Food Gal Giveaway — Luxe Ferrari-Red Espresso/Beverage Maker

One lucky Food Gal reader will win this snazzy Kaldi beverage system.

I like to call this the Ferrari of coffee makers because of the sleek, 125-mph metallic color. Can’t you imagine yourself test-driving this baby in your own kitchen?

One of you will get the chance to do just that because Food Gal is giving one lucky person the gift of a new Kaldi single-beverage system by the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. It’s valued at $149. How’s that for a contest to perk you up on a Monday morning?

You can make espresso, brewed coffee, tea and other specialty beverages just by inserting a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf capsule in the machine. The Kaldi has a twin pressure system, so that you get high pressure to create the crema on an espresso, and lower pressure for brewed coffee and tea. The machine, which can accommodate a variety of mug sizes, comes with a sampler pack of 12 capsules containing coffee, tea and espresso.

Contest: Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight March 19. Winner will be announced March 21.

How to win?

Just tell me about an experience, in which coffee never tasted quite so good.

Here’s my own: “Growing up in San Francisco, with its notorious fog, you always took your chances when it came to watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. Would the skies be clear or not? It was always a gamble. When I was in high school, one of my best friends and I decided to brave the elements and the throngs to watch the fireworks go off over the Bay from the Marina Green. We got there hours early to stake out a spot. Smarter souls had come prepared with blankets to wrap themselves in, while we buttoned up our jean jackets and stuck our hands deep in our pockets to ward off the brutal wind-chill. It was all worth it,though, as the skies lit up over us in a dazzling display. Afterward, cold to the bone, we started to walk back to the car, which was blocks and blocks away. We both spied the coffee shop at the same time and ducked in immediately, ordering enormous lattes to go. I took a sip and felt the welcome warmth travel from my lips down my throat to my stomach to even my toes. At that moment, it was the most welcome coffee I had ever had. And it sure made for a convenient  hand warmer, too, as we continued our trek back to the car.”

Winners of the other Contests: In last week’s first contest, I asked you to tell me about a woman in the food world — living or deceased — whom you admire. The winner will receive a copy of “Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef” (Random House) by Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune restaurant in New York.

Congratulations go to:

Kathy at Panini Happy, who wrote: “I can already tell that my daughter will be the woman who will inspire me most in my life. She thinks –- knows -– she can do anything and she wants to try everything. When her first try doesn’t work out she tries again, and again and again. She takes the time to laugh at silly things and isn’t afraid to just ‘let it out’ when things are tough. My little girl is just 3 years old but she teaches me great new lessons every day.”

In last week’s second contest, I asked you to tell me what your favorite flower is and why. Three winners will each receive a pair of multi-day passes to the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, March 23-27, at the San Mateo Event Center. This was an especially tough contest to judge because there were so many memorable answers.

Congrats go to:

1) Karen, who wrote, “My Dad hid Lily of the Valley under a boxwood shrub in our garden when I was growing up. He was a Yugoslavian immigrant, in a union railroad job with a degree in Horticulture, raising a family and an amazing and special garden in Spokane. I can still remember laying next to the shrub fascinated by delicate bell shaped flowers with the wonderful fragrance. They seemed like something from a story book. It felt like I got into their world. I spent time with them everyday, never picking them. I’m 45 now, and this memory holds for over 40 years. I have since learned that this flower is important in Yugoslavia. All the more reason for it to be special.”

2) Emily C., who wrote: “The beautiful California Poppy. As a child hiking with my father, the brilliant orange color of the poppy stood out to me. These bright flowers bring back memories of taking a leisurely post dinner stroll on the trail near my home, or embarking on hour long hikes in the hills of northern California — something I miss everyday since I left for college in Chicago, IL. The radiant gold poppy set on its distinct green leaves brings me back home.”

3) Michelle D., who wrote: “A rainbow mix of NASTURTIUMS. It was the first flower seed that I sowed as a child. It’s the ultimate self esteem plant because it never fails to grow despite poor soil and forgetfulness. Nasturtiums were also the first flowers I used in food preparation (if you could call it that) First they graced elaborately shaped mud pies and eventually, some years later, found their way into real edible summer salads and horti-centric garden party cocktails.”

Protea flower. (Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show)

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  • I tend to feel that food/drink tastes better when with good company. The best coffee I’ve ever had is at a local brunch place. Their coffee is notoriously good, but is much better when eating brunch with my father and talking about everything under the sun.

  • I never liked coffee until college when I had a cup after dinner at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. My boyfriend must have ordered it for me. I added just a little cream and was blown away by how tasty it was. I think I drank at least 3 cups (and didn’t sleep that night)! It took a few more years until I started regularly drinking coffee in the morning, but now I have to have it!

