Monthly Archives: December 2019

  • Video Roundup: 12/27/2019

    Hello Coffee Fans!

    We're excited to ring in the new year and we've got one last week of videos to do it with, so lets jump in!

    First up it's Allie with a look at the Rocket Pro Upgrade Kit (an SCG exclusive!)

    Next up, John shared some milk pouring tips tailor made for to-go cups!

    And last but not least, we've got a video outlining the classic Ristretto.

    That's all for now! Have a wonderful New Year's and we'll see you in 2020!

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 4

    It's time for our final holiday roasts guide for 2019!

    Check out parts one, two, and three if you haven't! Let's finish this list up.

    Kickapoo Coffee Roasters - Revelry

    Revelry is not a new name, but this year's version does bring some fresh notes. Fig, fruitcake, and honeysuckle should tell you that this is a sweet, fruity roast. Its bright notes a assisted by a generally lighter body that's still medium when viewed on the roasting spectrum. We think this is, like many other holiday roasts, a good beginner's coffee that adds just a little bit extra for those looking for it. Great for groups and easy to brew - you really can enjoy it however you like! Pick some up here.

     

     

    Ruby Colorful Coffees - Cheers Seasonal Blend

    Rich and warm are two words that perfectly describe Ruby's Cheers holiday blend. Cheers is an appropriate name too, because this is definitely one to cheer about! The notes of mulled wine, dried fruit, spice and sweet citrus go great together. All of those flavors work with its medium body to give just enough juiciness and plenty of flavor. Perfect for the season, we recommend this on as a drip/filter brew. Don't miss it! Grab a bag here.

     

     

    49th Parallel Holiday Blends

    49th has really spoiled us as usual with not one, but TWO holiday blends. Their Holiday Filter features notes of cherry strudel, redberry jam, and almonds. It's a flavorful cup perfect for drip and filter brew methods. On the other hand, their Holiday Espresso offers plum, pomegranate, and vanilla flavors. Both of these roasts are wonderful in their specific brew methods and give you a lot of flexibility this season. Great for those with a dedicated grinder for each brew method, and a delicious treat for entertaining friends and family! Get em' before they're gone.

     

     

    Anchorhead - Winter Warmer

    Winter Warmer is a proven classic for a reason. Despite some morbid bag art (who are we kidding, we love it), this is a tasty brew with some silly notes. While Anchorhead's listed flavors are a little coy, we can at least share that this coffee is rich, sweet, and loveable. Great as a filter brew, pour over, espresso, press, or really whatever type of brew method you like best. Share some holiday cheer and a whole lot of deliciousness this season with Winter Warmer! You can buy a bag of this annual favorite right here.

     

     

    Huckleberry Roasters - Sister Winter

    Last but certainly far from least, we've got Huckleberry's seasonal: Sister Winter! We're ending our list this year on one of the most classic tasting roasts we've got this season. Full of chocolate, berries, baked goods, and warmth, this is a coffee lover's coffee. A blend of natural and washed process beans, you'll get just the right medium body to enjoy with all that sweetness. Sister Winter won't overwhelm your palate though, tempering those sweet flavors with a tiny hint of bitterness and a warm undertone that keeps it an easy drinker. Buy a bag here!

     

    That's all for now! We hope you've enjoyed this look at our 2019 holiday roast lineup, and we'll see you in 2020 (or a little bit sooner)!

     

     

  • Video Roundup: 12/20/2019

    Welcome back to another video roundup!

    We're only a couple of weeks away from 2020, and we're pretty excited about it! Let's jump into our videos from this week:

    Kicking off our videos, Gail dropped in with her picks for the best grinders under $250.

    Next up, John took a look at how temperature can have an impact on the flavor of your espresso:

    Then, it's a classic Crew Comparison with Gail between the Miele CM6150 and the Philips 3200 LatteGo!

    Finally, we're so happy to share a look back at some of our favorite bloopers of 2019!

    That's all for now! We'll be back next week for our final roundup of 2019.

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 3

    Welcome to part three of our Holiday Roasts Guide! If you haven't check out parts one and two, be sure to give them a read!

    Toady we're looking at another batch of seasonal roasts perfect for enjoying with your friends and family for the holidays!

    Boast Coffee - The Gift

    Boast's 2019 holiday roast is called the Gift. It's a lovely blend that features notes of mixed berry pie, caramel, and graham cracker crust. The roaster has really leaned into the "holiday pie" set of flavors with this one, and we think it's pretty delicious! The result is a flavor profile that lands right in the middle between new and traditional holiday tastes. It also features a perfect medium body that is just the thing for entertaining guests. Some folks love a darker roast, and some experienced friends and families will appreciate something light, but everyone loves a good medium roast. Also of note is the processes on this blend. All of the beans feature a single origin, but different processes. So you get some of the flavors of washed, honey, and natural processing styles without any flavor overwhelming. This one is best as a pour over, but can be enjoyed in a variety of brew methods. Pick up a bag here!

