black Rifle coffee, the ‘anti-hipster’ answer to Starbucks’ ‘latte liberals’ says sales are surging

Black Rifle Coffee Company
“How do you build a cool, kind of irreverent, pro-Second Amendment, pro-America brand in the MAGA era without doubling down on the MAGA movement and also not being called a [expletive] RINO by the MAGA guys?” Black Rifle Coffee Company CEO Evan Hafer told The New York Times.

  • Veteran Evan Hafer founded Black Rifle Coffee Company Salt Lake City, Utah in 2014.
  • Hafer said he wants to provide coffee to veterans and what he calls the “pro-American” community.
  • Donald Trump Jr. has publicly praised the coffee company.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Black Rifle Coffee Company wants to be the Starbucks for conservatives.

Evan Hafer, the founder and CEO of Black Rifle Coffee Company, recently told The New York Times he founded BRCC as a pro-military, pro-law enforcement and anti-hipster company. He and two other veterans run the business and prioritize hiring other former armed service members.

Here’s everything you need to know about Black Rifle Coffee Company:

What is Black Rifle Coffee Company?

Black Rifle Coffee Company is a small batch coffee company that sells out of locations in Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Utah. The store also ships brews nationwide through its Black Rifle Coffee Club membership, according to its website.

A BRCC spokesperson told Insider the company employs 530 people, more than half of whom are reservists, military veterans, and military spouses. BRCC would not share the names of its investors.

BRCC’s offerings include the Freedom Fuel Coffee Roast, Liberty Roast, and AK-47 Espresso Blend Coffee Rounds for around $15 for a 12 oz. bag. The Black Rifle Coffee Club membership costs $25 per month.

Who owns Black Rifle?

Veteran Evan Hafer founded Black Rifle Coffee Company Salt Lake City, Utah in 2014. Before founding Black Rifle, Hafer served in the US Army for 20 years as an infantryman, a Special Forces soldier, and a CIA contractor according to his LinkedIn.

Other members include Tom Davin, co-CEO and Marine Corps infantry officer veteran, and Matt Best, the executive vice president and former CIA contractor.

Black Rifle Coffee Company is owned by the “veteran community,” Hafer said in a YouTube video.

“I started Black Rifle Coffee Company to provide a high-quality coffee to the pro-American and Veteran communities,” Hafer wrote on the company website.

A post shared by Black Rifle Coffee Company (@blackriflecoffee)

What brands does Black Rifle Coffee have a business relationship with?

Black Rifle Coffee Company sells its products in Bass Pro Shops

BRCC has sponsored episodes of the “Slightly Offensive” podcast hosted by Elijah Schaffer, an employee of the right-wing media publication The Blaze.

BRCC came under fire from some members of the far-right following an episode of the podcast titled, “Kyle Rittenhouse: Homicidal Maniac or American Hero?”

Rittenhouse, a teenager who killed two protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin, wore a Black Rifle Coffee Company T-shirt in a photo posted by “Slightly Offensive.” The show’s host also attached a discount code for BRCC merchandise to the photo of Rittenhouse.

Hafer said in a statement that BRCC does not sponsor or have a relationship with Rittenhouse, but the company believes “in the integrity of the legal justice system” and supports law enforcement officials. Supporters of Rittenhouse have since turned on the coffee company for its position on the teen.

What are Black Rifle Coffee Company’s ties to Donald Trump?

Hafer told The New York Times he voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, but a BRCC spokesperson said the company is not affiliated with any campaign or political party.

Donald Trump Jr. endorsed Black Rifle Coffee Company in 2017 and said he met with the company’s leaders.

“Great coffee, great guys and great Americans,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted in November 2017. “I’ve had the chance to meet and hang out with them. Try it.”

Though Hafer told The Times he disagreed with the mob who stormed the White House over Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, a photo circulated depicting an insurrectionist carrying zip tie handcuffs wearing a BRCC hat.

“How do you build a cool, kind of irreverent, pro-Second Amendment, pro-America brand in the MAGA era without doubling down on the MAGA movement and also not being called a [expletive] RINO by the MAGA guys?” Hafer told The Times.

(This story was updated to include additional details of the controversy surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse)

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Starbucks barista says he makes 15 TikTok iced white mochas a day, as staff say they’re flooded with orders for the $7 drink

A girl is drinking ice coffee in a Starbucks coffee shop.
  • Some Starbucks baristas say they’re flooded with orders for a complex iced mocha.
  • One said he’s making at least 15 of the TikTok-inspired drinks every day.
  • It’s based on Starbucks’ iced white mocha, with the whipped cream substituted for vanilla sweet cream cold foam.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

“One iced white mocha with vanilla sweet cream cold foam and extra caramel drizzle.”

It may sound like a highly specific, complex coffee order – but some Starbucks workers hear it a dozen or more times a day.

Starbucks workers told Insider they’re inundated with orders for the same TikTok-inspired “secret-menu” drink. It’s based on Starbucks’ iced white mocha, but with the whipped cream substituted for vanilla sweet cream cold foam, and with an extra pump of caramel drizzle on top.

One barista in Tennessee said that he makes “at least 15” of them each day. “It’s the typical TikTok drink,” he said – “the biggest one.”

A grande version of the drink – Starbucks’ medium size – cost $7.60 to order from four separate Starbucks stores on Uber Eats.

“I cannot stress this enough, I have made it dozens of times on just a single shift for the past two to three months,” a former Starbucks shift supervisor in Baltimore said.

Both people spoke to Insider on the condition of anonymity.

Read more: These 9 food tech startups are capitalizing on the labor crunch with tools that help franchisees hire or automate the restaurant workforce

“That to me is a really funny order,” a former barista in Los Angeles said. She wanted to remain anonymous because there’s a chance she’ll work for Starbucks again, she said.

She said the cold foam had the same ingredients as whipped cream, but a “slightly different texture” because the air is whipped into it in a different way.

Sometimes baristas read the stickers wrong and made the drinks with whipped cream instead, she said. Some customers would be fine with this, but others would ask the baristas to remake the drink over what she called a “meaningless” distinction.

