Monthly Archives: July 2012
In follow-up to our test video that we posted yesterday, we thought we'd break down and compare the different cold brew options we have -- including the Sowden / Hario / Bodum variety and more!
Dual purpose for hot and cool drinks, making cold brew in your french press will give you that kick in your pants all summer long. Whether you make it as a coffee concentrate to dilute or if you drink it STRONG like the SCG crew, all it takes is your desired amount of coffee, cold water and 12 hours in the fridge. This is great for making a big batch and stocking it up so it's available whenever you need a cup o' cold joe.
Sowden Soft Brew Coffee Maker
While you can use it to make cold coffee similar to that from a french press, the Sowden Soft Brew gives you more flexibility in that you can use different grind consistencies. The microfilter features over a million tiny holes that enable you to brew with even the finest grind, producing a richer cup or more concentrated coffee in a similar amount of time. This can also be used for make hot coffee, as well.
It may look like a science experiment, but the science of the Chemex is easier than it looks. Unlike the french press and Sowden, you're going to start your coffee out hot and as it brews it'll cool down in the second chamber. All it takes is placing a good amount of ice in the bottom chamber, placing a paper filter in the top chamber, filling it up with your desired amount of coffee, pouring hot water over the coffee and watch as the coffee is extracted on to the ice giving you a smooth, cold and refreshing cup o' java.
Hario Cold Brew/Mini Pot
Made specially for cold brewing, the Hario Cold Brew and Mini Pots come in a sleek glass pitcher that will guarantee you will extract the most flavor out of your coffee. No need to heat up your water, whether it be cold or room temperature, fill up your pot's nylon filter basket with coarse grounds, pour the water and brew it in the fridge for about 12 to 24 hours. You won't need to finish your brew all in one sitting as it can keep for up to one month in a sealed container.
Hario Cold Brew Dripper
If you're fancy and have a lot of time on your hands, the the Hario Cold Water Dripper is what you need. A unique way of making your average cup of coffee or coffee concentrate, this dripper uses the classic cold-drip method. With every drop of water per second it saturates your coffee and drip by drip it will extract 26 oz. of coffee concentrate in about 5 hours. With a little more patience and learning curve, once you get the hang of it you'll be sipping on some non-oily and acidic-free java.
Summertime and the living is easy, right? Right! Especially if living involves a smooth cup of cold brewed coffee. We offer a few different ways to make it -- from Sowden to Hario to Bodum -- and wondered: Is one of them better than the others?
So we did what we usually do when faced with a tough question such as this: We put Gail to the test. Watch as she crafts three batches of cold brew, lets them hang out over night and then we perform a taste test. Find out if any of our cold brewers produces a better cup.
Earlier this week, Gail and Kat whet your appetite with an overview of the EC155, BAR32, EC270, EC702, ECO310BK and kMix. Are you still craving more? Wondering about shot performance, steaming functionality and other nuances between these machines? As a newbie to Seattle Coffee Gear, here’s my take on the Delonghi single boilers. Let’s start with the similarities:
Ease of Use: All of the single boilers have the same basic functionality, and are extremely easy to operate. They all use pressurized portafilters and include plastic tampers (all uptamp excluding the kMix). The EC155 and BAR32 have a dial to power on and select either steam or brew functionality. With the EC270, EC702, ECO310BK and kMix, these were updated to 3 buttons vs the dial. One push (or turn), and you’re good to go!
Shot performance: I used illy Medium Roast Espresso in my testing, and overall shot performance is comparable across these models. I noticed slightly less crema from the EC155, but aroma and shot temperature (130-135 degrees) seemed on par.
Milk Frothing: All of these models come with slightly different panarellos, which make frothing a breeze. The average time for milk to reach 140 degrees was 45-50 seconds. The panarellos all have limited mobility, and smaller pitchers work best, especially for the EC155 and BAR32. You won’t get a velvety microfoam from these wands, but there was no difference in foam quality across the board.
Now, on to the differences:
EC155: This has the smallest footprint of the bunch, but with that comes extremely low cup clearance – nothing but a small shot glass will fit under the brew head unless you remove the drip tray. While none of these machines include a solenoid valve, this machine delivered the wettest puck.
Bar 32: The retro styling of this machine is the only thing setting it apart from the EC155, and with that comes slightly higher cup clearance.
EC270: This machine marries the styling of the two previous models – with the studded metal top from the EC155, and the Bar32’s rounded lines. Crossing the $100 threshold gets you a passive cup warmer and a side knob for steam control.
EC702: Stainless steel casing sets this machine apart, and it has the largest footprint of the group. It also delivered the driest puck!
ECO310BK: If you want rounder lines, a passive cup warmer and a monster drip tray, this is your best bet.
kMix: Its compact design packs a punch with great cup clearance, shorter recovery time between shots and nice build quality. This model also has an upgraded portafilter with rubberized grip.
So, after all this testing, which single boiler would come home with me? It mostly boils down to aesthetics and space. With little counter space to spare, I'm sold on the kMix's small footprint and cup warmer. For under $200, I'd place my bet on the EC702, but I'm a sucker for stainless and straight lines.
If it's made by Brandi, it must be luscious, right?! Well, that's certainly the case for today's cool concoction. Watch Brandi blend up this lovely drink, featuring Irish cream liqueur and Monin's Coconut syrup.
- 1 oz Monin Coconut syrup
- 1 oz Irish cream liqueur
- 2 shots of espresso
- 2 cups of ice
- 12 oz of milk
Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend it on up! Makes enough to share with someone you love.
We asked Gail to set these guys up and give us a side-by-side feature set comparison between the EC155, BAR32, EC270, EC702, ECO310BK and kMix. Watch as she breaks it all down into wonderful, bite-sized pieces.
In follow-up to our recent post on gear you can easily take on the open trail, Gail gives us her recommendations for what coffee accoutrement she recommends for back country excursions.
For classic espresso extraction, it's difficult to beat the clean lines and elegant design of La Pavoni's series of lever espresso machines. We sell a few different variations, so asked Gail to take us through a feature and functionality comparison of them.
Okay, maybe she's not technically brewin' here, but she is taking on pastries for the first time! If you're looking for a delicious -- and super easy -- delectable to pair with your favorite cup of coffee, this coffee cake is where it's at.
Watch Brandi whip up this lovely treat!
- 1 tablespoon butter (at room temperature)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 of an egg
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese (could also use applesauce or sour cream)
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon butter (at room temperature)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cake, begin by combining the butter and sugar in a coffee cup and stir until they are fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients, incorporating each one at a time. In a separate dish, combine all the ingredients for the topping and mix well. Crumble the topping mixture over the cake and cook in the microwave about 1 minute (duration depends on the microwave you're using).
Iced coffee? A delicious and trusty standby. Mocha smoothie? A great way to drink coffee and chocolate while still sounding like it’s a healthy option. Coffee-infused popsicles? A tasty alternative, but you need a popsicle mold.
So, I was pondering new ways to meet my summertime coffee intake requirements when I came across a recipe for Mocha Granita, which I modified a bit for espresso rather than French press coffee.
- Espresso (I used Caffe Umbria’s Terra Sana blend)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Brew 3 shots of espresso
- In a baking dish, combine hot espresso shots with sugar, cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup hot water
- Mix until sugar and cocoa powder dissolve
- Place in the freezer
- After 30 minutes, mix with a fork
- Repeat every hour until completely frozen
- Transfer to a glass and enjoy!
This granita is super rich and almost tastes like a frozen coffee brownie. You can’t go wrong with that! Added bonus: Other than the time factor, this recipe takes very little work.
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