Coffee Makers

Read the latest reviews, maintenance tips and more on favorite everyday coffee makers.
  • AeroPress Tips & Tricks!

    If you've been keeping up on the world of Press coffee you'll know that the AeroPress continues to grow as a beloved brewing device. Here at Seattle Coffee Gear we love it, and we're sure you will too once you get your hands on it! If you haven't seen this wonderful brewer, check it out here. Once you've done that, or if you're already an AeroPress user, read on for some tips and tricks!

    Pourover Techniques and Inverted Brewing

    One simple way to get better flavor out of your AeroPress is simply through blooming the coffee. This is a technique used primarily in drip brewing, and especially in pourover. The bloom is simply a small pour before your main pour to wet the grounds. Letting this mixture sit for 10-15 seconds will help the coffee taste less bitter and acidic! Other pourover techniques that help with an AeroPress include pre-wetting the filter to remove the papery taste an pouring in a circular motion to evenly saturate the grounds.

    Another technique you can look to is inverted brewing! To use this method you'll want to grind fine, using a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water. Flip the AeroPress upside down and push the tip of the plunger into the press. Add coffee and water as normal and stir. Next, let the coffee brew for one minute.

    Place a wetted filter in the cap, and put the cap on top of the AeroPress. Next, put your coffee cup on top of the AeroPress, then carefully flip the entire press and cup over and plunge as normal. This method results in a rich brew that, with proper plunging, comes out free of grit or sediment.

    Temperature and Pressure Variations

    One surprising thing to note about the AeroPress is that lower temperatures can work better than the typical brewing temps you may be used to. By brewing in the 175-185 degrees Fahrenheit range you can get better coffee than more typical, hotter temps. Try both ends of that range and see which one works better with different beans!

    Another thing many users don't consider is pressure variation. The rate at which you plunge affects the pressure that the coffee is brewed with. A harder, faster press will result in a heavier body. While not an exact comparison to espresso, it's the same principle as that brew method. on the flip-side, for a lighter cup, a slower, gentler press will result in less body and a lighter taste.

    Speaking of pressure, if using the standard non-inverted method, you can insert the plunger to use back-pressure to stop the drip that happens when you add water to the coffee grounds. this will prevent any weaker coffee from dripping out.

    Concentrates and Closing Thoughts

    One other practice to try is brewing AeroPress coffee as concentrate. Even at a standard 1:16 coffee:water ratio, this device brews some pretty strong coffee. If that alone is too strong for you, cutting it with water helps for a lighter cup. Another thing to consider is to brew with less water, creating a thicker concentrate. From there, you could store the concentrate in the fridge for an iced coffee, or just add hot water straight away to make more servings.

    All of these ideas an more are down to experimentation. One of the best parts about the AeroPress is how variable it is. Let us know if you come up with any other fun tricks!

  • Introducing the All New Miele CM5300!

    Miele has brought quality coffee to kitchens around the world for a while now. The CM6 series offers powerful programmability, great performance, and ease of use. Joining the 6 series is the all new CM 5300!

    New Footprint, New Price

    The CM5300 is, at its core, the same quality brewer as the 6 series' offerings. It still provides delicious espresso and milk drinks, features easy cleaning, and offers powerful programming options. It also clocks in at a lower price, with some upgrades in other areas.

    While the CM5300 lacks a hot water spout, this has allowed for a slimmer footprint. This is a great help for smaller kitchens, where space is often a serious consideration when considering a machine purchase. this slimmer case also comes in slick new colors, without sacrificing the cup warmer or other capabilities.

    Exquisite Programming

    One of the things that this machine can't be praised enough more is programming options. While it's standard to see things like a serving doubler, volume control, and other bells and whistles on high dollar machines, the CM5300 offers these features for less. The double serving option is great for making two lattes or espressos, but can also be used for larger containers like travel mugs. These sorts of options being offered at this lower price point are very exciting!

    It helps that all of this is backed by a longstanding tradition of performance in the CM6 series too. Programmability is great, but if the milk or coffee quality isn't there then it's hard to justify the price of one of these machines. The CM5300 offers that same taste and texture produced by the CM6, just with the changes mentioned above.

    We're sure you'll be just as excited about this machine as we are once you see (and taste) what it has to offer, so check out the Miele CM5300 here now!

  • Holiday Buying Guide: Semi-Automatics

    It’s November, which means Turkey day is rapidly approaching. Let’s be honest, what that really means, whether you’re dreading it or excited, is that holiday shopping season is upon us. Are you looking to spoil someone on your list this year with a new semi-auto espresso machine? Maybe you’re just buying for yourself? We’re here to help! Here’s a guide for what to look for this holiday season if you’re shopping for a semi-auto espresso machine.

