Make Coffee You Love!
The Round Up
Coffee connoisseurs, prepare to be awestruck by today’s Gear Guide picks for high-end espresso machines: the Nuova Simonelli Musica, Rocket Espresso R60V and La Marzocco GS/3. Crafted with advanced technology and finished in contemporary style, these semi-automatics are top of their class for good reasons!
The Musica features a heat exchange boiler and electric flair—literally! You can order the Musica with light-up side panels. Next, the R60V draws its fame from a double boiler design and a programmable PID that features pressure profiling, an adjustable feature not found on many machines. Last to round out our list is the GS/3, built with commercial grade components that delivers precision shots—and it’s easy on the eyes! If you’re ready to invest in a top of the line espresso machine, then look no further than today’s top three. Go ahead—take the plunge!
Beauty, brains and brawn—the Musica has it all! Nuova Simonelli is the official espresso machine provider for the World Barista Championship and famed for their impressive steam power. The Musica’s blessed with power and a four-hole tip steam wand to whips frothy milk in seconds. This is the only heat exchanger in the lineup, but rest assured the espresso comes out consistent and hot for the best shot. Plus, it’s equipped with programmable espresso buttons that coffee connoisseurs can enjoy setting and saving for their perfect brew.
Lets not forget about the Musica’s electrifying looks! You can choose between the luxe lighting or stick with black accents. Both versions feature stainless steel casing and matching drip tray that exude 50s jukebox style—but just the style. This modern machine is built with electronic controls and user-friendly interface. Overall, a fantastic pick for high-end espresso machines!
Rocket Espresso has piloted home brewing into the modern age with advanced programmability, features and even a smartphone app. The R60V includes a programmable PID featuring—wait for it—pressure profiling! If you’re new to pressure profiling, this feature allows baristas to modulate pump pressure and duration. For example, you can set a pre-infusion pressure of two bars and then jump the brew pressure to a classic nine bars. Use the smartphone app or attached PID controller to program up to five pressure settings for three separate profiles—you can tinker and play without losing your best profiles! Dual stainless steel boilers work independently, so you call the shots for your espresso. You even have the option to plumb-in this machine to keep the espresso flowing—need we say more?
Yes, we do! Hand-built by expert craftsman in Italy, each machine is a little unique in just the right way. There’s no denying that the R60V is a beautifully crafted machine featuring contemporary influence. It’s built with high-quality materials, an E-61 brew head, rotary pump and a heavy-duty 58mm portafilter. This is just another one of our high-end espresso machines that will make you feel like a barista in a cafe.
Last on our list of high-end espresso machines is a machine built with dual stainless steel boilers, a customizable PID display and commercially-approved and NSF-rated components suited for light cafes and serious home setups alike. The La Marzocco GS/3 will have coffee connoisseurs head over heels. The enormous 3.5-liter steam boiler and 1.5-liter brew boiler will pull shot after shot and won’t run out thanks to a 3.5-liter water reservoir. Or, you can plumb-in this machine like both of our other picks for unlimited water! And with the PID, you can adjust each boiler to your desired temperature.
Alongside the GS/3’s generous boilers are features like a quiet rotary pump that maintains a set volume and a saturated brew head that evenly extract grounds to produce consistent shots. And let’s not forget cappuccino or latte lovers! The traditional steam wand blasts powerful steam thanks to that big ol’ boiler and is a breeze to clean with a no-burn wand—just remember that it’ll still be hot!
There you have it—our top three picks for high-end espresso machines! We started off with the vibrant Nuova Simonelli Musica featuring lit side panels, a heat exchanger and Barista Championship-famous steam power. For baristas who love tweaking coffee parameters, the Rocket Espresso R60V comes equipped with a PID featuring pressure profiling for the ultimate customization. Lastly, La Marzocco knocked the socks off of coffee aficionados with the GS/3 that features two burly boilers and some impressive brewing components that help you pull more consistent shots. If you’re ready to up your espresso game, drop a hint by sharing this story on Facebook or Twitter!
How Does It Compare?
Did somebody say, “One-touch cappuccino?” That’s just one (of many) sweet features included in the newest addition to our DeLonghi lineup, the DeLonghi ECAM 44660B Eletta Plus Superautomatic Espresso Machine. Plus, the Eletta is exclusive to us, so naturally we’ve tested this machine inside and out! The LatteCrema system introduces customizable froth for perfect latte or cappuccino foam with remarkable results! You’ll be able to adjust from a creamy microfoam up to a thick, heavy cappuccino foam consistency at the turn of a dial. Originally exclusive to DeLonghi’s high-end Primadonna line, LatteCrema is now included in most of Delonghi’s new lineup—like the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart. The Eletta packs in a few more brewing options than its smaller counterpart with features like pulse brewing for excellent coffee—yes, coffee! Don’t be fooled by the “coffee” options labeled elsewhere on the machine...they actually mean espresso, but we will sort that out in a minute. When you start moving up the line, the Eletta comes with more features to make you and your family the perfect cup at home.