  • We had been sailing all day…laser sailboats. We had capsized and had to swim for the mast, insert it, and then try to head back to shore. It began to rain, thunder, and lightning! We were on a huge lake but still the wind whipped the waves into a frenzy and it took forever to get to dry land. Waiting for us, at camp, was hot coffee made on a grate above the fire. Cowboy coffee. Nothing ever tasted so good. I could do with something made from a fancy schmancy machine!

  • It was a surreal and wonderful lunch. My grandmother, mother, and I were spending a day sightseeing in Nara, Japan (one day in our two week trip), and it started to lightly rain. So, we ducked into this little French bistro on the main tourist drag. I thought I might be able to get a decent croque-monsieur, but I wasn’t expecting much. We wound up having the best French peasant food that I’ve ever had. I never knew white bean soup until that day. At the end of the meal, I ordered an apple tart and coffee. That coffee was so memorable that I talked about it for the rest of the day. I’m still talking about it now, over six months later! The best part was that as we were leaving, we gave our compliments to the Japanese chef and we noticed a framed certificate on the wall. She had been trained at Le Cordon Bleu!

  • We had just moved to New Orleans. A new job for my husband a new adventure for our family after a very trying 2 years of uncertainty. I was there with my wonderful husband and our two daughters hoping to show them how magnificent and exciting this new life of ours would be. We stopped at Cafe du Monde, the quintessential tourist destination for beignets and truly rich, decadent hot cafe au lait. With giggles, and powdered sugar plumes shared between the girls and my husband and I filling our hearts and souls with the hope and warmth of a truly great cup of coffee we started off with great expectations on this new life of ours.

  • I recently had an astonishing cup of coffee with my sisters and a beautiful woman from Gorgia. She made us Turkish coffee after enjoying a wonderful lunch.The remarkable thing is that my sisters don’t even like coffee! What made this coffee experience special, is that my sisters were meeting this woman for the first time and did not want to turn down her offering so they accepted and lo and behold they loved it! It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter where you are, coffee brings people together!

  • My favorite cup of coffee is always the first cafe au lait that I have in Paris. Some how the coffee just tastes different in a Paris cafe. After all of the trials and tribulations of traveling, that cafe au lait triggers the first deep breath and sigh of relief.

  • The best experience came to my mind was not the signature or gourmet coffee from a coffee shop but coffee from my childhood. My folks would tell me that drinking coffee would stunt my growth. I remember I would sneak a coffee drink whether its an instant coffee or percolated Hills Brothers coffee and add the rich water buffalo milk. And then the fun part was I dunk those crunchy crackers, biscuits or pan de sal/ dinner roll with butter for breakfast or mid day snacks. IT was love at first sip with coffee that always lingers on.Thank you.

  • i have dreamed of italy all my life. my best coffee ever was the first morning i woke up in rome and had a real italian espresso, it set the standard for all the coffee drinks in my life ever since.

  • When I was in New Zealand, I went to a cafe and ordered a latte. It came in a giant white cup with the best coffee art I’ve ever seen! More importantly, the latte was the best I’ve ever had. I’m not sure if it was the way it was roasted or what, but to this day, I remember it very clearly! 🙂

  • One of my favorite cups of coffee is at Fuel, a New Zealand based coffee roaster/shop. Only I love to grab a perfect cappucinon from them in the IFC in Hong Kong with my mom – usually mid-afternoon, after I’ve arrived and need a pick-me-up to get over my jetlag. It’s the perfect way to hang out with my mom.

  • I’d love a Ferrari-Red Espresso/Beverage Maker!
    That red machine will pop in my kitchen oh so nicely! 😉

    One of my most memorable and best coffee moments . . . I was on a cruise with my fiance and I made him smile so big, it was the best cup of coffee ever! I like to sleep in, he wakes early. I like to wake to a cup of coffee, he likes a shower first thing.

    He woke early one morning on the cruise and ordered a cup of coffee that he ever so carefully placed on the night stand next to my side of the bed. As the steam wafted off the top of the cup, he gently waved the steam toward my nose. He watched my nose twitch and the smell of coffee awaken me from a very deep sleep. (He said I have never slept so well & soundly as on that cruise!)

    I inched toward the coffee cup on the night stand from under the covers as I was starting to wake and almost got my nose stuck in the cup handle as I was moving toward the cup to bring it to my lips! I never once opened my eyes to see him watching, I just knew that a cup of fresh coffee was mine for the taking as it woke me up!

    It was one of the best wake up calls I’ve ever had and the smile on his face as I sipped my morning elixir was an absolutely wonderful way to start a day at sea! If only I could have that kind of start everyday!