Baristas’ opinions are split on how good the drink tastes.

“I can’t blame the customers [for ordering it], it’s good if you’re got an extreme sweet tooth,” the former Baltimore shift supervisor said.

But a barista at a different store in Baltimore, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the drink was too sweet.

“It’s just overly sweet, definitely gross,” she said. “But people will pay $7 for that drink.”

‘The TikTok drinks are absolutely ridiculous’

When orders first started trickling through for the iced white mocha modification, the former Baltimore shift supervisor said that they were “bewildered.” But they said that they got used to making bizarre drinks with lots of modifications, they said.

“I’m just gonna accept it, and I’m just gonna make them,” they said. “My job was to just make the drinks.”

Some current and former baristas told Insider that orders for complex drinks were slowing down drive-thru times or causing confusion for mobile ordering.

A shift supervisor in Maryland said some customers added modifications “just because they’re there,” while a former Beverly Hills barista shared a photo with Insider of an iced latte she had made with 12 shots of coffee, alongside five shots of hazelnut syrup.

“The TikTok drinks are absolutely ridiculous,” Stephanie, a barista in British Columbia who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

The chain is now testing a new way for customers to order popular “secret menu” drinks through social media, but some baristas say this could add pressure and complexity to their jobs at a time when they already feel understaffed.

Do you work at Starbucks? Got a story to share? Email this reporter at gdean@insider.com. Always use a non-work phone.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Nespresso machines and coffee pods are at some of their lowest prices ever for Amazon Prime Day – save up to 30%

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Prime Day 2021 Nespresso Deals

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is here, and as always, there are deals galore, including discounts on home and kitchen equipment and accessories, like Nespresso machines.

Nespresso machines perform outstanding feats of coffee making given their price and size, and if you like starting your day with an espresso or three, they’re a convenient alternative to four-figure, counter-space-hogging espresso machines.

Plus, now that Nespresso machines have been popular for a while, there is no shortage of third-party brands making capsules for them using fresh coffee: Starbucks, Peet’s, Cafe Bustelo, Kauai Coffee…the list goes on. Since those capsules aren’t exactly cheap, Prime Day is the perfect time to stock up. You can read more about our favorite Nespresso pods below or in our coffee pod buying guide.

Make sure your Prime membership is up to date, as you can only take advantage of discounts if you’re signed up. For more Prime Day coverage, follow the best Prime Day kitchen appliance deals.

Prime 30-Day Free Trial (small)

The best Prime Day 2021 deals on Nespresso machines

Nespresso machines produce a velvety, viscous, frothy coffee that is about as close to espresso as possible without being espresso, precisely. Our favorite pod espresso machines from our buying guide include the Nespresso Pixie by Breville, which is currently on sale, and the Nespresso De’Longhi Lattissima One Espresso Machine. The Pixie is our go-to choice for a simple, compact machine that will get the job done. If you’re making espresso drinks requiring steamed milk, you may prefer the Nespresso De’Longhi Lattissima, which has a built-in frother. For now, we’re not seeing much in the way of deals on Nespresso machines. It’s worth continuing to check back regularly, though, because there’s still a chance some new ones might pop up.

Pixie by Breville (medium)

Best Prime Day 2021 Nespresso Pod deals

Nespresso pods are a quick and easy solution to an espresso-like drink at home, and because there are more and more third-party brands out there, there are plenty of options for fresh and even compostable Nespresso pods. If you’re more the DIY type, you can buy refillable capsules, which let you customize the pod with whatever coffee you desire. Read more about the best Nespresso pods in our guide. Here are the best Nespresso pod deals today:

40-pack of Espresso Pods (small)Espresso Variety Pack (small)50-capsule variety pack (small)

Best Nespresso accessory deals for Prime Day 2021

You can accessorize your pod machines with frothers, refillable capsules, capsule holders and storage boxes, tasting cups and drinkware, syrups, and more. Here are the best Nespresso accessory deals today:

Reusable Nespresso Capsules (small)Vertuoline Nespresso Capsule Holder (small)

Other Great Prime Day 2021 coffee machine and coffee deals

Of course, Nespresso isn’t the only big name in coffee worth purchasing. We’re also seeing great deals on some of our favorite drip coffee machines, traditional espresso machines, and other pod coffee makers. Here are the best deals on coffee machines and accessories happening right now:

Temp IQ Espresso Machine (small)Certified Organic Dark Roast Beans (32 Ounces) (small)Supply Drop Variety Pack (96 K-Cups) (small)Colombia Medium Roast (32 Ounces) (small)100 Dark-Roast Keurig Pods (small)

How to choose the right Nespresso machine

Nespresso machines come in various forms, but the basic thing to consider is whether or not you want an ESE (paper) pod or capsule machine. Capsule machines are more versatile and what we primarily recommend, at least for now, because there are so many third-party options, including refillable capsules so that you can grind and load your own fresh coffee. Just keep in mind that this is time-consuming.

We tested pod coffee machines and really liked the Nespresso Pixie by Breville and the Nespresso De’Longhi Lattissima One Espresso Machine. The Pixie is the best choice for most people because it’s compact, easy to use, and not too expensive. The Lattissima might be a better choice if you plan on making espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, since it has a built-in frother, but it requires careful cleaning and we’re not sold on it. Keep in mind that the frother poses a significant upgrade in price – we usually see the Lattissima retailing for $100 more than the Pixie. Instead, consider a simple, inexpensive hand wand milk frother like the Powerlix Milk Pro, our top pick from our milk frother buying guide, to save a significant chunk of change.

FAQs

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Prime Day is Amazon’s annual sales event exclusively for Prime members. During the event, there are millions of deals across every category imaginable. During the event, prices are competitive and can beat out deals we see during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

When is Amazon Prime Day?

Prime Day runs through Tuesday, June 22, but we expect to continue to see deals afterward. Some deals are only available on one of the two days, while others are available during the entire event.

Do I need to be a Prime Member?

