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  • Coffee Table Books

    Coffee table books are always beautiful and often inspiring, so how did such a delightful idea make its way to our tables? The coffee table book may have been invented by David Brower an environmentalist who served as the president of the Sierra Club. He had an idea to produce books that contained color plates from nature photographers. He wanted the pages big to show off the beauty of the images. The idea for coffee table books goes back further though, when French philosopher Michel de Montaigne bemoaned the use of his essays as a windowsill dressing for women. De Montaigne's work could be considered the first of the coffee table books.

    Coffee Table Books More than just a book on your coffee table. Photo: Sarah Sphar

    What Is a Coffee Table Book?

    Origins of the idea aside, coffee table books are delightful additions to the ambiance of our homes. The books add a warm and welcoming look to our rooms and they add a finished look to a well-done design. There is a volume to prick the interest of everyone. Beautifully rendered with large color plates on fine paper the books are oversized and heavy, and the bindings are works of art. Many of these large beauties contain bits of informative text or thoughtful verses to accompany the photographs. A host or hostess will never lack for topics of conversation with a coffee table book at their fingertips.

    Well known organizations and single authors alike produce some of the best known titles and editions of great coffee table books. For instance, the National Geographic publishes very attractive tabletop offerings of charming wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. Life Magazine published its 70 years of Extraordinary Photography in a coffee table books format, and it touches on some very controversial topics. The Guggenheim Foundation funded Robert Frank's trip across the United States to photograph the feel of the United States during the 1950s, and the resulting book 'The American's' was first published in France. The Abbeville Press publishes several books devoted to Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover paintings. Other offerings include a work by Madonna, entitled “Sex.” On the day of its release it sold 150,000 copies, and it was published by Warner Books. It sells for a whopping $95.00, but beware this jewel of coffee table books when you display it, the content is adult only.

    Work of Art

    $95.00 may seem high for a book, but many coffee table books sell for quite a bit more. A book “Michelangelo: La Dotta Mano” sold for $126,864. This handmade rendering weighs 61 pounds, and it was made in Italy. It has 264 pages, and on the cover in white marble is a relief of Michelangelo's Madonna. The bindings are of red velvet, and hand crafted by the same people that made the stage curtains for La Scala. Inside is the real treasure with color plates of the Sistine Chapel on pages of paper made from 100% cotton. There were only 99 copies planned for this exquisite work, and donations have been made to the Prado Museum in Madrid where it is displayed beside the original Gutenberg Bible. Admirers of La Dotta Mano are traveling from all over the world to view the rare piece.

    More Coffee Table Book Art

    Another book of art is called “The Art Book.” This colorful publication is only $8.94 in hardcover, but it is a little gem among coffee table books. The Phaidon Press published the work, and it took the book of the year award in 1994. Inside are illustrations of over 500 famous masters, encompassing works from the Middle Ages to present day paintings and sculptures. It is touted as a complete history of art complete with illuminated copy on each piece depicted within. It weighs 4.4 pounds and has 505 pages and its colorful binding is an eye catcher. The book is engaging, and it is a struggle to put down once picked up.

    Something for Everyone

    There are coffee table books to suit everyone's taste and pocketbook. From history to dogs, and from art to sex, these coffee table books add flavor and sophistication to your home and your conversations. No home is complete without one to peruse while sipping your favorite Gourmesso coffee. Add one or more to your collection of coffee table books today, and your family and guests will thank you.

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  • Cinnamon Coffee Cake Recipe

    Cinnamon Coffee Cake Recipe Cinnamon Coffee Cake Photo: jamieanne

    Cinnamon comes with many benefits: it makes you happy, your theeth healthy and attractive, and it boosts your immune system. These are only a few of the benefits you encounter while eating Cinnamon Coffee Cake. Try it together with one of our delicious Gourmesso coffees for a perfect fall starter kit.



    ⅔ cup of margarine
    ½ cup of brown sugar
    1 cup of sugar
    1 cup of buttermilk
    2 cups of flour
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. cinnamon


    ½ cup brown sugar
    ½ cup chopped nuts
    ½ tsp. cinnamon


    Step One

    Mix margarine, brown sugar and sugar until creamy.

    Step Two

    Add two beaten eggs to the mixture.

    Step Three

    Combine all dry ingredients. Add buttermilk and butter-sugar mixture alternately.

    Step Four

    Pour batter into baking dish. Add topping.

    Step Five

    Cover with foil and store it in the refrigerator overnight.

    Step Six

    Bake at 350°F for about 35 minutes.

