Crew Comparison

  • Video Roundup: 1/31/2020

    Hey Coffee Fans!

    We've got some great videos to share this week, so let's get started!

    First up, Allie shared some great tips for brewing an iced Chemex.

    Next up, John was joined by Andrew from Rancilio to take a look at the Specialty RS1:

    Finally, it's a classic Crew Comparison throwdown between the Rocket Espresso Faustino and Eureka Mignon grinders:

    That's all we have for now, stay tuned for more video magic!

  • Video Roundup: 1/3/2020

    It's 2020 y'all!

    We hope you had a wonderful holiday and New Year, we sure did! Here's some of the videos we've got for you this week:

    First, it's a crew comparison from Nicole taking a look at a couple of different drip brewers:

    Next up, we've got some tips for cleaning the LaMarzocco Swift Espresso Grinder:

    Finally, Gail walked us through picking out a French Press to fit your budget!

    That's all for this week! Go make some coffee you crazy coffee drinkers!

  • Crew Comparison: Baratza Encore vs OXO Barista Brain Grinder

    How Does It Compare?

    You’ve probably heard the grind is the most important part. You’d be right! From pour over to French press, the Baratza Encore and OXO Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder are two grinders that are up to the challenge! If you’ve been searching for beginner’s grinders, we bet the Encore has popped up a couple of times. It’s been around for years and with Baratza’s reputable name and quality build, it has been a consistent favorite amongst home brewers.

    The Barista Brain came to the market about a year ago and made its home with other entry-level grinders. With its user-friendly operation and extra features like a built-in scale, people just starting to build their coffee setup were drawn to the Barista Brain. If you’re in the market for an entry-level grinder, check out these two and see which one is right for you.

     

    The Baratza Encore is a sleek, tailored machine designed for home grinding. The Baratza Encore is a sleek, tailored machine designed for home grinding.
    OXOBaristaBrain_front Check out the OXO Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder!

    Grind

    Smart Settings

    The Baratza Encore and OXO Barista Brain both come equipped with 40mm conical steel burrs. For entry-level grinders, that’s not half bad! What it comes down to is how they use what their manufacturers gave them. The Encore has 40 macro settings to dial in a variety of different coffees. The straightforward design complements beginner baristas by removing all the guesswork—you’ll always find your spot! And it’s all manually operated, so it's all stop and go as you please.

    The Encore's manual button. The Encore's manual button.

    The Barista Brain has some geeky qualities that add more guidance than the Encore. Turn this grinder on and the controls light up like a Christmas tree. And we bet you’ll think it’s Christmas with all the different brew methods this machine can do! You can select the portafilter, grams or cups to use with each brew. Plus, with 15 macro and an additional five settings near the chute, the Barista Brian dials in fast. That said, the Barista Brain’s 15+ settings don’t offer as much to work with compared to the Encore’s 40 adjustments.

    The Barista Brain features a portafilter, gram and cup setting for quick dosing. The Barista Brain features a portafilter, gram and cup setting for quick dosing.

    Built-in Scale

    The Barista Brain’s built-in scale gives it a leg up over the competition. Using the grams application, you can set the amount of coffee and it will grind until the correct weight is reached—that’s it! And as we know, for the best brew, weighing the grams is essential. The convenient scale makes it effortless for entry-level home brewers to learn brewing ratios.

    Grade

    Brew Method

    Both the Baratza Encore and OXO Barista Brain grind for French press, drip, pour over, Chemex or even a pressurized portafilter! But both are definitely not fine enough for non-pressurized portafilters. Even if you did use the finest setting, both grinders wouldn’t be able to offer enough adjustments to properly dial-in. Since both are entry-level grinders, it's no surprise that they don’t grind well for espresso.

    The Encore features 40 grinder settings for more ways to dial in your grind. The Encore features 40 grinder settings for more ways to dial in your grind.

