Monthly Archives: December 2018

  • Video Roundup: Holiday Edition!

    It's time for our last video roundup of the year! This week we're taking a look back at all of our holiday content to share some you'll enjoy!

    First, here's a look back at our favorite espresso machines of 2018!

    Next, Gail gave us some great gift ideas, here's one of many videos in our "Gifts Under" series!

    Speaking of Gail, here's a little SCG Holiday Special featuring some holiday treats!

    Last but not least, we tried to make an eggnog latte!

  • Behind the Scenes at SCG!

    We've been busy as can be over the last few months. Holidays are always an intense time for retail, and balancing that with offering fun and educational content has been a real trick this year! Here's some insight into what some of our teams have been up to!

    Creative Crew

    For our part, the creative content team has spent as much time as possible cooking up fun video and blog content for everyone. We've also worked hard to provide a useable, attractive shopping experience on the site as well! From our site's holiday page, to Instagram, to video posts, we've all been busy! On top of this, Gail has been working away with our store buildout team to prep for our new brick and mortar location in the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood WA!

    We can't wait to get back to bringing you more educational, creative, and informative content in 2019. All of your favorite SCG personalities will be on hand to ring in the new year.

    Sales Teams

    From our phone/web sales team to the folks in each of our retail stores, we love our sales teams! It's important to us to do more than sell coffee and equipment. The key is selling you the RIGHT equipment. If we can save you time and money on your quest for the perfect coffee you'll love, we want to. Our sales teams in retail and online do their best to do that, and we think they do a great job. For the holidays, they've seen one of our busiest seasons yet! Between promotions and the ability to offer insightful opinions on equipment, we've had a great time bringing you great products. So the next time you shop with us, give us a call or a chat to get an extra personal touch!

    Customer Service

    Our CS team is full of superstars! It's not hard to imagine that customer service is one of the hardest hit parts of any retailer during the holidays. From suggestions for content down to help with machine issues, our CS team has been extremely busy. That doesn't stop them from offering incredibly friendly, helpful service every step of the way. We love this team to the moon and back!

    Shipping and Repair

    Our shipping and repair teams are often the unsung heroes of the holiday rush. Our warehouses are always at their busiest this time of year, and it's a testament to the folks that work in them that we're able to keep up! Beyond orders, our repair team always receives loads of last minute requests to make sure that customers' existing machines are in holiday shape. These people always knock it out of the park, and we're so thankful for their hard work!

    But our teams don't stop there. From our commercial crew, to our accounting team, to our refurbishment department, we have so many people to be thankful for this holiday season. On top of all of that, we wouldn't have any of these wonderful people here if it weren't for folks like you! So thank you for spending some of your time with us this year, we can't wait to see what 2019 brings!

  • Guide to Holiday Roasts: Part 3

    Welcome to the final part in our holiday roasts series! Check our Part 1 and Part 2, and enjoy your holidays!

    Bluebeard Coffee Roasters - Snowbeard

    Bluebeard's Snowbeard features sweet, fruity and berry notes thanks to the natural-processed beans in the roast. Washed beans bring more traditional holiday notes of gingerbread and light spices as well. This is a warming, delicious roast that we love in a variety of brew methods. Try it today to wow the coffee lovers in your home!

    Anchorhead Coffee - Winter Warmer

    Winter Warmer is a wild roast from Anchorhead. Notes like "Sugarplum Fairy dreams" and "reindeer musk" are hilarious and silly, but this roast delivers on taste too. Featuring beans from Ethiopia and South America, this roast really brings the sweet notes. Everyone here loved it, and we're sure you will too. To top it all off, the bag is super fun!

    Batdorf and Bronson - Holiday Blend

    Batdorf's Holiday Blend is as classic as it gets. This simple roast features notes of dark chocolate and cherry liqueur. With a full body and those warm, sweet notes, we highly recommend this as a great one to share with friends and family. You can brew this roast a variety of ways, but we LOVED it as a drip brew especially!

