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Is ‘Italian” synonymous with “design”?  Perhaps my husband could help answer that question.  A proud European to the core, he practically shuddered with delight when a Bialetti Moka Express arrived in our home.  Was I excited too?  Yes, I adore coffee, especially any with a European preparation involved, but for my husband it meant a glimpse of home.  He even researched the little unit and discovered the Bialetti is a 70-year-old Italian design icon, found in most Italian kitchens.  And a big hurrah was let out from the man who yearns for something more lasting (and more Old World) these days. 

So what is this Bialetti?  Envision a simple coffee pot that brews espressos and prepares unbelievable coffee-house style coffee on your stovetop, without electricity, loud whirring noises, or attitudinal, heavily-pierced baristas rolling their eyes at you.  If you wanted an espresso machine but didn’t want to cough up hundreds of dollars for the countertop hogging unit of your dreams, this darling Bialetti takes up no more than a few inches of space and starts at only $19.95, well worth every dime.  Mine stays on the stove because it’s just that darned charming looking!  And the coffee?  Let’s put it this way:  Since the Bialetti Moka Express’s arrival, my cappuccino machine has been in storage.  The operation is simple.  Place water in the bottom portion, fresh ground coffee in the strainer, screw on the top half, and set the unit on low heat  until all the water from the bottom has found its way to the top.  (I wait for this pleasant little gurgling sound; then I know my coffee is waiting.)  The results is smooth, heavenly coffee with no grounds to chew around.  I haven’t prepared a bad brew yet!  It’s very consistent in its results, with the simplicity of the unit most likely its secret. 

And my Euro husband?  He used to work for an American movie company overseas and says this: “I did see the Bialetti Moka Express sometime in 1993, and had a taste of the coffee it produced. It was a great starter for a hard working day. And it was three Italians that brought this wonderful coffee maker to the film crew. A lot of us gathered there to jumpstart the day. Gianni was brewing, Aldo would comment and Adolfo would bless it, the rest would drink and wish for more.”  I’d say that sums it up nicely!  With no Adolfo for the blessing, though, I’ll just have to thank heaven each morning myself.

Want to win your own Bialetti Moka Express?  The people of Bialetti are kindly offering one to a lucky carp(e) libris reviews reader!

Multiple Options for Multiple Entries:

1.) Just visit Bialetti and tell me something you liked or learned about the company or their products. (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment. If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Blog about, Twitter, and/or Subscribe! Get an extra entry for each of these activities.  Blog about and/or Twitter this giveaway with a link to the post.  Subscribers to carp(e) libris reviews and get an entry too!  Just leave a separate comment for each, giving me a link to your blog post, your Twitter name, and/or a note saying you’re a subscriber.  SUBSCRIBE HERE!  

(Psst!  My Twitter name is dkMommy.)

Feel free to do all four to gather multiple entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Tuesday, June 16, 2009, to enter.

 

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What say you to a mug of marvelously different joe?  What if we call it Henley instead?  Henley Von Roastingburg coffee is as unique as its name, and I’ve had quite a taste for it lately.  A micro-batch coffee roasting company, Henley Von Roastingburg offers a selection of beans that are roasted right before shipment.  My bag of Costa Rican SHB Villalobos came straight from roasting; it was evident as soon as I opened the delivery box.  That wonderful aroma snagged me by the nostrils like a bull by its nose ring and I knew I’d had it – nothing could be done but to have a coffee fix right away.  

And a fix it is!  I love unique coffees with multiple layers of flavors and aromas.  I don’t review boring coffee.  In fact, I prefer to ruin boring coffee forever for every guest entering my house.  Preparing a labor-intensive cappuccino with the Villalobos beans and serving it to overnight guests as part of their breakfast was so much fun because I knew they’d arrive home to a plastic bucket of coffee that was roasted and ground months before it even hit the store shelves.  The Villalobos bean we enjoyed has a caramelly, spicey flavor that tastes and smells exotic.  If you allow it to linger on the palate, you’ll find much more there to love.  I enjoyed watching my guests’ eyes roll back in their heads.  They loved it, burying their noses in their mugs, smacking, swirling – we looked like an early morning group of professional wine tasters.  