    Grind Size

    In a comparison of the finest grind size, both the Barista Brain and the Encore were neck and neck with consistency. And as we've discussed, the finest settings was still too granular for espresso. That said, at the coarsest setting the Encore came out ahead with consistent grounds. The coarsest setting can be hard for a grinder! And for the Barista Brain, we ended up with a lot of fine grounds mixed in with our chunky coffee. While it is still fine for French press, it’ll probably leave more grit and silt in your cup like a typical French press.

    With 15 macro settings and an additional five micro, the Barista Brain is easy to dial in. With 15 macro settings and an additional five micro, the Barista Brain is easy to dial in.

    Glamour

    Small Footprint

    The Baratza Encore’s uniformed design looks sleek and stylish in barista’s homes. It definitely helps to have a small footprint—the Encore is 13 inches tall, six inches deep and a not-so-staggering five inches wide. Overall, the only thing that seems to stick out is the Encore’s 8-ounce bean hopper.

    The Encore comes with a grounds catcher that helps keep your counter cleaner. The Encore comes with a grounds catcher that helps keep your counter cleaner.

    The OXO Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder isn’t too shabby in size either! The only difference is it’s a long machine at nine inches deep—that’s three extra inches on the Encore! In fact, the rest of it is just a tad bigger than the Encore, including the 16-ounce bean hopper. And is it ever really bad to have a bigger bean hopper? We don’t think so.

    Long and slim, the Barista Brain has an ergonomic design. Long and slim, the Barista Brain has an ergonomic design.

    Conclusion

    If you’re looking for the perfect beginner grinder, check out the Baratza Encore and OXO Barista Brain Grinder. Both are great grinders for French press, pour over, Chemex, drip brewing and even in a pressurized portafilter. Share what grinder you’d take home in the comments below.

  • 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.

  • Crew Comparison: Miele CM 6310 vs DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino

    How Does It Compare?

    If you need coffee to get your morning started, one-touch espresso machines are the answer! We’re comparing two one-touch machines, the Miele CM 6310 Coffee System with the new DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino. And when you can program your machine to turn on whenever you want how can you not be sold?

    The Miele sports four profiles for the whole family to make their favorite drinks—it’s truly like having a personal barista. The Eletta isn’t too shabby, either. While the Eletta doesn’t have profiles, we can customize the volume of espresso and milk for a handful of menu options. However, the really cherry on top of the Eletta is it’s advanced carafe, called the LatteCrema system, that has three dials to control milk frothiness. If you’ve been searching for a one-touch superautomatic espresso machine, check out these machines to see if one is right for you.

    The Miele CM6310 features lights underneath the brew group to make getting a morning cup easy on the eyes. The Miele CM6310 features lights underneath the brew group to make getting a morning cup easy on the eyes.
    The Eletta features a LatteCrema system that creates ideal milk foam for a variety of drinks. The Eletta features a LatteCrema system that creates ideal milk foam for a variety of drinks.

    Shot

    If you were tantalized by the Miele CM 6310 Coffee System’s four profiles, you’re going to swoon for this—each profile can customize the espresso and milk volume, brew temperature and pre-infusion time. Better yet, it’ll remember your tall order on every drink, on every profile. Did you get swept up off your feet? We certainly did. The espresso held up to our Crews tastebuds.

    The Miele CM6310 Superautomatic comes with an attached stainless steel carafe, double coffee settings and individual profiles. The Miele CM6310 Superautomatic comes with an attached stainless steel carafe, double coffee settings and individual profiles.

    The newest superautomatic to our lineup, the DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino, holds its own against the Miele. The drink menu features intuitive espresso choices that make finding your favorite drinks seamless. For instance, the My Coffee menu uses your taste preferences like standard taste or extra strong to make your perfect cup. While there are no profiles, you can program the espresso and milk volume under My Coffee as well as under the Cappuccino and Milk Menu buttons.

    Bonus: The Eletta features pulse brewing coffee that lowers the pressure and extracts a cup that is similar to drip!

    In 'My Coffee,' when you program the volume of your single shot, it daisy-chains to the rest of your drink options. In 'My Coffee,' when you program the volume of your single shot, it daisy-chains to the rest of your drink options.