    Intelligentsia Coffee - Celebration Blend

    For as iconic as oranges are as a holiday treat, it's surprising that we don't see more of this note in these holiday roasts. It's not totally absent from other coffees this season, but we still love the sneaky tangerine notes in this delicious blend for Intelligentsia. Other berry and spice notes combine with that tangerine to make a fruity, full flavored coffee that is perfect for this season.

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Seattle Coffee Gear Holiday Blend

    Last but not least! We couldn't not give a shout out to our collaboration with Brandywine Coffee Roasters. They helped us help them to do the roasting on a coffee that we're proud to put our name on. Rich jammy, cider notes meet the aforementioned orange flavors for a tasty, easy drinking brew. We can't help but love the wonderful artwork that Brandywine designed for the bag too!

  • SCG Expert Review: Miele 6000 Superautomatic Espresso Machines

    The Miele CM6000 Coffee System line offers an all-in-one coffee solution designed to be your one stop countertop stop for your morning coffee. But does it hold up to the task? This isn’t a new machine, but it is one of the more popular models, so we figured it was worth taking a look at whether it holds up in 2018. The short answer is yes, the long answer is... Well, you'll have to read on!

    Multiple Models

    The two models we'll be looking at are the 6150 and the 6350. Both of these superautomatics turn whole bean coffee into fresh espresso. The 6150 forgoes some of the bells and whistles. The 6350 adds a hot water spout, lighting, cup warmer, and a carafe to the machine, and therefor sits at a higher pricepoint than the 6150.

    Other than the differences mentioned above, the two systems operate very similarly, with a touch button interface and an informational screen. We'll highlight the benefits of the milk system and the water spout a little further down. First let's talk about coffee quality, a shared element between the two machines.

    Coffee Quality

    The coffee quality in the Miele line is excellent as far as superautos go. You'll never recreate the flavor of a carefully pulled shot from a semi-auto or manual machine on any superauto, but accepting that, the 6000 line does a great job. We really like espresso ready blends in this machine as a standard shot, and the "coffee" option is very good. We put coffee in quotes because this machine, like almost every other superauto, doesn't actually brew drip coffee. Instead, the machine is capable of a lungo style espresso drink that pulls more water through the beans. It did satisfy fans of drip coffee in our office though, even if it is definitely a different flavor profile than a standard filter brew.

    One thing we really like is the volume programmability of this machine. The process is a little convoluted, but you can set the machine to calibrate, which it does by brewing until you tell it to stop, and it will remember that volume. This means that if you have a large mug that you want to specifically have the machine brew for, you can program that and save it to a profile.

    The other unique option we liked was the machine's ability to brew a pot of it's lungo style coffee. You can set it to brew for different sized pots, and it's a nice option if serving a group. It does create tank refill issues, but we'll get into that in the next section.

    Case Design

    While we do like the striking, industrial look of the Miele for the most part, it's case design isn't perfect. On the good side, while plastic, the case feels solid and high quality. In many ways, it's more impressive than the stainless steel covers that over machine feature, and we like that the machine is consistent aesthetically. The spout is great too, it can almost fully retract into the housing, allowing for larger mugs. It's a nice consideration. Also very good is the design of the drip tray and the grounds bin. The whole unit slides out as one, which is standard, but the grounds bin is very easy to remove and clean separately. This is nothing new for superautos, but we especially appreciate the drip tray design. A plastic part sits on top of the exceptionally large drip tray, and it provides a spout to empty the tray from. This means you won't spill water everywhere as you move the tray to the sink for emptying. It's a nice feature that we'd love to see on more machines, as messy drip trays are always a frustration. The fact that the machine senses a full drip tray and warns you with a message to remove it is nice too.

    With all of that said, it isn't perfect. The biggest issue we have with the case design is the bean hopper's location, and the water tank. We should point out that these are points of contention on almost every superauto, and it's definitely a design challenge for these types of machines. The bean hopper is accessed via a removable cover on the top of the machine. What we love about it is it's depth, we were able to empty an entire 12 oz bag of coffee into it, but its location makes accessing it under cabinets a hassle. The same thing can be said for the water tank. The tank is 62 oz, which is comparable to other superautos, but the need to pull it up and out from the side can make it a hassle to refill. There are absolutely more frustrating water tanks in this machine's price range, but we still wish the tank were a little easier to access. This is exacerbated if you make pots of coffee or use the hot water spout on the 6350 model, as the tank will empty even quicker. It's also worth noting that the water spout pours quite slowly, so you may be waiting longer than you'd like for your morning Americano.

