Grinders

  • 2020 Holiday Shopping Guide: Pour Over

    It’s time for another holiday shopping guide! Today we’re looking at the wide world of pour over. This is a brew method many new coffee enthusiasts get into to start understanding specialty coffee, and we think it truly is a great way to learn! While pour over isn’t prohibitively expensive, there are more parts to it than with drip or even espresso. With that in mind, let’s get started with the most important part of your pour over set…

    Grinders

    The most important thing about drinking specialty coffee is fresh grinding your beans. With that in mind, a blade grinder just isn’t going to cut it. You’ll want a burr grinder designed for grinding in the brew range, as opposed to super-fine for espresso. Luckily, there are multiple grinders in an affordable range to pick from!

    The first on the list is the Baratza Encore. This is a legendary grinder known for its reliability, performance, and ease of use. Any new specialty coffee enthusiast will get years of use out of an encore. This year, Seattle Coffee Gear is also excited to offer the Solis Scala! The Scala isn’t quite as proven as the Encore yet, but offers an excellent value and exceptional performance for drip, press, and pour over brewing, as well as a timed grinding option that the Encore lacks.

    If you’re looking for something a little more challenging to learn on, but that offers more precision, there’s the Eureka Mignon Crono. The Crono’s stepless grind adjust can be tough to master, but it offers the ability to get a very precise grind perfect for getting every note out of those tricky single origin roasts. The Crono does come in at a higher price than the Scala and the Encore, and may be well suited for an upgrade if you’ve already got a burr grinder that you’re looking to grow from. 

    With your grinder picked out, there’s a few more pieces of gear you’ll need to get brewing!

    Scales and Kettles

    Outside of fresh grinding your beans, the other key components to brewing great coffee are water temperature and proper grounds to water ratios. Consistent temperature in the 195-205 fahrenheit range is key to getting a great pour over (or any coffee brew). To achieve that, you’ll want a kettle that you can trust, and that offers variable temperatures. For this, we think the best combination of price, performance, and features for this holiday season is the Bonavita Interurban. The Interurban provides precision temperature control, multiple presets, and a stylish look with multiple finish options.

    In terms of scales, there’s a couple of great ways you can go. Your scale is very important because you need to both weigh your grounds going in, and weigh as you pour to ensure the proper ratio. To achieve this, we recommend either the Hario V60 Drip Scale or the Oxo Precision Scale and Timer. Both are reasonably priced, accurate, and feature timers to help you with your bloom and pours.

    For those looking to take their weighing the extra mile, the Acaia Pearl offers even more precise weight, an expanded set of brew modes, and connectivity with Acaia’s smartphone apps, which help you dial in your pour over recipe to the T.

    Drippers and Servers

    For your choice of dripper, it really comes down to preference, as all drippers do create an almost imperceptible difference in flavor. For starters, there’s the Hario V60, which is a classic, and very affordable. We’d recommend the V60 as you first start exploring pour over. If you’re looking to get a little bit more adventurous, the Kalita Wave and Espro Bloom both offer interesting takes on pour over drippers, and are worth giving a try.

    Many people just brew their pour over directly into their mug of choice, but if you’re looking to brew for two, or just brew extra for yourself, you can pick up a Hario V60 Server, which is a great option for brewing a “pot” of pour over.

    With grounds, water, weight, and dripping all worked out, all you need is to add filters for your dripper of choice, and you’re good to go!

  • Top 3 Brew Grinders of 2020

    It’s that time of year! Time for the best machines and accessories of 2020. We love everything we offer at Seattle Coffee Gear, but each year our content team puts our heads together to come up with the gear that we think is the best in the industry for right here and now. Today we’re digging into our top 3 brew grinders of 2020.

    What does brew grinder mean? It means these grinders are the best of the best for brewing pour over, drip, press, cold brew, and other “slow” brew methods. This is in contrast to espresso grinders, which are specifically designed for grinding fine enough to use with an espresso machine. We don’t recommend these grinders if you’re on the hunt for a grinder to use with your Rocket Espresso machine or Rancilio Silvia Pro. Stay tuned for our Top 3 espresso grinders if you’re in that market!

    Eureka Mignon Crono

    The Eureka Mignon Crono is a peculiar grinder, but one that we absolutely love. Built on Eureka’s tried and true Mignon platform, this is a grinder that offers a little more than the Mignon Filtro. But before we look at that, let’s look at what makes Eureka’s Mignon grinders tick.