    Build Quality

    The first thing you should look for in any machine is build and component quality. Along with this, you’ll want to determine what sort of power you’re looking for, and if the prospective machine delivers. For example, the Rancilio Silvia and Crossland CC1 offer an extremely strong build quality and the power to brew unpressurized espresso. These are features that will matter if you’re looking for a long term machine.

    On the flip-side, less expensive machines my only brew with pressurized baskets. This is due to a weaker pump, which is common in cheap machines. That doesn’t mean the less expensive machine is the wrong gift, it’s just important to know the capabilities going in. The stronger components in machines like the Silvia and CC1 mentioned do come with a cost attached. There’s a reason machines like this retail for under $1,000 while delivering such robust, quality espresso...

    Cost Vs. Features

    One of the core things to think about when purchasing an espresso machine is feature set vs. cost. It can be tempting to chase a great seeming deal, but it’s important to understand what you’re getting. Some key features to look for are control methods, programmability, and ergonomics. The machines referenced above offer solid espresso for a great cost, but lack the programmability of some other machines in the segment. By contrast, other machines might offer less powerful and consistent brewing, but provide programming features or more intuitive controls. This is why it’s important to know where the person you’re shopping for’s skill level is.

    For beginner home baristas, it may make sense to look at less expensive options with simpler controls. This will result in a need to upgrade sooner, but it’s better than ending up with a machine that is more than what the user is ready for. Generally we recommend going a little over what you think the user might be ready for. This way you get someone a machine that they can grow into, but won’t overwhelm them. In fact, it’s why we've mention machines like the Silvia and CC1 so much. These machines aren’t the $2,000-$3,000 “generational” machines like a Rocket or an Izzo, but they provide a fantastic starting point. Their limited frills means that the user will need to learn the fundamentals of espresso to use them. It also means they’ll be well equipped to upgrade to a more expensive machine down the line. Even if they don’t machines like these will last for years and years.

    Don’t forget the grinder

    One of the other most important things to look out for when gifting an espresso machine is the grinder! Not every grinder can handle grinding fine enough for espresso. This is especially true of unpressurized espresso. Make sure that the person you’re buying for has a capable grinder already, or that they’re receiving one this holiday! We’ll have more on that and other holiday shopping tips soon!

  • Video Roundup: 11/9/2018

    Happy Friday!

    We're here with another video roundup!

    First up, our top 3 espresso machines of 2018!

    Next up, we took a peek at the new Breville Bambino!

    Followed by another top 3, this time focused on grinders:

    Finally, Gail's favorites for 2018!

    Thanks! Make some coffee you love this weekend!

     

  • SCG Expert Review: Saeco Xelsis Superautomatic Espresso Machine

    Sporting a lot more than a new look, the new Xelsis from Saeco is here. We know you're eager to hear how it stacks up against the old Xelsis One Touch. We can say comfortably that these two machines aren't even comparable. Let's start with the first thing you'll probably notice about the new Xelsis, its looks.

     

    If Looks Could Brew

    Superautomatic espresso machines have never been the prettiest addition to the kitchen. While manufacturers like Jura and Miele do offer some strong design elements, most of these machines could be described as "coffee boxes". It's not the fault of other machines in the Xelsis' price range really, these devices cram a lot of components into the smallest form fact they can. It's no wonder, then, that aesthetic design takes a back seat to practicality.

    With the new Xelsis, Saeco took advantage of modern design tropes to build something truly striking. Regardless of color choice, the smooth angles of the face of this machine look and feel great. The chrome accents and textured buttons add this the machine's appearance in a big way too. This smart beautiful design is enhanced further by little touches like the illuminated water tank and smart logo placement. It all combines with a form factor that impresses.

    The smart case design factors into more than just the looks too. Many superautos have tanks that need to be lifted out of the side or top. This is manageable, but low counters can make refilling your water tank a pain. The Xelsis solves this by making the 2-liter water tank pull out from the front of the machine. We love this design touch, and when combined with the ease of removing the grounds bin and drip tray, makes maintenance a breeze.

    If we have any complaints about the case, it's that some of the seams can feel a bit... Plasticy. While the case as a whole feels solid and premium, some of the gaps in the plastic don't feel as premium by comparison. This wasn't to noticeable except when handling the machine to move it, however.

    The cherry on top is, of course, the touch screen. This screen also serves as your gateway into an incredible degree of drink options.

    Brew Like a Pro

    One of the key reasons to consider a semi-automatic machine over a superauto is control. You can control things like dose, extraction time, milk steaming, and temp very directly. Superautos usually let you adjust things like strength and temp, but not with the granularity of a sem-auto. The Xelsis bucks this trend by giving you nearly unparalleled control over your drink.

