Coffee

What more can we say about our favorite beverage? It turns out, plenty! This category contains a world of writing about the coffee we love.
  • Roast of the Month: Spyhouse Women Producers Coffee

    Hey Coffee Lovers!

    We took a break in our regular Roast of the Month programming, but we’re here for our first entry of 2021! This month we’re featuring the delicious Women’s Producers Coffee from Spyhouse Coffee Roasters. Check out our video chat about this coffee below and read on for the article!

    Highlighting Women Producers

    It’s reported that as much as 70 percent of the work done on coffee farms is done by women. Unfortunately, this disproportionate amount of labor has resulted in only 5-20 percent of coffee producers being owned by women.

    Spyhouse Coffee Roasters has begun offering a year-round roast that features different producer groups with prominent women-owned producers and leadership. 

    The current roast uses coffee from Fundación Agraria y Ambiental Para el Desarrollo Sostentible (FUDAM). FUDAM is a 300 member association of growers that carries an organic and Rainforest Alliance certification. With most members residing in the small town of La Unión in Nariño, the farms in the association are unique for Colombia. Most of the growers reside at high altitude, and the farms themselves are at a lower altitude. This is in contrast to the low lying towns where most growers in Colombia reside, with farms at higher altitudes.

    FUDAM’s leader, Raquel Lasso, established a subgroup specifically for women producers called Manos de Mujeres. The group is focused on gender-equality in leadership and payment, and works on projects that empower women in the coffee community. This roast features Manos de Mujeres coffee.

    The Coffee

    Women Producers Coffee is a unique Colombian that features notes of marmalade, red grape, and fudge brownie. The marmalade and brownie flavors may sound overwhelming, but they’re pleasantly balanced. Instead of an ultra-rich chocolate flavor, which you might expect from a Colombian coffee, this roast is very smooth and balanced. The red grape note is present, but quite muted in a pour over, but it provides a pleasant branch of sweetness off of the more rich notes. With a medium body, this coffee is a smooth sipper that you could easily enjoy every day.

    As far as brew methods are concerned, this roast is quite adaptable. Due to its true medium nature, we really like it as a drip brew and in a superauto. These methods produce delightful notes, particularly when effectively dialed into your grinder. Women Producers Coffee makes a good press brew as well, and might be a great choice for your semi-automatic espresso. We recommend it to semi-auto fans who are ready for something a tad trickier than a basic espresso roast, but not quite as hard to dial in as a traditional single origin.

    No matter how you brew it, Women Producers Coffee is a delicious roast with a great story. Grab a bag today!

  • How to Spend Your Holiday Cash!

    Now that we’re in the last week of the year, we’re guessing some of you have received some holiday cash! Maybe you’re looking for some great ways to spend it on some fresh coffee gear. We’re here to help! Here’s a few ideas for how to spend that extra money on ways to upgrade your setup at a few different spending levels.

    $50

    If you have ~$50 extra, there’s plenty you can pick from to upgrade your coffee setup. If you’re a pour over fan, consider picking up a new dripper like the Espro Bloom! This nifty newer dripper offers an interesting twist on standard brewing with its unique shape and mesh auxiliary filter. If you need a little extra to get into free shipping territory, a bag of coffee is the perfect pickup!

    Maybe instead you’ve been neglecting part of the pour over process. If you’re still “eye-balling” your pours, the Hario V60 Drip Scale can be yours for right around that $50 mark. Finally, some new mugs or drinkware is always a great pickup for the new year!

    $100

    If you’ve got some cash in the $100 range, you’ve got some great room to really upgrade a pour over setup. Many users make do with a non variable kettle that just boils water. While you can count off the time for the water to get down to coffee temps, for that $100 in extra cash you could also pick up a Bonavita Variable Temp Kettle. This kettle is a great deal and easy to use to really improve your pour over.