Yes. If you’re already a Prime member, you’re all set to start shopping deals. If you’re not a member, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial right now to access Prime Day.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Best Amazon Prime Day 2021 Nespresso machine and espresso pod deals

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Prime Day 2021 Nespresso Deals
Pod machines are fairly simple things, and our favorite, the Breville-Nespresso Pixie (above), is as affordable as they get.

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is here, and as always, there are deals galore, including discounts on home and kitchen equipment and accessories, like Nespresso machines.

Nespresso machines perform outstanding feats of coffee making given their price and size, and if you like starting your day with an espresso or three, they’re a convenient alternative to four-figure, counter-space-hogging espresso machines.

Plus, now that Nespresso machines have been popular for a while, there is no shortage of third-party brands making capsules for them using fresh coffee: Starbucks, Peet’s, Cafe Bustelo, Kauai Coffee…the list goes on. Since those capsules aren’t exactly cheap, Prime Day is the perfect time to stock up. You can read more about our favorite Nespresso pods below or in our coffee pod buying guide.

Make sure your Prime membership is up to date, as you can only take advantage of discounts if you’re signed up. For more Prime Day coverage, follow the best Prime Day kitchen appliance deals.

Prime 30-Day Free Trial (small)

The best Prime Day 2021 deals on Nespresso machines

Nespresso machines produce a velvety, viscous, frothy coffee that is about as close to espresso as possible without being espresso, precisely. Our favorite pod espresso machines from our buying guide include the Nespresso Pixie by Breville and the Nespresso De’Longhi Lattissima One Espresso Machine. The Pixie is our go-to choice for a simple, compact machine that will get the job done. If you’re making espresso drinks requiring steamed milk, you may prefer the Nespresso De’Longhi Lattissima, which has a built-in frother. We’ll keep an eye on those two models to see if they go on sale, but for now we’ve listed some solid alternatives below. These are the best Nespresso machine deals available today:

Vertuo Next Bundle with Aeroccino and pods (small)Vertuo Next Machine + Capsules (small)Vertuo Next Machine + Capsule Set (small)

Best Prime Day 2021 Nespresso Pod deals

Nespresso pods are a quick and easy solution to an espresso-like drink at home, and because there are more and more third-party brands out there, there are plenty of options for fresh and even compostable Nespresso pods. If you’re more the DIY type, you can buy refillable capsules, which let you customize the pod with whatever coffee you desire. Read more about the best Nespresso pods in our guide. Here are the best Nespresso pod deals today:

40-pack of Espresso Pods (small)Espresso Variety Pack (small)50-capsule variety pack (small)100-pack of Nespresso-compatible capsules (small)

Best Nespresso accessory deals for Prime Day 2021

You can accessorize your pod machines with frothers, refillable capsules, capsule holders and storage boxes, tasting cups and drinkware, syrups, and more. Here are the best Nespresso accessory deals today:

MilkBoss Milk Frother (small)Reusable Nespresso Capsules (small)

Other Great Prime Day 2021 coffee machine and coffee deals

Of course, Nespresso isn’t the only big name in coffee worth purchasing. We’re also seeing great deals on some of our favorite drip coffee machines, traditional espresso machines, and other pod coffee makers. Here are the best deals on coffee machines and accessories happening right now:

14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker (small)K-Slim Coffee Maker (small)100 Dark-Roast Keurig Pods (small)

How to choose the right Nespresso machine

Nespresso machines come in various forms, but the basic thing to consider is whether or not you want an ESE (paper) pod or capsule machine. Capsule machines are more versatile and what we primarily recommend, at least for now, because there are so many third-party options, including refillable capsules so that you can grind and load your own fresh coffee. Just keep in mind that this is time-consuming.

We tested pod coffee machines and really liked the Nespresso Pixie by Breville and the Nespresso De’Longhi Lattissima One Espresso Machine. The Pixie is the best choice for most people because it’s compact, easy to use, and not too expensive. The Lattissima might be a better choice if you plan on making espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, since it has a built-in frother, but it requires careful cleaning and we’re not sold on it. Keep in mind that the frother poses a significant upgrade in price – we usually see the Lattissima retailing for $100 more than the Pixie. Instead, consider a simple, inexpensive hand wand milk frother like the Powerlix Milk Pro, our top pick from our milk frother buying guide, to save a significant chunk of change.

FAQs

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Prime Day is Amazon’s annual sales event exclusively for Prime members. During the event, there are millions of deals across every category imaginable. During the event, prices are competitive and can beat out deals we see during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

When is Amazon Prime Day?

Prime Day is live now and runs through Tuesday, June 22, but we expect to continue to see deals afterward. Some deals are only available on one of the two days, while others are available during the entire event.

Do I need to be a Prime Member?

Yes. If you’re already a Prime member, you’re all set to start shopping deals. If you’re not a member, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial right now to access Prime Day.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 3 best espresso tampers we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • An espresso tamper packs grounds into your espresso machine’s portafilter to ensure a balanced shot.
  • We tested nine tampers to find the best one you can buy considering price, effectiveness, and more.
  • The Decent Tamper is best for most people thanks to its easy-to-grip handle, calibration, and shape.

An espresso tamper is a tool used to pack, or “tamp,” grounds into the basket of an espresso machine, and it’s essential to prepping a well-balanced shot.

When it comes to choosing the perfect tamper, the most important criterion is that it fits snugly in your espresso machine’s portafilter (measured in millimeters). If you get the wrong size, it either won’t fit at all, or you’re going to end up with an uneven tamp, which means you’ll get, at best, a mediocre shot of espresso.

“The thing the tamp really does,” as former Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) World Barista Judge and home-barista.com founder Dan Kehn explained, “is help with the pre-infusion or pre-wetting.” The real goal is to evenly distribute the grounds so that the puck of coffee soaks evenly. This prevents what’s called channeling, or the uneven flow of water through your grounds, which can undermine the balance of your shot by over-extracting on either side of the channel and under-extracting elsewhere.