Alright, back to the use of coffee and espresso. These words are interchanged often on espresso machines and frequently confuse people. The DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino ‘coffee’ options really mean espresso. Just like the Magnifica S Smart, a single shot is just that, a 1-ounce shot, while a double increases the dose and shot time to a classic Doppio serving. You can choose lengths from ‘short’ to ‘extra long’—which correspond to ristretto through lungo shot lengths. The Eletta gives you a bit more control by letting you adjust your ‘My Coffee’ shot length through an intuitive press-and-hold programming. Even better, the Eletta will remember your programming and automatically pull to twice that length when you select the ‘Double My Coffee’ option.
And, the Eletta has another trick up its sleeve with the dedicated ‘’long coffee’’ icon located to the left of the screen. A magical pulse brewing option extracts coffee at lower pressure versus how espresso is extracted at quick, high pressures. The result is a brew that’s very similar to a classic cup of drip! We were able to detect lighter, more floral notes in our cup.
The LatteCrema system is one of our favorite features on the DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino. The carafe features three intuitive icons that let you customize the texture of your foam. Paired with the milk options menu and one-touch cappuccino button, it's like having your own barista! Inside the menu you have classic drinks like the latte macchiato and the popular flat white that both use microfoam. But if you’re craving a cappuccino, twist the foam dial to the highest setting and use the dedicated cappuccino button for six-ounces of rich, foamy goodness.
When you’re done with milk, the carafe has an automatic cleaning cycle that’s truly a game changer! It rinses the aerator and spout with piping-hot water, so you can store the carafe in the fridge without worrying about dried milk. The Eletta also comes with a hot water spout that takes the place of the carafe. If you’re a tea drinker, there’s a dedicated tea button that delivers out steaming-hot water—or use it to make hot chocolate for the family!
Styled with sleek, sharp edges, the DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino slides right next to most kitchen appliances with ease. Its narrow and lengthy body is the ideal shape for utilizing space underneath a cabinet. It’s a bit bigger than other models like the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart, but that just means more room for goodies like a 10-ounce bean hopper and a huge two liter water tank! If you ask us, the delicious drip-style coffee and customizable milk frother is worth the extra counter space.
But the Eletta’s not done yet, extra features like automatic on and off times are well worth it! It takes a hot second for the Eletta to heat up and having the auto-on function shortens the wait between waking up and your first sip of fresh java. Watch out, though—that first sip might be hot! The Eletta heats coffee and milk to an extremely hot, (and in our opinion perfect) temperature. If you need to adjust it though, under the menu you can select between four temperature preferences, alongside options like automatic descaling and rinsing functions to keep your machine fresh and clean.
With the LatteCrema system and one-touch technology, we’re out the door in minutes with a cappuccino in hand! And the Eletta’s other features, like pulse-brewed coffee and dedicated hot water, ensure there is a drink for everyone. Not to mention, it’s easy on the eyes with its polished black finish. As a Seattle Coffee Gear exclusive, we’re the only place you can pick up the DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino. Check it out and share your thoughts about the Eletta in the comments below!
How Does It Compare?
In this Crew Comparison, we have the Saeco Intelia Deluxe and Jura Impressa C60; two entry-level superautomatic espresso machines that do the heavy lifting for casual coffee lovers. Both include an automatic milk frothing siphon and programmable espresso features like adjustable coffee strength and brewing temperature that will whip up drinks like a professional—skip the cafe line and make coffee you love at home!
Both superautomatics offer functionalities perfect for beginners, but have some different features that make each unique. The Intelia Deluxe’s milk frother, the cappuccinatore, can be swapped for a panarello-style steam wand—a feature you’ll love if you want more control over the milk temperature and foam. Meanwhile, the C60 only has Jura’s Fine Foam Frother—similar to the cappuccinatore—that leaves the frothing work in the hands of the machine. However, if you love drinking straight espresso shots, Jura is known for making a strong cup of joe! In fact, the C60 dosed more grams per shot than the Intelia at its highest coffee strength. Whether you’re drinking espresso or lattes, keep reading to find out which machine is best for your coffee needs!