    Maybe you’ve actually been getting by with an old blade or spice grinder. If that’s the case, it’s definitely time for an upgrade. Luckily the new Solis Scala is a great grinder for pour over and drip, and under that $100 price point!

    $250+

    Maybe you’ve got a more sizable bit of holiday money to work with. In the $250 range you’ve got lots of fun options for upgrades, including a new drip brewer! The Solis Scala mentioned above pairs great with a Bonavita Connoisseur. These two together come out to right around $250 before tax.

    You could also spend up just a bit more to pick up a Breville Precision Brewer, one of the finest drip brewers on the market. Finally, if you want to try a range of brewing styles, you could grab the Varia Multi-Brewer, a scale, and a few bags of coffee to go with them!

    Maybe you received one bigger gift card with how strange this year is, or maybe you’ve got a few that you’re using for day-to-day expenses and you’re looking on a larger ticket item to buy with that extra cash. If this is the case, the Philips 1220 Carina is a great way to overhaul your coffee setup. This superautomatice espresso machine is the all in one device you need to craft delicious cafe coffee drinks.

    We hope this post has given you some ideas to spend that gift card cash on coffee equipment you’ll love!

     

     

  • Coffee Selection Tips for Your New Gear!

    It’s possible that you’ve just received a shiny new piece of coffee gear this holiday season. But what’s sweet equipment without a great roast to go with it? Let’s take a look at some things to look for when shopping for the perfect coffee for your new kit!

    Drip Coffee

    Let’s start with drip coffee. It could be that you’ve just picked up or received your first serious drip brewer. Sure, you’ve probably made a pot or two before, but maybe not on a high quality coffee maker!

    Drip coffee is great because it tends to bring out tasty flavors in a wide range of roasts. This means that you’ll get the “truest” flavors on more balanced roasts, as drip brewing tends to work better with more balanced flavor profiles. This isn’t to say that a super fruity natural will be bad as a drip brew, but you may not get milder notes then you would with a pour over. 

    Because of this, classic coffee flavors are a great place to start. Chocolatey blends and roasts with just enough fruitiness are the perfect way to break in your new drip brewer. That said, don’t hesitate to try out that exciting single origin you’ve been eyeing!

    Many of these concepts apply to press brewing as well, though with that style you’ll often get bolder, stronger flavors from rich or earthy roasts.

    Pour Over

    Pour over gives you the ability to really dial in flavors in a similar manner to espresso, but without the same intensity. This means that you can really pick roasts based on the notes you’re excited about.

    Your pour over kit will help you unlock the more intense fruit notes on naturals. It’ll still also give you those richer chocolate notes. To really get a great grasp of how delicate pour over flavors can get, give a tasty looking light floral roast a try. Some coffees actually take on a tea-like profile that is definitely to die for, and the only brew method that really works for these roasts is pour over, so it’s worth giving a try!

    There aren’t really any roasts that don’t work as pour over, though you may find that you prefer roastier diner style coffees in a press or drip.

    Espresso

    Espresso is the trickiest brew method to understand and develop a sense for. Whether you’re brewing with pressurized baskets, unpressurized baskets, or a superautomatic machine, you’ll probably want to start with a standard espresso blend. 

    Because this is such a precise brew method, starting with a blend that’s specifically roasted for espresso will make dialing in your grinder a little easier. Once you have a sense for how to get a good shot out of simpler blends, you can move on to more temperamental roasts. If you’ve got unpressurized baskets to use, you can get a good shot out of most coffees. If you’re using pressurized baskets or a superauto you may have a hard time getting something especially tasty out of a more delicate single origin. This is because these roasts often need a pretty precise grind and shot pull to build the proper complexity. This can be a challenge to nail with a pressurized basket or superauto.

    Also, don’t forget that you should avoid oily beans in a superauto! For a whole host of beans we think work great in these machines check out our Superauto Recommended coffee category!

    We hope this gives you some good things to look out for as you break in your new coffee equipment!

