gift guide

  • Holiday Buying Guide: Stocking Stuffers!

    What do you get the coffee drinker that already has everything? We've got you covered today with another holiday buying guide! From smaller items to drop in as a little something extra to bigger surprises in small packages, we've got you covered.

    Odds and Ends

    First up, let's look at a few smaller extras that many coffee drinkers may overlook. For your outdoorsy friends, check out the GSI Outdoors collapsible dripper. This neat little tool is great for making pourover at home or on the go. It's billed as a camping device, but it works great in hotel rooms and relatives houses too! Another neat little add-on to a classic coffee making tool is the Fellow Prismo add-on for Aeropress coffee makers. The Prismo provides extra resistance to an Aeropress brewer, allowing you to get thicker, richer coffee from the device. It's a fun way to try something a little different out of a standby coffee maker. Stepping up on price, but still offering great value, is Kalita Wave stainless steel dripper. While we agree that your choice in dripper is largely going to come down to personal preference, the Kalita is a beloved option, and the stainless steel version lasts for years! For the home barista that enjoys milk drinks, cups and pitchers are always a great option. Spouted frothing pitchers generally offer the best control for latte art. As for cups, we love Acme's line of drinkware, such as this Demitasse set.

     

    Big Surprises

    What if you're looking to go the extra mile with a stocking stuffer? Maybe you want to tease a bigger gift, or just like the idea of the surprise of a more expensive item in their stocking. If that's the case, take a look at items like the Espro Calibrated Tamper and OCD Coffee Distribution Tool. These devices help with prepping espresso shots. The OCD gives you excellent distribution of grounds in the portafilter. This is a must for brewing with a bottomless portafilter and ensures even extraction for better tasting espresso. The Espro Tamper "clicks" at 30 lbs. of pressure. It's a great tool to train yourself on proper tamping technique.

    Finally, one of our favorite coffee crafting stocking sized items is the Acaia Lunar Interactive Espresso Brewing Scale. This definitely the luxury car of coffee scales. Acaia's tech is top notch, and the Lunar packs it into a tiny package that's perfect for weighing shots. with multiple modes and integration with Acaia's range of apps, this scale will take your espresso brewing to the next level.

    Look out for more holiday shopping guides and some incredible deals very soon!

     

     

     

  • Holiday Buying Guide: Drip Coffee

    Welcome to another holiday buying guide from Seattle Coffee Gear! Today we're taking a look at some of the features and controls to look for in a drip brewer! If you're shopping for a new classic drip coffee machine for someone on your guest list, read on!

     

    Features Vs. Performance

    Like with many coffee machines, cost usually comes down to feature set and performance. Build quality and reliability also factor into this, but generally any drip brewer you find at Seattle Coffee Gear or similar retailers will be pretty long lasting. Let's start by taking a look at some of the features you might be looking for in a brewer.

    Drip brewers can be as simple as a machine with a single button (such as the Bonavita Connoisseur), or have a myriad of options. Some of the features you might be looking for are things like single cup brewing, temperature control, pre-infusion, and pourover or cold brew options. Other useful options include things like custom programming for pre-infusions and brew methods. By dialing in specific options you can unlock different elements of a roast's flavor profile. One of our favorite machines for programmability is the Breville Precision Brewer. This brewer offers a host of custom options for getting exactly the drink you want. We love it so much that we worked with Breville to offer the Brewer's Cup Edition linked above. This version includes a pourover adapter out of the box! Another important consideration is whether the person receiving the machine prefers a glass or stainless steel server. Stainless servers keep coffee insulated and erase the need for a warming plate on the brewer. These plates can lead to scorched coffee if left on, but some can taste the difference between stainless and glass. Make sure you know before you gift!

    Maybe you're not looking for a ton of options though, and just want a great cup of coffee with the push of a button!

    Simplicity and Style

    For a simpler cup of coffee, consider a brewer like the Technivorm Moccamaster. While a brewer like this may come at a higher price tag, it also simply and perfectly brews just the right cup every time. In the case of a high performance brewer like this, it'll also offer extreme reliability and longevity. These brewers can last decades, and may be the perfect higher dollar item for that special someone on your guest list.

    At the end of the day, so much of the drip brewing shopping process is about options. If you or the person you're shopping for likes pourover, cold brew, and experimentation, take a look at the Precision brewer. For those looking for an easy, no frills cup of joe, the Connoisseur or Moccamaster is the way to go.

  • Holiday Buying Guide: Semi-Automatics

    It’s November, which means Turkey day is rapidly approaching. Let’s be honest, what that really means, whether you’re dreading it or excited, is that holiday shopping season is upon us. Are you looking to spoil someone on your list this year with a new semi-auto espresso machine? Maybe you’re just buying for yourself? We’re here to help! Here’s a guide for what to look for this holiday season if you’re shopping for a semi-auto espresso machine.

    Build Quality

    The first thing you should look for in any machine is build and component quality. Along with this, you’ll want to determine what sort of power you’re looking for, and if the prospective machine delivers. For example, the Rancilio Silvia and Crossland CC1 offer an extremely strong build quality and the power to brew unpressurized espresso. These are features that will matter if you’re looking for a long term machine.

    On the flip-side, less expensive machines my only brew with pressurized baskets. This is due to a weaker pump, which is common in cheap machines. That doesn’t mean the less expensive machine is the wrong gift, it’s just important to know the capabilities going in. The stronger components in machines like the Silvia and CC1 mentioned do come with a cost attached. There’s a reason machines like this retail for under $1,000 while delivering such robust, quality espresso...

     

    Cost Vs. Features

    One of the core things to think about when purchasing an espresso machine is feature set vs. cost. It can be tempting to chase a great seeming deal, but it’s important to understand what you’re getting. Some key features to look for are control methods, programmability, and ergonomics. The machines referenced above offer solid espresso for a great cost, but lack the programmability of some other machines in the segment. By contrast, other machines might offer less powerful and consistent brewing, but provide programming features or more intuitive controls. This is why it’s important to know where the person you’re shopping for’s skill level is.

    For beginner home baristas, it may make sense to look at less expensive options with simpler controls. This will result in a need to upgrade sooner, but it’s better than ending up with a machine that is more than what the user is ready for. Generally we recommend going a little over what you think the user might be ready for. This way you get someone a machine that they can grow into, but won’t overwhelm them. In fact, it’s why we've mention machines like the Silvia and CC1 so much. These machines aren’t the $2,000-$3,000 “generational” machines like a Rocket or an Izzo, but they provide a fantastic starting point. Their limited frills means that the user will need to learn the fundamentals of espresso to use them. It also means they’ll be well equipped to upgrade to a more expensive machine down the line. Even if they don’t machines like these will last for years and years.

    Don’t forget the grinder

    One of the other most important things to look out for when gifting an espresso machine is the grinder! Not every grinder can handle grinding fine enough for espresso. This is especially true of unpressurized espresso. Make sure that the person you’re buying for has a capable grinder already, or that they’re receiving one this holiday! We’ll have more on that and other holiday shopping tips soon!

  • Video Roundup: 11/9/2018

    Happy Friday!

    We're here with another video roundup!

    First up, our top 3 espresso machines of 2018!

    Next up, we took a peek at the new Breville Bambino!

    Followed by another top 3, this time focused on grinders:

    Finally, Gail's favorites for 2018!

    Thanks! Make some coffee you love this weekend!

     

  • 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!

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