Monthly Archives: July 2014
The soft launch of the SCG Westlake store is coming up fast! In fact, it is only four short days way, as we will be open for business on Tuesday, July 15th. With the opening coming up soon, we wanted to give to you one last preview at the store before it opens so you can check on our progress.
Since our first visit to the store, Gail and her team have been busy building many of the cabinets, shelving and display cases, and transferring them to them to the store. Most of them are nearly completed, and just need a few finishing touches like doors or steel plates on the ends. These displays and shelving will line the back walls and surround the pillar in the center of the store. We also have wooden boxes to create our coffee marketplace, which will hold an expanded selection of fresh, locally roasted coffee as well as blends from Lavazza.
Gail is also in the process of reworking the existing event bar in the store, where we’ll host all our workshops and demos, to add a nice granite counter top. The front of the bar will be slightly different than the bars in our Bellevue and Portland stores, but we’ll leave that as a surprise for when you come visit. We can’t give our all secrets away! However, you can expect to find our signature metal gear on the red wall behind the bar.
Of course we haven’t forgotten our glorious windows! The window facing the mall will feature a wall of sparkling, rainbow-colored Monin syrup bottles, while there will be shiny machines on display in the street-side windows. If you’re in Seattle next week, you should come explore and play with all our fantastic gear yourself. Our doors open at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday the 15th. We also have a bunch of great stuff planned for our grand opening on the 19th, check back in next week for more details.
SCG Westlake Store Update #2
Continuing on our tour of local roasters, we recently visited Zoka Coffee in Ballard, Washington. While we were at the roastry, we were lucky enough to have our friend David brew up some Zoka coffee on a Chemex for us. We were also able to persuade him, which really wasn’t too hard, to share some of his brewing suggestions during the process In fact, if you’ve visited us at our Bellevue retail location, hopefully you’ve been able to pick up some of David’s tips firsthand at one of the workshops he has hosted. If not, here’s your chance to see what you’ve been missing!
One thing that made this demo different from others we’ve seen was that David introduced us to a relatively new filter to use when brewing; the Coava Kone. The Kone is made out of locally sourced steel and has laser precision perforation (say that three times fast!), which provides a really clean, crisp flavor. Even without the Coava Kone, David said the Chemex is Zoka’s favorite way to make coffee in general. This brew method is a little more forgiving than something like a Hario Cone and creates a lot of body like a French press but without being as sooty or oily. As a result, the Chemex is a great way to bring out the flavor nuances in single origin coffees and in coffee blends as well. David explained that the Chemex is used as a standard in Zoka’s roastry and they are beginning to implement in several of their cafes. If you’re interested in doing the same, or want to learn how to brew on the Chemex at home, check out David’s brewing tips in this video.
How to Brew Chemex Coffee Zoka Coffee Style:
In this brew, we used Zoka Coffee’s Santa Rosa 1900, a single origin coffee grown in the hills above Tarrazu, Costa Rica.
- Measure out 48 grams of whole bean coffee and grind it to about the same size as kosher salt.
- Place the grounds in the Coava Kone filter in the Chemex. This filter is the reason why your grounds should be a little coarser than what you would use with a traditional paper filter. If you use the same size grind, it will be too fine and you will have a thin layer of soot at the bottom.
- Begin by saturating the grounds evenly with water that has been heated to 204 degrees Fahrenheit. Let saturate for about 30 seconds.
- Continue to pour the rest of the water, using frequent small pours beginning in the center and expanding circularly to the outside. Avoid pouring down the sides of the filter to prevent water from getting underneath it, diluting the coffee.
- The extraction process should take a little over four minutes, and use 720ml of water.
- After your coffee has finished extracting, throw away the coffee in your filter, pour coffee into a preheated cup, and enjoy. You should have about 40 oz. of coffee, enough to serve three to four people.
Java Talk: Zoka Coffee Roasters Chemex Demo
We’ve long enjoyed the grinders produced by Baratza due to their ability to grind our coffee and espresso to just the right consistency to produce that the perfect cup. The other thing we love about Baratza is they are constantly innovating and improving their grinders. This means each usually model features an upgrade that causes us to like it even more. Such is the case with the Baratza Preciso, which used to be called the Virtuoso Preciso. While the name of this grinder changed to simply the Baratza Preciso a while back, we realized we didn’t have a video of this model with its new moniker. We’ve also had a few people request that we compare the Preciso with its cousin, the Baratza Virtuoso. Therefore, we decided why not kill two birds with one stone and create a video that solves both problems.
Like the Virtuoso, the Preciso is designed with 40mm conical steel burrs that will produce a consistent grind every time. Yet, while both grinders create a very good grind, we found that the Preciso has a couple of features that give it a slight advantage over the Virtuoso. The main difference between the Preciso and Virtuoso is that in addition to the 40 macro adjustments found on each machine, the Preciso also has 11 micro adjustments in the front. This allows you to have more control over how fine or coarse your grind is, since you can adjust the micro setting to future dial in the macro setting you have selected. In fact, we’ve found that the combination of these micro and macro adjustments allow the Preciso to have more precision and options than other models, meaning you will hardly ever have any trouble dialing in your grind.
We also like that the Preciso comes with a portaholder (which is not included with the Virtuoso, but you can buy the portaholder separately and add it on) that will hold your portafilter in the grinder for you for easy dosing. We even tested out several different portafilters in the portaholder, and were pleased to find that the majority of them fit without any adjustments.