  • Holiday Coffee Favorites

    Hey coffee lovers! It’s that time of year for cozy coffee notes and comfy drinks perfect for frosted windows and lit fireplaces. It’s a tough year because we can’t all share our favorite coffee with visitors, but we’re here to make the most of it with some favorite roasts and ways to prepare them.

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Seattle Coffee Gear 2020 Holiday Blend

    As has become holiday tradition here at SCG, we’re proud to have collaborated with our friends at Brandywine Coffee Roasters on another holiday roast! If you can tear your eyes away from the adorable artwork on the bag, you’ll find a delicious, classic set of notes within.

    One of the best parts of this roast is how versatile it is. Whether you like an espresso, drip brew, press, pour over, or more, this blend is just the right thing. On top of this, this is a delicious roast with or without milk. For a little extra fruitiness, we love a latte made with a hint of raspberry syrup.

    Onyx Coffee Lab - Framily

    As the name implies, Framily is the perfect complex, but approachable blend to share with friends and family over the holidays. It’s true most of us can’t do that in person this year, but this one’s a great candidate to send to your framily and enjoy over your holiday video calls. 

    Framily’s notes offer some lighter tastes over classic richness via a medium roast that is easy to brew and drink. Because this one’s got some fruitier notes along with that earl grey touch, we recommend giving it a shot as a classic pour over. This method will tease out those lighter flavors wonderfully, and you can impress your friends and family with your technique over a video meeting!

    Camber Coffee - Dialed In Espresso

    This one’s a bit of a cheat, as it’s available year round! We still couldn’t pass up the chance to recommend it. Why is this? Because it’s the perfect way to break in your new espresso machine. We worked with Camber to develop Dialed in as an easy to, well, dial in, espresso. That means it’s got classic espresso notes and will be a great coffee to get started with.

    With that in mind, this one’s a great add to some eggnog! If you’re brave enough try steaming eggnog, just remember to go slow and steady, it’s jumpy! It’s also important to carefully purge and clean your steam wand after steaming a thicker milk substitute like eggnog.

    Partners Coffee Roasters - Miracle on North 6th St.

    This one’s where that quintessential bit of orange flavor comes in. Miracle on North 6th St. fills that baked goods profile with a hint of citrus to really top it off. This is another one that works great in a lot of brew methods and isn’t hard to work with.

    That’s why we think it’s a great one to share as a pot of old fashioned drip coffee with a roommate or partner. Maybe you’ve got more than just a couple of coffee drinkers in your home and you’ll need a second pot! Either way, this one’s great with or without milk or cream.

    The truth is, we’re in love with all of our holiday blends, and we want to hear how you’re brewing them! Try out your favorite roaster’s seasonal roast this year and let us know how you love to prepare it!

  • 2020 Carina Holiday Gifting Guide

    Is someone on your gift list getting a Philips Carina this year? We’re here to help! The Philips 1220 Carina is a great way to get started with brewing espresso at home, and we’ve got some great gifts to help you help them!

    Filters

    One of the great things about the Philips Carina is that it’s compatible with AquaClean water filters. These filters reduce the number of descalings that the Carina needs by delivering water with the perfect mineral content to the brewer. 

    It may seem a touch boring, but a gift of some filters is a great way to help the new Carina owner on your list cut down on one of the few recurring costs that come with the Carina. Plus it’s convenient to not have to remember to order new filters!

    Cups and Mugs

    With a world of drink options, that new Carina owner will need some mugs to enjoy them! Sure, you could just brew any drink into a standard coffee cup, but adding a bit of flair is always fun! We love Acme mugs for enjoying lattes and cappuccinos, these mugs are durable, functional, and look great.

    Looking for something with a little more flair? Cups from notNeutral offer bold, colorful ways to enjoy your favorite espresso drinks.

    Storage

    Coffee storage is important for getting the most out of your beans. Coffee maintains its freshness for up to a month in the bag, but you can extend its life by storing it in a proper airtight container. There’s a few options out there, but we find Airscape containers to really offer a great balance of capacity, performance, price, and looks.