     

    Partners Coffee Roasters - Miracle on North 6th St.

    Partners offers up a gorgeous package with delicious tasting notes this holiday season. Miracle on North 6th St. has noes of orange, cinnamon, and malbec. These all combine for a deliciously traditional set of flavors we're sure you'll love. We love the notes of natural beans in here that don't overwhelm, tempered by the milder tones of a washed process. Mixing Latin American and African beans, this is a warm blend that tastes great on a chilly morning or an evening with guests. Enjoyable in a wide variety of brew methods so that you can test it out however you'd like. Grab a bag before its gone here!

     

     

    Kickapoo Coffee Roasters - Winter Solstice

    Perfect for enjoying with it's namesake, Winter Solstice is a great seasonal blend from Kickapoo. This roaster from Wisconsin knows a think or two about frozen winter nights, so who better to offer a seasonal roast to keep you warm? This one lands squarely on the "traditional" side of the fence, with prominent notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and apple. Super rich and very warm and cozy, this is a wonderful roast for the season to keep you warm into the wee hours of the morning. We're sure you'll love it as a drip brew, making it an easy one to bust out for groups as well. You can purchase a bag of Winter Solstice here.

     

     

    Velton's Coffee - Holiday Blend

    Local favorite Velton's Coffee really delivered this Holiday with their seasonal Holiday Blend. This one is a little bit fruitier, with the natural beans in the blend bringing on prominent, but not overwhelming notes of raspberry and pineapple. This roast also features washed beans, so never fear if you find that natural flavor overwhelming. Velton also lists candied lemon as a note, which captures the sweet but citrusy taste we get on the end of the sip. This is a great roast to try as a filter brew. This brewing method normalizes the flavor notes so that no single not overwhelms the others. Perfect for a medium roast like this one! Pick up a bag here.

     

     

    Bluebeard Coffee Roasters - Snowbeard Holiday Blend

    Bluebeard is really on a roll this year, and their Holiday Blend is no exception whatsoever. Perfectly balancing sweet and rich elements, this blend has exactly what you want in a holiday roast. Deep chocolate and plum notes meet baking spice and toffee for a taste that has to be tried to be believed. This is the sort of coffee that the most stalwart cream and sugar user will drink straight up, because it offers such a creamy profile with its sweetness. We really can wait for you to try it. Snowbeard is great as whatever brew method you like best. Espresso will bring out its sweeter elements while a drip brew will provide a more balanced cup. Get it before its gone here.

     

     

    That's all for now! Join us next week for our final look at our 2019 holiday blends!

     

  • Video Roundup: 12/13/2019

    Hello coffee fans!

    It's Friday the 13th, but that doesn't mean this coffee round up will get freaky. Or does it?...

    It doesn't. Sorry to disappoint!

    Anyway, on to the videos!

    First up, yours truly hosted the first episode of Under Pressure, our new coffee themed game show!

    Next up, Gail took a look at the SCG Exclusive Bambino Pro!

    Next up, John took a look at a couple of commercial cold brew brewing methods!

    Then we have a crew review of the Seattle Coffee Gear pour over set!

    And finally, it's a look at some delicious holiday drinks with Allie!

    We hope you enjoy these videos, we'll be back with more next week!

     

  • Introducing Your Family to Craft Coffee

    Hey coffee fans!

     

    It's the holiday season, and for many folks that means lots of time with family and friends. One of the joys of these kinds of gatherings is being able to share your favorite treats of the season! We know that sometimes it can be tough to "sell" grocery store coffee drinkers on fancier stuff. It's why we thought we'd offer some tips for sharing your favorite coffee with your favorite people this Holiday!

    Start slow

    Look, we would all love for our family to understand how delicious a bright, floral shot of espresso can be. This is also a pretty challenging leap from the less flavorful coffees they might be used to! We recommend starting small by going for an old fashioned drip pot of coffee. Prepare it before they arrive and offer it to them without feeling like you have to explain what you brewed. Lots of complicated information can be overwhelming and lead to your test subj... We mean guests, jumping to conclusions about what they're drinking.

    Leave the bag near the brew

    Specialty coffee usually features some beautiful bags. You might already do this, but if you don't, leave that pretty package next to your brewer! Anyone passing by might be enticed to pick it up and ask about it. Once it's a question, it's easier to share info on the coffee you've brewed.

    Keep it simple

    While we'd love for you to sell your family and friends on a challenging natural process single origin, you might want to keep it simpler. Stick to a blend that offers some classic coffee notes, plus a little bit extra. Options like our SCG Holiday Blend or Bluebeard's Snowbeard fit this bill nicely. If they like the coffee, then you can suggest they try more adventurous roasts. This ties in with using a simpler brew method like a basic drip brewer. We're sure your guests will appreciate a bit of familiarity!