Ultimately, we decided that the Preciso has a bit of an edge over the Virtuoso, since it has more options. Thus, the Preciso is a great machine for home baristas who is brewing different types of espresso and really wants to experiment with their coffee and their grind. That doesn’t mean the Virtuoso isn’t a good grinder, because it certainly works well. However, the Virtuoso is better suited for people who don’t need as fine a grind or are using a pressurized portafilter. Of course, we couldn’t claim that the Preciso was, like its name, more precise without first testing our theory. Watch Brendan and Gail as they put both the Baratza Preciso and Virtuoso to the test to see which machine can create the finest grind.
Crew Review: Baratza Preciso
After six busy weeks of planning and building, our Portland retail store turned out fantastically! With the opening of our third retail store, there is now a place outside the state of Washington where you can come and visit us. Of course, there is also our website, which we must admit is pretty convenient and a great way for those of you who don’t live in the Pacific Northwest to check out and buy coffee gear. However, the advantage of visiting us in person is that you have the ability to play around with different products and the opportunity to attend some fun and interesting classes.
Speaking of those of you who are outside the Pacific Northwest, by now you might be wondering what the new Portland retail store looks like. Well, for starters, we have our shiny, new Rocket Espresso machines by the front door when you walk in. These machines are followed by a display of Technivorms and other drip coffee makers. We also have nearly every flavor of Monin syrup you can imagine setup in the front window, to create a lovely rainbow of goodness. Finally, just around the corner we have displays for well-known brands like Jura, Nespresso, Delonghi, Breville and Saeco.
In addition to espresso and coffee makers, we also have every accessory you need to around out your coffee making experience. For instance, we have hot water kettles, pour overs, scales, tampers, knock boxes and shot glasses. Of course, all of this gear wouldn’t be complete without the coffee itself. As such, we’ve created a “coffee market place” where you can find coffee from a variety of Portland roasters as well as a few Italian brands like Illy and Lavazza.
Besides all of the fantastic gear we have for sale on the floor, you will also find our repair center in the back of the floor. Here we can troubleshoot or fix your beloved machine on the spot or within a couple of days, if it is a more extensive repair. We can repair most major brands, so if your machine is acting up, bring it on down and we can at least give you a free estimate of what it will cost to get your espresso or coffee maker fixed.
We think that store turned out wonderfully and couldn’t be happier with how the space looks. However, don’t just take our word for it. Take a virtual tour of our Portland retail store yourself in this walkthrough we filmed right before our grand opening. Better yet, come visit us in person the next time you’re in Portland, we’d love to have you!
SCG Portland Retail Store Tour
If you’re a new at home barista, the Saeco Poemia espresso machine is probably your new best friend. Not only is the machine is easy to use, but it is also very forgiving of those who are still learning. The pressurized portafilter means there is no need to perfectly tamp your espresso and the panarello wand makes milk frothing a breeze too! With this compact and stylish machine by your side you will be making lattes in no time!
However, what happens if, heaven forbid, your best friend eventually starts to act funny? For instance, you may notice that coffee or water is pouring over the top edge of your portafilter when you pull a shot on your machine. While this sounds scary, never fear, this is not the end of your relationship. All it means that your brew head gasket is no longer making the seal between the brew head and the gasket, which can easily be remedied by using SCG’s tune up kit for the Saeco Poemia.
The tune up kit comes with five parts: a brew head gasket, brew screen and screw, boiler spring and boiler valve. It is easiest to install these parts by flipping the machine over, but before you do this you will want to remove all accessories so they don’t get in your way while you are working on the machine. Once you have flipped your machine over, the next step is to remove the worn out parts so you can replace them. You should remove them in the following order: 1) brew screen 2) boiler bushing – make sure keep this piece close at hand since there is no replacement part included in kit 3) boiler spring and boiler valve and last, but not least 5) the brew head gasket.
After you have removed all the old parts, make sure to clean and remove any coffee grounds that have gathered around the brew head. You may even have to flip your machine right side up again to get all the grounds out. However, it is really important to make sure all of the grounds are removed since coffee is acidic and will eat away at your brew head gasket. Once you have give your espresso maker a thorough cleaning, you can begin installing the replacement parts from SCG’s tune up kit for the Saeco Poemia in your machine. You should install the parts in the reverse order that you removed them, so start with the brew head gasket. When you have installed the new parts and reassembled you espresso machine, you can then double check your work by inserting your portafilter into the machine to make sure that it lines up properly.
Knowing it is time to give your beloved Saeco Poemia some maintenance isn’t always as dramatic as having coffee leaking over the side of your portafilter. Some other signs that it is time replace these parts are if you hear your pump working harder than it used to. This can happen if you have so much coffee residue built up on your screen or portafilter, so that your pump does actually have to work harder to get through that pressure. Or you may find that your coffee just tastes off and you’re having trouble noticing a difference in taste between different blends of coffee. This could also be due to the fact that you have a lot of coffee residue built up that is affecting the taste of your shot. Luckily, SCGS’ Tune Up Kit for the Saeco Poemia can resolve all of these issues, and the installation is actually relatively painless. For more detailed instructions, watch as Brendan walks us through the process step-by-step. Your old friend will be up and running again before you know it!
Tech Tips: SCG's Tune Up Kit for the Saeco Poemia
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