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  • Roast of the Month: Intelligentsia Illumination Blend

    It's time once again for Roast of the Month! We like to celebrate a coffee each month that brings something especially unique, enjoyable, flavorful, or special in some other way. We're excited to highlight Intelligentsia this month with their new Illumination Blend!

    Satisfying and a Little More Than Simple

    We often feature single origins here, but we really like to bring you a blend when we can! So many roasters have a "signature" or "seasonal" blend that we don't get that many wholly new ones in. This month we really grew a soft spot for this one from Intelligentsia, so we wanted to make sure you give it your attention!

    A lot of blends focus on getting classic coffee flavors going right at the top. This isn't a bad thing, we happen to like "classic," but seldom does the blend arrive that evokes the more diverse flavors of a single origin. This blend of Ethiopian and Peruvian beans is one of those rare exceptions! While it does offer balance and richness alongside just enough of a chocolate note, this blend goes a bit further.

    The first thing you might be surprised by is the tarter cranberry note. This forward tart note then blends with a satisfying sweet citrus flavor. This mix of tastes gives this roast a delicious profile on its own, and mixes with the rich sweetness of molasses for a truly satisfying mix of notes. All of this flavors combine with a little bit of bitterness and chocolate to round out the roast and give it some balance.

    Brew Methods

    This is also one of those roasts that works in a wide variety of brew methods. A pourover will separate and amplify the brighter, sweeter notes and blend them with that tart cranberry nicely. A drip brew will provide more balance and bring out the "coffee" notes a bit more, with a press intensifying the richer notes. Finally, an espresso will lend a rich, syrupy quality that highlights the sweeter bits.

    No matter the brew method, we're sure you'll find this roast to be a treat! Check it out here today.

  • New Product: Jura D6

    Jura's line of superautomatics gets a new machine this week in the D6 espresso machine! This machine is the brand's most affordable superautomatic yet, without sacrificing a wide range of options. Read on for a look at this brand new brewer.

    Fully Featured Espresso

    From the A1 to the Z6, Jura's line of superautomatics offers something for everyone. The D6 offers Jura's extensive knowledge of superautos at a lower price than their other machines. The result is a satisfying experience that's great for cappuccinos and espresso! Instead of a screen or button interface, the D6 uses a simple set of nobs to control your drink production. We found this interface to be intuitive and simple to use, even if it doesn't feel as "premium" as some more expensive models.

    The milk system is delivered via a carafe and pipe system similar to the Saeco Xelsis and Miele 6300 series of superautomatics. This system produces excellent cappuccinos, though it steams just a little bit foamy for a latté. What really sets this machine, and Jura's whole line, apart is the P.E.P. brewing system. P.E.P. stands for pulse extraction process. This brewing process pulses water through the coffee grounds to maintain the perfect temp and brew pressure. This results in balanced coffee, fantastic aroma, and beautiful crema in every cup.

    To top it all off, the D6 uses Jura's CLEARYL Smart Filtration. This system helps you to maintain perfect filtration to cut down on limescale buildup. These filters are monitored by the machine, giving you a notification when it's time to change them. Other helpful features include an auto-off timer for power saving and on the fly brew strength adjustment that you can use mid-brew.

    Overall, the D6 is a compelling option at its price point, and opens Jura brewing up to a whole new price range! Check this machine out here today.

  • Video Roundup: 4/5/2019

    Hey coffee fans! It's time for another video roundup!

    First up, Gail's back with a review of the new OXO Brew Adjust kettle!

    Next, Nicole joined us for a look at the exciting new Barista Pro!

    Then, John gave us a tour of the Boxer with Timer commercial machine.

    Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for, Vietnamese Egg Coffee with Clementine!

    That's all for now folks, see you next week!

  • Roast of the Month: SCG Rainier Morning Blend!

    Hey Coffee fans!

    It's time for another Roast of the Month! This month we're featuring a roast so good we put our name on the bag! SCG Rainier Morning Blend is our roasting collaboration with our friends at Brandywine. After such a wonderful experience working with the roaster for our Holiday Blend last year, we set out to collaborate again on a year round offering!

    Cozy Mountain Flavors

    Rainier Morning Blend features a tasty mixture of Colombian and Ethiopian beans. This mix creates a combination of two of our favorite flavors: Cherry and chocolate! Colombians feature strong, rich chocolate notes. It's part of why this origin is such a standby in coffee culture. Colombians offer that classic "coffee" taste of rich chocolate notes tempered by a hint of bitterness and acidity. In Rainier Morning Blend these chocolate notes are pronounced, and get at how important they are in coffee in general! On the flip-side, the Ethiopian beans bring you the sweetness of one of our Cascadian favorites: Rainier cherries!

