coffee

  • Video Roundup: 12/13/2019

    Hello coffee fans!

    It's Friday the 13th, but that doesn't mean this coffee round up will get freaky. Or does it?...

    It doesn't. Sorry to disappoint!

    Anyway, on to the videos!

    First up, yours truly hosted the first episode of Under Pressure, our new coffee themed game show!

    Next up, Gail took a look at the SCG Exclusive Bambino Pro!

    Next up, John took a look at a couple of commercial cold brew brewing methods!

    Then we have a crew review of the Seattle Coffee Gear pour over set!

    And finally, it's a look at some delicious holiday drinks with Allie!

    We hope you enjoy these videos, we'll be back with more next week!

     

  • Introducing Your Family to Craft Coffee

    Hey coffee fans!

     

    It's the holiday season, and for many folks that means lots of time with family and friends. One of the joys of these kinds of gatherings is being able to share your favorite treats of the season! We know that sometimes it can be tough to "sell" grocery store coffee drinkers on fancier stuff. It's why we thought we'd offer some tips for sharing your favorite coffee with your favorite people this Holiday!

    Start slow

    Look, we would all love for our family to understand how delicious a bright, floral shot of espresso can be. This is also a pretty challenging leap from the less flavorful coffees they might be used to! We recommend starting small by going for an old fashioned drip pot of coffee. Prepare it before they arrive and offer it to them without feeling like you have to explain what you brewed. Lots of complicated information can be overwhelming and lead to your test subj... We mean guests, jumping to conclusions about what they're drinking.

    Leave the bag near the brew

    Specialty coffee usually features some beautiful bags. You might already do this, but if you don't, leave that pretty package next to your brewer! Anyone passing by might be enticed to pick it up and ask about it. Once it's a question, it's easier to share info on the coffee you've brewed.

    Keep it simple

    While we'd love for you to sell your family and friends on a challenging natural process single origin, you might want to keep it simpler. Stick to a blend that offers some classic coffee notes, plus a little bit extra. Options like our SCG Holiday Blend or Bluebeard's Snowbeard fit this bill nicely. If they like the coffee, then you can suggest they try more adventurous roasts. This ties in with using a simpler brew method like a basic drip brewer. We're sure your guests will appreciate a bit of familiarity!

    Branch out into pour over

    A very eye opening thing to a lot of coffee newbies is their first pour over. This is a brew method that is perfect for understanding the intricacies present in many coffees. After your guests have tried a more complex roast than the basic grocery store coffee they may be used to, exploring it further as a pour over could really open them up to craft coffee.

    Spread it out

    Don't try to go all in on this in one visit. After a morning pot of drip, offer a pour over at the next gathering. Coffee is still coffee! Too much at once can lead to a bit of an overload for newer coffee drinkers. That can be unpleasant and off-putting in the long run.

    Most importantly...

    Don't be a snob!

    Lots of people have a perception of craft coffee as a snobby thing to enjoy. Many folks think all coffees taste exactly the same and coffee as a hobby is a wasted effort. Rather than argue with a person like that, the best thing you can do is meet any dismissal with humor and humbleness. Not everyone likes coffee for coffee's sake!

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 2

    It's time for part 2 of our holiday roasts series! If you haven't yet, check out part 1 here!

    Dogwood Coffee - Snow Emergency

    Dogwood's Snow Emergency is a certified classic holiday roast. Returning with some equally classic notes, we love this one for so many reasons! Fruity, chocolatey, vanilla-y, this is a must drink coffee for your holiday rotation. Sometimes with these roasts we get the most excited by wild new elements, but this one does a wonderful job of sticking to the script. Delicious in a wide range of brews too, try it as a drip brew to get a baseline. You can buy a bag here.

     

    Verve Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Verve's Holiday Blend is described with the note "comforting." We think that makes a lot of sense! Also featuring notes of candied orange and spiced rum, this is a satisfying sipper. As usual, we always have to point out that no, there is no alcohol in this roast despite the spiced rum note! Perfect for chilly nights by the fire, this one has just enough sweetness to put a smile on your face. Brew it however you like, but pick it up here.

     

    Espresso Republic - Cabin Fever

    Milk Chocolate, Molasses, and Nutmeg in one of the prettiest boxes we've ever seen... Sign us up! Espresso Republic's Cabin Fever is a wonderful holiday roast full of warm and cozy flavors. Enjoy this one snuggled under a blanket by a frosted over window with a good book while you recover from a busy evening with friends and family. Also great for sharing, but we won't tell! We're sure you'll love this one as a drip brew or espresso! Purchase it here.