  • My first cup of coffee is the one I will always remember. My mother had an elderly friend (in her 90s) who lived out of state. She was housebound and lived with her cat in a little apartment. To get to her floor you had to take one of those old elevators with metal gate that you pull closed to start the ride.

    When I was five we took a trip to visit this friend. When we got there Shari handed me a fine porcelain cup. Inside was a strong dark liquid. I looked at my mom’s face and could tell she was worried how I would handle this grown up situation. Only much later did I realize her face wasn’t worried about me breaking the cup, it was worried about the fact Shari had served me espresso! Apparently Shari had grown up drinking it and didn’t think twice about serving it to a five year old!

  • I love coffee. I always have. When I was in college I would capitalize “Coffee”, because I decided it had reached a near spiritual importance in my life — it had risen to the top of my personal hierarchy of needs. But even before that, when I was a small child, I remember going to the mall, and instead of hitting up the toy or candy store, I’d drift into the coffee shop. And just sort of wander around, smelling the fresh grounds and wishing I was an adult in a business suit with someplace important I needed to be. Because those kinds of adults always had a coffee in their hands. And sometimes I’d stick my hands into the big bags of beans, feeling the smooth, cool and tiny nuggets of power.

    Now that I’m older coffee is there for me when I wake up, often the very reason I get out of bed in the morning. And it’s there for me in the afternoon when I’m feeling low, and need a little help making it to the end of the workday. In the summer, iced coffee chills me out. And when it’s freezing outside it warms me up like an oven in my belly. It’s simultaneously stimulating and relaxing. It’s the drink dreams are made of.

    Truth is, I don’t have just one amazing coffee story, I’ve got a million. Because they happen to me every day.

  • I drink coffee almost every morning and during the week I barely have time to really enjoy it. But there’s something about my cup of coffee on Sunday mornings. It always tastes better, even though it’s the exact same that I’ve been drinking all week. I’ve got my loyal dog at my feet and I’m sitting at my dining table with the sun streaming in from the back deck. The Sunday paper is spread out and I’m hovered over it cupping my warm mug in my hands and finally having the time to notice how delicious, cozy, and familiar it is. Those Sunday mornings I feel so grown up and blessed and like I just stepped out of a Norman Rockwell.

  • I know this sounds weird but the best coffee I had was not from coffee beans but from rice kernels. Born and raised from the Islands, I still remember when I was little, my grandma would roast some rice and once they are dark brown to black in color, she will pour hot water in it. The aroma in the house was tempting. The rice was roasted by simply stirring it on a wok over an open flame. It was roasted till it was very dark brown. The roasted rice was simply pounded with a pestle and mortar or ground up in a hand cracked grinder to turn into powder. Then the rice coffee just like brewing regular coffee was added to boiling water. Sugar and milk is optional. So heartwarming!

  • Argh, what a shame that it’s only for US :\ I’m not a regular coffee drinker or anything but the sleekness is so appealing, even if it’s just to accessorize the kitchen 😀

  • the smell of coffee is better than the taste.

  • my best cup of coffee EVER was when my hubby came home from his frist deployment, I was so excited I stayed up all night..worrying, dreaming and planning his return. I picked him very early from the airport and we sat alone to sip on a cup of coffee..we knew as soon as we made it home the entire family would out of excitement would not give us a minute to talk, so we sipped caught up and enjoyed the quiet…never had a better cup..


  • I have a story on the topic of best coffee ever. We had an International Coffee moment in, of all places, an Italian restaurant in a new mall in Houston. We were early for a show we were attending in the same complex, so we wandered into the restaurant for a bite to eat and some caffeine. When my cappuccino arrived, I couldn’t believe how great it was. We’ve joked for years about ‘that time we had that incredible cappuccino in the mall in Houston!’

  • My husband and I went to Belize last year. For some reason we assumed a central american country would have excellent coffee. Unfortunately, Belize does not grow coffee beans, and Belizeans do not really care. We suffered through bitter, weak coffee all week long. Luckily, the rest of our trip was fantastic. But the best part of the entire trip was coming home and enjoying a freshly made latte from our local coffee house. Mmm mmm good!

