Monthly Archives: May 2011
Always on the lookout for new gear, we were excited by the prospect of a new entry-level machine being shepherded through development and into production by Bill Crossland, who previously designed the La Marzocco GS/3. Over the past year, we were lucky enough to play with different iterations of this machine, give general feedback on the basic functionality and beta test a final production model in our store for the past couple of months.
You know that we believe there's a market for every machine, and while those operating in the upper echelons of espresso machine nirvana might find the CC1 a bit utilitarian, we love the fact that it effectively addresses some of the long term issues of machines in the under $1k class -- namely, easily maintained temperature stability.
Watch as Bill gives a functional, spec-based overview of the new CC1, which is now available for pre-order.
Our refurbished Sirenas are incredibly popular because they have some great functionality for the price -- including automatic, programmable buttons. The key with the two programmable buttons is that you have minimums below which you cannot program them: The single cup cannot produce less than 1.5 oz and the double 3.0 oz. If you try to program them for less than these minimums, the programming will not be saved and it will revert to the default values.
Watch Gail as she walks us through programming our demo Sirena.
When is it time to say when? We're often asked where the portafilter should be in respect to the machine -- at a 90 degree angle? 45 degree? A little over to the right? Every machine will be a little bit different and the key is to make sure that it feels snug. Additionally, you'll find that you'll move it further as the gasket ages.
Watch as Gail demonstrates the position on several of our demo machines of varying style and age.
Does a brownie that is as chewy and light as a cookie, yet encompasses that deep chocolatey flavor of the richest brownie really exist?! Believe it baby, its just that and a bag of chips -- toffee chips that is.
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 oz espresso
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup toffee, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Whisk together espresso and vanilla in a small bowl, then add it to the butter mixture.
- Working with the mixer on low speed, or by hand, gradually incorporate the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix only until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee.
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet, allowing at least 1 1/2 inches between cookies for spread.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes, until edges are set and centers of the cookies no longer look “wet.”
- Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
Recipe: Baking Bites
You know we are so focused on cleanliness, baby! In addition to descaling, backflushing and washing all your gear regularly, cleaning around the brew head and keeping the gasket free of coffee residue will ensure an effective seal with the portafilter -- and a better shot in the end.
If you have a machine with a 58mm brew head, check out this snazzy little brush by Cafelat. It locks into the brew head and makes short work of your maintenance.
Nespresso's proprietary capsules are made out of aluminum, and we have been often asked if they are recyclable. Well, yes, once you get the coffee out of them. Instead of struggling with cutting them open, you can pick up this gadget which easily separates the coffee from the aluminum -- send one half to the recycle bin and the other to the compost pile!
Watch as Gail demonstrates how easily -- and strangely satisfying -- it is to use the Outpresso.
In our regularly rotated set of roasted-to-order single origins, we've had a few popular superstars. Last week, we swapped out the three previously featured beans with a new set that are delicious as espresso, pour over and even drip coffee, if that's what floats your caffeinated boat. We're now featuring a bright Mexico Nayarita (which just received a 90/100 from Coffee Review), a chocolatey Brazil Pico Agudo Estate and pink grapefruit-imbued El Salvador Pacamara.
Velton came up for a visit and pulled these three new varieties as espresso so we could see how they compare. Delish!
Last week, Joe Monahan and Jack Kuo of La Marzocco were kind enough to talk with this about their new, highly-precise basket -- currently dubbed the Strada (after their cutting edge pressure profiling machines). Watch as they explain the theory behind it, why they wanted to build a better basket and the calibration process itself. The goal? Increase consistency in extraction, of course! These 58mm baskets will be available shortly.
You won't put lime in this coconut (at least, we suggest you don't), but we're pretty sure it'll still be your jam.
Combine the sauce, syrup and espresso together, mix well. Pour over ice, fill with milk and stir.
Our next round of Krups testing features two espresso machines -- one is a pump driven model and the other is steam driven.
We were pleasantly surprised by this little automatic -- it has a unique portafilter design, pre-infusion and an automatic cooling cycle between steam and brew. We didn't like that it has an aluminum boiler, but it's one of the few automatic/programmable machines under $300. Because of its surprising, unique features and it's price, we'll be adding it to our line-up.
This steam machine is pretty standard and was nothing really to write home about. Performs well, makes suitable stovetop-like coffee and has powerful steam. It didn't offer anything unique over the steam driven machine we already carry (Capresso's 4-Cup Espresso & Cappuccino machine), so we opted not to carry it.