    The first thing you’ll notice about the Crono is its rock solid case design. Mignon grinders are built like tanks, and last many years if properly maintained. The Crono is no different, with a full metal case and sturdy interior components. This build quality is where a large chunk of the price tag comes from. It’s also a looker, available in black or white with the smoked catch bin and hopper built from high quality, easy to clean plastic.

    Also of key importance with the Crono is its specifically designed brew path, motor, and burr set. While other grinders in the Mignon line are engineered for espresso, the Filtro, Crono, and Brew Pro are engineered specifically for slow brew methods. Finally, the stepless adjust these grinders feature can be a challenge to use initially, but also provide heightened precision for dialing in roasts to tease out their full flavor.

    What sets the Crono apart from the Filtro is its timer. The Filtro uses a simple manual control that you have to keep held down. This means you can’t set it and walk away. The Crono on the other hand uses a simple timer, which makes single dosing a breeze. If you prefer to keep the hopper filled, you can dial in a grind time as well.

    It’s a precise, consistent, powerful, and reliable grinder with a little something extra in the form of its timer.

    Fellow Ode

    The Fellow Ode is the newest kid on the block in this list. New for 2020, the Ode is something of a revolution in brew grinding. In keeping with Fellow’s theme of empowering hobbyist coffee fans with incredible gear for pour over, the Ode is loaded with features. 

    For starters, the Ode features massive 64 mm flat burrs. This type of burr set is typically found in high-end commercial grinders, so it’s a big deal that Fellow has scrunched these into a home brew grinder. With its solid construction, beautiful visual design, and 31 grind settings, the Ode has the basics covered.

    Then there’s its wild innovations. On the simpler side, there’s the Ode’s noise reduction, which is best-in-class. From there, things get very interesting. One thing that many coffee enthusiasts will tell you is that the way to the freshest coffee is through single dosing. What that means is that you store your beans in an airtight container, and then you only put what you need for your morning brew through your grinder. This cuts down on waste and preserves your beans better than storing your beans in a grinder hopper. The Ode embraces this fully, with a small loading area that only has room for a single dose of beans. While it has plenty of space for your extra large coffee bot, it isn’t the type of hopper you leave beans sitting in. 

    Once you’ve loaded the beans, you just have to engage the motor and the Ode takes care of the grinding. With a PID Controlled motor, the Ode is able to tell when it has finished grinding your beans. A built in grinds knocker and magnetically attached catch bin reduce mess and ensure minimal retention. It really is an incredibly innovative, premium package.

    Breville Smart Grinder Pro

    We say it all the time: Use a dedicated espresso grinder if you can. But that last part is important, because not all of us can! If you have budget or space limitations, maintaining two grinders might just be impossible. There are a few grinders that can actually perform well for espresso and slow brew methods, and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is one of them.

    The Smart Grinder Pro also represents excellent value. With 40mm conical steel burrs you’ll get a quality grind at both ends of the spectrum. You’ll also get a full 60 stepped grind settings, which is why the grinder can move so far at either end of the spectrum. A vibrant touchscreen works with the knob to give you a really clear indication of what setting you’re on as well, which is very convenient. Speaking of adjustments, you can actually get even finer or coarser grinds by opening the grinder and making adjustments to the top burr, which is supported as a feature, not a hack.

    The timed dosing offered here is impressive as well. Using the touchscreen’s foolproof interface you can set grind times. This is helpful for once you dial in a grind. If you do want to grind manually, you can just hold the activation button down as well. Finally, you can pause mid-grand to level out the grounds or check weight, which can help with dialing in that time programming. 

    While we really do love the Smart Grinder Pro, it is important to note a couple of tradeoffs. It’s not going to perform quite as well at either end of the grind scale as a dedicated brew or espresso grinder. While it’s going to produce a good grind, there is still a reason to seek dedicated grinders. Part of that is also that switching back and forth from an espresso grind to a brew grind can be frustrating, and it’s important to keep that in mind. Otherwise, this is a great pick for anyone working with a tighter budget or who doesn’t have room for two grinders.

    Baratza Encore

    And here we have an entry that could very well make this list forever. The Baratza Encore remains one of the best starting points in coffee. There are few pieces of gear that a budding pour over enthusiast will get more use out of. The Encore continues to combine high quality engineering, a commitment to reliability and repairability, and an attractive price point.

    If you’re not familiar, the Encore is a simple machine. A rotating hopper provides 40 stepped grind settings, a simple on off switch engages the motor, and a molded catch bin catches the grinds. You can also grind a little extra with the Encore’s pulse button, located above the hopper.