  • Victoria Fairfield

    My best cup of coffee ever. Even after 42 years I can still remember it like it was yesterday. It was May 13th, 1969. I had just given birth the evening before to my precious baby girl. The hospital staff delivered (no pun intended) my breakfast which I was so looking forward to. Along side the breakfast was a regular cup of coffee. I eyed it with no real intent towards drinking it. I had just spent the last 9 months particularly turned off to coffee. My beloved java had turned on me during the last 9 months. I had no intentions of giving it a second chance on my first full day of motherhood. However, I swear it was calling my name for the first time in so many months, so I tentively started to sip away. I can’t even put into words how good it tasted. All the months of rancid taste was replaced with the best tasting and satisfying cup of coffee I have ever had. I can’t explain the immediate return of my coffee taste buds as soon as my daughter was born, but during that entire hospital stay from that morning on, I literally dreamed of the cup of coffee that I knew I would get the next morning. I couldn’t believe how fabulous it tasted, and I can still remember that coffee as the best ever even after all these years of drinking some of the finest coffee on the planet. Go figure.

  • When I was in Japan many years ago, I tried many many wonderful varieties of tea. And though I loved them, I just hankered for a good cup of coffee. So I bought it where ever I found it. From vending machines on street corners, at the local McDonalds, from any restaurant or eating establishment I went to that had it on it’s menu. But alas the coffee I found just didn’t satisfy my craving. Some of the coffee I tried was undrinkable, others passable (Tasters Choice instant believe it or not). It got to be a joke with my traveling companions…my kingdom for a good cup of coffee!
    I hate to admit, it was on the last day of vacation, that in our walking the streets of Tokyo being tourists, that I found a Starbucks. I realize to some that Starbucks isn’t coffee, but for this traveler, who had spent the week trying all sorts of new to me Japanese delicacies, I knew that that coffee would taste like home. If I could have wrapped my arms around that little Starbucks and hugged it I would have. It was just a latte, it wasn’t any better than any other latte I’ve bought at a Starbucks anywhere else I’ve found it in the world, but that day in Japan? Best coffee ever.

  • My most memorable experience with coffee was when I moved back to Florence, Italy after college. I remember settling into my place, and then going to an outdoor cafe for un cafe! It was just an amazing taste, along with taking in the sites, sounds and really realizing that I moved and I was THERE. I was there for a year, and now I’m back home in Chicago. Whenever I see Illy coffee signs, it pulls at my heart a little. 🙂

  • My story was when when I was in Boy Scouts and we went on a trek adventure down in New Mexico for 2 weeks camping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains (I’m from Michigan). After 2 weeks of mostly dry, dehydrated, and meal packets, the first place and only place on the way out of the town was a small diner. My taste buds have never been more appreciative of a well cooked steak, mushrooms and a hot cup of brewed coffee. I don’t think the coffee was anything special but definitely the best tasting I’ve ever had after that trip. Thanks!

  • I remember a dinner with friends from some years ago. The food was great, the service and venue good, it was a very relaxing meal and experience at the end of a long work day. I can remember sitting back in my chair, cup of coffee in hand, and smiling. Nice, so nice.

  • have you ever picked your own beans and seen them through the entire process? yes, the resulting coffee was fresh, but it was my pride, sweat, and effort that made up the secret ingredients to my best cuppa ever.

  • When I was young and tried my first cup of coffee, I really didn’t like it too much. I found though that I loved things flavored with coffee, especially when combined with chocolate. Coffee just seems to make chocolate taste soooo much better and I love chocolate. My most memorable cup of coffee was when I discovered cafe mocha. There is nothing better on a cold winter morning than a hot cafe mocha!

  • I grew up drinking coffee daily with my mother; it was nothing fancy — strictly supermarket coffee in a stovetop percolator. We spent countless mornings (and evenings, probably) drinking coffee at the kitchen table talking about nothing and everything. It was always our time.

    When I got to college, I discovered the astounding amount of varieties of coffee out there and the ways in which it can be prepared. It was an eye opener to me, and I quickly found my favorite beans and brewing method.

    The coffee that I will never forget, though? I hadn’t been to my parents’ house in a very long time, due to various commitments. I arrived early afternoon, and my mother told me she kept the percolator on the stove for me. I remember so clearly the first sip of this coffee. It overwhelmed my entire body, and I actually teared up a little. I’m sure I’ve had thousands of cups of coffee over the years. Coffee from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil. Cold brewed coffee, french pressed coffee, Burr grinded coffee. Coffee that tasted like chocolate, coffee that tasted like citrus, coffee that tasted like flowers. This coffee, though? This coffee tasted like home.

  • That incredible first cup of coffee after nine months of carrying our baby. It was just delicious!!

  • I am single and live alone and so for my birthday last year I asked for someone to please serve me a steaming hot cup of coffee in bed. My (married) neighbor Matt kindly obliged and at the agreed upon hour he delivered my cup of coffee with a big smile and a “Happy Birthday”. The best cup of coffee I’d had in a long time.

  • Contest is now closed. Come back Monday to find out who won the awesome beverage maker — and for the start of a new contest.

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