Breville

  • Buying Guide: Drip Coffee

    We’ve looked at pour over, superautos, and semi-autos in our buying guides posts so far, but there’s a couple of stones still left unturned. Today we’re going to offer some advice for buying a machine perfect for one of the simplest, but most approachable kinds of coffee brewing: Drip! Drip coffee is easy to get started with, but with so many brewers out there it can be hard to get a grasp of what will provide the best bang for your buck. We’re here to help!

    Grinders

    First thing’s first, you need a way to grind your beans! While you could use pre-ground coffee, using freshly ground beans is the best way to get the most out of your brewer. In fact, having coffee that’s been freshly ground is arguably the most important part of the process alongside temperature stability. 

    With that in mind, it’s hard to recommend any grinder as highly for first time drip brewers as the Baratza Encore. This grinder is well priced, consistent, easy to use, and will last quite some time. Baratza is one of the best grinder producers that we know, and it shows in this no-frills knockout of a product. If your budget has a bit more headroom we can also wholeheartedly recommend the Eureka Filtro. The filtro offers just a bit more performance and reliability due to its larger burrs, which are specifically designed for drip brewing. The Filtro also features stepless grind adjust, which gives you more precise control over grind size.

    But what about upgrading? You may want something that provides a little bit more in the bells and whistles department in the future. On the Baratza front, the Vario-W features more micro adjustments than the Encore, with the addition of weight based dosing. As you explore the coffee world you’ll find that weight is a better way to dose your coffee than volume, and the Vario-W helps with that.  Eureka also offers an excellent grinder upgrade in the form of the Brew Pro. The Brew Pro features the same powerful burrs as the Filtro mentioned above. It also adds timed grinding via a vibrant touch screen. The perfect upgrade if you become accustomed to the precision stepless adjust of the filtro.

    Brewers

    It’s time for the main event! Selecting a brewer is actually a bit easier than you’d think. The two most important pieces of a drip brewer are temperature consistency and the ability to evenly wet grounds. Bonuses like pre-infusion are nice to get the absolute most flavor out of your coffee. For all of this and a palatable price, check out the Bonavita Connoisseur. This brewer offers exceptional temperature stability, has a wide angle showerhead for the water, and even does simple pre-infusion. It’s the perfect option to start with, and comes at an excellent price too. 

    But what about an upgrade? Eventually you might want more control than the Connoisseur offers. There’s arguably no better upgrade option you’ll find than the Breville Precision Brewer. This brewer offers an incredible degree of control over your coffee. Including options for brewing over ice, using a pour over attachment, specific gold cup brewing settings, and tons of options for setting custom recipes, the Precision Brewer should be the last machine you’ll ever need. 

    Thanks for joining us for this look at getting started with your drip brewing shopping list!

     

  • Buying Guide: Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines - Part 1

    The semi-automatic espresso machine is the cornerstone of the serious home barista setup. A semi-automatic machine is the sort that requires the user to manually grind, tamp, and brew espresso. It takes finesse and practice that a superauto cuts out, but the reward is worth it. While superauto machines make some great drinks, there's nothing like pulling just the flavor you're after from a tricky single origin.

    But it can be daunting to get started with semi-autos. There's a lot to choose from! For this reason, we're taking a look at some great initial buys in part 1 of our guide. Next time we'll cover some upgrade options. For now, we're going to talk about a couple of first time grinder and machine options to get you brewing!

    Choosing a Grinder

    Choosing a grinder is one of the most important parts of your first espresso setup. Grinders can elevate a less powerful machine by producing perfect, consistent grounds. This is why we recommend budgeting around your grinder first, if you're not looking at an all in one machine like the Breville Barista Express. So what are the best options? One of the most solid options for your first espresso grinder is a Breville Smart Grinder Pro. This grinder is easy to use, offers features that punch above its price point, and most importantly, will grind fine enough for unpressurized espresso brewing. That last point is key, because many other grinders that do this are well above this price point. Another option is the Rancilio Rocky, which is also a consistent, excellent grinder that may last you longer than the Smart Grinder Pro. It does come at a higher price point and with less fancy features, though. Either way, both of these grinders will provide a solid foundation for years, and allow you to upgrade big on your machine choice!