    These containers feature a gasketed lid, but also have a vacuum sealer that can be used to provide true vacuum storage for your coffee. In an airscape, coffee can last months. Perfect for stocking up on holiday roasts! Just remember to get an Airscape that’s a little bit bigger than what you need for it to fit the sealer.

    Coffee

    Speaking of coffee, we’ve got a whole category of Superauto Friendly roasts to help any new Carina owner get started. Prefer to let our experts do the work? Check out our wonderful new gift coffee subscriptions! Just pick blends or single origins (we recommend blends for the Carina) and our team will do the rest. 

  • 2020 Rocket Espresso Holiday Gifting Guide

    Do you know someone receiving a new Rocket Espresso machine this holiday season? Turns out, getting the most out of it takes more than just the machine. We’re here to help you help them to get the most out of their new machine! Important to note - if they got their Rocket Espresso machine through Seattle Coffee Gear then they probably received a Rocket Espresso Pro Upgrade Kit! This is exclusively available from SCG, and covers some great additional items like a naked portafilter, premium tamper and milk pitcher,  and more. Worth checking to see if they have this kit before purchasing them another tamper or pitcher! We’ll give those a look in our first section!

    Tampers, Mats, and More

    While a Rocket Pro Upgrade kit may come with a premium tamper, having an Espro Calibrated Tamper doesn’t hurt. This tamper “clicks” when proper pressure is applied, so it helps to train new users on the perfect tamp. 

    Another key element of any espresso setup is a tamping mat. These rubber mats help contain any mess from spilled grounds and provide a places to tamp while protecting your countertop. Perfect for their new Rocket Espresso machine, check out this Rockest Espresso Tamping Mat!

    Finally, while it’s on the higher end, the Ona Coffee Distribution Tool is a great tool for improving shot quality. This adjustable, weighted tool helps to evenly distribute grounds across the portafilter for even extraction and reduced channeling. It’s a great addition to any Rocket Espresso setup!

    Pitchers, Glasses, and Storage

    Another great addition to a Rocket Espresso setup is a premium frothing pitcher. While one of these comes in the aforementioned Rocket Espresso Pro Upgrade Kit, we also recommend this stylish and easy to use Rocket Espresso Frothing Pitcher. The spout and shape make it the perfect pitcher for learning to froth and pour latte art.

    Speaking of pitchers, it’s key to get the perfect volume as you dial in shots. While we think a scale like the Acaia Lunar is a great addition to any espresso setup, you should also consider a Rhino Coffee Gear shot pitcher!

    Drinkware is also important, and we have a wide range of cups and mugs to choose from. Mugs and cups always make a great gift!

    Last but not least, there’s storage. No coffee setup is complete without a way to store coffee. You can store coffee in the bag, but to really get the most out of it you’ll want to keep it in an airtight canister. We like Airscape’s range of different coffee containers. It’s important to remember that the vacuum seal takes up some room inside of the canister, so you’ll want to get one a bit larger than the capacity of beans you want to store!

    Coffee!

    To top it all off, you’ve gotta gift them some coffee! We’re excited to offer gift coffee subscriptions for the first time here at Seattle Coffee Gear! Just select blends or single origins and a length of time and we’ll do the rest!

    Hopefully this has given you some great options for helping them get the most out of their new Rocket Espresso machine for the holidays!

  • 2020 Solis Holiday Gifting Guide

    Are you gifting a Solis Espresso machine this holiday? Maybe you know someone receiving one and want to help make their holiday the best it can be. We’ve got some tips for the best way to deliver that new machine to the coffee lover on your list!

    The Bundle

    First of all, for holiday 2020 you can get a Solis Perfetta bundled with the stellar Eureka Mignon Notte for a great deal. Just find the option to add a grinder on the Perfetta’s product page. The Mignon Notte offers an incredible, consistent grind that compares to grinders way above its price point. You’ll need this to be able to take advantage of the Perfetta’s unpressurized portafilter basket. By bundling these two options together, you can save big!