     

    Camber Coffee - Cambrrrr

    It's a real treat to see Camber throw some humor into the title of this seasonal roast, especially given their gorgeous, classy packaging. This roast is more than a funny name though, offering a little something extra. Like we said above, some holiday roasts are all about bringing something new to the season, which Cambrrrr definitely does! The fruity sweetness on display here is soft and mild, without offering too much "candied" taste like you can get sometimes with particularly fruity blends. Try it as a pourover and buy it here!

     

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Seattle Coffee Gear Holiday Blend

    It's back for 2019! We loved our 2018 holiday blend with Brandywine so much that we brought it back for this season. This year the roast features notes of mulled cider, marionberry jam, orange, and chocolate for a perfect mix of old and new notes. Sweet, juicy, and not too complex, we think this roast will be a great choice for just about very coffee fan. It's mellow, easy to drink, and easy to brew. Kind of the point! We wanted to bring you something you would love to try with your family and friends, and we hope we did so. Try it in a variety of brew methods. Be sure to get it before it's gone here!

     

    We'll be back next week with part 3!

  • Video Roundup: 12/06/2019

    Ho ho ho coffee fans!

    We've had some off and on weeks this holiday season because of all of the shopping! This week we did want to round up our week of video content for you, so let's take a look!

    First up, Gail took a look at the Philips Carina and Philips 3200!

    Next, we got a commercial crew review of the Bunn MHG from John:

    And finally, we're sad to see her go. It's Clementine's final coffee collaboration. :(

    We wish Clementine all of the best for her future endeavors!

    We'll be here next week to dish out some more coffee videos...

    P.S., Stay tuned to the channel later tonight for a special holiday treat!

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 1

    It's that time of year for Winter cheer! We're celebrating the season with a look at all of our Holiday blends from a great collection of roasters. Here's part 1!

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Small Wonder

    Small Wonder is a Fall treat from one of our favorite roasting partners, Brandywine Coffee Roasters! We love this little bag of cozy Fall flavors like caramel, honeycrisp apples, pecan, and cider. Featuring natural processed coffee, this is a sweet roast that doesn't overwhelm like some naturals. We think this roast is an excellent example of the "true medium," and we think your friends and family will love it. What's more, this roast is great in a variety of brew methods, so try it in your superauto, drip brewer, semi-auto machine, press, or however you like to brew! You can grab a bag of Small Wonder here.

    Counter Culture Coffee - Iridescent

    Counter Culture's Iridescent leans into the "gift" aspect of the holidays. Its cheery packaging and bright colors look great with a bow, and it has great taste to boot! This coffee hits you with that classic chocolate note that you know and love. This is a key component of a lot of holiday roasts. Leaning into that classic coffee taste is a good start to a roast that's perfect for serving a crowd! The berry notes that add into this coffee are a perfect addition to the chocolate flavors, providing a deep, rich cup of coffee that will satisfy the most discerning coffee drinkers in a variety of brew methods. Perfect for a gift, pick up some Iridescent here today!

     

    Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Warm and full, Batdorf's 2019 Holiday Blend is another great offer from this long time SCG favorite. Featuring charming artwork that always brings a smile to our faces, this one offers just a hint of bitterness with its dark chocolate notes. Add in softer sweet flavors of dried fruit, and a dash of nutmeg and you've got an excellent holiday roast that will bring out holiday cheer in anyone who takes a sip! We love this roast as an espresso, but it can make for a great drip brew or pour over as well. Perfect for fans of coffee that's just bitter enough, you can purchase a bag of this blend right here!

     

    Victrola Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Featuring a beautiful bag depicting a cozy, snow cabin nestled in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, Victrola's Holiday Blend is a great mix of classic holiday notes and a little something extra. Cocoa, baking spice, and orange provide an interesting blend of flavors with a custard note that is subtle but quite interesting. A delicious blend of washed and natural beans, this is a roast that's great to try out in a few different brew methods if you have the equipment. We ultimately enjoyed it the most as a pour over, but suspect that others will love it as an espresso or press brew too. Pick one of these bags up over here!

     

    Olympia Coffee Roasting - Holiday Blend

    It should come as no surprise that one of the most traditionally delicious holiday blends we've received comes from such a traditionally brilliant roaster like Olympia. This is a classic set of Wintery notes: Chocolate, clove, and blueberry. The mix of washed and natural processed beans allows plenty of sweetness to shine through that ultra classic coffee flavor. We love this roast for its traditional vibes and also enjoy the way Olympia consistently nails those subtle notes of blueberry. Brew this one up as a pour over to get every bit of flavor from it, then try it as an espresso! Buy a bag here!