If you crave strong coffee, the Jura Impressa C60 has the kick you desire! Even better, with the C60 you can adjust the brew temperature and shot time to make a drink to your liking—or switch it up on the fly! Even when the C60’s brewing, you can quickly change settings to add more strength or make your coffee hotter—impressive for an entry-level superautomatic espresso machine! When you’ve got your coffee dialed in, the C60 has three programmable buttons located within the small digital display that will record your preferences.
On the other hand, the Saeco Intelia Deluxe’s sleek, tactile buttons make programming espresso a breeze. Use the two programmable Espresso and Espresso Lungo buttons to customize the volume to suit your needs. When you find your ideal brew, press and hold each button to save your perfect cup! Between cups, if you notice your brew lacking punch, you can adjust the coffee temperature or Aroma Strength to dose more grounds per shot (just not as much as Jura).
One of the features we love on the Saeco Intelia Deluxe is the ability to interchange the cappuccinatore with a panarello. The cappuccinatore is an automatic milk frother that siphons milk from your container and froths it for you (similar to the Jura Impressa C60’s version). That means your milk temperature and foam density is left up to the frother, which is where the panarello comes in! With the panarello, you can manually control how long the milk is heated and frothed. If you’re new to the panarello-style steam wand, it automatically aerates the milk for you so there is little to no technique involved—the perfect accessory for an entry-level superautomatic espresso machine! If you like your drinks extra hot, the panarello attachment is definitely a big help.
Looking to round out your coffee collection? Jura offers a removable (and matching) stainless steel carafe that easily fits in the fridge door or—drumroll—the Jura Cool Control Automatic Milk Cooler, which as the name implies, is a small milk refrigerator. The Cooler is a game changer for latte lovers or small office environments that go through milk gallons on the daily (this is definitely our Crew)!
If we’re judging style, we’re tied between these two entry-level superautomatic espresso machines. The Saeco Intelia Deluxe’s sleek, stainless steel front exudes expensive style without the price tag. Even the drip tray is a sturdy metal that complements your kitchen appliances. On the other hand, the Jura Impressa C60 is clad in polished black casing with stainless steel accents and a mirrored metal drip tray. What matters the most to us, though, is that both machines are ergonomically designed to utilize every feature without sacrificing valuable counter space.
Mornings just got easier with the Jura Impressa C60’s user-friendly programming. The touch-sensitive interface interacts with a dial to scroll through options quickly—especially useful for adjusting your coffee on the fly! While the clean, symmetrical display is easy to operate, the small screen isn’t our favorite. It leaves only enough room for a word or two to describe features you might change. The Saeco Intelia Deluxe works in the same way with two drink buttons and a program menu but instead is displayed on soft, tactile buttons and a full screen. Not only is it easier on the eyes, but the screen has more room to describe each setting.
Skip the morning cafe jam and start making coffee you love at home with one of these entry-level superautomatic espresso machines. The Saeco Intelia Deluxe comes equipped with a cappuccinatore for instant frothy milk or a panarello add-on that offers you extra control when you need it. The Jura Impressa C60 doses more coffee per espresso shot, which will make espresso-only drinkers an instant fan (we know we are)! With the Jura Fine Foam Frother, latte lovers have frothy milk on hand. Tell us what superautomatic you’d set up in your kitchen in the comments below.
The Round Up
Drip coffee makers are a morning tradition most coffee aficionados can’t live without. With so many brewers out there, we thought we'd narrow the choices with our top three picks, the Bonavita Coffee Maker (BV1900TS), Technivorm Moccamaster and Breville Grind Control. The Speciality Coffee Association of America (SCAA) recognized two of our picks, the Bonavita and Technivorm, as certified home brewers, which undergoes their rigorously testing to qualify. However, the Breville Grind Control Coffee Maker's got something those machines don't have, a grinder! It is an all-in-one machine that does all the heavy lifting and features programmable options. If you’re ready to upgrade your morning ritual, check out our top three drip coffee makers!
Staff Pick: Bonavita Coffee Maker (BV1900TS)
The Bonavita Coffee Maker (model BV1900TS) is a stunning, sleek machine that’s SCAA-certified. Part of making SCAA’s list that it brews at the ideal temperature, which SCAA has between 198 to 204 degrees. Paired with the stainless steel carafe that keeps the coffee fresh and never burned, we always pour a consistently toasty cup. Another reason it made our list is the Bonavita’s basket design. Built with a large shower head and flat-bottom, U-shaped filter basket, our grounds are fully saturated to create an even extraction. What does that mean for you? A better tasting cup!