A tamper’s weight is also crucial to its effectiveness. The flimsy plastic thing that may have been included with your machine? It’s not going to balance as well as a nicely weighted – ideally one-to-two-pound – hunk of stainless steel. Aside from fit and weight, picking a tamper comes down to feel (how does it fit in your palm?) and aesthetics.

Below, we’ve found the best tampers for most people, considering budget (you can spend hundreds if you want to, but we don’t believe it’s necessary), ease of use (and adjustability where applicable), and shape, all informed by dozens of hours of testing. You can read more about our testing methodology here.

Here are the best espresso tampers in 2021

Our testing methodology

Tamper methodology

Preparation

Before we began testing tampers, we stocked up on several pounds of Ugandan dark roast from Atlas Coffee Company, measuring our grounds using a Kruve Sifter to make sure we were within the realm of espresso (250-500 micrometers, or somewhere between white flour and table salt in size). Throughout testing, we used Gaggia’s Classic Pro espresso machine, which is our top pick for most people and most budgets.

Pulling shots

For each tamper, we pulled four shots: two with a leveler, or a distribution tool to even out the grounds, and two without. 

This was the most telling testing phase. Once you’ve gotten a handle on espresso making, how your shot pours tells you almost all you need to know. Whether you’re using a spouted or a bottomless (or “naked”) portafilter, you want a slow, constant drizzle with enough foam, or crema, to give it a golden hue. This signifies an even extraction.

If the flow is too slow, it’s an indication that the grounds are compacted. Conversely, if espresso is cascading and/or spurting out of the bottom of your portafilter, your grounds are probably not tamped enough, or too coarse to start.

Tasting

Tasting is always going to be highly subjective at best. We noted where shots seemed under- or over-extracted, and when we pulled a shot that wasn’t up to par, we checked to make sure that the issue was related to the tamper we were using, and not the result of improperly-sized grounds or a portafilter in need of cleaning. 

Analyzing the puck

Apart from tasting and watching a shot pour, looking at the puck afterward is the next best way to dissect the quality of an espresso shot It’s a bit like making a tea-leaf prophecy in reverse. If it’s rock-hard, there’s a good chance that the grounds were too fine. If it’s soft, your grounds might be too coarse or you might have tamped too finely. If it’s cracked, or partially dry, the tamp was almost certainly uneven. 

During testing, we oftentimes looked at the puck to essentially confirm what we already knew from previous steps. Between watching the shot pour, tasting the shot, and analyzing the puck, we were able to form a clear picture of what happened, and specifically what went wrong and what went right.

The best tamper overall

Decent Espresso Tamper

Between its spring-loaded calibration and the wide rim, the 13.5-ounce Decent Tamper makes packing and pulling a shot of espresso as foolproof as it gets.

Pros: Almost entirely foolproof, large, comfortable grip

Cons: You’ll need to keep it clean and dry

Whether you’re just getting started or having trouble consistently getting an even tamp, a calibrated tamper can help — especially one designed like Decent’s, with a rim that prevents slanted or “sideways” tamping.

Tamping properly is paramount to achieving a good shot of espresso, and just like hanging a picture frame perfectly straight, you’re almost never going to tamp in a flawlessly level manner. While a slightly off-kilter picture frame might be unnoticeable to the naked eye, a lopsided tamp will almost certainly produce a poor shot of espresso, with over-extraction of the less tightly-packed side being the culprit.

Apart from the mechanical aspects of this tamper, it’s adequately weighted at 13.5 ounces (the pros we’ve spoken with recommend something close to one pound) and has a rounded handle for a comfortable palm grip. While it does have a number of moving parts, everything is robust enough to handle a fall from the counter. The only thing you’ll want to be careful of is getting the mechanism(s) wet. If the thing does end up submerged in water, you’ll want to take it apart and make sure to thoroughly dry it in order to prevent rust.

This is a pricier option, all things considered, but it’s the best because it is as foolproof as tamping gadgets get.

The best 2-in-1 leveler and tamper

Best 2 in 1 tamper

A tamper and a leveler in one, Matow’s Dual Head Coffee Leveler is nicely weighted (17.3 ounces) and adjustable on both sides to accommodate a spectrum of portafilter basket depths.

Pros: Easy to use, easy to adjust, compact (for a two-in-one device)

Cons: Only comes in three sizes, we wish it had visible measurements so you could change between depth calibrations without having to guess

As we mentioned earlier, a tamper’s weight is crucial to its effectiveness, and at 17.3 ounces the Matow was the heaviest option we tested. That’s thanks in part to its two-in-one tamper and leveler design. A leveler, or distributor, is the tool you use to level out espresso grounds before tamping in order to get a more consistent extraction. Most levelers, including Matow’s, feature a set of fins accentuated by deep grooves for flat and even redistribution. Some people prefer to use a leveler sans tamper, or vice versa, to achieve the perfect pour. If you’re unsure of your preference, you can read a bit more about the pros and cons of levelers versus tampers here

In testing the device, we had to spend a little bit of time calibrating its adjustable depths to the stock portafilter baskets from the Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine we were using. As long as you don’t change baskets too often, this isn’t much of a nuisance, but it’s a downside to consider. We’re hoping Matow will engrave a simple scale into future versions of the Dual Head Coffee Leveler. 

Once we got everything dialed, extraction was flawless, and the grippy surface on the outer ring made tamping especially comfortable. Knowing that you can use either or both sides of this single tool to achieve your ideal shot of espresso is everything, and the price can’t be beat. The major downside is that Matow is a relatively no-name brand in the espresso world and there’s no sign of a warranty or even a brand website beyond this Facebook page. Granted, Amazon usually has your back, and we’ve used and tweaked it enough to know it’s not going to fall apart easily.

The best budget tamper

Best budget tamper

The Luxhaus Tamper offers significant weight and a well-balanced handle at less than half the price of most of its competitors.