    With that in mind, there are more odds and ends that make the perfect add on to you or your giftee’s new espresso machine. 

    Scales and Storage

    One of the keys to properly brewing any coffee is getting the right ratios. You’ll want to ensure that you start your espresso brew with a ratio of 2:1 water to coffee. A great way to do this is by using a scale like the Acaia Lunar and the portafilter plate add-on. These tools are on the expensive side, but they provide a high degree of accuracy for weighing your grounds going in, and the shot coming out. 

    Coffee storage is important as well! By using a container like an Airscape you can extend the life of your coffee. These containers make a great gift!

    Upgraded Accoutrements

    The Solis Perfetta comes with a great tamper and milk pitcher, but that’s not all the budding home barista needs to use their new machine to the fullest! For starters, a tamping mat from Rocket Espresso really helps to avoid countertop nicks and contain any mess. 

    There’s also the option of an upgraded milk pitcher! We’re impressed with the pitcher that comes with the Perfetta, but there’s always room for an upgrade. Rocket Espresso’s stylish matte pitcher is a great candidate and makes pouring latte art a little easier with its spouted mouth. 

    Finally, a shot glass with volume markings is a great little tool for dialing in the perfect shot. We recommend this one from Rhino Coffee Gear.

    Mugs Galore

    The one thing missing after all of this is something to drink out of! Without a functional, stylish mug, it can be difficult to enjoy that tasty latte or cappuccino!

    For those looking for stylish, colorful additions to their cupboard, we really love mugs from notNeutral. The glass look offers refinement and keeps things unique with smoke or colors. If you’re into the modern look but not the notNeutral style, mugs from Fellow are the perfect fit. the Monty and the Joey always end up as consistent SCG favorites around the office. Finally, for those seeking traditional styling and high performance sipping, look no further than mugs by Acme Co. 

    That just about covers it, but what’s a great espresso setup without some fresh coffee? We’re excited to offer Seattle Coffee Gear Coffee Club Gift Subscriptions starting this holiday! Head over here to get a subscription set up, and your giftee will enjoy delicious fresh coffee hand picked by our experts!

    We hoped this has helped to make your giftee’s Solis holiday a little extra special!

  • 2020 Holiday Shopping Guide: Odds and Ends

    Sometimes you might be shopping for the coffee lover who already has their setup. They may not need a new grinder, brewer, or machine. With that said, there’s always something extra you can find to really enhance your giftee’s coffee setup! That’s where we come in. Let’s take a look at some excellent odds and ends for you or someone on your gift list.

    Storage

    One thing many folks don’t think about is proper coffee storage. When properly stored, coffee can maintain its freshness for much longer than you might think. To do that, you need an airtight storage solution designed specifically for preserving our favorite beans. 

    One way to achieve this is with Airscape coffee containers. These storage containers feature an internal sealing disk that gives you an extra level of vacuumed storage in addition to the gasketed lid. Available in multiple sizes, materials, and colors, there’s absolutely an Airscape for the coffee lover on your list. Our biggest advice when shopping for an Airscape is to keep in mind that the sealing disk does use up some of the capacity of the container, so it’s better to go a little bigger on the size of the container to ensure it’ll be enough storage for your or your giftee’s coffee of choice!

    Tampers, Mats, and Leveling Tools

    For the espresso brewer at home there’s a little more that you need than just a machine and grinder. If you’re using a semi-automatic machine, a tamper is a must have. To keep your workspace clean and your countertop free of nicks, you’ll want to add a tamping mat as well. Finally, an OCD leveling tool can really help you ensure an even distribution of grounds in your portafilter.

    For tampers, there are a lot of options. Many home espresso enthusiasts view tampers as a way to add some flair to their setup. There are simple options out there like the one pictured above, but for a new user you can’t go wrong with an Espro Calibrated Tamper. These tampers “click” at the right amount of pressure, which will help you find the sweet spot for your tamp. 