    Other tasting notes on this roast include hazelnut and plum, both rounding out a satisfying, easy drinking flavor profile. To get to these notes we worked with Brandywine by suggesting potential notes. We offered suggestions like chocolate, apples, berries, and of course, those Rainier Cherries. From there, Brandywine did the heavy lifting. After sending us a few samples we settled on this delicious recipe! This roast is an excellent "every day" blend for drip brewers and your home espresso machine. It also comes recommended as a great pick for your favorite superauto!

    Another thing we were thrilled to work with the folks at Brandywine on was the art! If you've seen Brandywine's beautiful collection of roasts before, you know the artwork is always unique and always fabulous! For Rainier Morning Blend we wanted to feature 3 PNW musts: Rainier, pine trees, and one of our favorite local sea creatures, the orca whale! The result was a fun piece that's just as flavorful as the beans inside the bag!

    We can't wait for you to try Rainier Morning Blend, so grab a bag today!

  • 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!

  • On the Grind: All About Grinders—Part 2

    Last week we talked about the basics of burrs and grinders. You can find that post here!

    This week it's all about control and motors. Let's jump in!

    Control

    Grind control is another extremely important aspect of choosing a grinder. When we talk about "control" we mean opening and closing the burrs of the grinder to achieve a finer or coarser grind. Finer grounds are used for espresso and Turkish coffee. Coarser grinds are typically used for drip and press brew methods.

    There are two different control methods most commonly found on coffee grinders: stepped and stepless. Stepped grinders tend to "click" into place at set intervals. This is very useful if you need to switch between drip and press grind levels. On the other hand, stepless grinders don't feature this clicking between settings. Instead, they smoothly adjust from setting to setting. While this can make switching back and forth a pain, it helps for dialing in the perfect expresso grind immensely.

    But what does this mean for you? You should look for a control type that fits your needs. Stepless is great for espresso fans, while stepped grinders are better if you switch between drip and press methods a lot.

    Motors

    Also of great importance is the motor in your grinder! This can be a hard thing to gauge without trying a grinder for yourself, but it's a key part of the machine. The motor spins the burrs in the grinder, which, of course, grinds the beans. The biggest concern when considering motors is reliability. It's easy to replace burrs, and controls very rarely fail, but a bad motor can be costly to fix.

    Motor quality can be hard to judge, but generally you can feel it when the grinder kicks on. Motors will sound consistent and strong if they are of good quality. You should also notice some torque when it comes on as well.

    The other aspects of a motor are volume, speed, and consistency. Noise reduction can be achieved with baffling and other techniques, but speed and consistency are all in the motor! You'll want a motor that works fast, but stays consistent with it's grinding. This is fairly easy to achieve with home grinders, but often techniques like gear reduction will be used to manage speed and consistency on commercial machines.

    What's next?

    Next week we'll dive even deeper and discuss all of the odds and ends that put grinders over the top. Join us then, and remember to make coffee you love!

     

  • Intro to Community Q&A!

    Hey friends!

    Here at Seattle Coffee Gear we want to create a place where we can teach people about our biggest passion: Coffee! To that end, we're very excited to launch our monthly community Q&A feature. Looking to learn more about our favorite espresso machines? Wondering what the difference between Ethiopian and Burndi coffee is? have something to teach US? Great! Drop us a line at questions@seattlecoffeegear.com and you may be featured in a future Q&A feature!

    The best question each month will receive a Seattle Coffee Gear gift card!

    Again that email is questions@seattlecoffeegear.com and we can't wait to hear from you!

  • Lactose-Free Lattes | Part Four

     Are all of the options we’ve discussed in the previous parts still not meeting your whole milk standard? In this last segment of our four-part series, we’ll explore specialty versions of coconut, soy, and almond milk designed specifically for lattes.

    While researching how to make lattes with nondairy milks, we came across Pacific’s “Barista Series” that we decided to try out! The company claims subtle flavor profiles, curdle-free frothing, and perfectly textured milk for professional cafes to use. We were skeptical going into it (how different could they be?), but in the end, the results were fantastic! Overall, coconut milk was the clear winner, and soy and almond tied for second around the office for the best latte.