    In the end though, these are relatively minor complaints, and they aren't more egregious than on other similar machines. One thing we're happy to rave about is the menu system.

    Menus and Programmability

    We mentioned above that we're fans of the volumetric programming, but our love for the Miele's interface doesn't stop there. While there is a learning curve to this machine, once you get used to using it you'll be whipping up drinks in no time. The amount of customization here is really fantastic, and the machine's "quick access" options are very smart. You can get a shot, lungo, or milk drink with one button tap, or dig into the menu for more options. We really like this freedom, and it all feels really satisfying to use when you get the hang of it. The menu also offers intuitive access to things like auto-on and auto-shutoff, huge features for superautos, controlling the light in the machine (also a big bonus) and cleaning functions.

    We generally couldn't enjoy the interface of the machine more, just make sure you have the manual handy and be prepared to spend a few mornings experimenting to get everything dialed in!

    Milk System

    The last big touchpoint of this machine is the milk system on these machines. In general, we really like the milk off of this machine. We particularly appreciate how dry the cappuccino foam gets. A truly dry cappuccino is hard to come by even in some coffee shops, so getting that foam consistency is really nice. The same can be said about the Miele's lattes, while we're not sure we'll be pouring latte art with the foam from this machine, it is tasty and has a great consistency when you drink it. The ability to use a range of container sizes is again nice if you want to brew a big milk drink in the morning. It is worth noting that the milk temperature is lower than you get with a steam wand. This is a common thing that is nearly impossible to solve in a superautomatic system in our experience.

    If we have any complaints about the milk system in the 6150 it's from a maintenance perspective. The machine does a decent job of rinsing the milk pipe, but because it sits in a rubber mount on the drip tray, it's important to also keep the mount clean. we didn't realize that some coffee had splashed on the mount at one point, and it resulted in a need to remove the pipe and clean it in the sink. Generally, we're also more comfortable hand cleaning the pipe more frequently, but this isn't strictly required. If you DO want to rinse the pipe, it is at least extremely easy to remove, rinse, and reattach, so it won't add more than 30 seconds to your coffee making. This is, of course, alleviated with the carafe system present on the 6350, which is a very easy to use tool. You simply plug the milk pipe into the top of the carafe, and then the machine auto rinses the pipe after steaming. The carafe can then be washed separately.

    Verdict

    Overall, we're big fans of the Miele coffee system. While there are ergonomic improvements we'd love to see in future updates, this is a machine that holds up. From solid coffee to excellent milk texture, we find that this machine delivers. Give the 6150 and 6350 a look if you're interested in a high end superauto!

  • Guide to Holiday Roasts - Part 2

    We took a look at some holiday roasts in part one of this feature, and we're back with several more! Check out these toasty brews for some tastes of the season!

    Espresso Republic - Cabin Fever Blend

    Espresso Republic offers an excellent holiday espresso roast in Cabin Fever. Listing tasting notes like root beer, molasses, and anise, this is definitely a unique roast. We love the holiday spice flavors present in this one for sure. The root beer notes listed come from a sweet nip at the front of the palate. This combined with the rich body and molasses notes, plus the aforementioned spice creates a very tasty brew! As we said, this is an espresso roast, so you'll want to enjoy it as such!

    Huckleberry Roasters - Sister Winter

    Sister Winter is a very simple roast, but perfect if you like a variety of brew methods. Press, pourover, and drip all offer a different take on these classic flavors. We even recommend this roast for superauto espresso machines! Chocolate and berry notes meet a toasty, pastry like aroma for a real crowd pleaser!

    Toby's Estate - Miracle on N. 6th St.

    Miracle on N. 6th St. is another one full of spice notes, but with a citrus twist. Celebrate the holiday citrus tradition with this roast, which features a blend of washed and natural process beans. We loved this one in a variety of brew methods too! Toby's lists notes of orange, cinnamon, and malbec, which we agree combine to create a satisfying holiday treat.