    It does all of this with the ease of use of a smartphone app. Controlling things like temp, strength, and more, are done with clear sliders and buttons. The only problem with this is that for some, it may offer TOO many options. Let's take a look at the basics:

    As you can see, strength and volume options are the basics, which most machines offer. Swiping right gives you access to more granular items like flavor, temp, foam, and more. It's a dazzling set of options that can feel intimidating at first. In the end though, with a little bit of experimentation, you'll be able to dial in your perfect drink. What's more, you can save your drinks to a profile so that you'll always be able to get the perfect cappuccino or latte. For those who don't want to customize, the default options still provide delicious drinks too.

    Other menu options like cleaning, and more granular machine settings, are easy to access too. The cleaning menu gives you simple, step by step instructions as well. Speaking of cleaning...

    Squeaky Clean

    Cleaning and maintaining a superauto can sometimes be a hassle, but we found the Xelsis' options to be simple and effective. the machine rinses automatically, and brew head cleaning is as easy as following prompts from the machine. The Xelsis also features Saeco's tried and true AquaClean filtration system. These filters cut down on maintenance like descaling by simply telling you when they need to be changed through the machine's interface. They are a great option that have proven themselves in other Saeco machines, and do so here as well.

    The hardest thing to keep clean in a superauto is the milk system. Saeco's attempt at solving this problem in the Xelsis is the Hygiesteam system. This system takes the form of a convenient, round carafe that fits easily in the fridge. A cappuccinotore wand fits through a hole (which can be closed) in the top of the carafe. From there, as you'd expect, milk it pulled up through the wand and tube and into the frother. The system automatically purges itself in the cappuccinotore caddy attached to the side. You can also manually purge the wand from the cleaning menu. It's a great system that is easier to work with than other carafes, which often have plastic points of contact that need to be scrubbed by hand.

    Ease of use, looks, and cleaning are all great, but what about performance?

    It's All About Performance

    The coffee out of the Xelsis is definitely on par with other machines at its price point. It won't blow your mind, but it should please any coffee drinker who's used to superauto espresso. The taste also lets the unique notes of the coffee through better than cheaper models, a great reason to consider an upgrade. All of that said, nothing beats manually dialing in and pulling a shot from a semi-auto or lever driven machine, but the Xelsis tries it's best and matches the performance of its peers. But superautos aren't just about the coffee.

    The Xelsis features some of the best milk texturing and flavor of any superauto we've ever seen. This is often the hardest thing to get right on a machine like this. Recreating the delicate process of hand steaming milk is a huge challenge, and the Xelsis really knocks it out of the park here. The microfoam from this machine is even of a high enough quality to pour latte art, not something that can be said about most home superautos.

    This machine should be able to keep up with the demands of a family coffee drinkers as well. The Xelsis features a short warm-up time and the ability to pump out several drinks in a row without stopping.

    So what's the verdict?

    Conclusion

    The new Xelsis definitely sets the bar for its price point, and even punches up in ways the previous model did not. While elements of the machine on their own are relatively standard, the full package is an incredible proposition. The HygieSteam system in particular, for it's ease of cleaning and fantastic milk, is a great reason to buy. We definitely recommend at least trying the coffee and milk out of this machine beside others in its price range to see the difference for yourself.

    Check out the Xelsis on Seattlecoffeegear.com here!

     

     

     

  • Video Roundup—6/29/2018

    Happy Friday!

    It's time again to take a look at the videos we put out this week!

    First, Gail reviewed the Breville Glass Precision Brewer!

    Next, John gave us a review of the Eureka Club E Espresso Grinder:

    Finally, John took a look at the Eureka Club Doser Espresso Grinder:

    Let us know what you think! And have a great weekend!

  • Video Roundup 6/15/2018

    Happy Friday!

    It's time for another video round up! This week features a great how-to and a review from everyone's favorite coffee expert, Gail!

    First, Gail gave us some great tips and tutorials on brewing cold brew coffee a variety of ways!

    Then, we took a look at the Technovorm Cup One Coffee Maker in a Crew Review!

    Check out these videos today, and remember to make coffee you love!

  • Gear of the Month: Breville Precision Brewer - Glass Carafe

    Hey coffee lovers!

    We're back with another gear of the month, celebrating a piece of coffee gear we've been loving of late. This month that gear is Breville's Precision Brewer drip coffee machine, with the glass carafe!

    Precision brewing, with upgrades

    It's possible you've already seen the stainless steel carafe version of the Precision Brewer in the past, but the glass carafe model features more upgrades than just the carafe material.