Pros: Good balance between the handle and base, lifetime satisfaction guarantee, comes in most portafilter sizes

Cons: The brand doesn’t offer interchangeable bases or handles

The Luxhaus is about as bare-bones as espresso tampers get without skimping on quality metal or meticulous construction, as evidenced by its perfectly balanced handle and base. The handle’s conical shape accommodates a range of hand sizes and grips, and at just shy of 14 ounces, this tamper is hefty enough to get the job done with or without a leveler. For comparison, our top pick is just two ounces heavier than this model. 

The Luxhaus was comfortable and effortless to use, and the 58mm model we tried fit snugly inside the 58mm portafilter basket of our Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine (the top pick in our espresso machine guide).

Simply put, there are no design shortcuts that make it inferior to many of the $100+ models we tried. Dip below the Luxhaus’s price point, however, and you’ll start to find unbalanced handles that don’t offer enough stability and cheap plastic components that bring a tamper’s weight down and make it more unwieldy. 

If you want a streamlined, non-mechanical tamper that’s dependable and properly weighted for under $30, Luxhaus is the way to go.

This model also comes with a lifetime warranty and a felt bag for storage. 

What else we tested and recommend

What else we tested tampers

Asso Ergo, $89.50-106.57:With its series of interchangeable bases, Asso’s Ergo Tamper is the most versatile tool for tamping and leveling we’ve found yet, and we love it. Hefty, interchangeable convex and lined (patterned) bases make this the tamper for experimenting, but it’s not for everyone, and certainly not at this price point. We wish the brand offered a leveler attachment for tamper handles, though, and keep in mind that extra bases are sold separately. 

Espro Calibrated Tamper, $99: Espro’s Calibrated Tamper is hefty at 16.2 ounces, spring-loaded to 30 pounds of pressure so you know exactly when you’ve tamped correctly, and has the most comfortable handle out of all the tampers we tried. 

LuxHaus Calibrated Tamper, $39: If you want a calibrated tamper on a budget, Luxhaus offers a highly competitive option. We preferred the handle, weight, and squared-off the design of the Espro Calibrated Tamper above, but Luxhaus works every bit as well; we just recommend using a leveler with this one because it fit a little loosely (in our 58mm portafilter baskets) and left room for more uneven tamping than usual.

Rattleware Tamper, $39.99: This is another great option with a larger handle than our top pick, and it’s especially convenient for those with large hands. The only reason we didn’t recommend it this go around (it was a favorite of ours in past guides) is that it’s not widely available at present, and there aren’t enough available sizes for it to work for most people. If you find this tamper in the right size, we wholeheartedly recommend purchasing it.

How to use a tamper

How to use a tamper

A good grinder and fresh grounds are the initial keys to success. After dialing your burr grinder and getting your grounds the right size and consistency, measure out whatever your portafilter basket’s recommended capacity is (7-9 grams is about standard for a single-shot basket; somewhere between 14 and 20 grams will usually fill a double basket). Note that if your grounds touch the screen of the group head (the part of the espresso machine where the water comes out) when you lock in your portafilter, your basket is overfilled. 

Next is where a leveler (another tool for evenly distributing espresso grounds) makes tamping immeasurably easier. If your leveler isn’t calibrated, adjust it so that it reaches the top of your grounds when they’re sitting in your portafilter basket. Again, this depth will vary from basket to basket, which is why an adjustable leveler is best. Give the leveler a few good spins and check to make sure the grounds are neatly leveled. If there’s a wave in the grounds from the fins or ridges of your leveler, it’s probably set too deep. Conversely, if the leveler doesn’t fully reach the grounds, you’ll want to extend it some.

Note: If you don’t have a leveler like the Matow one we recommend above, it’s worth adding one to your kit. You can still make espresso without a leveler, of course, but the process won’t be as foolproof. 

Next, you simply place your tamper in the basket atop the grounds and push down until it clicks (assuming it’s calibrated). To tidy things up, some baristas recommend “polishing” the puck by briefly spinning your tamper with about five pounds of pressure. Once you’re done tamping, look at the grounds in the basket to make sure they’re level. If your puck is slanted, water is going to find the path of least resistance and channel its way through rather than evenly extract.

Now brush or dust off the edge of the basket and the portafilter, because you want to avoid getting coffee grounds in the group head of your espresso machine, attach it to the group head, and pull your shot. Provided your grind size is right and your grounds are consistent, you should get a slow but steady trickle into your demitasse. There’s no exact standard, but a single shot should be ready in roughly 20 to 30 seconds, and a double somewhere between 35 and 45 seconds.

If you want to see how your infusion and extraction are working, try removing your puck right after the machine completes the pre-infusion (or pre-wetting). If you see dry spots, that’s where water didn’t penetrate. If you see cracks, that’s where water channeled. Wipe your basket and portafilter clean.

Espresso levelers (or distributors) vs. tampers

Why you want a leveler

A tamper is a flat (or in some cases convex or lined) piece of metal used to press coffee grounds into a compact puck within your portafilter basket. A leveler is a tool that sweeps across the surface of loosely piled grounds in order to distribute them evenly throughout the portafilter basket. You can use a leveler without a tamper — and a lot of contemporary baristas do — but a tamper provides an extra bit of insurance against channeling.

While 30 pounds is often cited as the amount of pressure needed to properly tamp, former Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) World Barista Judge and home-barista.com founder Dan Kehn along with the folks at both Javapress and Whole Latte Love maintain that 10 pounds will do the trick. Kehn regaled us with a tale of a fellow espresso aficionado who found that whether they tamped with 6 pounds, 60 pounds, or 660 pounds of pressure, variation in compaction was negligible. There were still small air pockets, and the grounds didn’t compress much further with each increase in pressure. Leveling your coffee grounds inherently tamps them, but you shouldn’t use force with a leveler the way you would with a tamper. 

Basically, tamping an espresso shot without a leveler is a bit like hanging a picture frame without a level: it might look straight, but there’s hardly a chance that it actually is. Once the grounds are perfectly leveled, they’ll remain even within the portafilter. Tamping them afterward just reduces the margin of error.