    Tamping mats come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, but you can’t go wrong with a simple tamping mat from Rocket Espresso. Durable and easy to use, this mat will keep your countertop nick and mess free and give you the perfect platform for tamping.

    Mugs

    No coffee setup is complete without mugs to drink from! So much of your mug choice comes down to the kind of coffee you like to brew. For drip brews/pour over we adore the Acme Union. This cup combines bold lines with usability and durability to create a pretty perfect coffee mug. If you’re looking for cups designed for milk drinks, the Fellow Monty comes in excellent latte and cappuccino sizes, and provides performance and elegance unique to Fellow’s prestigious name.

    Sometimes though, you just need a shot glass for that delicious naked espresso shot. For this, and other shot glass applications, we love notNeutral’s Vero demitasse cups.

    For the coffee drinker on the go, we highly recommend the Miir Travel Tumbler! Its spill proof, dishwasher safe design is perfect for your active lifestyle. 

    And there you have it! Some quick tips on ways to expand your coffee setup outside of the standard items. We hope you’ve enjoyed our holiday shopping guides, and we wish you all the best in your gifting (and getting)!

     

  • 2020 Holiday Shopping Guide: Superautomatic Espresso Machines

    If you’re looking for a fast, simple way to brew delicious espresso, you can look no further than a superautomatic espresso machine. These machines combine a brew unit, grinder, and a milk steaming unit to craft incredible coffee drinks. Even better? With simple touch based interfaces you’ll be able to brew these drinks with just a few button presses. A unique thing about superautomatic espresso machines is how little you need to purchase with them to get brewing. That’s why today we’ll take a look at a few different machine options for differing budgets and tastes.

    Philips 1220 Carina

    The Philips 1220 Carina arguably represents the best value in home espresso machines. With great performance, easy maintenance, and ease of use, it’s hard to find a more convenient way to get a great morning coffee drink. First, let’s talk about performance. With a built in burr grinder, you just need a couple of button presses to go from whole bean coffee to delicious espresso. This convenience is great, and with AquaClean water filtration maintenance is as easy as following the guide lights on the touch panel.

    The one area of compromise you’ll make with the Carina is in milk steaming. This machine features a panarello steam wand that requires holding a pitcher up to it for steaming. With that in mind, it’s still quite easy to use, and does give you fine control over your steaming. This way you can get milk that is as hot as you like!

    Overall the Carina is an easy recommendation for your first superauto, or a replacement for an older machine. Looking for something on the higher end of the pricing spectrum?

    Saeco Xelsis

    The Saeco Xelsis represents a real luxury superauto. This is a machine that offers exceptional performance and quality drinks, as well as a fine degree of control. The Xelsis has all of the features you’d expect of a high end superauto: great espresso, easy cleaning and maintenance, and automatic milk steaming. What really sets it apart is its interface and its milk quality.

    The Xelsis features a touchscreen interface similar to what you might find on a smartphone. Using this interface you can control everything from temperature, to strength, to milk texture for your lattes and cappuccinos. This is the sort of control you don’t get from similar machines, usually only from semi-automatics where you’re manually setting those parameters. It means you can craft your perfect latte or espresso shot and return to it every morning. 

    Also of note is the Xelsis’ high quality milk steaming. With a simple siphon system the Xelsis can create some of the best milk texture we’ve seen in a superauto. We’ve actually had success pouring latte art with the milk out of this machine (though you’ll need a steady hand and plenty of practice!

    The big prohibitive difference between the Xelsis and the Carina is price. While we truly believe that both machines are worth their price, we know that’s a decision only you can make!

     

  • 2020 Holiday Shopping Guide: Semi-Automatic Espresso

    Semi-automatic espresso machines can be daunting at first glance. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to crafting cafe style espresso drinks, and getting started with the right gear is key. That’s why we’ve got another one of our holiday shopping guides to help you give the gift of great espresso gear, or get some for yourself! Let’s get started!