     

    That's all for now, join us next week for more holiday blends from 2019!

  • SCG Holiday 2019 Deals Guide

    It's the holiday season and Seattle Coffee Gear is here with some great deals for you!

    Rather than make you hunt through old blog posts and videos to get info about each of our exclusive deals, we've assembled this guide. It should give you an idea of why we're excited about each of the things we're putting on sale! You can find all of these deals and more right over here. Let's dive in!

    Philips Carina

    The Philips Carina is our exclusive machine from Philips' new line of superautomatics. It's a great machine that offers incredible value between its coffee and milk quality. We love the fact that the panarello steam wand gives you control over the temperature and texture of your milk. With Philips' delicious espresso and coffee brewing, it all gives you a really delicious package even at its regular price. We're knocking off $150, bringing the price down to $349.99 this holiday!

    Eurekea Mignon Filtro Grinder

    This year Eureka put out an excellent line of brew grinders with the form factor of their Mignon line. While they released a few of them, the Filtro offers the most simple, go to option to get just the grind you want. This grinder features simple push-button operation and a stepless grind adjust. This grind adjustment is the sort of thing you'd typically find on more expensive espresso grinders. It allows you to get the exact grind you need for your coffee, rather than clicking through preset grind levels. The Filtro is one of the best brew grinders you can get, and we've got it for just $199 this holiday!

    Rocket Espresso Pro Upgrade Kit + No Tax

    Rocket Espresso is one of our favorite semi-auto machine producers. These classic Italian espresso machines are built to last and perform incredible well. What's more, with a range of price options we are sure there's a Rocket Espresso machine for every "prosumer" user out there. This year we've brewed up a special upgrade kit for purchasers of a Rocket Espresso machine. This kit includes a bottomless portafilter, tamper, milk pitcher, and gasket upgrade. With all of this you'll just need to add ground coffee, milk, and water to get some exquisite home espresso. We're also paying your sales tax on these machines!

    Izzo Espresso

    Izzo espresso machines also represent some of out very favorite Italian machine offerings. Our Izzo Pro models upgrade the standard machines to stainless steel boilers. This means you'll get a lifetime of espresso from one of these wonderful machines. We're excited to offer Izzo machines for $200 off. This is an especially great deal considering how rarely Izzos go on sale!

    Miele CM5500

    The Miele CM5500 is our stylish exclusive from Miele. Featuring the compact, but powerful design of the 5300 plus extra programmable user profiles and a hot water spout, this machine is already a great value. We're doing even more though, and taking $200 off! This makes this fantastic machine that already punches well above its price point just $1,099. Get this deal while it lasts!

    Breville Precision Brewer Tribute Edition

    Our SCG exclusive Breville Precision Brewer is also on sale, available for just $239.95. We love the original Precision Brewer, and this exclusive includes a pour over adapter that lets you mount your favorite dripper above the carafe. With this addition, the Precision Brewer becomes your one stop shop for drip brews, cold brew, iced coffee AND pour over. It's the best deal in drip brewers right now if you're looking for a gift or an upgrade!

    Crossland CC1 V2 Espresso Machine

    A dream machine for hobbyists, the Crossland CC1 is a standby for us. Perfect for tinkering and tweaking your recipes, this machine was already one of our favorites in its price bracket. With excellent support from Crossland and great performance on par with more expensive machines, this deal just makes the CC1 all the sweeter. Get this stalwart machine for $150 off this holiday only at Seattle Coffee Gear!

    SCG Pour Over Starter Set

    Getting into pour over brewing can seem like a chore. you need a dripper, grinder, filters, a kettle, a scale, not to mention coffee and your mug! This holiday we're handling most of the above with our $99 pour over kit. This kit includes a Hario Skerton hand grinder, V60 dripper, filters, a Brewista Smart Brew Coffee Scale, and a Bonavita Electric Gooseneck Kettle. With all of this, you'll just need to add some cups and coffee and you'll be ready to get into the wide world of pour over!

    And for those two things, check out our CREMA15 and STOCKINGS coupon codes! The former saves you 15% on all LavAzza coffee, and the later knocks 10% off accessories like mugs, scales, and more!

    We hope our SCG deals will help you give the perfect gift or upgrade your own coffee game. All of these deals are limited time, so get them as soon as you can!

  • 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.