Glossary of espresso terms

Burr grinder: A mill designed to crush coffee beans between two abrasive surfaces set a particular distance apart (determined by the user)

Calibrated tamper: A tamper with a spring to gauge and determine the amount of pressure a barista puts on grounds to pack the portafilter basket

Choke: What a less powerful espresso machine does when it is unable to force water through grounds (usually due to grounds being too fine for the machine)

Convex tamper: A tamper with an outwardly curved surface or face, meant to assist in even extraction

Double: A double espresso; two shots, or somewhere between about 14 and 20 grams from a double portafilter basket

Grind size: The average or standard particle size of ground coffee beans

Grounds: Coffee beans that have been reduced (by way of a blade or burr) to a particular size for brewing

Leveler: A tool for evenly distributing a dose of grounds within a portafilter basket

Lined tamper: A tamper whose face is lined with rings to create an even pattern of ridges and valleys in the top of a puck

Over-extract: To pull too many of the soluble flavors from coffee (ends up extra viscous and bitter)

Portafilter: A holder for baskets and espresso grounds that attaches to the group or group head of an espresso machine

Portafilter basket: A stainless steel basket that holds espresso grounds and fits into the portafilter

Puck: A tamped, or compressed, pile of grounds in (or from) a portafilter

Single shot: One small portafilter basket-worth of coffee (about seven to nine grams)

Tamp: To pack and concentrate

Under-extract: To pull too few of the soluble flavors from coffee (ends up watery and bland)

See more great coffee buying guides

woman making coffee at home

The best espresso machines


The best French Presses


The best stovetop espresso makers


The best coffee grinders

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This is the best espresso machine you can buy for under $500 – I’ve used mine for 3 years without a hitch

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

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  • You don’t have to spend four figures to produce quality espresso in your own kitchen.
  • Gaggia’s new Classic Pro is our overall pick for the best espresso machine.
  • It’s an excellent choice if you want to learn how to use and dial an espresso machine, without any training wheels.
  • See more: The best espresso machines

The $449 Classic Pro Espresso Machine from Gaggia is an update of the brand’s original consumer-priced espresso machine without many changes, but that’s only because they weren’t necessary.

We’ve been using this machine for almost three years with minimal maintenance and without a hitch. If you’re really looking to learn how to make quality espresso at home, pair this with a good burr grinder and you are on your way to mastering how to dial in a shot and get the most out of your fresh grounds.

This is the machine for those who really care about the craft of making espresso.

Gaggia is a classic name in home espresso, and there’s a reason why the Italian brand has stood the test of time: these machines make great coffee.

The latest Classic Pro has the same brew head and portafilter as the previous version – which Gaggia also places in commercial espresso makers – along with the three-way solenoid valve that purges any residual steam or water after you stop the machine. That keeps pressure and temperature consistent and helps keep your coffee from getting burnt by any stored steam or water in the chamber. Modifications are slight but appreciated: a frame that allows you to see how much water is left in the reservoir, a small silicone grip on the purge valve and the frother, and a simple on/off switch and light setup.

Along with an updated boiler that’s better secured inside the machine so that it stays steady and a little quieter, this all adds up to one hardy espresso maker that offers you a good bit of control over how your shot turns out. You won’t be able to regulate temperature or pressure in the way you can with a $5,000 machine like the La Marzocco Linea Mini, but this is your transition from an automatic to a manual transmission; it’s time for some real, unfettered fun.

Below, I’ll walk you through every aspect of the Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine.

The design of the Gaggia Classic Pro

gaggia1
Simple, understated, and (mostly) steel, this is how any home espresso machine should look on your counter.

This machine looks like it belongs on your grandfather’s kitchen countertop, and he may well have a Gaggia; the brand has been making professional-quality espresso machines for the home since they introduced the Gaggia Baby in 1977.

Wrapped in brushed stainless steel, the Classic Pro has a timeless look. It’s not much larger than a pod machine and costs only a tad more. But it doesn’t come with a built-in burr grinder, which, when bought separately, can be pricey and equally cumbersome. In fact, if you plan on buying any espresso machine of this size, take the amount of counter space you’ve set aside and double it to accommodate a grinder.

The one thing I don’t like about the design is that the wrapped stainless steel frame has some sharp, exposed edges, and if you’re ever bleary-eyed and having trouble fitting your portafilter into the brew head early (or late) in the day, you might slip and lose a small chunk of your knuckle. Still, you’ll learn to dodge them as I have.

The specs

gaggia
There’s not too much to this machine, but that’s part of why we like it. Fewer parts mean fewer pieces to break and or lose.

This machine is almost foolproof. There are only three two-way switches and a dial to turn the frother on and off. 

The Classic Pro has a respectable 1450 watts of power and 15 bars of pressure (equivalent to the Breville Barista Pro, our favorite two-in-one espresso machine in our full guide), and a three-way solenoid valve that prevents pressure from building up in the group head, making things a lot cleaner. Without the latter, taking the portafilter out too soon can result in a scalding spray of soppy espresso grounds. You can tell that the solenoid is working when, after finishing pulling a shot (that is, turning off the middle switch), you see a little water running from the purge valve to the left of the group head.

The steam wand is not particularly special, but that’s a good thing. Switch off the group head valve, switch on the steam valve, wait for the light to turn on, blow out any excess water in the chamber (preferably over the drain reservoir in the machine), and you’re ready to go. Turning the valve one way engages it and increases the pressure, and going in reverse eases and shuts it off. We’ve found that the more complicated a frother, the less likely we are to use it, and while there are all sorts of fancy ones out there, good pressure from a powerful machine is all you really need.

There’s also a warming plate on top (more or less standard), a full-sized 58mm portafilter with pressurized and non-pressurized baskets (the latter for pre-ground espresso or pods), and a stainless steel drip tray with an easy-to-remove reservoir for collecting overflow and spillage.

Essentially you’ve got everything you need and nothing you don’t.

The set-up and brewing processes

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A bit of dialing goes a long way, but with a little patience, you’ll eventually arrive at a rich, frothy goodness no pod machine could ever replicate.

The Gaggia Classic Pro comes more or less set up for you. Make sure to clean out the water reservoir with soap before inserting it into place in the base of the machine.