    Grinders

    Grinding for espresso requires a highly precise, consistent grinder that will give you a fine enough grind to generate the pressure needed for this brew method. To understand this, it’s important to understand the difference between pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets. On a basic level, pressurized portafilter baskets have extra screens or chambering to create back pressure on water coming into the filter. This is to make up for a grind that’s too coarse or inconsistent to generate the needed pressure for proper espresso extraction.

    If you’re shopping for a grinder that will last you for semi-automatic espresso, you’ll want something that can grind fine enough for non-pressurized baskets. While you might want to start with pressurized baskets, having the ability to jump to those non-pressurized baskets will give you the ability to enjoy the trickiest single origins with your espresso setup.

    With all of this in mind, it’s hard not to recommend the Eureka Mignon Notte espresso grinder. This is a grinder that produces that fine grind that will work for both pressurized and non-pressurized baskets. It’s also got a precision, stepless grind adjustment that really lets you get that perfect consistency for various different roasts. These are features you’ll usually find on much more expensive grinders, so to get them in a grinder at the Notte’s price point is particularly impressive.

    With your grinder choice locked in, the next thing you’ll need to decide on is your machine!

    Machine

    Your choice of machine really depends on two things: Budget and how willing you are to practice. Thankfully, there’s an answer for both ends of either spectrum! 

    If you’re looking for a great entry point on the lower end of cost, the Solis Perfetta is the perfect machine for you. This espresso machine offers great performance, timed shot programming, and high quality steaming at a great price. It’s also all in a small footprint, so you should be able to fit this machine in just about any kitchen. Overall it makes for a perfect starting point for new users, and is also a great upgrade if you’ve been using a cheaper espresso machine to see if you like it. The Perfetta’s ability to grind with pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets ensures that you’ll be able to start with the “training-wheels” so to speak, and graduate to unpressurized baskets when you’re ready.

    If you really want to jump in with both feet, there’s always the Rocket Espresso Appartamento. The Appartamento is a little more challenging to learn on than the Perfetta, but it also offers a more “professional” feel and feature-set. This machine has a powerful heat exchanger boiler that will have you pulling shots and steaming at the same time. The steam wand and handle mirror commercial setups, and the tactile controls for controlling the brew head feel more hands on as well. There’s also the fact that the Appartamento is built to last, with stainless steel casing and high grade components, you really get what you pay for here. Finally, this is also one of the most affordable machines that features a heated group head on the market. Why is this important? By heating the portafilter you don’t lose any temperature during the brew process, which stands in contrast to other, lower cost machines.

    Both of these options work great depending on your budget and degree of confidence!

    Extras

    In addition to your grinder and scale, there are some extras you’ll want to consider as well. The first thing is a scale. It’s very important to ensure the proper brew ratios when you’re dialing in a new espresso. To do this, you’ll need a reliable scale. In a best case scenario you’ll be working with a water-resistant, espresso focused scale like an Acaia Lunar. Given that that might not be an expense you’re quit ready for, something like the Hario V60 Drip Scale can at least help you dose the correct amount of grounds. Just be careful not to get it wet!

    You’ll also want to have a knock box handy for cleanup. Knock boxes are used to eject used espresso pucks from your portafilter before dumping them into the garbage or compost. There are lots of knock boxes out there, we recommend something like the Rocket Espresso Knock Box to ensure longevity.

    Cleaning your machine is important too, and we love Urnex Cafiza for regular cleaning like backflushing. Just be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for machine maintenance and cleaning to keep it in tip top shape!

    Lastly, you’ll want a shot pitcher with clear and readable measurements. This allows you to keep your shots at the right volume over the right amount of time. Once you’ve got an espresso dialed in, you can switch to brewing directly into your cup! We are big fans of the Rhino Coffee Gear Espresso Shot Pitcher for this purpose.

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