Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Jura Ena 9 One Touch

So seldom do I post an espresso machine review unless something earthshaking tickles my fancy. And perfect timing it is since three of my college friends contacted me over the past two weeks asking what is the perfect "buy" for their special someone this father's day.

I first laid eyes on this mini-beauty during our recent trip to Hong Kong, and there's just something distinct about this unit that made me want to know more. Could it be the sleek silver color with simple buttons to tinker with (the design actually reminds me of a luxury car's clean yet intricate dashboard)? Or Jura's ever-durable operating system which churns out a great cuppa joe, shot after shot after shot - "handsome looks" included?

The first thing I noticed with the Jura Ena 9 One Touch is that unit is a lot smaller compared to the other other Jura models out in the market. Upon further research, I learned that the ENA series is created primarily for home use, so its compact form makes a perfect fit on one's kitchen counter, and perfect for a family of 2 (even 3 or 4) coffee drinkers.  

As with all Jura models, the Ena 9 primarily uses whole coffee beans, with different grind settings built right into in machine.  The unit also features a second opening on top for ground coffee just in case you want to try something different (decaf maybe?) from the beans that are presently occupying the bean hopper - neat huh?

One can prepare signature cafe specialties in the comforts on one's abode since all espresso based drinks (latte macchiato, cappuccino, café crème, and espresso) have individual keys laid out on top of the unit. Each key can be set to your own preferences making it ideal for enjoying a very personalized cup of coffee. The preferences you can store are water volume, strength of espresso, duration of milk froth and temperature.

This espresso machine is really made to optimize the one touch functionality (think BMW's league-leading i-drive technology), case-in-point all you have to do is connect the unit into your milk source and push the cappuccino button on top of the machine.  Yup, just one click and the Cappuccino is ready, and I must say that the new foam technology results in a froth so feathery light and smooth. 

Cleaning and Maintenance?  It's a cinch thanks to Jura's ease-of-use feature!!! The Ena 9 is so easy to care for with a maintenance program that runs at the touch of  a button. Simply said, the unit monitors what drinks you've been sipping and applies the corresponding self-cleaning mode upon shut down. Perfect for people on the go-go-go!

All in all I believe the ENA Micro 9 is an ideal choice for people buying their first automatic coffee machine, or looking to upgrade to a new model. I hope this has helped you in your research of this high quality machine.  Now, to post this on my wife's facebook wall in time for father's day!♥

Jura ENA micro 9 Specifications:

  • Single-cup machine : YES
  • Water Tank Size : 1.1 liters
  • Height Adjustable Spout : 55 - 138 mm
  • Bean Container Size : 125g
  • Waste Bean Size : 10 portions
  • Cappuccino Frother : Fine Foam Technology
  • Product Buttons : 4 Buttons
  • Adjustable Coffee Strength : 2 Settings
  • Adjustable Coffee Temperature : 2 Settings
  • Cappuccino Preparation: One Touch
  • ZERO Energy Switch : YES
  • Recommended Daily Production: For Household Use Only
  • Size (W X H X D): 23 x 32.3 x 44.5 cm

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dimsum Date in HK

My wife Peaches is celebrating her birthday on June 9, and for this we decided to take a pocket trip to Hong Kong - not to shop, but simply to EAT. HK was our honeymoon destination back in 2003 (due to financial constraints; and no thanks to me not having a US Visa back then), so the place holds a synonymous spot in our hearts. Not only is it cost effective and convenient to visit, the food (YUMCHA in particular) scene is simply tops!

Our hotel was an apt premonition
With our Kiddo left behind and safely tucked with my in-laws (God bless extended family), as soon as we landed and checked in our hotel, we wasted no time and headed straight to our pre-planned "good-easts." And this for the next three days we religiously did - scouring the best dimsum places at precisely 9:30am to get our YUMCHA fix. In order to give justice to this blog post, specially to those who don't know me too well, allow me to establish 2 things:

1) I am a creature oh habit, and proud to say I inherited this from my Dad. Both of us love doing the same things and going to the same places repetitively - sometimes to the annoyance of my Mom and my Wife. Ergo as an analogy to this post, I am simply stating that I can eat the same dish over and over again.

2) I am a certified HOARDER, probably it got full-blown when my son was barely 3 months-old, and my business hit rock-bottom with the pearl shake craze's demise. Fortunately I was able to recover within the same year (thanks to some good samaritans who helped me reinvent myself), thus the feeling of "conquering" or "purchasing power" stuck to me in order to justify to my inner demons that things are back to normal. My best bud RSF went an extra mile to defend my actions (thanks, you're a true friend) saying it's purely human nature "for MAN to go out and hunt for food to feed his family - circa Caveman era." So when ordering food, I tend to over-do it, since excess to me means I'm providing well for my family... Hahaha!

Enough said about me, let's go back to eating. With only 3 YUMCHA mornings to attack, Peaches and I had to be selective:

Day 1: Pier 88, 5/F Windsor Plaza, 311 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay

Day 2: Jade Garden, Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay

Day 3: Superstar Restaurant, 4/F Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui

As evident in the food shots, pat on the back to us, as our choices were definitely a sure thing! Happy birthday Peaches, more DIMSUM DATES ahead! ♡

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rabbit Hole, Hong Kong

The name is inspired by the novel "Alice In Wonderland" where Alice falls deep-down into a rabbit hole and enters a world of fantasy.  The owner of this java haven aims to recreate Alice's whimsical experience to the customer, manifested in the various types of coffee creation and methods RABBIT HOLE serves.

After wasting around 20 minutes going up and down Central Midlevel's multiple escalators trying to find this easy-to-miss place, as soon as I entered the door the first impression I got was a trip down "not so happy" memory lane - high school chemistry class. Yup, the place looks like a lab fit for a geek - coffee geek to be precise!

Macchiato (Costa Rica) over ice

Cafe Cortado

The layout is more like an open kitchen cum communal pantry where various brands of coffee machines are lined-up ready to be tinkered by Rabbit Hole's java experts while preparing one's drink of choice. First, select from their single origin offerings - Costa Rica, Timor, Ethiopia, Honduras, and several others; Second step is to choose the type of drink you want with your bean of choice - espresso (americano, latte, macchiato...), pour over, drip, or syphon; Third and final step is to simply kick back and relax while savoring your order.

Rabbit Hole's Coffee Geek
preparing our order

This hidden gem is a must-visit for coffee lovers of any race, of all walks of life. Rabbit Hole caffeinatedly jolts the spot, thanks to their creative design and nifty store layouting. The end result creates more interaction between the baristas and the customers.

Rabbit Hole's balcony is the perfect spot to savor
your drink while people-watching 

Various single-origin beans and coffee
brewing equipment for sale
Never in my wildest dream (even Alice's) did I expect to find such a unique place in a predominantly tea-sipping-capital like Hong Kong. Im sure The Mad Hatter would be jealous...

Rabbit Hole Coffee & Roaster
2/F, 26 Cochrane St, Central,
Hong Kong
A rabbit hole is quite an obvious metaphor for the public if you have read the novel "Alice in wonderland", as she falls down into the rabbit hole, she enters the world of fantasy. Our journey is similar as Alice, but instead the rabbit hole that we fell into came from a cup of well made, well executed coffee. 

If you love coffee, you will always remember the best cup that you ever had. You will remember how fragrant and special the aroma is, how flavorful and balanced when the liquid hit your mouth, and how the wonderful aftertaste had lasted in your palate that you think you would never want to drink water ever again.