    Choosing a Machine

    Here it is, your big choice, what machine will you start with? Thankfully, recent years have provided some excellent starter options. First of all, there are the Breville machines. The Barista Express combines grinder and brewer into one affordable package. This is a great way to get started, but is inflexible, you can't upgrade the grinder separate from the machine, or vice versa. The other Breville options is the SCG Exclusive Breville Bambino Plus. This is the same machine as the Bambino Pro you can find at other retailers, but includes an unpressurized portafilter. We've talking about filter pressurization in the past, but having the option to go unpressurized is really great! Paired with the above grinders, you'll be able to pull delicious, cafe quality shots from the Bambino Plus.

    Odds and Ends

    There's some other odds and ends that you might want to consider with your first setup. First of all, a knockbox like this one from Dreamfarm is a great addition to your set up. It'll allow you to eject pucks from your portafilter without carrying it to the trash can. A tamping mat like this Rocket Espresso offering will also help you keep your station clean. Finally, it might have to be an upgrade option, but a scale like the Brewista Smart Scale II is a great way to weigh your shots to dial in the perfect flavor with your machine.

    We hope this helps you make some choices for your first machine! We'll be back soon with some fantastic upgrade options for those jumping up to a more expensive machine.

  • Breville Barista Express Vs. Barista Pro

    If you've followed Breville's espresso machine output you're definitely familiar with the Barista Express. This legendary machine is so many home barista's first machine due to its built in grinder. We love the simplicity of this machine and how it helps you learn the basics of crafting espresso. It also lets you use unpressurized portafilters, so you can learn and grow with the machine. This year Breville introduced the Barista Pro. This machine is very similar to the Express, but offers some extra bells and whistles. We wanted to dive into the differences between the machines to help you make a decision for your first purchase, or upgrade

    External Design and Features

    First, the basics: Both of these machines feature a built in burr grinder perfect for producing grounds specifically for them. They also share a case form factor, with the Pro offering slightly sleeker lines but generally the same shape. Both machines have a dedicated hot water spout for crafting Americanos. That said, the Pro's spout is angled slightly to fire directly into you cup so you can pull the water without moving it.

    The biggest difference between the two machines is the digital vs. analog displays. The Express has several buttons for different functions and an analogue pressure gauge in the middle of its interface. By comparison, the Pro has a bright, backlit digital display with smaller buttons. Some users do prefer having the analogue steam gauge, but we don't feel it ultimately adds all that much. The best way to dial in a shot is to focus on the time it takes to pull, rather than watching a steam gauge. That screen on the Pro also gives you deep control over brewing without cluttering the face with buttons.

    Internals and Performance

    The visual/interface differences between these machines is the most noticeable thing from afar. However, it's the performance that really sets the Pro apart. The Barista Express features Breville's Thermocoil water heating. Water is pulled through a heated coil to reach the perfect brewing temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Its allows the machine to heat fairly quickly, but you'll still want to turn it on and give it a minute or two to warm up.

    The Pro, on the other hand, uses Breville's newer thermojet heating. This allows you to pull shots within 20 seconds of flipping the machine on, it also means lightning fast warm up time for steaming. That also means almost non-existent downtime between drinks. The design principals between the two heating elements are similar, but the Pro's heating is just... better.

    Conclusion

    Both of these machines offer fantastic introductions to home espresso. It's why the Pro is offered alongside the Express rather than as a replacement. Which one makes sense for your first machine depends on your preference in their appearance, and whether you value the faster drinks of the Pro or the analogue gauge of the Express. If you already own an express and want a little more performance without advancing to an even higher end machine, the Pro is a fantastic upgrade. You can check them both out on our Breville brand page.

  • Gail's Picks: Best Drip Brewers of 2019

    Welcome to another edition of Gail's Picks for 2019! Today it's all about drip brewers, and we have three fantastic coffee machines to share with you. Drip brewers are really a standby for any coffee lover, and finding the perfect one can be a challenge. That's why we're showing off a few, with specific brewers working best for specific coffee drinkers. Without further adieu, let's get started!

    Bonavita Connoisseur

    The Bonavita Connoisseur is the perfect brewer to get for that budding coffee fan in your life. It also makes an excellent secondary brewer if you primarily drink another form of coffee like espresso or press. This is an affordable machine that has no frills, but doesn't need them. For under $200 you're getting rock solid temperature stability, arguably the most important part of a drip brewer. That means that while you can't control the temperature of the water, it is solidly in the 198-202 degree range for proper extraction. It'll brew your coffee perfectly without scorching it and creating that icky flavor that cheaper drip brewers create. This is why we think it's perfect for new coffee drinkers. In a lot of cases people think that burned tasting coffee is just the way coffee tastes. The Connoisseur can show them a better way!