    The original Precision brewer is a great option for a drip brewer, and if you prefer the stainless steel carafe it's still the way to go. That said, the glass carafe version offers some compelling features. First, and most notably, is the carafe. The glass carafe has more differences than just material. It's slightly taller, meaning it won't fit in the original precision brewer. The plastic on the handle and spout have also changed, though not necessarily for better or worse. Finally, the shape of the spout has changed, and is easier to get a faster pour out of. A glass carafe also means a warming plate, which is well designed, and inset in such a way that it's unlikely you'll brush up against it by mistake.

    One typical problem with warming plates on glass brewers is a potential for scorched coffee. Thankfully, this isn't an issue with the Precision Brewer. While fine control over the warming plate would have been nice, at the very least it does err on the side of caution with its temp and timer. After about 30 minutes, the plate had cooled enough that the coffee in the carafe was lukewarm, but it also didn't have the scorched taste typical with cheaper glass brewers.

    Other minor aesthetic differences exist as well. The water tank uses a laser to detect fill level. On the original Precision brewer, this laser was exposed, whereas the glass carafe version has a small cover. The plastic of the tank also appears slightly more blue than on the stainless steel model.

    Same quality brewer

    We already loved the existing features of the stainless steel Precision Brewer, and they're back and untouched outside of the differences above. Setup is still a breeze, just plug in, run a pot of water through the tank to flush it, and enjoy. The Precision Brewer still offers fast, Gold Cup, strong, pourover, cold brew, over ice and my brew options for a wide range of brewing preferences. It also still works with conical and basket filters.

    The easy to use interface makes accessing all of these brew types, and customizing my brew, very easy. There are also still auto-brew options as you would expect.

    Ultimately, the Precision Brewer already offered a great deal of features that made it a great offer in the ~$300 drip brewer segment. The glass carafe model excitingly shows that Breville is taking every opportunity to continue to improve the line, and it's a great option for those who prefer the glass carafe.

    If you're interested in checking out the Breville Precision Brewer for yourself, you can find it at Seattle Coffee Gear here.

    Be sure to stop by next month for another Gear of the Month feature, and remember, as always, to make coffee you love!

  • Video Roundup 5/25/2018

    Hey everyone!

    In case you missed it, Gail gave us some great tips this week. First, be sure to check out her video on dialing in a superautomatic:

    Next, we took a look at the new Baratza Sette 270Wi!

    Finally, Gail walked us through the differences between Breville's YouBrew and Grind Control machines:

    Thanks for watching, and as always, remember to make coffee you love!

     

  • Miele CM6150 | Crew Review

    SCG_Miele_CR (2 of 4)Overview

    Sleek, modern, and highly programable—it's the Miele CM6150. One of Miele's newest offerings in their line of Swiss-made coffee makers, the CM6150 serves as a relatively affordable entry point into high end superautomatic espresso beverages deliciously prepared. It features a sleek plastic case available in both white and black, simple one-touch drink recipes, and auto-on and off functionality. Perfect for a large family or small office of coffee drinkers who desire options without a headache, the CM6150 will look great in your kitchen or break room without breaking the bank. Worth noting as well is Miele's remarkably effective auto-rinsing as well as the milk siphon tube flush function preventing unappetizing build up anywhere in the machine.

    SCG_Miele_CR (3 of 4)How does it compare?

    When it comes to having options, your possibilities are endless with the CM6150. Easily one of the most programable machines at its price point, Miele's entry-level superautomatic gives you a truly impressive amount of drink options without sacrificing features found on many higher end machines.

    After comparing the CM6150 with the similarly priced Jura E6, we found the overall quality of the drink to be slightly smoother from the espresso to the milk texture. Moreover, the ability to set your drink to five different temperature settings allows for the user to enjoy their coffee without the fear of it cooling down too quickly (or being too hot for that matter). However, with so many ways to use your Miele, programming the machine may feel like a chore for the first few times of use compared to the E6's straightforward one-touch design. Additionally, the machine lacks Jura's Intelligent Water System, which keeps track and notifies you when your water filter is due to be changed.

    Nevertheless, we've found Miele's CM6150 tough to beat when it comes to superautomatic machines at this price point. The CM6150 looks great on a counter, can prepare two drinks at a time, and brews a super delicious "pot of coffee" featuring 3-8 cups of Joe!

    SCG_Miele_CR (1 of 4)Who will love this machine?

    Miele's CM6150 is the perfect semiautomatic espresso machine for the large family or small office that appreciates modern design and plenty of options when preparing a drink. It is affordable and easy to clean, so once you get the hang of its many features you'll be on your way to quick and delicious coffee!

    Purchase the Miele CM6150 here!

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