Established: Technivorm Moccamaster
The Technivorm Moccamaster is also SCAA-certified and has been a household name since the 1960s. To top if off, the entire Moccamaster lineup is certified, so you can choose anything from a large 10-cup brewer to this bright red version (we’re fans of the red). Its top-of-the-line build quality and five-year warranty provided by Technivorm is added security. The Crew’s drip coffee maker is actually a Technivorm Moccamasters and we love it because it’s easy to use, easy to clean up and easy to fill again and again—seriously after 30 minutes have rolled by, we’re on pot number two.
Built-In Grinder: Breville Grind Control Coffee Maker
If you’re looking for an all-in-one drip coffee maker, check out the Breville Grind Control! Equipped with auto-on and customization, it does all the work to get you through the morning! Program it the night before with your ideal coffee strength, volume and set the clock. It can even brew one cup of coffee if you so desire! The tray under the carafe also removes to allow extra cup clearance for a travel mug, so a one cup option comes in handy. The only quirky thing on the one cup option is that it brews immersion style instead of drip.
The Breville is also a great option if you don't want to purchase a grinder. It's built with an adjustable grind control that weighs the grounds for the right amount each time. The grind does add some extra inches—it’s nearly 18-inches tall—but when you’re weighing the pros and the cons, we’d say the instant morning coffee is a win.
There you have it! We have the Bonavita Coffee Maker, Technivorm Moccamaster and Breville Grind Control as our top three drip coffee makers. The SCAA-certification highlights the Bonavita and Technivorm’s excellent brewing and having used both of these machines for years, we’d wholeheartedly agree! For casual coffee drinkers, there’s always the demand for the best user experience and that’s where new arrivals like Breville Grind Control excel. You’ve heard us rave about Breville’s attention to the user and this drip coffee maker does it all from auto-on to a single cup for a travel mug. Check back for more Gear Guides to find out next week’s top three picks!
How Does It Compare?
Say hello to the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart! It comes equipped with a milk carafe (of all things) that features an adjustable milk foam dial called the LatteCrema system—and you know what? It actually works! We’re incredibly impressed with the carafe’s adjustable dial that whips up everything from a silky microfoam to a foamy cappuccino all at the touch of a button. You heard right! The Magnifica Smart marries one-touch technology with their LatteCrema system to create real lattes right into your cup.
The simplistic interface makes selecting our espresso drink an effortless experience. It takes a little more finessing than a digital display but there are not a lot of customization options to tweak anyway. In fact, the only thing we’re missing on the Magnifica Smart is the programmability we’ve seen on previous models like the Eletta and Magnifica S. It lacks the auto-on functionality, brew temperature setting and drink profiles we’ve come to adore. But, for such a compact espresso machine, the Magnifica Smart pulls out consistent drinks that’ll have you coming back for more.
The DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart makes consistent, smooth cups largely thanks to its modestly designed menu options. The menu features two milk-based and three espresso drinks with only minor customizability. One feature we can customize is the coffee strength, which features three options that increase the dosage up to 3-grams of extra grounds—an impressive feat for a small machine! There’s also an X2 button that increases the espresso volume to a double shot over the standard single-ounce pour. Unlike similar Saeco models, DeLonghi’s brew group doesn’t grind and brew twice, but instead increases the dosing in their brew chamber and pulls more water through this extra-sized puck. With the swimming pool-sized 61-ounce water tank, it’s no problem pulling a double shot for our latte!
If you want more control over your coffee, the Magnifica Smart also features an adjustable grinder that’s designed with stepped settings to easily dial in each time. It only took us a couple of shots to find the ideal setting! There’s also the bypass doser if you prefer pre-ground coffee or if you want to switch up your beans.
The LatteCrema, a feature usually only found on DeLonghi's high end Primadonna line, has been added to every machine in their lineup! And the results speak for themselves, the milk frothing system outshines other machines at this price range. This is especially impressive since carafes are generally a “one-foam-fits-all.” The DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart carafe features three icons for fine microfoam to dry, foamy cappuccinos—better yet, you can turn the dial between icons for more frothing options.
Milk volume is another programmable feature we wish we had; however, we can hit the Brew button again to stop frothing. Another option for milk volume is using one of two milk-drink icons, cappuccino or latte, featured in the menu. Cappuccinos traditionally use less steamed milk and more foam while a latte is more milk and less foam. Combined with the carafe dial—that you’ll want to adjust separately—you can perfect your ideal cup in no time.
The DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart packs in features without sacrificing valuable counter space. The 16-ounce milk carafe and 10-ounce bean hopper keep the lattes flowing—we whipped up four lattes before pouring more milk! Depending on the amount of espresso and foam, you can easily make drinks for the Sunday brunch crowd. Oh and we can’t forget how simple it is to select different drinks and customizing the milk froth—so, brunch at your place?