    Steam

    One-touch cappuccinos, lattes or even flat whites are at our fingertips with the DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino’s LatteCrema system. Superautomatics tend to make one-foam-fits-all and limits our creativity, but the LatteCrema system takes care of that. The carafe dial has three options that turn milk into creamy silk or fluffy foam to dollop on espresso—the result is like ordering a latte from a local cafe!

    The LatteCrema system whips up silky microfoam or fluffy cappuccino foam at the turn of a dial. The LatteCrema system whips up silky microfoam or fluffy cappuccino foam at the turn of a dial.

    We gave both of these one-touch superautomatic machines the thumbs up in milk temperature! The Miele CM 6310 stainless steel thermal carafe will keep our milk cool while the Eletta’s plastic carafe is likely to warm faster. And unlike the Eletta, the Miele can adjust the milk temperature, so we’re never worried about cold milk in our cup. Another design feature we appreciate on the Miele is the dedicated hot water spout. With the Eletta, we have to change between the carafe and hot water spout.

    The stainless steel milk carafe attaches with a hose on the side of the Miele's brew group. The stainless steel milk carafe attaches with a hose on the side of the Miele's brew group.

    Style

    The Miele CM 6310 interactive digital display navigates user’s smoothly through programming and selecting a cup of coffee. And that’s what you want when you’ve have so many features to customize! The icons can be tricky to figure out at first, but a quick look over the manual makes it a no-brainer. The DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino features a similar interface. Both have touch-sensitive icons and a display, but the Eletta reuses some buttons for different functions, which can create confusion. But get to know your superautomatic and it’s all smooth sailing.

    The Miele CM6310's streamlined design complements modern kitchens. The Miele CM6310's streamlined design complements modern kitchens.

    Both of these one-touch superautomatic machines are outfitted with extra bells and whistles to keep your machine in tip-top shape! In fact, the Miele has one of the best cleaning cycles we’ve seen! It actively prompts a “rinse milk pipework” cycle to clean the hoses. The drip tray even has a slot dedicated for the nozzle of the hose to make cleanup more effortless. The Eletta’s maintenance is on par too—the carafe dial has a clean dial that steams water through the pipework without backwashing into the milk.

    Conclusion

    Overall, both one-touch espresso machines impress us with their capabilities and convenience! The Miele CM 6310 features four customizable profiles that can remember drink settings—this really knocks the Miele out of the park with other comparable superautomatics. That said, DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino feature customizable drinks too and features the advanced LatteCrema system that changes the frothiness of your milk. Both are great companions for coffee lovers, but which one is for you? If you want to learn more about these machines, check out their Crew Reviews.

  • Crew Comparison: Saeco Intelia Deluxe vs Xsmall

    How Does It Compare?

    It’s a Saeco showdown! We paired two of Saeco’s most popular entry-level superautomatics, the Saeco Intelia Deluxe and the Saeco Xsmall, to show you what each has to offer; espresso at the touch of a button, removable brew unit, easy steaming options—we’ll get to the differences in features and functionalities. Right off the bat, you’ll notice the Intelia Deluxe’s digital display is packed with more customizable options such as coffee temperature and stand-by mode! If you’re a big latte drinker, the Intelia Deluxe features a cappuccinatore to automatically froth milk right into your glass and, of course, programmable espresso buttons. The Xsmall can also offer you two programmable espresso options, but it’s all manual steaming with the panarello! Honestly though, we think the Xsmall’s simple controls and smaller footprint offers more appeal to the casual coffee drinker. Both machines offer the convenience and ease-of-use you’d expect from a superautomatic—find out which one best suits your coffee needs!

    The Saeco Intelia Deluxe comes with an interchangeable cappuccinatore that can be replaced with Saeco's panarellos. The Saeco Intelia Deluxe comes with an interchangeable cappuccinatore that can be replaced with Saeco's panarellos.
    The Saeco Xsmall Vapore features two programmable espresso buttons.

