Make Coffee You Love!

  • Tech Tip: Saeco Syntia Test Mode & Troubleshooting

    Saeco SyntiaWhile it's true that the Saeco Syntia offers a display with icons and text that will signal to you when something is going wrong, we often hear from folks that aren't clear on what's going on with it. Is that a close up of a fly's head or a symbol telling you to descale? Is it signaling that the tap is open a smidge or is it warning you that snakes are coming out of your espresso machine? These are the big questions, folks.

    In our next series of Saeco superautomatic espresso machine troubleshooting, Brendan takes on the Syntia series. Using the SS model, he first guides us through Test Mode, which is the highly useful diagnostic tool that enables you to run each functional component separately, and without making coffee, so that you can deduce what might be going on with your Syntia. Then, we dive into interpreting the rather cryptic symbols that appear as errors or alerts on the machine.

    Even though we used the SS model for this demonstration, much of this applies to the Syntia Focus and Syntia Cappuccino models, too. If you've wanted to learn more about the inner workings of your machine, these are your go-to videos!

    SCG Tech Tips: Saeco Syntia Test Mode

    SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Syntia Alarms & Errors

  • Tech Tip: Saeco Intelia Focus Test Mode

    Saeco Intelia SuperautomaticsSince the Saeco Intelia Focus features a pretty darn clear menu screen that will alert you specifically to any issues and errors, we thought that going over them was of very little import. Instead, we wanted to focus on its Test Mode, which is cool because it allows you to run each of the functional components separately and independently of actually making coffee. So if your machine is behaving badly (naughty machine!) and you want to find out what might be the source of its bad behavior, test mode can be a helpful deduction tool.

    Watch as Brendan guides us through test mode -- how to get into it, navigate through it and then use it to diagnose any functionality or performance issues with your machine. And while we did use the Saeco Intelia Focus as the demo machine for this troubleshooting video, this process applies its Cappuccino and SS counterparts, too.

    SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Intelia Focus Test Mode

  • Tech Tip: Saeco Odea Test Mode & Troubleshooting

    Saeco OdeaWe had a customer come into the store a few years ago with his Saeco Odea Giro in tow. He loved the coffee that it made and wanted to have it tuned up by our repair team. While he had it in, however, he wanted to find out if his model had a particularly tender heart because he felt like the only way it would work each morning is if he started out by giving it a hug.

    It's true that the Odea series kind of got a bad rap because not only were its sensors particularly sensitive, it had limited tools with which to communicate its feelings to you. What does a slow blinking exclamation point mean versus a fast blinking or solid exclamation point?

    In these two videos, Brendan demystifies the rather cryptic errors and alarms that the Saeco Odea series of espresso machines can show. Then, he shows us how to take the machine into Test Mode so you can run each functional component separately and diagnose what might be having an issue.

    If you're in need of a secret decoder ring for your Saeco Odea machine, check out these videos.

    SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Odea Series Test Mode

    SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Odea Alarms & Errors

  • The Reluctant Barista: Baratza Grinder Groove

    baratzaThere are many reasons why I remain a reluctant barista. Over the past year, my caffeinated knowledge has greatly improved and my skills have marginally improved but there remains a hole in my espresso education: Coffee grinders have me particularly perplexed. I understand the working parts, I have even taken them apart (and put them back together again) for cleaning purposes. However, when I see a fluffy pile of fresh coffee grounds and compare it to another pile, it all looks the same to me. Sure I can tell French press coarse from Turkish fine but the micro-adjustments have me stumped.

    So, here I stand with the full line of Baratza coffee grinders in front of me. This is a quality coffee problem to have, except I only know how to use the Encore grinder! It is a sturdy little workhorse that pairs well with my Technivorm coffee maker. Instead of regurgitating RPMs and clump tests -- which really isn't my style -- let's start with what's in it for you -- which really is my style. How will you get your groove on with a Baratza coffee grinder?

    Entry level/Drip Coffee = Encore. This is my not-so-secret weapon for successful office coffee. The Encore has an on/off knob, a pulse button and an adjustment ring on the collar. This is great for coffee preps like drip, pour-over, AeroPress, French press, Siphon and Chemex. It can also be adjusted finer for espresso grind if you are using a pressurized portafilter.

    Mid-level/Multiple Brew Preps = Virtuoso. The Virtuoso is very consistent. It has an on/off knob, a timer, a pulse button and an adjustment ring on the collar. The particle size uniformity makes it well suited for coffee preps like espresso in addition to drip and manual brewing methods. This versatility is great for anyone who enjoys multiple brew preps.

    Mad (coffee) Scientist/Espresso = Preciso. More fine-tuning options and a little bit faster output make the Preciso a conical burr home grinder with commercial functionality. There are 40 step adjustments multiplied by 11 micro-adjustments within each setting. I can't even do the math or my brain will explode! Suffice it to say, if you enjoy playing around with different coffee and espresso blends, then this grinder is optimized for your caffeinated brewing adventures.