    Coconut Milk: Barista v. Conventional Coconut Milk: Barista v. Conventional

    Wow! The Barista Series coconut milk was amazing! This is easily our standout. In a cup, you get all the good, sweet flavor from regular coconut milk except with a rich foam that steamed well. Not to mention the latte art!

    Almond Milk: Barista v. Conventional Almond Milk: Barista v. Conventional

    Similarly, the Barista Series almond milk was definitely a step up from the regular almond milk we tested, but some of the tasters still opted out due to the persistent bitter undertones.

    Soy Milk: Barista v. Conventional Soy Milk: Barista v. Conventional

    The Barista Series soy milk was good, but it wasn’t our favorite. The texture was much improved when mixed with the acidic espresso, but still not as good as coconut. However, we thought that the flavor of the other milks paired better with our coffee.

    Nutrition per 8 ounces Nutrition per 8 ounces

    Sodium Citrate is a food additive that emulsifies liquid and fat. Pacific likely added this so that their milks had a creamier texture than comparable conventional options.

    Gellan Gum is an additive to some alternative milks to help them foam and behave more like dairy milk. We suspect that the barista soy milk doesn’t contain Gellan Gum because soy milk has a tendency to get thicker foam than dairy milk, which they were aiming to fix.

  • Lactose-Free Lattes | Part Three

     

    Next round of finished lattes! Next round of finished lattes!

    Are the milk alternatives we’ve already explored still not satisfying your morning caffeine cravings? If so, keep reading to find your next cup companion. In part three of this four-part series, we’ll explore some uncommon lactose-free and vegan alternatives to dairy milk.

    "<yoastmark

    In this round, oat milk won the gold medal, with cashew milk being a close runner-up. Oat milk boasted a rounded flavor and a mild oatmeal taste. The texture was slightly different than dairy milk, although most of our taste testers didn’t mind. Check out the article about the rising popularity of oat milk in Sweden on page 71 in Volume 4 of Drift Magazine. It is a common alternative to soy and dairy milks due to its sustainability and taste.

    Next, cashew milk was a yummy alternative to too-bitter almond milk that is more widely available than hazelnut milk. It presented a creamy texture that fell somewhere in the middle on the latte art potential scale. Good sign: our blind test tasters thought this was oat milk at first!

    Lastly, the flax milk fell a little short due to its thin texture and lack of flavor. The flavor seemed overly bland, but it wasn’t terrible. However, flax milk could be an option if you are interested in comparing the flavors of several espresso blends without adding too much flavor.

    Nutrition per 8 ounces Nutrition per 8 ounces

    Gellan Gum is an additive to some brands of alternative milks to help them foam and behave more like dairy milk. We suspect that the flax milk has less of this additive, which would explain its lack of frothiness.

  • Lactose-Free Lattes | Part Two

    Finished lattes! Finished lattes!

    Are the mainstream milk alternatives just not your thing? If soy, almond, and rice milk don’t quite cut it, read on to find your next macchiato mixer. In part two of this four-part series, we’ll explore some anomalous lactose-free and vegan alternatives to dairy milk.

    Left to right: qinuoa, hazelnut, pea, coconut Left to right: quinoa, hazelnut, pea, coconut

    Spoiler Alert: None of these stood out as a clear winner, as they were all pretty different. However, pea milk was the only contender that won a spot in my refrigerator. Pea milk’s thick texture and neutral flavor allured my dairy-dependent taste buds. 

    Pea milk had a subtly sweet flavor and a luxurious texture. Supported by its creamy opaque appearance, latte art would be a breeze with this beverage. The milk created a silky latte with a marvelous mouthfeel due to the high protein content. Don’t worry! It doesn’t taste like peas.

    Hazelnut milk was also delicious. If we were to make a family tree, this would be almond milks beautiful cousin; it had a nutty undertone but this time in a good way! In other words, this milk created velvety milk with a luscious layer of foam on top. Bonus: the hazelnut flavor in this milk made a mad mocha!

    Coconut milk wasn’t bad either. It flaunted a fantastic subtly-sweet flavor. If you can’t handle the varying flavors of the other options, definitely try this out. But be warned, If you want a creamy latte, the milk frothing may not be on par. In reality, latte art really wasn't an option and the foam was limited.

    Quinoa milk…hmm. Don’t buy this one.

    Nutrition per 8 ounces Nutrition per 8 ounces

    Gellan Gum is an additive to some brands of alternative milks to help them foam and behave more like dairy milk. The coconut milk's inability to froth well clearly displayed this attribute.

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