Monthly Archives: August 2013
If we were going to anthropomorphize the Breville Infuser (BES840XL), we're pretty sure its human counterpart is Gabby Douglas: Sleek, compact, multi-faceted and the best all-around performer in the group.
One of the features that it offers is automatic water dosing for your espresso extraction, which can take a bit of the guess work out of the process. But since programming the Breville Infuser isn't as simple as measuring out exactly one or two ounces of water and then calling it a day, we asked Gail to guide us through the process.
Watch as she discusses with us how automatic dosing works, provides us with tips on getting the right shot volume and then shares her thoughts on why you'd want to do this. Whether you've been considering the Breville Infuser or already own it and just want to learn more, this how-to video dives a little deeper into one of its great, easy-to-use features.
With summer coming rapidly to a close, we wanted to rock a recipe that is both sweet and icy. With a wide array of naughty frozen delights available to you (like this or this), frozen yogurt truly is relatively nutritious -- especially if you incorporate fresh strawberries into the mix! Right? Right.
Watch as Brandi demonstrates making this delectable dessert recipe on the Breville Smart Scoop ice cream maker.
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled & quartered
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- Place quartered strawberries in a bowl and mix with 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice. Gently crush with a fork and let site at room temp for an hour to macerate. After an hour, gently crush with a fork again to desired consistency or blend into a puree.
- Combine strawberries, yogurt and sugar and pour into the ice cream bowl. Set ice cream maker to YOGURT setting an churn.
Here's a dirty little SCG secret: Sometimes, we're a little shallow. We like pretty, shiny things and when we first began carrying Breville's espresso machines, we did so only because, well, they were pretty and shiny. At the time, most of the more budget-conscious models were rockin' plastic or powder coated metal cases, yet the Breville machines were lustrous, brushed stainless steel ... and we totally went for it.
Sadly, in that first couple of years, we came to understand that their function did not measure up to their form and they just simply couldn't get hot enough to produce a truly delicious espresso. With the release of their first version of the Barista Express (BES860XL), however, they started to address this temperature situation and haven't looked back since.
Breville's next entry into the home espresso enthusiast space was the beloved Dual Boiler (BES900XL) , which was a truly magnificent leap forward for the company in terms of temperature control and functionality. What they learned from developing that machine, they applied to the budget-friendly Infuser (BES840XL) about a year later, and what they learned from developing the Infuser, they then incorporated into the next iteration of the Barista Express (BES870XL): Namely, the thermocoil and PID temperature technology.
Since the new Barista Express has some great features like simple PID temperature control and an integrated grinder, folks often ask us how it compares to its larger, yet somewhat-similarly featured compatriot, the Dual Boiler. First off, of course, it's got it's own grinder and it doesn't brew and steam at the same time like the Dual Boiler does, but there are a few other functional differences as well. The end cup of coffee, however, is remarkably similar ... so it may just be your budget that casts the deciding vote.
Watch as Gail takes us through a feature and technology comparison of these two machines, then shows us how they perform side by side.
Is two better than one? With the fast approaching opening date of our second retail store, we sure think so. All that is left to decide is: Should we clone Gail? This month's Hot Blog on Blog Action covers this (our new store, not cloning Gail) and much more coffee & tea news that you may have missed from SCG.
Update: Seattle Coffee Gear to Open Bellevue Location (via Seattle Magazine)
We are getting the word out. And the word is ... A second retail location for Seattle Coffee Gear! Beginning on September 3rd, we launch our caffeinated invasion of Bellevue, Washington. Help us celebrate said invasion during our Grand Opening event on September 14th, during which we'll have tastings, giveaways, prize drawings, discounts and more!
Interview: Coffee Pros Dana Foster + Celeste Clark (via Food GPS)
In this fun blog article, we interview the heart and soul of Zoka Coffee, Dana Foster, Director of Coffee, and Celeste Clark, Head Roaster. This dynamic coffee duo injects professionalism and compassion into a longstanding Seattle-favorite roastery.
Giving Used Espresso Machines a Second Life (via Ground to Ground)
From humble beginnings, refurbished coffee makers and espresso machines are given a new lease on life under the care of trained technicians. Read how the Refurb Crew reduces, reuses and recycles onsite at Seattle Coffee Gear.
A Tea Time Moment in the Office (via An International Tea Moment)
It takes all kinds! And for Brenna that means the chance to make tea she loves at home and at work. We don't judge, especially when she makes delicious Rishi Tea for us, too!