  • Video Roundup: 11/22/2019

    Holidays are right around the corner and we're in high gear!

    If you haven't seen Gail's awesome picks videos, make sure you check those out. Today we'll take a look at all of the other stuff we've got going on over on YouTube.

    First up, it's John with a review of a commercial grinder:

    Next, Allie, Nicole and I tasted some amazing Smith Teas:

    Finally, Clementine tried a tasty chilled treat on this week's Coffee Collaboration!

    That's all for this week! We'll be back next week with more videos to share!

  • Gail's Picks: Best High-End Superautomatic Espresso Machines of 2019

    Welcome back to our Gail's Picks series for 2019!

    Today it's time to take a look at our picks for the best high-end superuatomatic espresso machines in 2019. These machines have so much programmability and tech in them that it's almost like having a personal barista. But what sets these three apart from other expensive superautos? Read on to find out!

    Miele CM6350

    The Miele CM6350 is a powerful brewer that offers a pipe based system that connects to a carafe for milk steaming, and four customizable profiles. This machine set a standard for high-end superautos and still is one of the best you can buy. The menus can take some getting used to, but there's no denying the quality of coffee and milk that comes out of a miele superauto. Add to that a hot water spout, large hopper, and a removable reservoir and you've got a compelling option at its price point. Those four profiles allow you to set elements of drink creation for multiple users, so that the whole family can dial in their perfect latte.

    Miele is also the only superauto maker to offer carafe based coffee brewing. While the "coffee" from a Miele isn't truly drip coffee, it's about as close as you can get from this style of machine. With carafe brewing, you can brew a whole pot of this lungo pulled espresso at once to serve multiple guests. It all combines to make the CM6350 one of the best machines you can buy for families.

    Saeco Xelsis

    Last year the Xelsis got a major re-launch and totally blew us away. We declared it one of the best machines of 2018, and it maintains that this year. The new Xelsis redefines programmability, user interface, and milk quality for superautos. The touchscreen on the face of the machine gives you full control over multiple pages of drink parameters. Things like volume and strength are standard, but being able to adjust temperature, milk foam, and specific ingredient volumes is a great addition. All of it is extremely easy to understand and read as well. This extends to the AquaClean filtration and HygieSteam system as well. Both of these components are easy to understand and manage, and make maintenance of the machine a breeze.

    The front access water tank, general look and feel of the machine, and sturdy construction drive home the premium nature of this machine. Then there's the milk quality. Xelsis' HygieSteam system really nails one of the hardest aspects of drink creation. Professional baristas spend hours learning techniques to get just the right amount of foam for lattes and cappuccinos. The Xelsis still can't quite match a real, human pro, but it gets as close as we've seen. All of that makes it one of the best superautos you can get!

    Jura Z8

    Reaching for the highest of the high end machines, the Jura Z8 is like an espresso supercomputer. Its massive 4.3-inch touchscreen delivers a glorious user experience that offers programmability and simple one touch recipes. 21 of these recipes are built in, and brewing them is as easy as can be. Adjustable milk temperature and texture provide an exquisite set of options for lattes and cappuccinos as well, really living up to that "cafe in your kitchen" concept. Plus, this machine makes some of the best espresso available in the superauto category. This is achieved with Jura's exclusive P.E.P. brewing system, which teases out more of the depth in the brew method that you can normally only get by manually pulling shots.

    On top of being one of the best in the business in terms of drink quality, the Z8 offers looks and easy maintenance as well. CLEARYL smart filtration keeps you informed on when you need to change the filter and clean the machine. On the case side, thick plating and solid construction provide a visually appealing and high quality feel to the machine. While this is one of the more expensive machines on the market, it justifies this with its high performance.

    Conclusion

    And there you have it, our three favorites in the high-end market for superautos. We love these machines, and feel they represent some of the best options available for your kitchen. We're pretty sure you'll love them too. We're not done yet though, check back for more of Gail's Picks in the next week!

     

  • Video Roundup: 11/15/2019

    Happy Friday Coffee Fans!

    We've had a load of fun filming this week and have a few videos to share. Make sure you check out Gail's Picks for 2019, which we've been sharing in separate posts here on the blog! Today we're going to dig in to our regularly scheduled content.

    Fist up, we got a look at the La Marzocco Swift Espresso Grinder from John.

    Next, Clementine brewed up some apple cider coffee!

    Last but not least, Allie, Nicole and I had a taste of our newest roast, Onyx Coffee Lab:

    That's all for this week! Join us next week for more fun video content!

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