    Shot

    Waking up in the morning just got easier with the Saeco Intelia Deluxe! Equipped with customizable brew options, it’s easier to find that perfect sip. Does your morning coffee taste weak and need a boost? Try adjusting the Aroma Strength button from one bean (mild) to five beans (extra strong)—a quick trick to increases the amount of coffee per shot. You can also adjust the grinder settings located in the 10.5-ounce bean hopper, or manually dose through the bypass doser! For extra customizability, you can even adjust the brew temperature to one of three pre-set levels. While we’re still limited to what Saeco allows in each setting, we adore how easy it is to find a brewing sweet spot.

    If you want a double shot, rapidly push one of the espresso buttons. If you want a double shot, rapidly push one of the espresso buttons.

    On the other hand, the Saeco Xsmall is simplicity at it’s finest. This little machine features two programmable time-based espresso buttons that adjust the water volume. We set up our Xsmall as a single shot and lungo since there’s option for a double shot—or is there? Push either button in rapid succession and you’ll get a double portion! We can’t call it a true double shot since it will grind, brew and repeat, but it’s pretty close! While we can adjust the coffee strength on the Intelia Deluxe, the Xsmall doesn’t have aroma settings or a bypass doser. We can, however, manually tweak the grind setting to one of five options! It doesn’t take long to find a decent shot from the Xsmall for those who need a quick jolt of java in the morning.

    Steam

    The Saeco Intelia Deluxe features a cappuccinatore that makes steaming a breeze. Simply add the hose to any container with chilled milk and it’ll froth it right into your glass. Unlike a fully automatic one-touch system, you get manual control over your steamed milk length. Still not enough customizability?, Saeco’s made the cappuccinatore interchangeable with their panarello wand attachment—putting your milk’s temperature and texture under manual control.

    Want to practice frothing your milk? Switch the cappuccinatore for the panarello! Want to practice frothing your milk? Switch the cappuccinatore for the panarello!

    That said, the controls on the Saeco Xsmall are definitely more natural to use. The turn style knob turns left for steam or right for hot water and is a style we see more often for manual steaming. The only downside is the Xsmall’s tiny 33-ounce water reservoir. It runs out of water much quicker than the Intelia Deluxe—which sports a 53-ounce tank—and no one enjoys refilling a water tank multiple times. The Xsmall is suited for a small environment with light traffic like an apartment or small studio.

    The Xsmall features a 33-ounce water tank. The Xsmall features a 33-ounce water tank.

    Style

    The Saeco Xsmall’s rounded corners create a smaller footprint and make it easier to slip onto counter spaces or even an office desk (we dare you to)! But surprisingly the Saeco Intelia Deluxe isn’t that much bigger! If you measure from corner to corner, the Intelia Deluxe is only about two inches taller and an inch wider than the Xsmall. The Intelia Deluxe’s extra inches give it more room for a larger drip tray, water tank and a cup warmer.

    Surprisingly, the Xsmall isn't that much smaller than the Intelia Deluxe! Surprisingly, the Xsmall isn't that much smaller than the Intelia Deluxe!

    The Intelia Deluxe also looks sharper with the stainless steel face and digital display. The Xsmall’s different models offer more color options, but none have the digital display or the option to customize your coffee, which is honestly enough to get us excited about the Intelia Deluxe. At the end of the day, these machines offer different features that coffee lovers will have to decide what they can and can’t live with for themselves.

    The brushed stainless steel casing looks nice against the matte black side panels and panarello. The brushed stainless steel casing looks nice against the matte black side panels and panarello.

    Conclusion

    If you’re looking for more control over your espresso and lattes, then look no further than the Saeco Intelia Deluxe! This superautomatic features the basic programming you’d need to dial in your espresso. The Saeco Xsmall is the ideal caffeine companion for those craving a quick cup with minimal effort. And with the option to add a panarello to the Intelia Deluxe, both machines are capable of frothing milk the way you want it.

    Check out these Saeco superautomatics and tell us what machine you’d take home in the comments below!

6 Item(s)

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.