    Branch out into pour over

    A very eye opening thing to a lot of coffee newbies is their first pour over. This is a brew method that is perfect for understanding the intricacies present in many coffees. After your guests have tried a more complex roast than the basic grocery store coffee they may be used to, exploring it further as a pour over could really open them up to craft coffee.

    Spread it out

    Don't try to go all in on this in one visit. After a morning pot of drip, offer a pour over at the next gathering. Coffee is still coffee! Too much at once can lead to a bit of an overload for newer coffee drinkers. That can be unpleasant and off-putting in the long run.

    Most importantly...

    Don't be a snob!

    Lots of people have a perception of craft coffee as a snobby thing to enjoy. Many folks think all coffees taste exactly the same and coffee as a hobby is a wasted effort. Rather than argue with a person like that, the best thing you can do is meet any dismissal with humor and humbleness. Not everyone likes coffee for coffee's sake!

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 2

    It's time for part 2 of our holiday roasts series! If you haven't yet, check out part 1 here!

    Dogwood Coffee - Snow Emergency

    Dogwood's Snow Emergency is a certified classic holiday roast. Returning with some equally classic notes, we love this one for so many reasons! Fruity, chocolatey, vanilla-y, this is a must drink coffee for your holiday rotation. Sometimes with these roasts we get the most excited by wild new elements, but this one does a wonderful job of sticking to the script. Delicious in a wide range of brews too, try it as a drip brew to get a baseline. You can buy a bag here.

     

    Verve Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Verve's Holiday Blend is described with the note "comforting." We think that makes a lot of sense! Also featuring notes of candied orange and spiced rum, this is a satisfying sipper. As usual, we always have to point out that no, there is no alcohol in this roast despite the spiced rum note! Perfect for chilly nights by the fire, this one has just enough sweetness to put a smile on your face. Brew it however you like, but pick it up here.

     

    Espresso Republic - Cabin Fever

    Milk Chocolate, Molasses, and Nutmeg in one of the prettiest boxes we've ever seen... Sign us up! Espresso Republic's Cabin Fever is a wonderful holiday roast full of warm and cozy flavors. Enjoy this one snuggled under a blanket by a frosted over window with a good book while you recover from a busy evening with friends and family. Also great for sharing, but we won't tell! We're sure you'll love this one as a drip brew or espresso! Purchase it here.

     

    Camber Coffee - Cambrrrr

    It's a real treat to see Camber throw some humor into the title of this seasonal roast, especially given their gorgeous, classy packaging. This roast is more than a funny name though, offering a little something extra. Like we said above, some holiday roasts are all about bringing something new to the season, which Cambrrrr definitely does! The fruity sweetness on display here is soft and mild, without offering too much "candied" taste like you can get sometimes with particularly fruity blends. Try it as a pourover and buy it here!

     

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Seattle Coffee Gear Holiday Blend

    It's back for 2019! We loved our 2018 holiday blend with Brandywine so much that we brought it back for this season. This year the roast features notes of mulled cider, marionberry jam, orange, and chocolate for a perfect mix of old and new notes. Sweet, juicy, and not too complex, we think this roast will be a great choice for just about very coffee fan. It's mellow, easy to drink, and easy to brew. Kind of the point! We wanted to bring you something you would love to try with your family and friends, and we hope we did so. Try it in a variety of brew methods. Be sure to get it before it's gone here!

     

    We'll be back next week with part 3!

  • Video Roundup: 12/06/2019

    Ho ho ho coffee fans!

    We've had some off and on weeks this holiday season because of all of the shopping! This week we did want to round up our week of video content for you, so let's take a look!

    First up, Gail took a look at the Philips Carina and Philips 3200!

    Next, we got a commercial crew review of the Bunn MHG from John:

    And finally, we're sad to see her go. It's Clementine's final coffee collaboration. :(

    We wish Clementine all of the best for her future endeavors!

    We'll be here next week to dish out some more coffee videos...

    P.S., Stay tuned to the channel later tonight for a special holiday treat!

  • Breville Barista Express Vs. Barista Pro

    If you've followed Breville's espresso machine output you're definitely familiar with the Barista Express. This legendary machine is so many home barista's first machine due to its built in grinder. We love the simplicity of this machine and how it helps you learn the basics of crafting espresso. It also lets you use unpressurized portafilters, so you can learn and grow with the machine. This year Breville introduced the Barista Pro. This machine is very similar to the Express, but offers some extra bells and whistles. We wanted to dive into the differences between the machines to help you make a decision for your first purchase, or upgrade

    External Design and Features

    First, the basics: Both of these machines feature a built in burr grinder perfect for producing grounds specifically for them. They also share a case form factor, with the Pro offering slightly sleeker lines but generally the same shape. Both machines have a dedicated hot water spout for crafting Americanos. That said, the Pro's spout is angled slightly to fire directly into you cup so you can pull the water without moving it.