    This brewer also has a great pre-wetting feature that blooms the coffee in a manner that you'd get from pour over. Overall it creates a really tasty pot of drip without complications, and that's why we think it's one of the best drip brewers of 2019!

    Technivorm Moccamaster

    The Technivorm Moccamaster is a classic machine that will last many years if properly maintained. While this brewer lacks programmability, it makes up for it in sheer reliability, performance, and style. Featuring Technivorm's signature industrial design, the temperature stability here is exceptional. There's something about Technivorm brewed coffee that's just different than what you get out of other brewers. It's bold, flavorful, and complex, and that's all thanks to the design of the heating element and spray head. Again, this machine is also built like a tank. We've seen Technivorms last decades if properly maintained and cleaned. This glass carafe version also features an auto-shut off warming plate that won't burn the coffee after it has been brewed.

    What's more, these machines com in a variety of different colors! This makes it the perfect option for the style conscious kitchen. You'll be able to match your machine to the color scheme of the rest of your equipment.

    Breville Precision Brewer

    Finally, we have the Precision Brewer. This machine combines the incredible performance of the above mentioned machines with a suite of customization options. From pour over, to cold brew, to iced coffee, and more, the Precision Brewer lives up to its name. You'll be able to control every aspect of the brewing process with this machine, making it one of the smartest drip brewers available. For times when you're not looking for all of that functionality, you can just brew with the pre-programmed SCAA-rated Gold Cup setting. This will brew coffee that adheres to standards set by the specialty coffee association for properly tasting and evaluating minute details in the coffee. When you do want to get more hands on, you can play with the different settings to get the perfect flavor profile from different kinds of coffees. Pretty much the pinnacle of drip brewing tech, we love this machine!

    The SCG exclusive Tribute Edition also includes a pour over adapter. This allows you to use a pour over dripper and the built in settings to brew incredible automatic pour over.

    Conclusion

    That brings us to a close on another set of top threes! With that, we're done with Gail's Picks for 2019! We hope we've helped you make some tough decisions about what to pick up to step up your coffee game this holiday season.

  • Choosing a Drip Brewer

    Are you ready to upgrade from your cheaper drip brewer into something a little more powerful? Maybe you had coffee out of a Precision Brewer or a Technivorm and are ready to upgrade your drip game? At first, choosing a drip brewer can seem daunting. Why doesn't a Technivorm have a screen? Do I have to program a Bonavita? Why are they so expensive? All of these are questions you might ask when first considering a new drip brewer, and we've got you covered!

    Why Bother?

    The first question that's important to answer is "why even pay more than $50 for a drip brewer?" And it's one of the easier ones to answer. To do so, lets break down what a drip brewer does. At its core, a drip coffee brewer heats water and then showers a basket of ground coffee with that water. From there, water drips into a carafe or mug. So what's the big idea with high quality brewers?

    The biggest thing is consistency. Ideal brewing conditions for coffee involve water heated to right around 200 degrees Fahrenheit (this can change with certain coffees, but is a good baseline). That means you need a brewer that can heat water to this temperature as it passes through a heating element and into the ground coffee. Ideally, this temperature will be maintained until the moment it hits the grounds. This creates the absolute best extraction.

    Cheaper brewers have a hard time heating water to precise temperatures, and an even harder time maintaining those temperatures through the brewing process. This is the absolute number one reason to switch off of a cheaper brewer. Cheap brewers can also fail to saturate all of the grounds with their spray heads, resulting in coffee that isn't properly extracted.

    So How Do I Choose?

    Given the above, the first criteria to look for is consistent water dispersal and heating. Options like a Motif or Bonavita brewer over this sort of performance without any bells and whistles. They make great brewers for someone who wants a very simple option with a very "standard" look.

    For something with a more unique appearance, check out Technivorm. These brewers also offer incredibly consistent performance, and with the right care, can last decades.

    These machines also often perform a "pre-infusion." This means that a small amount of water is used to wet the grounds and bloom the coffee. This helps release aroma and acids that can cause bitterness without this blooming period.