    Pro Version/Multiple Brew Preps = Vario. So where does this grinder fit? The 54mm ceramic flat burrs provide accurate, fast-grinding performance. This is a professional-grade machine with optimal consistency within a very small footprint. It has 230 distinct grind settings from fine grind for espresso to coarse grind for French press. With a digital timer and three programmable buttons, the Vario has accurate one-touch dosing. Small cafes and roasters report a solid track record with the Vario and the Vario-W model, which adds weight-based functionality.

    Cafe Version/All Purpose = Forte AP. While the Vario does a great job, the brand new Forte models are bigger, beefier and have digital touch screens. The AP features 54mm ceramic flat burrs which stay accurate longer than metal burrs and grind finer. The weight and time based functionality provides repeatable grinding results. Designed for long lasting cafe use and abuse, the AP shines for espresso and can grind for coarser settings also.

    Cafe Version/Pour Over Preps = Forte BG. This model features 54mm flat steel burrs. Why offer a choice of burr sets when ceramic lasts longer and grinds finer? Metal burrs reduce 'fines' in the mid to coarse range of grinds. Pour over preps require particle consistency, which is harder to achieve in the coarser grind settings. The Forte BG is a specific solution to a problem that high end/Third Wave coffee bars have had -- they demanded the highest quality burr grinder available for everything but espresso. The BG can still technically 'do espresso' but it has been designed to tackle mid-range particle quality and quantity.

    forte grindsOnce you have selected a grinder for your intended usage, then you can dial it in. This had -- up to now -- been my downfall, then I realized I was rushing it. It takes time, patience and a pound of beans ... and that's asking a lot from an impatient person like myself. I tried the Forte AP since it is new and fancy (and I love new and fancy) and I paired it with the Pasquini Livia G4 Automatic espresso machine because that is also new and fancy. The process involves picking an initial setting and noting the results with each incremental change. Instead of visually inspecting the grind, this is a combination of timing the espresso shots and tasting the results. Word to the wise: Just sip -- otherwise you are in for a sleepless night! I filled a frothing pitcher with discarded espresso shots before I felt comfortable with the right setting for particle size and dosage.

    One final note before I leave you up to your elbows in coffee grounds ... Sadly for me, this process needs to be repeated if you change your beans or the machine you are using. Grinders are not universally calibrated so there is no cheat-sheet to tell you what number or setting will be optimal. This is a situation where trial and error, er I mean to say, highly scientific methodology is the only way to help any grinder find its groove.

  • Crew Review: Pasquini Livia G4 Auto with PID

    Pasquini Livia G4 Auto with PIDWhile we've seen PIDs implemented on heat exchange espresso machines before (primarily as a method for managing the steam boiler's pressure versus being able to effectively manage brew temperature,) the Pasquini Livia G4 also incorporates an additional thermoblock at the brew head so that you can actually manage the brew temperature. The PID interfaces with the steam boiler, which in turn affects the water in the heat exchange, supplying a thermoblock at the group head with pre-heated water. The result? Markedly improved temperature regulation and the ability to produce more consistent espresso shots.

    The new LIvia G4 series also incorporates a few other changes: Expanded cup warming surface, weight-based water reservoir sensor, a super sexy portafilter and increased steaming functionality. It's also available in three different formats -- the standard Semi-Auto without a PID, a Semi-Auto with a PID and an Auto with a PID -- so you can take advantage of some or all of the upgrades Pasquini has made to their Livia series.

    Watch as Teri guides us through the features and tech specs, then takes it for a test drive by making some espresso and a cappuccino for the crew to enjoy.

    Crew Review: Pasquini Livia G4 Auto with PID

  • Tech Tip: Saeco Vienna Plus Test Mode & Troubleshooting

    Saeco Vienna PlusPossibly the hardest working superautomatic in the business, the Saeco Vienna Plus has a long and storied history of home espresso performance. It's the machine that many people started out with, years ago, and it's hung in there for over a decade (in some cases,) dutifully delivering your java.

    But what it offers in a hard working focus on helping you make coffee you love, it lacks in bells and whistles. Some might argue that said bells and whistles are not necessary, and they might be right; but one of the missing bells and/or whistles is an easy-to-read user interface system that tells you what might be going on when the machine isn't working properly.

    So we asked one of our resident Vienna Plus lovers, Brendan, to guide us through two different diagnostic videos: First, he shows us how to put the machine into Test Mode, so that you can bypass functionality and test individual components. Then he talks us through the different alarms and errors that the machine may experience, and how to diagnose which means what.

    If you own a Saeco Vienna Plus and have often wished there was a way to better interpret its rather cryptic blinking lights, these videos will serve as your secret decoder ring!

    SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Vienna Plus Test Mode

    SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Vienna Errors & Alarms

  • Tech Tip: How to Clean the Nuova Simonelli MDX Coffee Grinder

    Nuova Simonelli MDXCaring for your Nuova Simonelli MDX is an essential element of producing excellent espresso, and it's easier than you think! The MDX features a burr configuration that adjusts the bottom burr instead of the top during calibration, so cleaning it doesn't mean you'll need to completely dial in your grinder again. It also has a super simple method for removing the front doser chamber for cleaning, so you can also keep this area in tip-top condition.

