Monthly Archives: November 2010
We are squealing like a gaggle of teenage girls outside a Guns n Roses concert a la 1989 (yes, we realize we're aging ourselves here) because -- at long last -- Seattle Coffee Gear's Guide to Rocket Espresso DVD is complete!
Shot over the summer, sliced, diced and then lovingly molded into something akin to a visual user's manual, this comprehensive DVD is incredibly informative, covering a variety of topics related to setup, care, maintenance and repair -- including:
- How to plumb in the Evoluzione or Professional models
- Dialing in your grinder and how to steam milk to produce microfoam
- Routine maintenance such as backflushing or replacing the brew head gasket
- Troubleshooting tips that will resolve any of the minor issues we see with these machines
Plus a whole lot more!
We're barely digging ourselves out from a very uncommon snow storm here in the Pacific Northwest and so it's definitely time to rock the super cozy. What says 'super cozy' more loudly than hot apple cider? Hot apple cider with cinnamon and caramel, cherie.
Combine syrups and cider in a steam pitcher, then use the steam wand to bring to temp. Garnish with cinnamon powder or stick -- or go crazy and use both! You only live once (that you know of).
First up, we tested beans stored in the original roaster's bag compared with beans store in an Airscape over a month period. Watch as we pull shots from each to determine how fresh the Airscape keeps the beans.
Watch Gail take us through the similarities and differences between the Silvia and the X1.
We're excited to offer selected single origin beans from Velton's Coffee on a roast-to-order basis! We'll be sending over batch orders each Monday morning, they'll be roasted and then shipped out within the following 48 hours. These selections will rotate on a semi-regular basis, depending on availability.
Currently on tap are the following:
- Ethiopia Sidamo Moredocofe: Featuring tinges of jasmine, sweet peach citrus and baker's chocolate, this delicately tea-like coffee comes from the highly respected Moredocofe farm in the Guji region.
- Guatemala Huehuetenango: Floral, lemony-orange citrus, lingering sweetness and a rich, juicy body are a few of the attributes of this coffee, which comes from the Rio Azul cooperative.
- Costa Rica Tarrazu: This fully washed bean from the Don Mayo farm is clean, bright and leaves flavors of tangerine, milk chocolate and brown sugar behind.
We're (almost) totally settled in and ready to show off our new digs! Please join us this Sunday, November 14th, from 12pm - 4pm at our new location (6911 216th St SW, Lynnwood WA 98036) and help us celebrate a new chapter in our story!
Gail, Kat, Jessica and Allison will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about equipment, demonstrate gear and provide any buying advice you may need -- plus we'll have a few special guest stars:
Andy & Scott from La Marzocco will be on hand, pulling shots on the GS/3 and talking about the machine. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about La Marzocco and the GS/3.
Velton will be here with an arsenal of Hario V60 pour overs, serving up tastings of three of his favorite single origins as well as his limited edition Holiday Blend.
If you needed more of an incentive to come party with us, we're also holding a trivia drawing with a grand prize of a $100 Seattle Coffee Gear gift certificate! Show off how much you know about our videos and you may be richly rewarded.
Should be a fun, casual and tasty get together -- hope to see you Sunday!
Over the past few years, Starbucks has been laying off employees and closing down storefronts to make up for lost revenue during the recession, but they're also now operating in a more crowded competitive space. Where they once dominated the market for quickly prepped gourmet espresso drinks, larger players are coming to the table and upping the ante.
Competing against fast-food chains, like McDonalds, who's playing hardball by providing their customers with coffee drinks with all the frills but at a lower cost, Starbucks is trying to lure back their coffee connoisseurs who've been bedazzled by fast-food prices by offering free internet and access to e-books and sites that usually come at a cost. They've also begun mandating a slow down in service that would limit a barista's drink prep to just one drink at a time -- clearly in an effort to show customers some level of artisan skill in the face of the fast-food, assembly-line approach they used before (and from which they are more actively trying to differentiate themselves). This comes into play even more when you consider the 'third wave' coffee movement's focus on the culinary rather than commodity attributes of the mighty bean.
Another way they're trying to compete is by making their food options more healthy, reinventing their menu by 'raising the bar on food to be tastier' with 'healthier and lighter options.' Making baked goods that are healthy but without the cardboard taste, Starbucks has incorporated organic blueberries, a higher percentage of real bananas and has made marshmallow squares less of a guilty pleasure at only 210 calories. But other than slimming down their treats, they've also added healthier drinks and lunch alternatives by taking a queue from local farmer's markets. With basic yet natural options, they now have smoothies and salads (i.e. Strawberry Banana Vivanno and Farmer's Market Salad) made from real produce, which, again, carry less of a calorie count.
Is this what a Starbucks customer really wants, though? If the company grew to become a competitor in the international food market that is on par with McDonald's by implementing many of the same operational techniques, can they roll these back in a sufficiently effective way to court customers back to their cafes? And how healthy has Starbucks really gotten when you see statistics comparing a 483-calorie Mocha Frappe Latte with semi-skimmed milk almost on par with a 492-calorie Big Mac?
Lately, we've been digging the Francis Francis X1 and X7 espresso machines because they have great features for their price class -- primarily auto-fill boiler and sophisticated temperature regulation. But like any machine, there are drawbacks, and one thing we don't like about these machines is the plastic spouts on the portafilter. In fact, if you apply too much pressure, you run the risk of cracking the plastic.
Gail talks to us about this issue and gives us some tips on how to work around this design flaw.
We have expanded our Bodum collection considerably over the past few months, so thought it was time to notify the rumpled masses (AKA you!). New additions to the line include new Canteen double wall ceramic cups, Presso double wall glass cups, gorgeous Piccolo Veneziano glass cups with stainless steel saucers, all stainless steel travel press (for coffee or tea) and traditional french press, a stovetop espresso maker and thermal carafes.
These beautiful and functional new pieces are great gift ideas this holiday season -- we especially love the Piccolo glasses and the stainless steel travel press.
It's back and it's better than ever -- so sayeth the creator himself! This year's batch of Velton's special, limited edition blend crafted specifically for the holidays is a rich brew with hints of chocolate, nutmeg and strawberry-rhubarb. Sounds delicious, right? Well, according to Velton, this may be his best holiday blend yet.
Featuring beans from Ethiopia Moredocofe, Panama Boquete Volcancito and Sumatra Harimau, it's blended to perform well as both an espresso and drip coffee. It's also packaged in a pretty lil' glossy red bag with a seasonally-accented label, making it perfect for holiday gift giving.
We highly recommend picking up a bag for yourself or someone you love -- it will be available until 1/15/11 or while supplies last.
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