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  • 2020 Getting Started Guide: Grinders

    Hello! 

    If you’ve been keeping up with us recently you know we’ve been releasing our set of 2020 buying guides here on the SCG Blog. This week we’re providing a general look at buying your first coffee grinder, whether you’re pulling shots or brewing pour over. Let’s get started!

    Your First Espresso Grinder

    We covered buying an espresso grinder as part of our overall espresso buying guide. There we recommended the Rancilio Rocky and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. These are excellent grinders that are very affordable for an espresso grinder. The reason you tend to pay more for an espresso grinder is because of the need for very fine, very consistent coffee. This generally requires premium burrsets, motors, and controls. 

    The Smart Grinder Pro and Rancilio Rocky aren’t quite as easy to dial in for espresso as a Eureka Mignon might be, but they are excellent grinders for the price. They’ll have you pulling unpressurized shots from your new machine with just a bit of practice. Learning on a grinder like this is especially good for new users, because it’ll help you understand how pulling shots works!

    Filter Brewing

    One of the nice things about the above listed grinders is that they’re also great for non-espresso brewing as well. So we recommend them if you’re looking to brew with a range of different methods. With that said, having to switch the settings back and forth all the time can be a pain, so it’s worth having a separate brew grinder if you can. If you’re not planning on brewing espresso at all then you can even save a bit with these recommendations.

    For filter brewing like drip and pour over it’s hard to recommend anything other than the spectacular Baratza Encore. This is a world class brew grinder perfect for a wide range of non-espresso applications. If you are looking for stepless control for more fine adjustments, Eureka’s Filtro and Brew Bro also offer very compelling options. All of these grinders will provide excellent grounds for filter brewing for years and years.

    Alternate Brew Methods

    There’s a world of other weird and wonderful ways to brew coffee out there, from press to vacuum and mokapot. For these varied types of brewing we recommend many of the above grinders in various configurations. If you love press coffee, something like the Baratza Encore will be the perfect match. If you want to brew a mokapot but have the option of switching to pour over brewing, the Smart Grinder Pro we mentioned is a great step between ultra-fine capable grinders and something that can go courser.

    In the end, grinder selection has more to do with how it’s specialized rather than how expensive it is. Pricier grinders are certainly pretty and full of bells, whistles, and performance for more demanding brew types like espresso. However, to get started you just need the right tool for the job!

    That’s all for now, we’ll be back with one more buying guide, featuring some alternative brewing methods, next week!

    Check out the rest of our getting started guides!

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 4

    It's time for our final holiday roasts guide for 2019!

    Check out parts one, two, and three if you haven't! Let's finish this list up.

    Kickapoo Coffee Roasters - Revelry

    Revelry is not a new name, but this year's version does bring some fresh notes. Fig, fruitcake, and honeysuckle should tell you that this is a sweet, fruity roast. Its bright notes a assisted by a generally lighter body that's still medium when viewed on the roasting spectrum. We think this is, like many other holiday roasts, a good beginner's coffee that adds just a little bit extra for those looking for it. Great for groups and easy to brew - you really can enjoy it however you like! Pick some up here.

     

     

    Ruby Colorful Coffees - Cheers Seasonal Blend

    Rich and warm are two words that perfectly describe Ruby's Cheers holiday blend. Cheers is an appropriate name too, because this is definitely one to cheer about! The notes of mulled wine, dried fruit, spice and sweet citrus go great together. All of those flavors work with its medium body to give just enough juiciness and plenty of flavor. Perfect for the season, we recommend this on as a drip/filter brew. Don't miss it! Grab a bag here.

     

     

    49th Parallel Holiday Blends

    49th has really spoiled us as usual with not one, but TWO holiday blends. Their Holiday Filter features notes of cherry strudel, redberry jam, and almonds. It's a flavorful cup perfect for drip and filter brew methods. On the other hand, their Holiday Espresso offers plum, pomegranate, and vanilla flavors. Both of these roasts are wonderful in their specific brew methods and give you a lot of flexibility this season. Great for those with a dedicated grinder for each brew method, and a delicious treat for entertaining friends and family! Get em' before they're gone.

     

     

    Anchorhead - Winter Warmer

    Winter Warmer is a proven classic for a reason. Despite some morbid bag art (who are we kidding, we love it), this is a tasty brew with some silly notes. While Anchorhead's listed flavors are a little coy, we can at least share that this coffee is rich, sweet, and loveable. Great as a filter brew, pour over, espresso, press, or really whatever type of brew method you like best. Share some holiday cheer and a whole lot of deliciousness this season with Winter Warmer! You can buy a bag of this annual favorite right here.

     

     

    Huckleberry Roasters - Sister Winter

    Last but certainly far from least, we've got Huckleberry's seasonal: Sister Winter! We're ending our list this year on one of the most classic tasting roasts we've got this season. Full of chocolate, berries, baked goods, and warmth, this is a coffee lover's coffee. A blend of natural and washed process beans, you'll get just the right medium body to enjoy with all that sweetness. Sister Winter won't overwhelm your palate though, tempering those sweet flavors with a tiny hint of bitterness and a warm undertone that keeps it an easy drinker. Buy a bag here!

     

    That's all for now! We hope you've enjoyed this look at our 2019 holiday roast lineup, and we'll see you in 2020 (or a little bit sooner)!

     

     

  • Crew Review: Rocket Espresso Water Reservoir Filter

    The Best Maintenance Is Preventive!

    If you ask us, the best maintenance is preventive maintenance! Keep your Rocket espresso machine squeaky clean and working like new with the Rocket Espresso Water Reservoir Filter. What does the Rocket water filter do, you ask? It prevents the buildup of scale in your Rocket boiler(s)!

    Now, this filter is little different from your Brita filters. The Rocket Espresso Water Reservoir Filter is a compact, square packet that floats inside the Rocket’s water tank. To get the water filter ready, rinse it under cold water before adding to the tank—voila! Rocket’s water filter will last between six and 12 months between replacements.

    Why Use A Water Filter?

    The Rocket Espresso Water Reservoir Filter helps reduce scale. Scale is the buildup of minerals (calcium generally) that naturally occur in water. Scale is more noticeable in areas with hard water, which just means the water is heavy with minerals. The buildup can lead to slow water flow, reduced boiler functionality or worse case scenario a malfunctioning espresso machine—and we don’t want that!

    How It Works

    The Rocket water filter uses resin and activated carbon filtration system to filter out calcium, chlorine and other impurities. The more minerals and dissolved solids like calcium there are, the harder your water is. You’ve probably heard about water hardness and that it’s bad for espresso machines. While minerals do cause scale, if you own a Rocket, you need minerals!

    Rocket machines use an electronic sensor that requires some mineral content in the water to register that the tank is full. So, if you pour distilled water to your Rocket, it would think you were out of water—neat!

    Here’s another consideration about water hardness; the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) recommends between 75 and 250 milligrams per liter of total dissolved solids (TDS), which include minerals like calcium or sodium. The higher the TDS, the harder your water is. The ideal mineral content for coffee water is 150 mg/L. So while minerals will cause scale, it’s not bad to have minerals in your water.

    How Often Do I Descale?

    Eventually, there will come a time where you notice your machine is a little lackluster. It might be time to descale! But listen up before you buy a descale solution—Rocket recommends that you do not descale your machine at home. Instead, Rocket recommends home barista’s take their espresso machines to a professional—such as Seattle Coffee Gear! It’s an extra step, but the peace of mind of having a professional look at your Italian hand-crafted machine is worth it—your Rocket’s in good hands.

    If you think you need your Rocket espresso machine descaled, send us the deets on your machine on this page.

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