Monthly Archives: November 2009
One of the most popular questions we receive on a regular basis is around keeping the grinder chute free of clogs. Often, people will clean the burrs regularly, but forget about the chute and they'll have inconsistent grind results because of that. It's pretty easy to keep this area clean -- watch as Gail demonstrates how to take care of a few different models of burr grinders.
While we dig how much metal Breville incorporates into their designs, we don't know how well their functionality will stand up to the test of time and/or someone with more particular tastes. We checked out their burr grinder to see how it compared to other models that we carry, and weren't very impressed with its particle consistency or maximum fineness. In fact, we're pretty sure that even what they call 'Turkish' wouldn't work in most espresso machines -- but may very well work just fine in their machines with a pressurized portafilter basket.
At any rate, we had Gail show us this grinder's ropes and demonstrate how it works.
Extend the life of your grinder and minimize re-calibration and changing grinder function by regularly taking it apart and thoroughly cleaning out the burrs. While the excellent cleaning product Grindz is really good at keeping the burrs free of caked-up coffee grounds, nothing beats a disassemble and reassemble.
In this video, Gail shows us how to take apart the Rancilio Rocky, clean it and then put it back together again.
If you're looking to seriously upgrade your espresso setup, you might want to investigate the Mazzer grinders. We can't emphasize enough how essential a good grind is for producing yummy espresso, and we've often even recommended people spend more on their grinder than on their actual espresso machine. Feels a little backward, eh? Well, that's just how we do 'round these parts.
There are a few different Mazzer models available on the market, and in this video Gail walks us through three of them: Mini, Mini Electronic and Super Jolly. These burr grinders are classified as pretty sophisticated home grinders or can be used in a lower-capacity commercial/pro setting as well.
Since we're fairly vocal proponents of Rocket Espresso, we often have older models produced by the previous manufacturer, ECM, coming into our repair center for tune-ups, parts replacements and general repairs.
A couple of weeks ago, we had an older ECM Giotto come in for a seemingly simple repair, but it spiraled into the mire once we realized that this wasn't just any Giotto we were dealing with: It was an ECM Manufacture Giotto. Apparently, the German company was a distributor of the Giotto and the Cellini products, eventually deciding to bring the production of these machines in house. Despite facing legal action from the Italian ECM company, the German company built and distributed their version of the machine for some time -- the external design very reminiscent of the original machine, and with the ECM Giotto or Cellini name badges on the machine. A few years ago, they spun off the machines under their own names -- like Technika, Barista or Mechanika -- so now it's easy to tell the difference between these machines. You can also look at the ECM logo itself to determine if you have a German or Italian produced model: The ECM Manufacture machines reference Heidelberg instead of Milan.
If you have an older version of an ECM Giotto or Cellini that you purchased in Germany, keep in mind that the internals and parts for the German-produced versions of the machines are not the same as the original Italian versions. Before having the machine repaired, make sure who you're working with has access to the ECM Manufacture-specific parts. We poked around to see if we could find anyone who sells or has parts for these and, as of this writing, we weren't able to find anyone who imports these models into the US.
We've added a few more listings and reviews of several espresso machines to the Brown Bean Community.
If you own any of these machines, we'd love it if you could take the time to provide your own perspective on what you like and don't like about it. We play around with and test them, but if you're using one of these day-to-day, you have a much better feel for how it is to use this machine at home. Why not share those experiences with other coffee lovers looking for a machine?
Francis Francis! X7 Trio
Semi-Automatic Single Boiler
Saeco Odea Giro
Superautomatic with Rapid Steam
Saeco Odea Giro
Saeco Talea Giro
Superautomatic with Rapid Steam
Starbucks Sirena - Made by Saeco
Automatic Single Boiler (with Rapid Steam)
One of our favorite online stomping grounds, Home-Barista, is running a holiday Wish List Giveaway contest to promote awareness of their website and others in the online coffee and espresso community. If you've got some time to kill or are looking to pick-up some brand new toys, check out the full details of the contest on their site. They are also a rich information source for more technically-minded home espresso enthusiasts.
We're participating as sponsors this year and so will be offering three different levels of prizes:
- Gift: 1 free Baratza Vario burr grinder
- Delight: 10 coupons for 10% off any Rocket espresso machine
- Surprise+: 50 coupons for a free bag of Velton's Bonsai Blend for espresso
Have fun while increasing your espresso knowledge and maybe winning a little somethin' somethin'!
More than just another pretty face, the Andreja Premium is a semi-automatic heat exchange espresso machine with excellent features like the patented E61 brew head, anti-burn steam wand and a convenient drawer-like drip tray. Check out Gail as she shows us its features and gives us a demonstration of making a latte.
Looking for simplicity and convenience? You might want to try out one of Nespresso's capsule-based espresso machines that feature an easy touch button interface and a wide array of pre-fabricated espresso capsules for you to choose from.
And this holiday season, Nespresso is offering a $50 Coffee Club credit on all machine purchases of $299 or more made between 11/19/09 and 1/17/10. This awesome rebate is available on machines purchased from any participating retailer, you just need to fill out the form available here.
Single and double boiler espresso machines can have greater temperature control if a PID is installed to more minutely manage the thermostat on the boiler. In this video, Gail talks about what a PID is and gives us the lowdown on why you might want one and how you can get one.