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  • French pressing is a time-honored method of making coffee. It doesn’t use any fancy percolator, drip or espresso system to brew. Instead a French Press (sometimes referred to as a “press pot”) allows ground coffee to soak in hot water for a pre-determined period similar to tea. Once the coffee has brewed, you simply push down the built-in metal filter (the “press”) until all the coffee grounds are on the bottom and the delicious full-flavored coffee is left sitting on the top. Figuring out how to make French press coffee is actually pretty easy if you follow a few rules.

    French Press CoffeeFrench Press Coffee Photo:Don LaVange

    First things First: Starting with the Right Grind

    Learning how to make French Press coffee begins with the grind. You will need a much coarser grind than with espresso. And even more important, the grind must be consistent. People researching how to make French press coffee usually mess up this small point.The one high-priced investment with using a French press is inevitably the grinder - you’ll definitely want a fancier burr grinder to ensure all your grounds are the same shape and size.

    Recipe for Satisfaction: Measuring your Coffee

    French press pots come in all sizes, so measuring depends on your equipment. But a good rule of thumb to follow is 2 tablespoons of coarse ground coffee per cup of water. Some people like their coffee stronger, but 2 tablespoons is a good place to start, and you can always adjust your recipe later. The French press method is best when making coffee to be consumed all at once, so once you get more familiar with how to make French press coffee, feel free to make a follow-up batch!

    Temperature Quest: Finding the “Goldilocks” Zone

    Too-tepid water will make your coffee taste terrible, but so will water that’s too hot. The trick to how to make French press coffee is you have to be able to heat water until its “just right.” A well-calibrated digital thermometer is best to use until you get more familiar with the fine tuning of your stove top, and water temperature should measure within the narrow band between 195 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit (91 to 93 degrees Celsius).

    The Most Precious Minutes of your Journey: The Brew

    The penultimate piece to how to make French press coffee is the brew. Once the ground coffee is in the Press, add the amount of water you plan on using. Cover this murky mixture and let it sit for about a minute. Then take the cover off, stir vigorously, and cover again. Don’t press down! Simply let the coffee soak like you were steeping some tea, approximately 5 minutes. At this point, the grounds should mostly be settled on the bottom of the glass.

    How to Make French Press Coffee: The Press

    We're almost to the end of the process! Make sure the filter on your French press is perfectly aligned with the sides of the vessel. Otherwise, grounds are going to sneak around the sides and get into your coffee (which isn’t a tragedy, since you can always pull the filter back to the top and try again). It should take about half a minute to do a careful filtering from top to bottom.

    And that's how to make French press coffee. Now all you have left to do is pour and enjoy!

    The Issues with the French Press System

    Knowing how to make French press coffee is easy. The press itself is completely human powered, with no disposable parts to replace or wall outlet to plug into.

    But the finicky parts are right there for you to see: getting the right grind and getting the right water temperature. Not to mention watching the coffee like a hawk to make sure you don’t forget about it! More than a few French press users have walked away only to come rushing back 15 minutes later to cold, black, tar-like sludge.

    We’re going to level with you. We love the flavorful, consistent, repeatable results from espresso pulled through Nespresso®* compatible coffee capsules. But French Press coffee is quite tasty too, and you should definitely try how to make French press coffee at least once to see what all the fuss is about. We’d never turn down a cup!

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  • Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe It’s Pumpkin (Spice Latte) Season! Photo: Liz West

    There are many reasons why fall is the best season for many people. Pumpkin Spice Latte is one of them. Gourmesso will show you how to make the perfect homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte.


    2 ½ cups of water
    1 tbsp. nutmeg
    1 ½ tbsp. cinnamon
    ½ tsp. ground ginger
    1 cup of sugar
    3 tbsp. pumpkin puree
    Coffee filter
    1 cup of Gourmesso espresso
    ½ cup warm milk


    Step One

    For the syrup mix water and spices in a saucepan. Let it boil before turning down the heat. Let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes.

    Step Two

    Pass the mixture through a coffee filter.

    Step Three

    Add pumpkin and sugar. Boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.

    Step Four

    Pour 3 tbsps. of syrup into a mug and add coffee. Top with frothed milk.

    Tip: Sprinkle some cinnamon on top.

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  • Latte Art

    You may be familiar with latte art: It's the very cool way that your barista pours steamed milk into your morning shot of espresso, creating those amazing designs. Some mornings perhaps you get a heart, others a tree, an owl, or a bear. This art form, which actually began back in the 1980s, has come a long way. Today there are competitions for latte art. That's right! It's not just for morning entertainment anymore.