    If all you are looking for is a consistent cup of drip coffee, the above will help. Getting a brewer that is up for that temperature consistency and even water spray will go a long way in producing your perfect cup in the morning.

    With that said though, there's always the extra mile.

    Bells, Whistles, Screens, and Settings

    For those that want to tweak the brewing process, you'll want more than a simple one button brewer. Trying different flavor profiles by modifying brew temperature is possible with more technical machines. You might also be able to do things like brew specifically for iced coffee or control pre-infusion time. With this much control over the brewing process, you'll be able to experiment and find the perfect recipe for each roast you take home.

    While it's not the only brewer out there with advanced features like this, the Breville Precision Brewer is a great example of this type of drip brewer. It's also easy to use, and offers a quick, one touch brewing cycle that resembles the machines discussed above.

    With all of that down, all that's left to decide on is carafe! Most brewers come with the option of a glass carafe with a warming plate, or a thermal carafe that keeps the coffee warm without the plate. This is all down to personal preference. Leaving coffee on a warming plate can scorch it if left too long, but some coffee drinkers can taste a difference with a stainless carafe. Let your taste buds be the judge and try coffee from each if you can!

    We hope this helps you on your quest to find the perfect drip brewer for your kitchen!

  • SCG Expert Review: Barista Pro All-In-One Espresso Machine

    The Barista Express has been the gold standard for new home baristas for years now. By combining a quality espresso grinder with solid brewing and steaming, Breville build a winner in the Express. It has always been an easy machine to recommend as a first purchase, or upgrade from a cheaper, less powerful brewer. So how does the new Barista Pro stack up? Is it just a higher price tag with a fancier face? The short answer is no, the long answer is a lot more interesting.

     

    Visual Design

    The Barista Pro features a completely redesigned case that maintains a similar footprint as the Express, but with a totally different look. Most recognizable is the addition of a backlit screen, somewhat similar to the Barista Touch. This screen provides information about grind fineness, amount, and timers. Keeping all of this on one screen makes dialing in the machine a little friendlier. Rather than track numbers in different places, you can review everything about the grind settings at a glance. The screen also offers a shot timer, a huge boon for any machine. Measuring shot time is key to pulling a good shot, so having this information visible on the main display is a great feature.

    Otherwise, the visual design and controls are on par with that of the express. This machine is simple to operate with intuitive controls for pulling shots, adjusting the grinder, and steaming milk or adding hot water. All of this combines for a design package that is a step up from the Barista Express. That said, if these visual improvements were all this machine offered it'd be a hard sell given the price difference. Thankfully, there's a lot more under the hood in this new model.

    Brewing and Steaming Performance

    Breville has always had a knack for fitting powerful heating systems into affordable machines. The Barista line has always been a great example of this, but their new machines push this concept even further. First introduced in the Bambino, the Barista Pro features Breville's new ThermoJet heating system. The Bambino already impressed with its heatup and steam times, but getting this enhanced heating element in a more prosumer machine is exciting. From lightning fast heatup times to a near non-existent delay going from brew to steam, this heating system does work.

    When dialing in, we were able to pull several shots in a row with the Pro heating up. As far as making lattes, the milk steaming both switched on faster, and steamed milk faster than the Express by a considerable margin.

    Another interesting upgrade on this machine is the hot water spout. This spout functions like you'd expect, but it's angled to allow you to make Americanos without moving your cup. Some of this depends on your cup size and design, and it is surprising to see the hot water come out at an angle at first. While this isn't nearly the overhaul that the heating element and look got, it's worth mentioning for even easier Americanos!

    Verdict

    Overall it's extremely easy to recommend the Barista Pro. It's true that its price pushes into competition with machines like the Silvia and CC1, but those machines don't also have a built in grinder. There is certainly an argument for being able to upgrade these devices independently, and both of the aforementioned machines are viable options, but if you're new to espresso or looking to upgrade from the Express, the Pro is a no brainer.

    You do still run into the combo machine issue of sludge in the drip tray, and stepping up into dual boiler machines will provide even faster steam and heatup times. With all that said, we're huge fans of the Barista Pro here, and you should absolutely add it to the list of machines to research before you make your next purchase.

    Check out the Barista Pro on Seattle Coffee Gear here!