    49th Parallel Coffee - Holiday Edition

    49th lists fruity flavors like juice and apricot alongside a nutty roasted almond note. These flavors combine for a tasty mix of classic holiday flavors. We really love that this one offers that almond note, as the mild apricot flavors really combine in a mellow, but satisfying way. This one is definitely not designed for espresso, and we specifically recommend it as a filter brew. Great for a morning cup or a late night coffee beside the fire!

    Victrola Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Alongside cozy and cute bag art, this roast really satisfies. Victrola's tasting notes are chocolate, toasted pecan, walnut, and carrot cake. We love how varied and complex this blend is! The sweeter notes combine with the rich, nutty notes for a full bodied and delicious holiday roast. This roast uses natural process beans alongside washed process, so you'll notice hints of sweetness from the naturals and the nuttier notes coming from the washed beans. Recommended for filter brewing!

    Reverie Coffee Roasters - Christmas Cheer

    This one features delicious hot cocoa, baking spice, and roasted nut notes. These are really legendary holiday flavors and they combine for a predictable, but delicious blend here. We actually got peanut brittle notes from this one that we really loved! Definitely a richer blend, we recommend this one in a variety of different brew methods. And excellent all arounder that guests will love!

    Stay tuned, because we have ONE MORE holiday roast feature headed your way soon!

  • Video Roundup: 12/14/2018

    Hey everyone!

    We're back with another week of great videos. Check em out!

    First up, Gail gave us a look at some great gift ideas under $100!

    Then Gail tried some delicious Monin syrups paired with some of our favorite holiday roasts!

    Next, we shared some insight on several of our favorite 2018 stocking stuffers!

    Finally, we asked our staff to make an eggnog latte! It was a load of fun, check out the results below!

    We had a load of fun this week and we hope you will too! See you next week!

  • Roast of the Month: Ladro Roasting Myanmar Yay Chan Pyin

    It's time for another roast of the month here at SCG! This month we were excited by the unique flavors in Ladro Roasting's Myanmar Yay Chan Pyin! Read on for why:

    Unique and Delicious

    Myanmay Yay Chan Pyin comes to us from the Shan State region of Myanmar and the beans were grown at an elevation of 1,534 meters. Generally coffee from Myanmar features a big body with heavier flavor notes, and this is true here as well. What sets this coffee apart for us is just how complex it is. Sometimes we pick the smoothest or best all around cup, but in this case we definitely can't get over the range of notes going on with this roast.

    The nose on this roast is wildly complex, with earthy, sweet scents not quite overwhelming the senses. At the front of the coffee you really can taste the brown sugar notes. This sweetness reminds us of baking cookies or cake, but quickly gives way to the flavors imparted by the natural processing of these beans. That natural taste manifests as a tropical, fruity note that Ladro has identified as Guava. It's definitely different than the more berry notes that South American and African natural processing creates. We love it here. Finally, the earthier, cedar tones hit the back of the palate, rounding out this coffee nicely. You're left with a earthy, slightly tart, but overall smooth mouthfeel that is very satisfying.

    Brew Methods and Closing Thoughts

    Ladro recommends using a drip method or pourover for this roast, and we agree. It's a light one, so pourover is really the best way to tease out the roast's more complex notes and aromas.

    Like most coffee from Myanmar, this one is a micro-lot. That means it won't last forever and we have a limited stock! Snag a bag for yourself here!

  • Video Roundup: 12/7/2018

    Hey coffee fans!

    We're back with another week of great video content!

    First up, Gail takes us through some of our favorite gifts under $250!

    Next, we took a look at some tips from John on dialing in a grinder.

    Finally, here's a demo of our drip coffee starter set!

    We'll see you next week! Make some coffee you love this weekend!

  • Holiday Drink Ideas!

    We've all heard of the egg nog latte or the peppermint mocha, but what about some other flavors fit for holiday cheer?

    Lots of Lattes!