    Latte Art Coffee Art Photo: Hiroyuki Takeda

    How Latte Art Is Created

    To get latte art, the conditions must be just right, and those conditions are very demanding. It's why a barista can oftentimes never repeat a creation twice; the pour is really the challenge.

    Basically, it all comes down to science, and chemistry. Latte art combines the crema, or the emulsion of the coffee oil and brewed coffee, along with the foam of the air in milk (also known as microfoam). Because neither of these is stable and both will actually degrade rapidly, the latte art will only last for a few minutes. Alas, the artist's work is fleeting.

    Just Right

    As Godilocks said, everything must be just right: to get your latte art perfect, you must check that the espresso has a light brown color to its surface. When the white foam from the milk rises to the meet the surface of the espresso shot, this is when your design will emerge. The foam will separate from the liquid and rise to the top as you pour the milk. If you have everything just right, you can create your latte art on the surface. Or, you may choose to create the pattern with a stick after you have poured the milk.

    If you are just starting out with latte art, there is a bit more advice out there from the pros. They say that you should also make sure to pour in the center of your cup, especially if you are using a small cup. You can rest your pitcher on the edge of the cup for control; never pour the cup more than 3/4 full when you begin, as you will need to 'shake' the pitcher a bit to give your design a bit of form and you don't want to spill the coffee.

    As you continue the shake, you will want to continue to pour into the center of the coffee. Make sure to move slowly, or you will rush your design. Slow and steady wins the race!

    And finally, remember that practice makes perfect. Every barista, and every entrant into one of the latte art competitions, will tell you that you simply must practice, practice, practice in order to become good at this art form. Baristas pour literally hundreds of lattes a day, and that's how they get great at this.

    The Competitions

    Latte art competitions are very real and they are popping up everywhere. These include the U.S. Latte Art Championship, the World Latte Art Championship, and the Coffee Fest Latte Art Championship among others.

    Latte Art Championship Latte Art World Championship 2013 Photo: GoToVan

    The World Latte Art Championship is the holy grail of latte art competitions. It is one of the most photographed competitions in the World Coffee Events portfolio, and for good reason. Each year, the World Latte Art Championship highlights the creative expression of competitors in this new art form in a competitive platform that challenges them in a demanding performance. They must prepare their coffees, their designs, right before the judges. No pressure!

    During the competition, the contestants are judged on their creativity, identical patterns, contrast in patterns, visual attributes and overall performance.

    There are three rounds, and contestants are judged on both free pours and patterned drinks. There are time limits as well. /p>

    The top scoring barista in the final round is the champion.

    Ready to enter your artwork? Start practicing your pours with Gourmesso Coffee for next year's championship!

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  • Bisquick Coffee Cake Recipe

    Bisquick Coffee Cake Recipe Bisquick Coffee Cake is the perfect complement to your morning coffee. Photo: Basheer Tome

    Looking for a simple treat to accompany your morning cup of Gourmesso coffee? This Bisquick coffee cake not only tastes great, but uses half the ingredients!


    For the Batter

    2 cups of Bisquick mix
    2/3 cup of milk (can also use water)
    1 egg
    2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

    For the Crumbly Topping

    1/3 cup of Bisquick
    1/3 cup of brown sugar (light)
    1/4 tablespoons of cool butter


    Step One

    Set your oven to 400° and grease a square pan (8” or 9”).

    Step Two

    Combine the batter ingredients until creamy and add to the pan.

    Step Three

    Mix the topping mix until crumbly.

    Step Four

    Sprinkle the mix on top of the batter. (tip: use a butter knife to help evenly spread crumbs throughout the mix)

    Step Five

    Bake for 25-30 min.

    Step Six

    Grab a plate and enjoy!

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  • 5 Minutes to the Perfect AeroPress® Coffee

    One of the greatest methods to brew coffeehouse-quality coffee at home is by using the AeroPress coffee press. The AeroPress makes it incredibly easy to make the rich, perfectly balanced cup of espresso. There are countless varieties of drinks that can be made using this concentrated brew as a base such as Americano, Latte, Cappuccinos, Macchiato, and Mocha. The AeroPress produces a brew that is as aromatic and flavorful as one produced by machines that cost hundreds or even thousands more than the AeroPress that retails for around thirty dollars. The AeroPress is so small and lightweight, it is also the ideal brewing method for use while traveling.

    Aeropress Brewing Small and easy to use. Photo: Yara Tucek

    The AeroPress uses a method similar to a French Press, putting hot water in contact with fresh grounds, allowing the grounds to steep, and then passing the brew through a filter prior to serving. The AeroPress adds one key element to this process: pressurization that occurs in expensive espresso machines. The combination of these two highly effective and time-tested technologies makes the AeroPress the best choice for home brewers that demand a consistent, rich and smooth brew.