    In addition to regularly running a product like Grindz through it, you should completely disassemble, clean and then reassemble the Nuova Simonelli MDX every so often to ensure optimal performance. The frequency of this is dictated a bit by how busy your cafe is -- many businesses do this weekly, while others do it monthly. You'll know which is the best schedule for your coffee shop once you start doing it regularly and can gauge how much coffee is building up in the burr chamber.

    Recommended tools include a vacuum of some sort and a firm-bristled brush, like the Grindminder; other than that, a little soap and water for the bean hopper and doser chamber keeps everything squeaky clean. For guidance on this procedure and tips on how to care for the grinder once you've taken it apart, watch Brandon's in depth video.

    Tech Tip: How to Clean the Nuova Simonelli MDX Coffee Grinder

  • Brewin' with Brandi: B52 Latte Recipe

    It's not a bomber nor is it a particularly funky pop group from the 80's. It is, however, a delicious latte recipe inspired by the cocktail of the same name featuring Irish cream and orange liqueurs.

    This sobriety-friendly version, however, infuses two Monin syrups (Irish Cream and Mandarin Orange) with espresso and tops it all off with delicious frothed milk. Sound good? Watch Brandi whip it up for us using the Jura Ena Micro One and Automatic Milk Frother!

    B52 Latte Recipe

    Ingredients

    Directions

    Combine syrups and espresso together in a serving glass; stir well to incorporate. Top with steamed or frothed milk to taste. Head down the Atlanta highway.

  • Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli MDX Grinder

    Nuova Simonelli MDXWhen we first met the Nuova Simonelli MDX a few years ago, it seemed to fall into the same class as other similarly sized commercial-grade grinders did: It ground coffee quickly, uniformly and easily, so that you could extract a shot of espresso in under a minute from start to finish. But as we got to know it a bit better, we found that some its unique features made it a particularly learned choice for coffee connoisseurs and crafters alike.

    First, unlike other grinders that keep the bottom burr stationary and move the top burr up and down during calibration, the Nuova Simonelli MDX does the opposite. The top burr remains stationary while the bottom adjusts up and down during calibration. This means that when you remove the top burr during cleaning, you don't lose your grind setting and post-cleaning dial-in is a snap.

    Next, the adjustment mechanism on the MDX is pretty tight: A smooth moving knob on top of the grinder versus a sometimes-jerky adjustment collar. It's super simple to dial in the grind using the knob, leaving very little guesswork around where your grind setting is.

    Other than that, though, it's a fairly standard mid-sized commercial grinder -- removable bean hopper, stainless steel flat burrs with a ~1100lb. bean lifetime, front doser chamber to capture ground coffee on the fly. In Brandon's crew review video, he goes over all the Nuova Simonelli MDX's features and specs, then demonstrates its grind consistency and performance.

    Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli MDX Coffee Grinder

  • Espresso Machine Priming Primer

    Espresso Machine PrimingPrime numbers. Prime rib. Prime rate. Optimus Prime. These are just a few of the primes we know and love, but if you've ever spent some quality time with an espresso machine, priming is another prime that you'll learn to appreciate.

    The phrase 'prime the pump' is often used to describe things not quite so literal (it's a particularly popular phrase used in reference to economics) but exists for a reason: By adding something to a system, you can facilitate action. In the case of today's SCG Tech Tip, it's adding water to a pump to force any air out of it and start the pump processing water from the reservoir or main line to the machine's internal boiler and related waterworks.

    Espresso machine priming occurs primarily with new machines, which don't have any water in them, but a machine that has had its boiler drained (for shipping or long term storage) or machines that have sat awhile may also require priming.

    To prime the machine, you open either the steam or hot water valve in order to encourage the pump to draw water from the reservoir and fill the boiler system. This is the tender way of doing it, but sometimes an espresso machine is a bit stubborn (read: It somehow got air pockets in its water lines, making it difficult for suction to occur) and you'll have force the issue -- literally. Using a tool like an ear syringe or turkey baster, you force water under pressure into the water intake area while engaging the pump; this gives the machine the extra oomph it needs to prime itself.

    To learn all you ever wanted to know about espresso machine priming, we asked Brendan to break it down for us in the priming primer! He talks with us about what priming is, how and why you do it, then gives us a few tips and tricks to help the process go smoothly.

    Espresso Machine Priming Primer

Items 661 to 670 of 768 total

Page:
  1. 1
  2. ...
  3. 65
  4. 66
  5. 67
  6. 68
  7. 69
  8. ...
  9. 77
Subscribe

Finally, something for that inbox

Join our email list and be the first to learn about exclusive offers and new products.

close

Join our email list

GET 10% OFF ONE ITEM*

Be the first to learn about exclusive offers and new products - starting today!

 

JOIN
*Some exclusions apply. See email coupon for more details.