I had my mug of Henley Von Roastingburg this morning; if you’d like to try some, I’m sorry to say I won’t be inviting you to breakfast at my house.  But you can enter here to win your own bag.  Then when I’m out, I’ll be visiting you for a cup of Henley!

Multiple Options for Entry:

1.) Just visit this most creative Henley Von Roastingburg website and tell me what about their site most makes you want your own bag.  (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Monday, April 13, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

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I’m so pleased to introduce you to Pura Vida Coffee.  Not just because they’re an excellent cup of coffee, which to me is an essential part of prying open my eyes in the morning.  But even more important than a fine brew, Pura Vida is using their capacity as a company to reach out and help those countries responsible for growing their coffee.  Fair trade, organic, and eco-friendly with a humanitarian presence in five different countries, Pura Vida donates thousands of dollars to various charities and is actively involved with numerous organizations through their project “Create Good”, helping the very countries who provide them with high-quality shade grown beans. 

Maybe that’s the extra something special that one can taste in this organic coffee – their sense of responsibility for everything from the coffee drinker’s experience to the coffee growers themselves.  Every variety I’ve tried from Pura Vida has been a quality, flavorful cup from beans fresh roasted in small batches.  Whether you prefer something bold and full of flavor such as their dark and delicious French Roast or my personal favorite due to its complex intensity, Cafe Kilimanjaro; or if you lean more towards the aromatic flavored coffees such as Irish Cream or French Vanilla, Pura Vida delivers a gourmet cup every time. I like to mix things up by preparing my coffee as an espresso, a cappuccino, regular drip – even “stuff-left-on-the-bottom” Turkish.  You can’t prepare things like espresso or Turkish with an inferior bean; I’ve not been disappointed with Pura Vida’s performance in any of these variations.  The full flavor of freshly roasted beans makes a huge difference in the end product of something as demanding as a Turkish brew! 

I always look forward to sharing companies such as Pura Vida with my readers.  When a company is able to balance a good quality product with caring for the environment and for people in need, I’ll gladly sing their praises.  We should feel good about the purchases we make; it’s nice to know where our consumer dollars are going for a change, isn’t it?  

It’s time to try some Pura Vida Coffee for yourself!  One carp(e) libris reviews reader will win a bag of the coffee of their choice; be prepared to help change your world!

Multiple Options for Entry:

1.) Just visit the Pura Vida website and tell me something this company does to help better the world.  (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Tuesday, March 31, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

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What could be better than making your morning brighter?  How about making the world brighter too? If you  need a cup of joe befitting of starting your day with a smile,  Higher Grounds Trading Company provides not only quality organic coffees for true coffee lovers, but they also provide a host of benefits for the farmers and communities responsible for the beans.

I’m learning that there’s nothing better than shade grown organic coffee.  Higher Grounds receives their beans from small shady coffee plantations around the globe; each location is assured a fair wage.  In return, the plantations produce amazing shade grown organic beans which are sent to Higher Grounds and roasted to order in small batches.  My pound of Justice Blend arrived on my doorstep a mere two days after its roasting.  What a difference this makes!  The Justice Blend is a light roast that produces a full bodied coffee.  Opening the bag for the first time was a delightful experience my nose will not soon forget.  A blend of Colombian and Ethiopian beans, Justice Blend produced a marvelous cup of coffee that offered much more flavor than I had even expected.  I was surprised to note the soft floral notes mentioned on the bag do indeed exist, making for a very enjoyable breakfast coffee.  Full of flavor, roasted to order, and serving a good cause, Higher Grounds gives the serious coffee drinker something to crow about – even in the wee hours of morning.

Want to try Higher Grounds for yourself?  They’re giving away a pound of their fresh roasted beans to one carp(e) libris readers.  

Multiple Options for Entry:

1.) Just visit the Higher Grounds Trading Company website and tell me what you liked or learned there.  (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Thursday, March 19, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.