Monthly Archives: July 2012
You know how serious we are about coffee grinders! If you haven't heard us rant before about how they're really the most important element of your coffee setup, remind us to break it down for you sometime.
Today's video addresses a different aspect of coffee grinders: If you're not planning to ever make espresso at home, how do the entry level grinders compare? Even if you're just budget-conscious and aren't making espresso right now, picking up one of these grinders in the short term isn't a bad idea.
We asked Gail to discuss a few different grinders (Capresso Cool Grind, Capresso Burr Coffee Grinder, Capresso Infinity and Baratza Encore), many of which don't go fine enough for a standard espresso extraction. She shows us their features and specs, then compares their grind consistency. Finally, she prepares an Aeropress brew with each of them to see how they practically compare in a side-by-side taste-off.
If you know anything about us it's that we love, love, love hot weather! What are we doing living in the Pacific Northwest, then?! We ask ourselves that all the time ... except for when summer finally shows up and showers us with gorgeous sunlight dappled through lush evergreen trees. Then it all makes sense.
In celebration of summer's arrival, Brandi has crafted a delicious and simple frozen treat. Delicious because it incorporates the amazing blueberry notes of Atomic Cafe's limited edition Ethiopian East Harrar coffee and simple because it has only three ingredients!
- 2 cups strong cold brew coffee or espresso
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
Mix the coffee, condensed milk and cocoa powder together. Whisk for a couple of minutes (as the coffee is cold, you'll need to put a little elbow grease into this to fully incorporate the cocoa). Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for about 8 hours (we did our overnight).
In search of a small single boiler espresso machine? Check out how these three models from Saeco stack up.
Machine Casing Cased in a steel casing, this compact machine won't take up too much space with it's boxy figure. Internally you can call this bad boy and the Aroma twins, but externally it's a little more of an upgrade. Cased in the same steel material, the Venezia's curves do more of the talking.
Like triplets on the inside, it's the Poemia that physically stands out from the rest of them by far. Modeled after the Saeco Xelsis and Exprelia, it has a compact metal and plastic casing.
Footprint 8.25" W x 9.75" D x 11.75" H 9.63" W x 11.5" D x 13" H
7" W x 9.5" D x 11.5" H Steam Wand Making life a little easier with the panarello wand, you'll be able to get foamy milk in no time. However, this wand will only move left to right making it a little more difficult to fit bigger frothing pitchers underneath. With the ease to foam your milk into velvety goodness, this panarello wand gives you a little more clearance with your frothing pitcher. Its ability to swivel also makes for easier clean-up.
Taking a cue from its superautomatic cousins, the Poemia's panarello wand has their design and will allow you to easily create milk with microfoam. However, like the Aroma, its right to left motion makes fitting larger frothing pitchers underneath more difficult.
Drip Tray This may be a little messier than most. But with a more compact machine comes smaller parts. You'll find yourself having to lift the tray out of the casing to empty out a lot more often than not.
With more room and accessibility to slide the drip tray out when it's time to empty, the Venezia gives you less of a mess. It also sports an accessory drawer underneath that is removable to provide more room for larger cups.
Ridged (baffled) that will prevent messes and sloshing, you'll find it easier to empty out your drip tray when it's time, no matter how full it is. Water Reservoir 80 oz.
98 oz. 34 oz.
Portafilter Equipped with a pressurized stainless steel with plastic cased portafilter, it will help you pull ideal shots no matter what grind you use. However, the quality of this portafilter is more basic than the sleek portafilter that comes with the Black Via Venezia. The Black Via Venezia comes with a sleek upgraded look to the heavy metal portafilter, however you'll find the stainless steel version to have the same basic portafilter as the Aromas.
Functions as well as both the Aroma and Venezia portafilters, you'll find that the quality of the Poemia is not as sturdy. Made of aluminum wrapped in a plastic case, it will still do the job. Pods/Grounds Both Both Both
Coffee grinder maintenance is essential. Period. End of story. Reasons for doing so include better tasting coffee and increased equipment longevity, but we generally prefer to lean on good ol' peer pressure: Do you really want your friends and family to see you using a grinder encrusted with months of coffee residue? Really? We didn't think so.
For the Baratza owners in the house, Gail has kindly walked us through the finer points of their care and feeding, including how to take them apart, tips on cleaning and then -- most importantly! -- how to get them back together again. Watch her walk us through the fundamentals.
We're finally experiencing the joy of summer (!!) and there's no better way to rock it than with a tall glass of cold brewed coffee in your hand. Jessica's favorite brew method is the Chemex, so we asked her to demonstrate this brew technique to one of our compatriots, Teri, which involves standard Chemex brewing into a carafe filled with ice.
Look, we know you've been coveting the oft-touted smooth cup of coffee from the Technivorm drip coffee makers, but your cupboards just don't allow that kind of height, right? Well now you're in luck with the K741, featuring the awesome cup quality of its larger compatriots, streamlined functionality and a bit shorter overall. Short is beautiful, baby!
Watch Gail show it off in this demonstration video. Then we brew up a batch of Velton's Twilight Blend -- of course.
There's sweet ... then there's very sweet ... then there's Brandi!
This lovely latte features the delicious flavors of Monin's Raspberry and White Chocolate, which Brandi whips up with ease using the Nespresso Gran Maestria's Aero 4 milk frother.
- 1/2 oz Monin Raspberry syrup
- 1/2 oz Monin White Chocolate sauce
- 2 shots espresso
- 6 oz steamed / frothed milk
Combine syrup, sauce and milk together; froth well to fully incorporate. Pour over two shots of espresso and garnish with whipped cream + fresh raspberry!
The counterpart to the recently reviewed Nespresso Maestria, the Gran Maestria features a new variation of their Aeroccino milk frother (the Aero 4, which offers you the ability to control different types of milk froth and temperatures) and a demitasse cup steamer. Also, it's built like a B52 bomber!
Watch Gail introduce us to the machine, from box to cup. She talks about its features, how capsule espresso works and then demonstrates making a cappuccino.
For ease, convenience and cleanliness, there's really no beating a capsule espresso machine. Sure, you're not going to achieve the God Shot, but if you're looking for a great cup of coffee that you can easily make at home -- one cup at a time -- Nespresso's series of machines are definitely worth your consideration.
One of their newer machines, the Maestria, combines their typical espresso extraction technology with one great new feature: A steam wand! We really dig this because, historically speaking, milk frothing on a Nespresso machine was handled either by a stand alone frother (different variations of the Aeroccino) or via a cappuccinatore type system -- neither of which gave you much control over the milk foam quality nor temperature.
Watch Gail take us from box to cup -- showing us how to set up the Maestria and then making a latte using its steam wand.
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