  • Event Recap: Breville Holiday Showcase

    Breville_Holiday_Showcase (7 of 25)

    Upgrading to a new espresso machine or drip brewer during the holidays can be a stressful process. With a whole list of responsibilities on your plate to take care from entertaining guests to preparing a meal, it’s easy for great coffee to slip through the cracks. That’s why we asked Breville to show off new machines from their coffee product line at our Bellevue location before the holidays get here in full force! Joined by coffee experts from Breville and Counter Culture Coffee, guests were able to explore the diverse functions of the Breville Oracle Touch™, Breville Precision Brewer™, and soon to be released on seattlecoffeegear.com Breville Barista Touch™.

    Breville_Holiday_Showcase (18 of 25)

    A Closer Look at Breville's New ProductsBreville_Holiday_Showcase (12 of 25)

    Upon the release of the Breville Precision Brewer™, this versatile coffee maker is everything but boring. The perfect gift for a family of coffee snobs and novices alike, the Precision Brewer boasts a handful of programmable brew methods from a standard gold cup to cold brew.

    If you’re a person who likes to roll out bed in the morning and head out the door without having to bat an eye at a complicated brew method, this machine is a perfect fit! However, the customizable bloom time, temperature, and flow rate will appeal to those who like a little more play in their brewing. Travis from Counter Culture demonstrated one of the most unique functions of the brewer – V60 pour over adaptability.

    Breville_Holiday_Showcase (4 of 25)While the Breville Barista Touch™ is still shrouded in a bit of mystery as it has yet to see a release date through Seattle Coffee Gear, folks in attendance of the holiday showcase were able to get a hands-on first look at the machine leading up to it going online. Almost completely different that it’s close relative and namesake, the Barista Express, the new Touch features:

    - Simple touch screen drink programmability
    - Automatic steam wand producing café quality microfoam
    - A built in conical burr grinder
    - Sleek and compact footprint compared to the Oracle Touch

    The Breville Oracle Touch™ has been one of our very favorite machines since it made its debut earlier this year. Boasting an impressive number of drink options, the updated iteration of the Breville Oracle gives users the freedom to program their perfect beverage to the machine without having worrying about deleting other user’s data.

    Featuring an automatic dose and tamp function along with perfect hands-free steaming, the Oracle Touch allows users to pour and enjoy drinks without having to stress about the complicated nuances of pulling espresso. Did we mention that it has a massive 84 oz. water tank so guests need not worry about constantly refilling the machine at a social gathering!Want to win these new products from Breville? Visit your local Seattle Coffee Gear store now thru 11/27 and be entered to win the Precision Brewer, Barista Touch, and the grand prize – the Oracle Touch! Entering couldn’t be easier!

    Breville_Holiday_Showcase (11 of 25)

    Receive a chance to win with:
    Each visit to SCG's Bellevue or Lynnwood Locations
    In-store purchases of $50 or more
    Any purchase of a Breville Machine

    Can’t visit our stores? Enter to win a Breville Oracle here!

  • Top Three Double Boiler Espresso Machines

    The Round Up

    We brought out the big machines for today’s top three double boiler espresso machines, the La Marzocco Linea Mini, Rocket Espresso R58 Dual Boiler and Breville Dual Boiler. Double boiler espresso machines are equipped with two boilers: a brew boiler and a steam boiler. While the steam boilers reach and hold pressure ideal for frothing milk, the other maintains consistent brewing temperature.

    Chances are in your search for a high-quality espresso machine, you’ve read the debate between double boilers and heat exchange espresso machines. Coffee enthusiasts have long expressed their opinions about the pros and cons of each boiler type and we suspect it’ll continue on. One of the benefits dual boilers reap is temperature stability and the capability to brew more drinks back-to-back than a heat exchanger. Not to mention that, like a heat exchanger, you can brew and steam simultaneously. A double boiler machine is for someone who wants to brew multiple drinks back-to-back and requires a faster turnaround time.

    La Marzocco Linea Mini

    In your morning quest for coffee, chances are you’ve encountered the La Marzocco Linea series powering your local café. Home baristas can now rejoice! The La Marzocco Linea Mini is your pint-sized commercial machine for home brewing. Well, not quite pint-sized, the Linea Mini is the largest machine on our list. It certainly puts a dent in the budget and counter, but for the right espresso lover, this espresso machine will impresses with an integrated brew group to maintain temperature stability and energy efficiency, and commercial-grade portafilter and steam wand.