When you’re done making lattes on the Magnifica Smart, cleanup is a breeze thanks to its automatic rinse cycle. There is also a clean cycle on the carafe dial that activates when in position to remove excess milk—we’re in love! Or if you still have milk, the carafe is removable to store in the fridge for later. One quirk of the DeLonghi lineup is if you want to clean the brew group, you have to make sure it’s not engaged in coffee mode to remove it.
If you’re looking for a superautomatic that can make silky lattes or foamy cappuccinos, the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart is your machine! Built with the LatteCrema system and one-touch technology, delicious espresso is only a touch away. Tell us what you think of the Magnifica Smart in the comments below and be sure to check back next week for another Crew Review!
The Round Up
Pour over coffee delivers an irresistibly smooth, flavorful cup that casual and enthusiast coffee drinkers desire. The method involves a steady, controlled pour that evenly extracts grounds and brings out those delicate notes like fruits and spices. We enjoy a lot of different pour over coffee makers but our top three picks have to be the Hario V60, Chemex and Kalita Wave. These three brewers offer beginners and professional home baristas different amounts of control, volume and design options—you’re bound to find a pour over brewer you’ll love! Check out the reasons why each coffee brewer made the list.
Staff Pick: Hario Coffee Dripper V60
The Hario V60 allows professional and budding baristas alike granular control over their pour over—earning it a place at the top of our list! Practice dialing in the grind, finding the ideal brew temperature or perfecting your pour technique and the coffee will speak for itself. One of our favorite design elements though is both iconic and functional! Inside the V60 are raised swirls that keep the paper filter from sticking to the edge and restricting the water flow, so our coffee is always evenly extracted—hooray!
Another reason we adore the V60 is there are different colors, designs and sizes available, so there’s something for everyone. That said, the V60 is generally a one to two cup serving—ideal for one coffee lover to enjoy. If you want to make pour over for a crowd, we’ve got something better for you.
Crowd Pleaser: Chemex
Chemex’s iconic carafes are elegant and, most importantly, make a delicately bright, tea-like cup of coffee. This flavor profile results from the thicker paper filters that when wet creates a seal against the all to help reduce the oils and fines in each cup. If you enjoy the lighter notes of coffee, then the Chemex is sure to be your favorite!
The Chemex is designed as pour over vessel and carafe for seamless brewing and serving. On top of that, there are several sizes that make excellent brews for a crowd—try out the 8- or 10-cup! We prefer the glass handled Chemex for easier pouring and clean up, but the iconic wood and leather handle is always a good choice.
Ease Of Use: Kalita Wave
Last but not least, the Kalita Wave is our pick for entry-level baristas! We find it easier to achieve a consistent cup every time thanks to the small holes in the base that restricts the flow. Also, the flat base helps evenly extract grounds for a bolder taste. However, it’s a single serve pour over coffee makers, so keep that in mind if you want multiple cups. But, for ease of use, it’s quick to brew and easy to clean up. If you’re new to pour over brewing, the Kalita Wave is the perfect vessel for you!
For our top three pour over coffee makers, we have the Hario V60, Chemex and Kalita Wave. Each pour over has different designs and sizes that have something to offer for everyone. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch more of Seattle Coffee Gear’s top three picks!
How Does It Compare?
The single boiler espresso machine continues to be one of our top sellers with crowd favorites like the Rancilio Silvia M and Crossland Coffee CC1 at the front. Both semi-automatics recently underwent minor updates so we decided it was high time for an updated comparison. The Silvia owes its prominence to a commercial-quality build and consistent production since the 1990s. It still features a basic interface and no programmability—but we have some good news for you, coffee friends! We offer a PID installation with a warranty so you can upgrade your Silvia M with more control.
Silvia’s main competition, the Crossland CC1, has a built-in PID operated by a user-friendly digital display—seriously, the navigation is seamless. Customize your coffee using the PID to set the temperature and save up to three espresso profiles. It’s perfect for a family or small office with different preferences! The CC1 offers more customization but the Silvia M features a tried-and-true build with and without the PID. Read on to find out which single boiler machine is right for you.
Equipped with an intuitive interface, customizing our coffee on the Crossland Coffee CC1 is effortless. Once we’re in the main menu, we can customize the pre-infusion, wait and brew time for each of the three profiles—that’s a lot of options for a single boiler machine! Also, we can adjust the PID to get the boiler within a degree of our ideal brew temperature. And, we know when the boiler’s ready thanks to the temperature displayed on the screen.
The Rancilio Silvia M features simple switches that customers love—we’re on board with the experience too! If you purchase the Silvia M with PID installed by SCG, though, there is a slight learning curve to the operation. To pull a shot you engage the coffee switch and then press the pause/start button—that’s it! The PID has programmable pre-infusion, wait time, brew time and, if purchased through SCG, each PID comes pre-programmed and optimized for your espresso—you’ll reap the benefits without having to program it!