Before you begin prepping your shot, turn the power switch on. This gets the machine ready, but if you put the portafilter in during this stage, it’ll warm that up, too. Espresso can turn sour when it’s made cold, and if the scalding water from the boiler hits a cold portafilter, it can do funky things to your brew.

Next, you want to insert the portafilter basket that corresponds with the type of coffee you’ll use (pre-ground and/or ESE pod, or freshly ground). Just make sure you use the little plastic riser piece if you’re going to use one of the pressurized baskets.

Once your portafilter is ready to go, grind your coffee (if you’re grinding your own) and load up the basket. Remember, grind size and tamping are two key components. A good rule of thumb is to get your grounds somewhere between the texture of flour and table salt, but what works with one roast may not work with the next, so be prepared for some experimentation. Give it a good bit of tamping pressure, but, more importantly, distribute your grounds evenly throughout the basket.

Between about 25 and 35 seconds of brew time should do the trick, but while 35 seconds might nearly incinerate one type of coffee, it could be just right for another. Play around with dialing in your machine. This should be part of the fun, after all.

Lock your portafilter into the brew head and, if the light beneath the brew switch is on, that means the machine is primed and ready. Flip it, and delight in the caramel-colored tonic that runs in two perfectly even streams into your demitasse. If the stream is but a slow drip, your grind size (for that particular bean, remember) is either too fine, or you’ve tamped it with too much force. (Pro tip: use a small measuring cup or a demitasse with measurements on it to learn how much of an extraction you like.) You want a steady, even-colored trickle.

And, again, remember to have some fun and play around. Talk to any good barista and you’ll be appalled at how much coffee they dump out just to get their machines and beans right in the morning. Two-time UK Cup Tasting Champion (also 8th in the World Cup Tasting Championship in 2013) barista master Jason Gonzalez once told me that he often spends up to half an hour dialing shots every morning at his Burlington, VT espresso shop Onyx Tonics.

The frothing process

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Yes, and there’s an extremely high-powered frother that’s remarkably easy to clean.

My favorite thing about the Gaggia Classic Pro, especially compared with similar machines, is that the steaming wand is manually adjustable (using the knob, right of center in the image above). This feature is especially handy for frothing various sorts of milk, which all have their own consistencies and boiling points.

Plus, it’s quiet. On some machines, like the Breville Barista Express, the steam is either on or off, and “on” produces a high-pitched screech. 

 

Potential cons

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There’s a lot to be said for having a high-powered frother at the ready, both for your morning cup, and dazzling guests after dinner.

For one, you don’t want to have the brew and steam switches on at the same time, which is just part of the responsibility of owning a professional-grade espresso machine. You’ll get used to it, and the budding barista within you will be all the better for it.

The only limitation of the steam wand, which is still my favorite out of any frother-equipped machine I’ve tested, is that it’s not gimballed, like on the Breville Barista Express. You’re confined to working with specific angles, and purging it of excess water requires either awkwardly placing a glass underneath or twisting it around so that it spills into the drip reservoir. All in all, not a big deal.

The only true issue I have with the Gaggia Classic Pro, and the original line before it, is that the stainless steel housing has unfinished corners, leaving hazardously jagged edges. I’ve been using the new Pro for a few months now, and twice I’ve missed locking in the portafilter and jammed my thumb right into one of those corners, taking a nice little bite of my knuckle. Be a little more careful than I am (not difficult) and you’ll be fine. 

Lastly, the latest version of this machine comes with an undersized plastic tamp, which feels a little cheap on the brand’s behalf given they have previously included a nice stainless steel one. Do yourself a favor and spring for a proper 58mm tamper that fits this portafilter and makes tamping even, and easier.

The bottom line

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Look, it takes a while to get this right. Maybe start with cheap coffee so you don’t tear through a whole bag of precious coffee when you’re still learning. But most importantly: Have fun.

The Gaggia Classic Pro is a temperamental machine in comparison with something like the Breville Barista Express, but if you want to learn how to use a real espresso machine, and you either already have a good burr grinder or don’t want an all-in-one maker, this is a compact but powerful machine that will serve you well.

Pros: Powerful, commercial-grade, compact, not terribly expensive

Cons: Misuse can cost you (i.e., it’s not foolproof) but the new Pro model is slightly more user-friendly than the original, sharp edges on corners can cut your hands, no longer comes with 58mm stainless steel tamper

 

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Coffee is the latest commodity to hit multi-year highs as Brazil drought sends prices soaring

farmer, coffee farmer, coffee grower
  • Coffee prices hit a 4.5 year high on Friday extending their rise to nearly 70% in the past year.
  • Dr. Michaela Helbing-Kuhl, an agriculture analyst at Commerzbank, says Brazil’s persistently dry weather is to blame.
  • The drought is expected to continue through August which is “not a good sign for the 2022/23 crop,” according to Dr. Helbing-Kuhl.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Prices of arabica coffee moved above $1.60 per pound last Friday for the first time since the fall of 2016.

Coffee prices have risen nearly 70% in the past year and currently trade around $1.66 per pound.

According to Dr. Michaela Helbing-Kuhl, an agricultural analyst at Commerzbank, global coffee production has been hurt by persistently dry weather in Brazil.

Brazil’s Paraná Basin, which is home to Minas Gerais, the country’s biggest coffee-producing state, has been hit with a drought that forecasters expect to continue through August, according to a recent commodities report from Commerzbank.

2021 was anticipated to be a strong year for Brazilian coffee producers, but many have experienced weak yields as a result of the drought.

Dr. Helbing-Kuhl said the dry weather is “not a good sign for the 2022/23 crop” either, which begins flowering in September. Protests in Columbia have also hampered the transport of Brazil’s already weak harvest.

Coffee is the latest commodity to hit multi-year highs as the global economy reopens.

From lumber to copper, commodity prices have been on the rise this past year amid record demand and supply chain disruptions brought about by the current bust to boom cycle.