    Home brewers aren’t the only people who’d benefit from the Linea Mini. Built to commercial standards, the Linea Mini is NSF-rated, so homey cafés and small diners can bring espresso to their menu. And, hey, this large machine’s roomy cup warmer will ensure patrons can enjoy toasty cups with their coffee.

    Rocket Espresso R58 Dual boiler

    The Rocket Espresso R58 Dual Boiler was an easy pick to make our list. The craftsmanship of Rocket’s espresso machine continues to entice coffee enthusiasts. Equipped with a programmable PID and, of course, double boilers, espresso temperature is under control—your control that is. Best of all, the PID is removable to store when it’s not in use to preserve the clean, classic style Rocket is famous for.

    The Rocket lineup is renowned for its commercial-quality build and the R58 is no exception. It’s build with the legendary E61 brew head that helps maintain temperature stability during brewing. And the R58 features a commercial-grade rotary pump that’s quiet—so the house can sleep in without sacrificing your morning espresso.

    Breville Dual Boiler

    Designed with the consumer in mind, the Breville Dual Boiler is user-friendly and affordable—like really affordable. What we love about the Dual Boiler is its intuitive interface that creates an enjoyable experience for anyone ready to master espresso. Two programmable espresso buttons make it easy for you to focus on frothing the perfect latte milk while the Dual Boiler pulls your pre-programmed shot. And if you’re an experienced barista, switch to the manual brewing to operate on the fly.

    Keeping true to their brand, Breville has designed this machine with extra goodies to fit anyone’s lifestyle. The Dual Boiler comes with two pressurized baskets for beginner baristas to practice their grind and two non-pressurized for experienced brewers. There is also a magnetic tamper conveniently attached to the machine and auto-on feature, so you can wake up to a pre-heated machine.

    Conclusion

    We’ve pulled out some of our top three double boiler espresso machine, the La Marzocco Linea Mini, Rocket Espresso R58 and Breville Dual Boiler. Equipped with dual boilers, these espresso machines create impressive steam pressure in one boiler while the other maintains the perfect  brew temperature. What do you think of our choices? Share your favorite double boiler espresso machine in the comments below.

  • Crew Comparison: Breville Infuser vs Crossland CC1

    How Does It Compare?

    There is couple hundred dollars difference the Breville Infuser and Crossland CC1 and there’s a good reason for the jump. Both semi-automatic espresso machines feature a programmable PID and timed espresso shots. Both have a traditional steam wand. Both are fantastic homes machines. But the CC1 rocks a single boiler and thermoblock-enhanced steam and a digital interface featuring more programming. Between these espresso machines, the Infuser boasts fame from Breville’s consumer-centric design and some extra goodies to make your home coffee experience easy.

    Heads up! We recently compared the Crossland Coffee CC1 and Breville Barista Express, so this might feel like a recap. If you haven’t checked that out yet, there isn’t a huge difference between the Infuser and Barista Express. Really the most notable change is the Barista Express has a built-in grinder.

    Back to the Infuser! Check out this comparison of the Infuser and CC1 and find out which machine is right for you.

    Shot

    Customized Coffee

    Built by coffee geek Bill Crossland, the Crossland CC1 has all the personality you’d expect from, well, a coffee geek! The innovative interface programs the espresso shot time, pre-infusion and wait time between pre-infusion and brew. The PID allows you to adjust the boiler—remember it’s a single boiler—for the ideal brew temperature. Best of all, you can set up three profiles with each of the listed features and that includes the CC1 remembering different brew temperatures—a feature you don’t find on most machines!

    The Crossland Coffee CC1 features a programmable PID and three espresso profiles. The Crossland Coffee CC1 features a programmable PID and three espresso profiles.

    On the other hand, Breville Infuser is built with the kind of convenience casual coffee drinkers adore. Built-in pre-infusion optimizes coffee extraction—and keeps it easy for you—while the two programmable espresso buttons let you set the right shot time. But the Infuser doesn’t have individual profiles like the CC1. The brew temperature is set for the whole machine, which is easier for some baristas to manage, but less customizable.

    The Breville Infuser features two programmable buttons and internal PID. The Breville Infuser features two programmable buttons and internal PID.

    Steam

    Single Boiler vs Thermoblock

    You’ve probably heard the differences between single boilers and thermoblocks. If you're new to this topic, it’s definitely something to think about when purchasing your first or next espresso machine. The Crossland CC1 is outfitted with a single boiler while the Breville Infuser (like the Barista Express) has a thermocoil, a version of the thermoblock.