    Lattes are one of the easiest drinks to influence the flavor of. By choosing the right coffee and the right syrup, there's no end to the combinations. Try frosted mint syrup for a peppermint kick in an eggnog latte or traditional mocha! Looking for something a little more rich and nutty? Monin's peanut butter syrup offers just that.

    Beyond syrups, there's loads of spices that you can add to bring your latte up a notch. Try some brown sugar and cardamom for an aromatic, delicious touch. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and simple syrup also make for a delectable addition to any holiday cup of coffee.

     

    No Espresso? No Problem!

    Maybe espresso just isn't your jam. Fear not! With a hint of heavy cream, spice, and fruity syrup or concentrate, you can add some holiday cheer to your favorite pourover or press brew as well. To really wow your family and friends, try experimenting with fruit and spice combinations that match up with the tasting notes on the coffee roasts you're using.

    Another fun way to bring a cooler twist to your holiday coffee offering is to stock up on cold brew! Cold brew mixes great with everything mentioned above, especially with some milk. Try cold frothing in a Breville Milk Café for an extra tasty holiday "notte!"

    We'll be back Monday with another batch of great holiday roasts to check out!

  • Guide to Holiday Roasts Part 1

    Holidays bring a whole world of delicious holiday roasts! From warm, chocolatey blends to some exciting fruitier coffees, we're excited to share our 2018 holiday roast guide! This week, we'll take a look at 6 of the roasts we're featuring this year. We'll finish up with several more next week! Without further adieu:

    Caffe Ladro - Fireside

    Caffe Ladro's Fireside returns this year for a delicious cup of coffee to enjoy with friends and family around the fireplace. Our team has used words like "cozy," "classic," and "warm" to describe this delicious holiday blend. The molasses notes offer a indulgent sweetness with earthy, nutty notes on the finish. Definitely a delicious roast in a variety of brew methods!

    Velton's Coffee - Holiday Blend

    It's typical (and delicious) to get strong chocolate notes from holiday coffee roasts. While that makes for a familiar, warm, and inviting cup of coffee, Velton's brings us something a little different this year. This roast features delicious fruity notes like pineapple and lemon with berry flavors coming from the natural beans in the blend. We love how bold this roast is, and how much it stands out! Check it out as a drip or espresso!

    Tony's Coffee - Backcountry Blend

    For anyone looking for a darker roast this holiday season, check out Tony's Backcountry Blend. This coffee offers milk chocolate notes alongside more earthy flavors of toasted almond. What we liked about this blend is that it'll satisfy those looking for a darker roast without being too much for the medium roast drinker. This is a plus when looking for a coffee to share with others over the holidays! It also works for a variety of brew methods.

    Counter Culture Coffee - Iridescent

    The perfect gift blend, Iridescent features brilliant, giftable packaging and a striking look! That's not all though, this is a delicious blend of Colombian, Kenyan, and Ethiopian beans that makes for an accessible roast that will still provide some complexity. Predictable chocolate notes come from the washed process beans in this blend, with the natural beans lending a berry flavor. We love this roast in a variety of brew methods. What's more, Counter Culture is donating a nickel of every pound of coffee sold to charities in the producing countries!

    Dogwood Coffee - Snow Emergency

    Continuing the trend of blending natural and washed process beans, Dogwood's snow Emergency is a brilliant holiday entry. Natural process beans bring a berry, cherry flavor to this roast that's rounded out by traditional chocolate notes. This is a full bodied roast that won't overwhelm, and makes for an excellent drip brew.

    Kickapoo Coffee Roasters - Revelry

    For a brighter set of notes, check out Kickapoo's Revelry! This delicious medium light blend will please a wide range of coffee drinkers. We love the richness of this cup of coffee, but it doesn't overwhelm if you like lighter roasts. The smooth aroma is a delightful prelude to the richer flavors inside the roast too! Try it in a press or as a drip brew!

    Check back soon for more holiday roast notes!

     

     

     

10 Item(s)

Subscribe

Finally, something for that inbox

Join our email list and be the first to learn about exclusive offers and new products.

close

Join our email list

GET 10% OFF ONE ITEM*

Be the first to learn about exclusive offers and new products - starting today!

 

JOIN
*Some exclusions apply. See email coupon for more details.