Lumber futures rose as high as $1,670.50 per thousand board feet in early May, although they’ve now fallen back to $1,309. Even with the price drop, however, lumber futures are still up more than 260% in the past year.

Similarly, copper futures are up 88% since this time last year amid surging demand. Bank of America commodity strategist Michael Widmer said copper is “the new oil” in a recent note to clients and claimed it could hit $20,000 per ton due to surging demand.

Oil prices also neared 2-year highs on Monday as investors are expecting OPEC+ to confirm it will continue restricting supply at a key meeting.

Despite rising commodities prices in 2021, there are some signs of a let-up for businesses and consumers. New data from Bloomberg shows hedge funds have cut their bullish bets on commodities in recent weeks.

According to data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and ICE, hedge-fund holdings in 20 of the 23 commodities tracked in the Bloomberg Commodity Index fell by the most since November this week.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Big companies are redesigning their offices in response to COVID-19, and it might mean smaller cafeterias and the end of traditional coffee machines

Women using WhatsApp in coffee shop
The “coffee break” in the office was a moment for employees to interact with one another and have a moment of rest.

  • WeWork says its London offices will have touchless coffee machines that work by scanning a QR code.
  • This change along with others from top firms could transform the office experience as we know it.
  • The tech firm Drift is axing individual desks, while the finance giant KPMG may cut office space.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The commercial real-estate firm WeWork is planning to introduce touch-free coffee machines in all its offices across London. To use the machines, people working in WeWork offices would download a smartphone app and scan a QR code on the coffee machine.

The flexible-workspace firm did not elaborate on the date when the touchless machines would be installed, but WeWork said it would most likely introduce them soon.

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing everyone to keep to themselves and sanitize objects before and after touching them, this could mean fewer colleagues feeling inclined to make coffees for other staff members.

Businesses across the world had no choice but to adapt to a new way of working when the coronavirus pandemic made it dangerous for households to mix indoors.

With companies preparing for a return to offices, many workers are likely to notice changes when they come back.

Routine use of disinfectants to fight the coronavirus is mostly unnecessary, as the risk of transmission through touching surfaces is “low,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in April.

In a science brief based on analysis of the latest available data, the agency said intense cleaning was needed in only a few scenarios.

This news could bring an end to what some refer to as “hygiene theater,” or routine deep cleaning of hotel rooms, business premises, and public transport. Such measures might appear reassuring but are costly and, it seems, of limited use.

Despite this, Mathieu Proust, a general manager at WeWork in the UK, told Insider that as well as having touchless coffee machines, the London offices would also have motion-sensitive doors, where people move their hand in front of a button without touching it to open a door.

He said there would be no structural change to WeWork offices and added there would be increased sanitation in the buildings and signs telling people to wear masks and dictating what they could touch.

The purpose of the office is changing

WeWork is introducing an unusual hybrid model in the UK in which its employees work three days in the company’s headquarters, one day in a WeWork location, and one day at home.

Proust told Insider the company had changed the design of its space to create more room for teamwork and social interaction, rather than solo work.

One of WeWork's collaboration hubs in London
A WeWork collaboration hub in London.

“The purpose of the office is changing,” he said. “It’s about collaboration, connection, and creating more company culture.”

These so-called collaboration hubs have lots of whiteboards, more sofas, and fewer desks, according to Proust.

Collaboration spaces where people can be face-to-face with one another are “the best way to use office space,” according to Anita Williams Woolley, an associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University.

Woolley, who has spoken with companies about their return-to-office plans, said many were getting rid of permanent desk assignments because they were shrinking their office footprint. She also said some were downsizing the cafeterias and other sharing facilities in the workplace because “it doesn’t make sense to have them.”

A WeWork collaboration hub in London
A WeWork collaboration hub in London.

WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani said at the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything conference that employers wanted open-plan offices because they could keep them cleaner and they offered better ventilation.

“If you want to collaborate, you have to create an office environment,” Mathrani said.

These office-plan changes can also be seen in the tech and finance sectors.

The artificial-intelligence-powered sales software startup Drift, based in Boston, is throwing out individual desks and converting its offices into collaboration spaces. The company’s CEO and founder, David Cancel, told Insider the company had taken all of the desks and personal belongings out of the conference rooms and made them into spaces where people could gather.

“It will probably mean we’ll need less space over time,” Cancel said.

The insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London also told Insider it would adopt a more-flexible working model with employees using the offices for when they needed to “collaborate or innovate.” Staff members will “conduct focused work remotely,” the firm said.

Cutting down on office space

Other companies are taking a more drastic option and giving up their office space as employees prepare to work from home in the future.

Some finance giants that have introduced a hybrid working model are reconsidering what the dozens of office floors are used for in the company.

The accounting and professional-services firm KPMG is redesigning its offices and may ultimately cut down on the amount of office space, said Kevin Hogarth, KPMG UK’s chief people officer.

Hogarth told Insider the company was reconfiguring its offices to create space for collaboration, learning, imagination, and team building. The workplace will be less orientated toward work that can easily be done at home, he said.

KPMG is planning a £44 million, or $62 million, program to invest in its office estate and technology, Hogarth said. “That’s because the nature of the office is going to change,” he said.

“I think it’s probably likely that over time we will see a reduction in the amount of office space that we need,” Hogarth said, adding that the company was focusing on creating the right environment for its staff.

Lloyds Banking Group is also planning to cut its office space by 20% over the next two years, The Guardian reported in April. An employee survey revealed 77% of Lloyds’ 68,000-person workforce said they wanted to work from home at least three days a week.

HSBC is taking another approach – it’s scrapping its executive floor offices and moving top managers down to “hot-desk” on a floor with other employees. The floors have turned into client meeting spaces.

Justin Small, the CEO and founder of the consultancy and advisory firm Future Strategy Club, told Insider the pandemic had evened out the office hierarchy. He said having executives five floors up from other employees was “ridiculous” and “old-fashioned.”

Hybrid working means companies won’t need the same size office, Small said, adding that where employees sit and work had become “irrelevant.”

Read the original article on Business Insider