Pro tip: If you purchase the Silvia M with PID, please reference our resources to help you get started!
Since both machines are single boilers we have to brew and steam one at a time—a task we’re willing to do on these machines! Why? To start, when it comes to steam, the Rancilio Silvia M packs more punch than the competition. It brings the whole boiler to steam temperature and is easy to bring back to the brew temperature by flushing hot water through the steam wand. However, there is a downside; the Silvia M takes longer to rise to steam temperature from initial start up or after brewing. So there will be a wait time between making multiple lattes—honestly, single boiler espresso machines in general take longer to make multiple drinks than heat exchangers or double boilers.
On the other hand, the Crossland Coffee CC1 has a trick up its sleeve—this single boiler espresso machine uses a dedicated thermoblock for steaming. When the thermoblock kicks, it reduces heating time! Not to mention, we prefer the CC1’s steam wand over the Silvia M. The Silvia M’s limited rotation, short cup clearance and L-shaped design made it difficult to angle a pitcher and ultimately affected our experience frothing milk. While the CC1’s features the same L-shape, it had a higher cup clearance and longer wand for better access.
Both machines feature the sharp, boxy body outfitted with industrial stainless steel. And you know what? We love the look! The Crossland Coffee CC1 has a digital display that adds modern flair and, most importantly, the ability to customize. Built with a large, stainless steel drip tray and cup warmer, the CC1’s sharp design is functional. Our only beef with the CC1’s design in the front-accessible water tank. You cannot remove it when the portafilter is in place and it takes patience to maneuver it in—but come on, it’s a water tank!
The Rancilio Silvia M’s updated design features a new green light that indicates that the machine is on. The orange light is still present but smaller and flashes while it’s heating up. While those updates were great, we would have loved to see a redesign with the steam wand. For those of you new to the Silvia M, the body design has the same industrial look from its original conception. Overall, the Silvia M has a style that appeals to a wide crowd and features an intuitive interface that makes making coffee enjoyable.
The Rancilio Silvia M and Crossland Coffee CC1 are two single boiler espresso machines that have something for everyone. When you’re considering between these two machines, one of the highlights is the built-in PID on the CC1. While the Silvia M features an add-on, it only has one profile to customize. Both machines are excellent choices whichever way you decide. Which machine would you take home? Tell us in the comments below!
How Does It Compare?
Grabbing the Fellow Stagg Pour-Over Kettle to brew is like sipping that first cup of coffee. With the gooseneck spout and weighted handle, we have total control over the flow and direction of our pour—a feature the coffee connoisseur in all of us relish. The Stagg’s overall design is fresh, exciting...and there’s more to it than meets the eye. Similar kettles include the Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle, which features a similar gooseneck spout; however the Stagg has an integrated thermometer to make it easier to accurately read the temperature. Coffee enthusiasts know that precision and accuracy are important to the brew! Find out what makes the Stagg one of our favorite kettles.
The Fellow Stagg Pour-Over Kettle includes a built-in thermometer in the lid—we’ll never guess the temperature again! If you’ve ever grabbed your kitchen thermometer and awkwardly reached inside the top of your kettle, this feature is a lifesaver. The thermometer features a red zone for optimal coffee brewing temperature—between 194 and 205 degrees—and can read up to 230 degrees for other beverages like tea. The Stagg holds a liter of water just below the kettle’s handle—that's enough for nearly seven five-ounce cups of coffee!
Designed with a precision-pour spout, coffee aficionados are able to perfect their pour over technique. The thin, curved spout includes more edges than we’ve seen in a goose-neck and this design helps reduce the flow. With this sort of accuracy, we’re able to carefully wet the edges of our Kalita Wave without spilling off the sides!
Balance also plays a role in the accuracy of the pour. Fellow created a weighted handle that balances the mass of the kettle towards your hand—making pouring effortless. Your hands adjust comfortably to the smooth, forked design that adds additional stability when you pour—rest your thumb against Fellow’s logo for extra comfort!
The elegant symmetry from spout to handle adds fashion and function to the Fellow Stagg Pour-Over Kettle. Crafted with 18/8 grade stainless steel, the material only enhances the high-quality design. Home baristas and renters, rejoice—the Stagg is compatible with electric, gas and induction stoves! The Stagg comes in polished stainless steel or matte black—the Crew’s favorite—but after using it on the stove, we noticed some wear. The mirrored silver attracts fingerprints like our favorite kitchen appliance—we’re looking at you, fridge—while the black can scratch and reveal the steel underneath. Extensively using any appliance is bound to have some wear and fortunately, we’ve mostly seen it at the bottom of the kettle.