    The biggest difference between the two machines is the digital vs. analog displays. The Express has several buttons for different functions and an analogue pressure gauge in the middle of its interface. By comparison, the Pro has a bright, backlit digital display with smaller buttons. Some users do prefer having the analogue steam gauge, but we don't feel it ultimately adds all that much. The best way to dial in a shot is to focus on the time it takes to pull, rather than watching a steam gauge. That screen on the Pro also gives you deep control over brewing without cluttering the face with buttons.

    Internals and Performance

    The visual/interface differences between these machines is the most noticeable thing from afar. However, it's the performance that really sets the Pro apart. The Barista Express features Breville's Thermocoil water heating. Water is pulled through a heated coil to reach the perfect brewing temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Its allows the machine to heat fairly quickly, but you'll still want to turn it on and give it a minute or two to warm up.

    The Pro, on the other hand, uses Breville's newer thermojet heating. This allows you to pull shots within 20 seconds of flipping the machine on, it also means lightning fast warm up time for steaming. That also means almost non-existent downtime between drinks. The design principals between the two heating elements are similar, but the Pro's heating is just... better.

    Conclusion

    Both of these machines offer fantastic introductions to home espresso. It's why the Pro is offered alongside the Express rather than as a replacement. Which one makes sense for your first machine depends on your preference in their appearance, and whether you value the faster drinks of the Pro or the analogue gauge of the Express. If you already own an express and want a little more performance without advancing to an even higher end machine, the Pro is a fantastic upgrade. You can check them both out on our Breville brand page.

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 1

    It's that time of year for Winter cheer! We're celebrating the season with a look at all of our Holiday blends from a great collection of roasters. Here's part 1!

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Small Wonder

    Small Wonder is a Fall treat from one of our favorite roasting partners, Brandywine Coffee Roasters! We love this little bag of cozy Fall flavors like caramel, honeycrisp apples, pecan, and cider. Featuring natural processed coffee, this is a sweet roast that doesn't overwhelm like some naturals. We think this roast is an excellent example of the "true medium," and we think your friends and family will love it. What's more, this roast is great in a variety of brew methods, so try it in your superauto, drip brewer, semi-auto machine, press, or however you like to brew! You can grab a bag of Small Wonder here.

    Counter Culture Coffee - Iridescent

    Counter Culture's Iridescent leans into the "gift" aspect of the holidays. Its cheery packaging and bright colors look great with a bow, and it has great taste to boot! This coffee hits you with that classic chocolate note that you know and love. This is a key component of a lot of holiday roasts. Leaning into that classic coffee taste is a good start to a roast that's perfect for serving a crowd! The berry notes that add into this coffee are a perfect addition to the chocolate flavors, providing a deep, rich cup of coffee that will satisfy the most discerning coffee drinkers in a variety of brew methods. Perfect for a gift, pick up some Iridescent here today!

     

    Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Warm and full, Batdorf's 2019 Holiday Blend is another great offer from this long time SCG favorite. Featuring charming artwork that always brings a smile to our faces, this one offers just a hint of bitterness with its dark chocolate notes. Add in softer sweet flavors of dried fruit, and a dash of nutmeg and you've got an excellent holiday roast that will bring out holiday cheer in anyone who takes a sip! We love this roast as an espresso, but it can make for a great drip brew or pour over as well. Perfect for fans of coffee that's just bitter enough, you can purchase a bag of this blend right here!

     

    Victrola Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Featuring a beautiful bag depicting a cozy, snow cabin nestled in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, Victrola's Holiday Blend is a great mix of classic holiday notes and a little something extra. Cocoa, baking spice, and orange provide an interesting blend of flavors with a custard note that is subtle but quite interesting. A delicious blend of washed and natural beans, this is a roast that's great to try out in a few different brew methods if you have the equipment. We ultimately enjoyed it the most as a pour over, but suspect that others will love it as an espresso or press brew too. Pick one of these bags up over here!

     

    Olympia Coffee Roasting - Holiday Blend

    It should come as no surprise that one of the most traditionally delicious holiday blends we've received comes from such a traditionally brilliant roaster like Olympia. This is a classic set of Wintery notes: Chocolate, clove, and blueberry. The mix of washed and natural processed beans allows plenty of sweetness to shine through that ultra classic coffee flavor. We love this roast for its traditional vibes and also enjoy the way Olympia consistently nails those subtle notes of blueberry. Brew this one up as a pour over to get every bit of flavor from it, then try it as an espresso! Buy a bag here!

     

    That's all for now, join us next week for more holiday blends from 2019!

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