    A single boiler heats the entire boiler up to brew or steam temperature, which creates consistent brew temperatures and pressure. But that also means a single boiler takes longer to warm up. We recommend giving it a good 30 minutes to heat. A thermoblock heats water the spot to reduce the wait time and also the cost of the machine. The only catch is thermoblocks tend to have less temperature stability.

    While the CC1 only uses the boiler for brewing, it has a trick for steaming—a thermoblock! With an extra helping hand, steam temperature and pressure are quickly reached. Between these two machines, the CC1 definitely brought the steam! That didn't surprise us either since typically single boilers produce more steam power over thermoblocks.

    Thanks to the thermoblock, the CC1 gets up to steam temperature quicker. Thanks to the thermoblock, the CC1 gets up to steam temperature quicker.

    Steam Before Brewing

    One common quality these semi-automatics share are both can’t steam and brew at the same time. Even though the Crossland CC1 has a thermoblock, the boiler will still climb to steam temperature. So what do you do? On machines like the CC1, you’ll have to use a technique called “temperature surfing” to purge water through the steam wand to the boiler back to brewing. But that’s no problem for machines like the Infuser! Breville built in an auto-purge feature to cool the boiler for you!

    The Infuser uses a turn style knob for steam or hot water. The Infuser uses a turn style knob for steam or hot water.

    Style

    Machine Interface

    The Crossland CC1 flaunts a digital display that makes setting everything from the setting the PID a no-brainer. The extra large screen awakens sleepy eyes, so you’re ready to select your daily brew. With this machine, brewing is handled through the digital interface, so you really are selecting your brew! There are some pre-factory settings, but we recommend setting up at least one profile for your favorite coffee.

    While the Infuser doesn’t show off programming on a digital display, it does feature a helpful pressure gauge. You might have noticed the pressure gauge on the front of your machine fluctuates at you brew. The pressure gauge is there to tell baristas what’s happening inside of the boiler. If you ever noticed your coffee isn’t to your standards, watch the gauge and see what it’s doing. Is the needle hitting the espresso range? If not, you might need to adjust your grinder setting finer. Experiment with it and above all else, taste the espresso first to help make the right changes!

    The Infuser features stainless steel buttons and a pressur gauge. The Infuser features stainless steel buttons and a pressure gauge on the interface.

    Extras

    The Breville Infuser is designed with extra bells and whistles to make this machine usable to everyone! If you’re new to espresso, the Infuser has pressurized baskets to assist pulling a delicious shot. But it also comes with non-pressurized baskets, like the Crossland CC, to grow with budding baristas. Lastly, it has a dosing razor for the portafilter and magnetic tamper built in the machine to make brewing a breeze.

    On that note, the CC1 is built for advanced brewing. It boasts an industry-standard 58mm non-pressurized portafilter and hefty single boiler that makes powerful steam pressure. There’s no assisted portafilter here. But that doesn’t mean willing newbies can’t take it for a spin! The intuitive display and a little barista know-how make it effortless for anyone to try.

    The CC1 comes with a industry standard 58mm non-pressurized portafilter. The CC1 comes with a industry standard 58mm non-pressurized portafilter.

    Conclusion

    Are you deciding between the Crossland CC1 and Breville Infuser? Tell us which one you would choose in the comments below! If you have one at your home, share how it’s working out for you.

  • Crew Comparison: Breville Barista Express vs Crossland Coffee CC1

    How Does It Compare?

    We know. The Breville Barista Express is at the top of your wish list. Outfitted with everything you need to run your own home cafe, the Breville espresso machines always wow coffee lovers. Who could match this beloved machine? None other than the Crossland Coffee CC1 to give this Breville a run for its money.

    The CC1 boasts a single boiler and—drumroll—a thermoblock that engages during steaming. Seriously hard to compete with the consistency of a single boiler espresso machine. The CC1 also features a programmable PID, customizable brew settings—including pre-infusion—and three profiles to save your favorite drinks. That said, the Barista Express flaunts a built-in grinder, user-friendly operation and Breville’s attention to detail. This isn’t a popularity contest, but when it comes to buying an espresso machine, every feature counts.

    The Breville Barista Express features a conical burr grinder that fine-tuned for espresso. The Breville Barista Express features a conical burr grinder that fine-tuned for espresso.