Lastly, we don’t always talk about packaging but we couldn’t resist this time! The Stagg’s packaging features a “Pour-Over Perfected” guide that details coffee to water ratios and how to properly brew pour over. For budding baristas, this quick how-to gets them started the moment they open their Stagg Kettle—you’ll even be tempted to keep the box. Didn’t we say grabbing the Stagg is as enjoyable as your first sip of coffee?
The Fellow Stagg Pour-Over Kettle features an ergonomic design, quality materials and style that will make any home barista excited each time they brew. And, you’ll have something to look forward to—Fellow recently released an updated version featuring a metal lid and more accurate goose-neck spout! Stay tuned for an updated review.
The Round Up
Shopping for a coffee grinder on a budget? We’ve got you covered! We picked out our top three budget grinders under $200; the Breville Dose Control Pro, Baratza Encore and Hario Skerton Coffee Mill. First on our list is the Breville Dose Control Pro as our favorite entry-level espresso grinder. It’s one of the cheapest grinders we have that’ll grind fine enough for a non-pressurized portafilter. For every day grinding from French press to drip, the Baratza Encore impresses baristas with its intuitive controls and consistent grind at a great price point. Lastly, the Hario Skerton Coffee Mill is a hand grinder that offers the best value on a budget. Lets check out the features and functionalities of these budget grinders.
Espresso Grinder: Breville Dose Control Pro
For under $200, the Breville Dose Control Pro blows us away with its grinding capabilities. It grinds consistently and fine enough to work for non-pressurized portafilters. Even at coarse settings, the Dose Control is consistent! This is hands-down our SCG Pick for a budget espresso grinder. With only 60 grind settings, we were excited over how easy it was to dial in on a Rocket Premium Plus (not to mention the delicious shots)! For even more control over your grind, Breville included additional adjustment settings beneath the hopper.
Another feature we love on the Dose Control is the adjustable timer that grinds for up to 50 seconds. With the start/cancel button, you can also pause or manually grind when you need to. Breville continues their focus on crafting a great user experience and included two portafilter holders in 54mm and 58mm sizes. They’ve even included an adjustable dosing tool that levels off loose grounds in your portafilter for an even tamp—now that’s great service!
Everyday Grinder: Baratza Encore
For general use grinding, we turn to the Baratza Encore. Built with 40mm conical steel burrs and a steady 450 RPM motor, the Encore turns out consistent grinds without excess heat—an excellent feature with steel burrs! This stepped grinder features 40 settings consistent even at French press settings. This grinder can also work for an espresso machine with a pressurized portafilter—sorry coffee friends, it’s just not fine enough for non-pressurized. That said, the Encore would be the perfect entry-level grinder for beginners or casual coffee drinkers.
One of our favorite design elements on the Encore is the bidirectional power switch. No matter which way you turn the switch, it’s either on or off. The overall style of the Encore is complementary to its entry-level price-point. It’s all plastic, which creates some unwelcome coffee static. However, its compact design makes it an easy fit in any home barista’s kitchen. If you’re on a budget, the Encore’s affordability and features make it a strong choice.
Budget Friendly: Hario Skerton Coffee Mill
The Hario Skerton Coffee Mill is the perfect companion for in the kitchen or on the road! It’s compact, reliable and user-friendly design makes it our go-to budget grinder. The Skerton features conical ceramic burrs ideal for pour over or drip brewing. However, we did notice that the coarser we went, the less consistent the grind got (French press fanatics beware). And while the Skerton is able to go fine enough for espresso, its burr locking mechanism makes it difficult to set at a just-right grind. And, in our opinion, it takes more time and effort to grind for a shot than we’re willing to spend.
Still, the Skerton’s lighter weight and ergonomic shape make it a comfortable fit in your hands. The Skerton also has a glass container that helps reduce coffee static and limits the mess—a blessing if you know what we mean! Pro tip: if you’re an Aeropress brewer, you’ll find that the upper portion of the grinder fits almost perfectly over the Aeropress’ brew chamber! Speaking of, the upper portion is built with plastic, but we see that as a positive feature since it reduces the overall weight and makes it less likely to break. The hopper holds up to 80 grams of coffee (or four Aeropresses worth) to get the day started with a couple of fresh cups of coffee.
That’s it for our top three budget grinders! Each grinder has affordable features and functionalities that offer home baristas much-needed options. If you’re looking for an espresso grinder, then the Breville Dose Control Pro is our recommended pick for you to take home. For everything else from French press to pour over, the Baratza Encore and Hario Skerton Coffee Mill are both great options.