    Follow these seven AeroPress instructions to see just how easy it is to make the best brew possible:

    1. Heat Water

    Heating water will likely be the most time-consuming step, so begin it first. The method for heating water is not important, whether you use an electric kettle, a stovetop tea pot, a carafe in the microwave, or any other method. The two most important factors for preparing the water are water quality and temperature. Water quality can have a huge impact on the flavor of your final product, it is important not to overlook this aspect. AeroPress advises that the water be heated to 175° Fahrenheit (80° Celsius). Note this is quite a bit lower than the boiling point of water (212°F), so you will need a thermometer and some patience to finding a method that works for you to get the ideal water temperature.

    2. Prepare and Install the Filter

    Take one of the filters out of its packaging and rinse it well using tap water. It is important to rinse and wet the filter prior to using because it will help the brew flow freely without sticking and will help keep the filter in place during the brewing process. When the filter is ready, place it firmly into the bottom of the filter cap. Next, take the filter cap with filter in place and twist it onto the brewing chamber.

    3. Grind, Measure, and Add Coffee to the Chamber

    Grinding coffee beans at home is an optional step, as you can purchase pre-ground coffee at any coffee retailer. The benefits of grinding at home are that freshly ground beans have more flavor and you have control over how fine the grind is. Aim for a grind somewhere between espresso (very fine) and drip (medium grind) and adjust from there. The AeroPress comes with a scoop for measuring the appropriate amount of ground coffee to add to the brewing chamber. Two full scoops per 16 ounces of water is the amount recommended by the manufacturer, but adjust according to your individual preference. There are also new options coming to the market of pre-apportioned capsules that are designed to fit into the AeroPress filter cap. These capsules combine the filter, pre-ground coffee, and optional flavors.

    4. Add Water and Blend

    Next, place AeroPress on your mug and begin adding water. When adding water to ground coffee, it is important to stir the hot water and coffee mixture. Stir gently as you gradually add coffee and water. Whether using freshly ground coffee, pre-ground coffee, or the capsules, you should experiment with all the options to find the blend the tastes best to you.

    5. Press

    Next, align the plunger with the top of the chamber and slowly begin to force the plunger downwards toward the coffee. This will be similar to the mechanics of a French Press. Press the plunger until it compresses the coffee grounds or reaches the capsule.

    6. Remove the AeroPress and Add Water

    Lift the AeroPress off of your mug. The results of the press will be a highly concentrated brew that is not at all bitter. Because of the strength of the brew, it is advisable to dilute it prior to drinking. You can use the entire remaining hot water, a lesser amount, milk, or steamed milk.

    The AeroPress is a top-notch method for brewing delicious, smooth, coffee in minutes. Take care to follow these AeroPress instructions and you will have an excellent brewing experience. Experiment with water temperature, coffee grinding, water amount, and additives to determine what blend matches your palate preferences.

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  • Songs About Coffee

    You love drinking coffee. And as important as this dark, complex brew is to human civilization, there's plenty of inspiration to draw from when it comes to coffee songs. Musicians throughout history have taken one sip of the deep black drink and followed it up with some furious scribbling in their notebooks. Here are some of our favorite coffee songs, and we're sure you'll like them too! They are enjoyed best with a cup of delicious Gourmesso Coffee.

    Songs about Coffee Coffee and Music make the perfect match! Photo: GigNroll.com

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  • Buttermilk Coffee Cake


    Buttermilk Coffee Cake Recipe It's baking time with Gourmesso! Photo: JFXie

    Are you looking for an easy and light buttermilk coffee cake recipes for the summer? Try this Gourmesso recipe: You won’t regret it.


    1 ¼ cups of flour
    1 ½ cups of sugar
    1 ½ tsp. baking powder

    ¾ tsp. baking soda
    ½ cup of butter
    1 cup of buttermilk
    2 eggs
    ½ tsp. vanilla extract


    Step One

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Step Two

    Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and backing soda.

    Step Three

    Add butter into flour one pieace at a time until crumbly. Set aside one cup of butter curmbs.

    Step Four

    Add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract to the remaining batter. Pour into a greased baking pan.

    Step Five

    Sprinkle one cup of butter crumbs on top.

    Step Six

    Back about 35 minutes.

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  • Blueberry Coffee Cake Recipe

    blueberry coffee cake recipe Blueberry Coffee Cake is always a good idea Photo: Thor

    Whether your baking for yourself or for friends, blueberry coffee cake is a great go-to breakfast treat.
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