If you want a daily dose, we spill the beans about new store opening events, a coffee comic strip, sharing latte art and other items of caffeinated interest on:
While we often consider the Mazzer Super Jolly to be a relatively large coffee grinder in the home espresso space, it's certainly more petite than others you might see down at your local cafe. Its larger size is attributed mostly to its bigger motor and burr set, which will produce finely ground coffee in a matter of seconds -- essential in a fast paced production environment.
Watch as our commercial manager, Brandon, takes us through this popular coffee grinder -- we learn about its features and specs, take a look at the burrs and discuss which businesses should consider the Super Jolly for their cafe setup.
Does your Saeco Via Venezia need to be repaired but you don't have a repair center in your area? Did you try on a DeLonghi Magnifica for size and it didn't quite fit? Will that Rocket Espresso R58 see more action at your vacation home? Regardless of your reason for shipping your espresso machine -- repair, return or simple transit -- ensuring that it's packed properly to limit damage is key.
In this series of videos, we asked a member of our shipping crew, Spencer, to guide us through the best practices for three general styles of espresso machines: Small (under 35lbs), large (over 35lbs) and superautomatics (watch those drip trays!). Check out the video that most closely matches your style of machine to learn how the pros do it.
Episode One: Packing a Small (Under 35lbs) Espresso Machine
Episode Two: Packing a Large (Over 35lbs) Espresso Machine
Episode Three: Packing a Superautomatic Espresso Machine
Sometimes, we're in the mood for something that is simply delectable. If you feel the same way today -- or any day -- then this delicious milkshake might fit the bill. Watch as Brandi blends up a few of our favorite things into one blissful concoction!
- 1/2 oz Monin Strawberry syrup
- 1/2 oz Monin Dark Chocolate sauce
- 1/2 oz espresso
- 1 oz Irish cream liqueur
- 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend 'em up until smooth. Enjoy!
Last, but certainly not least, in our series of refreshed Technivorm Crew Reviews covers another of our original model styles, the KB741. With a glass carafe, auto shut off and the manual lever system that allows you to slow your roll when brewing smaller volumes, it's the go-to model here in SCG's break room.
Watch Gail guide us through its features and specs, then show off how easily its internal lava lamp produces a delicious pot of coffee! Enjoy.
A few years ago, we had the opportunity to use the Mahlkonig K30 Vario during a class we took at the annual SCAA exhibition ... and it blew us away. The grind consistency, dosage speed, programming functionality -- it left nothing to be desired. When we were contacted by Mahlkonig's US counterpart about a home-focused grinder that they were working on, we were thrilled and couldn't wait to get our paws on it. Since then, they have released two variations of the Pro M series -- the All Around and the Espresso -- which both feature high grade ceramic burrs and provide excellent grind quality. The Espresso version even features a digital user interface screen!
Their internals are designed in a way that some people find a bit intimidating, so we'll often receive service calls from folks with clogged grinders because they haven't been taking them apart and thoroughly cleaning them often enough. Once you see how the machine is built, you'll understand why this level of maintenance is required with the Pro M grinders, and it's really not all that difficult to get the grinder apart, clean it and then put it back together again.
Using the Espresso version (since there are some electronics involved), Gail demonstrates the process for us in this how-to video. If you haven't been performing this level of maintenance on your Pro M, watch how it's done and then you'll be able to clean it with confidence!
It's time to dive into the care and maintenance of a couple of the Nuova Simonelli grinders that we carry. While you're probably running Grindz through your grinder on a regular basis, this is great maintenance to perform at least a couple of times per year.
First, we take on the MCI. This grinder is so fabulous because it delivers high quality, commercial-grade grinding functionality in a super petite package -- perfect for home espresso setups where space might be an issue. You can pair it with our prosumer level espresso machines and dial it in finitely, producing rich and delicious espresso.
One of the coolest things about this particular grinder is that, like its larger commercial-grade counterparts, the burr adjustment is managed by moving the lower burr up and down. What does that mean for you? Well, unlike a Mazzer or a Compak, you won't lose your grind calibration when you take apart the burrs for cleaning -- righteous, no? Watch as Gail shows us how to take apart the MCI and then guides us through best practice in terms of regular cleaning and maintenance.
Next, we get into the Grinta. One of the more popular home grinders that we carry, the Grinta provides you with excellent grind functionality and simple features for a great price. One trick when cleaning it, however, is that the top burr is attached to the adjustment collar and the hopper, so you need to take care with removing a few extra screws in order to clean the hopper without risking unwanted moisture on your burrs. And, unlike the MCI, the Grinta will lose its calibration as you unscrew the top burr, so you will need to dial it again once it's been sufficiently cleaned.
Check out the process of taking it apart, cleaning it and putting it back together again in this how-to video.