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How Does It Compare?
The beginning of every home brewers coffee journey starts with finding the perfect entry-level espresso machine. Naturally, we chose the DeLonghi Dedica EC680 and Breville Duo-Temp Pro as our two picks! These are two fantastic semi-automatic machines that have all the right features to get you started. The Dedica’s programmability creates a consistent user-friendly experience for baristas and not to mention convenience if you want quality espresso without the fuss. It has programmable espresso buttons and a panarello-style steam wand that froths milk for you.
On the other hand, the Duo-Temp Pro is designed for beginners to grow with. It comes with pressurized portafilters to assist pulling your first shots and non-pressurized portafilters to master your craft. The Duo-Temp Pro is a manually operated machine, which means you’ll need to learn to time shots yourself—if you want to learn, this is an added bonus for you! If you’re ready to start making coffee you love at home, then check out these entry-level espresso machines to see which one will be your first!
If you’re looking to hone your coffee skills, then we recommend the Breville Duo-Temp Pro. Equipped with non-pressurized portafilter baskets, you can learn how to dial in your grinder. When you’re feeling lazy, switch over to the pressurized portafilter and let it do all the hard work for you. As an added bonus, the Duo-Temp Pro’s baskets are stainless steel—high-quality for an entry-level espresso machine! On the opposite end, the DeLonghi Dedica has a pressurized portafilter, which is better for those want to make great coffee without practice.
As an entry-level espresso machine, the Dedica excels with programmable features! You can program two time-based espresso buttons, temperature, water hardness, auto descale and auto shut-off time—whew! Did you catch all that? It’s nice to have some control over your espresso in this small machine! We say some because the programmability is limited to a set amount but it still offers more options. This is great for beginners who want to add some customization without getting technical. The Duo-Temp Pro is completely manual using a turn knob to start and stop for brewing and steaming. This is great for improving your barista muscle memory—soon you’ll just know when you’ve hit between 20 and 30 seconds for your shot.
Another reason the DeLonghi Dedica is a perfect entry-level espresso machine is the panarello-style steam wand. For those you don’t already know, the panarello automatically froths milk by drawing in air from a hole at the top. This gives you foamy cappuccino froth every time. If you were interested in practicing latte art, then you’d want a traditional style steam wand like the Breville Duo-Temp Pro has. It’s like we’ve been saying—the Duo-Temp Pro is designed to help you learn! With the Duo-Temp Pro, you can learn how to texture your milk for latte art or dry cappuccino foam.
Since both machines have thermoblocks, we recommend steaming first and then brewing. Of course, that means the thermoblock is at steam temperature and too hot to brew coffee—a dilemma if you want your coffee quick. That’s why we love the Duo-Temp Pro auto-purge feature which reduces the temperature! After steaming, you can hear the valve release hot water behind the drip tray, so you can brew your coffee in a snap. We’re stoked that this feature is offered on an entry-level espresso machine. With the Dedica, we can easily bring the temperature down to brewing by pulling hot water through the steam wand. The Duo-Temp Pro’s auto-purge is an amazing bonus!
It’s great to see that the Breville Duo-Temp Pro features the same sleek style as the rest of Breville’s impressive lineup. Encased with brushed stainless steel casing, the Duo-Temp Pro integrates effortlessly into modern kitchens. If you’re considering size, the Dedica is one of the narrowest semi-automatics we’ve seen! It’s nearly 3-inches narrower than the Duo-Temp Pro. The Dedica’s slim body easily cozies up to kitchen appliances and saves valuable real estate on home barista’s counters. Like the Duo-Temp Pro, the Dedica has a polished stainless steel casing that adds an extra touch on an entry-level espresso machine.
Breville maintains their high-quality design on the Duo-Temp Pro and outfitted it with a user-friendly interface that we mastered in a few shots. We mentioned the centered turn knob controls the espresso and steam; likewise, to operate the hot water or steam, all you need to do is click the adjacent button and flip the knob. With the Dedica though, there are several programmable options that you can learn by referencing your manual—the slight learning curve is worth the extra rewards! Once the Dedica is programmed, your coffee is just one push of a button away.
If you’re looking for your first espresso machine, then check out the Breville Duo-Temp Pro and DeLonghi Dedica. The Duo-Temp Pro offers beginning barista’s a chance to grow with their machine and gain the experience to use advance semi-automatics down the road. On the other hand, the Dedica features two programmable espresso buttons and a panarello steam wand to make grabbing a homemade latte a cinch. We’d love to hear what you think about these two entry-level espresso machines! Share your thoughts in the comments below.