    Shot

    Boiler Types

    One of the biggest differences between these two machines is the boiler design. The Breville Barista Express has a thermocoil (a type of thermoblock) while the Crossland Coffee CC1 has a single boiler. While these are two different boilers, both can only brew and steam one at a time—that’s a given.

    But that is where the similarities end. Coffee aficionados prefer single boilers because they tend to maintain more consistent brew temperatures—especially when equipped with a PID. By comparison, a thermoblock heats a shot worth of water on the fly, often leading to swings in temperature from shot to shot. Breville compensates for this temperature variance by ‘coiling’ their thermoblock’s heating element around the tube of water and strictly regulating the coil temperature with a proprietary PID controller, increasing their stability over more basic thermoblock designs.

    Programmable Espresso

    If you love to get geeky with your coffee, then you will feel right at home with the Crossland Coffee CC1! Built by a fellow coffee geek, Bill Crossland, it features everything from programmable brew temperature (in fahrenheit), pre-infusion time, wait time (pause between pre-infusion and brewing) and, of course, brew time. The cherry on top is the digital interface that makes customizing a cake walk. Once you’ve brewed the perfect cup, the CC1 can save up to three profiles—that’s including the pod option. That said, you will have to program each profile with all the customization (brew temperature, time, etc.). The sheer amount of options on  the CC1 can be totally overwhelming for budding baristas.

    The Crossland Coffee CC1 features a programmable PID and three espresso profiles. The Crossland Coffee CC1 features a programmable PID and three espresso profiles.

    That’s why many people love Breville espresso machine’s user-friendly operation. The Barista Express’ PID mode is harder to access at first, but unlike the CC1, you only need to adjust the Barista Express once. You can adjust the Barista Express plus or minus four degrees from the factory-set temperature. Aside from the PID, it’s incredibly easy to change your settings on the fly. Need a longer shot time? Hit program, insert a full portafilter, hit the espresso button to program, brew, press it again to stop and your shot time is saved—that’s it!

    The Barista Express grinder is designed to create grounds for espresso. The Barista Express grinder is designed to create grounds for espresso.

    Steam

    Thermoblock Pressure

    Both the Crossland CC1 and Breville Barista Express use thermoblocks to steam. But the CC1 relies heavily on its single boiler to steam and uses the thermoblock like a car uses a turbocharger. The thermoblock helps get to steam temperature faster than trying to bring a whole boiler up to steam. That said, the bigger the boiler, the bigger the steam power. Turn on the steam on both machines and it’s pretty obvious the CC1 has more steam power than the Barista Express.

    Thanks to the thermoblock, the CC1 gets up to steam temperature quicker. Thanks to the thermoblock, the CC1 gets up to steam temperature quicker.

    Style

    Built-in Grinder

    The built-in grinder only makes an appearance on a couple Breville espresso machines, the Barista Express and the Oracle. The grinder also happens to have the same 40mm conical steel burrs found on the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and Breville Does Control Pro. The difference? The Barista Express limits the burr adjustments within the espresso range, ensuring you can pull a decent shot. Even on its coarsest setting, the Barista Express’ grounds are nowhere near French press status.

    The Barista Express has an 8-ounce bean hopper. The Barista Express has an 8-ounce bean hopper.

    Accessories

    If you want to brew with the Crossland Coffee CC1, you’ll need to invest in an espresso grinder. Accessorized with a commercial-grade, non-pressurized portafilter, you’ll need a consistently fine grind to pull delicious shots. And that’s what coffee connoisseurs want!

    The CC1 comes with a industry standard 58mm non-pressurized portafilter. The CC1 comes with a industry standard 58mm non-pressurized portafilter.

    If you’re a budding barista, the Barista Express includes both pressurized and non-pressurized portafilters. We love pressurized portafilters since they’ll pull a decent shot even if the grind is fudged. For anyone who wants to grow with their machine, the non-pressurized is a must to hone those barista skills.

    Conclusion

    The Breville Barista Express is an all-time all-star for home baristas ready to brew espresso at home. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned today, it’s that the Crossland Coffee CC1 gives Breville espresso machines a run for their money! Programmed with a digital display to customize coffee settings, you can fine-tune the CC1 to make a delicious cup. And it has a single boiler, which produces more consistent espresso and better steam power than a thermoblock. What espresso machine would you take home? Share it with us in the comments below.

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