    It’s the Encore’s performance and reliability that make this grinder such a shoe in for our best of list every year. With extensive parts availability through Baratza, your Encore could last decades with proper maintenance and the occasional repair. Its 40mm burrs are easily accessible and simple to clean as well. Once you put it all together you get a grinder for the ages, and it’s available at an excellent price point.

    New this year is a stylish white finish, finally offering an alternative to the black version.

    All three of these grinders could be the last brew grinder you ever need to buy, and we love them for that. Stay with us for more best of 2020 content throughout the month! Make Coffee You Love!

  • 2020 Holiday Shopping Guide: Drip Brewers

    Today we’re taking a look at shopping for the perfect drip brewing setup whether its for someone on your gift list or yourself! We’ll go over brewers, grinders, and all the extra odds and ends. Let’s get started!

    Brewers

    Your choice in drip brewer is guided primarily by how much choice you want when it comes to your coffee. For many coffee drinkers, simply pressing a button and getting a great cup is enough. Others want much more careful control over temperature, flow rate, and other parameters. Both are valid approaches, a high quality pot of coffee at the push of a button is a really great way to start the day. On the other hand, some people really enjoy the granular control of being able to experiment with parameters and settings.

    The good news is, you can get a brewer that offers both a simple, consistent option and puts control at your fingertips. We’re talking, of course, about the Breville Precision Brewer.

    The Precision Brewer offers a standard gold cup brewing setting that’s certified by the Specialty Coffee Association. This means that you can get that nice and simple pot of delicious coffee with just a few button presses. You can also control a whole host of parameters like flow rate, temperature, and pre-infusion time. The Precision Brewer also has pre-settings for single cup brewing, iced coffee, and pour over (with the Tribute Edition’s included pour over adapter).

    It all makes the Precision Brewer the very best you can buy and a brewer that will handle all of your coffee needs. 

    For the more budget conscious shopper, the Bonavita Connoisseur and Metropolitan are simple brewers that produce high quality results. With strong temperature stability and push button operation, these machines are solid choices for those just getting started in the world of coffee.

    Grinders

    Grinding for drip is a little less difficult than espresso, but you will need more than just a blade grinder! Using a burr grinder is important for getting just the right consistency and quality in your grind. The good news is there are a few really great starting points for new coffee enthusiasts!

    The thing you’re looking for in getting started with brew grinding is really that consistency. You want grounds that are uniform and at just the right level of coarseness. There are a few grinders we recommend to get the job done. First, there’s the relatively new kid on the block, the Solis Scala. This is a grinder that offers simple timed dosing options and stepped grind settings. You’ll get just the right grind every time, and you can use this grinder for a range of slow brewing applications. If you’re looking for an alternative, the Eureka Mignon Crono offers even more precise grinding than the Scala. With Eureka's high quality burrs, you'll get very high quality grounds with a stepless grind adjust for extremely precise grinding. This precision will help you dial in even the trickiest single origins for your new drip brewer, but it'll take a touch of practice!

    Odds and Ends

    There are a couple of odds and ends we highly recommend you add to your drip brewing setup. For starters, there’s drinkware. We really love the Acme Union as a classic stock standard cup to enjoy your drip from. It’s stylish, durable, and easy to drink from. It really has that classic coffee cup look, and it’ll serve your new drip setup well.

    The other important part of any coffee setup is storage. Storing your coffee beans in your grinder hopper can lead to staleness depending on how fast you use them. That’s why we recommend the use of a container like an Airscape to get the very best out of your fresh whole bean coffee. Available in multiple sizes, materials, and colors, we’re sure there’s an Airscape perfect for your coffee kit!

    And there you have it! Everything you need to get yourself or someone on your gift list started in the wonderful world of specialty drip coffee brewing!

  • Top 3 Espresso Grinders of 2020

    It’s time for another of our 2020 Best Ofs! This time we’re taking a look at espresso grinders. It’s important to differentiate between espresso and brew grinders to make sure you get the right bit of gear for you. A brew grinder will be designed for slow brew methods like drip, pour over, press, and cold brew. On the other hand you have espresso grinders, which are designed to brew fine enough for use in semi-automatic espresso machines. While grinders exist that can do both, they are few and far between, and to get the very best espresso you’ll want a dedicated grinder. Let’s take a look at our favorite espresso grinders available today!

    Eureka Mignon Notte

    The Eureka Mignon line is one of the best lineups of espresso grinders available. The balance of price, performance, and reliability make these grinders incredibly easy to recommend. Because they are priced above many entry level espresso grinders, we often recommend them as an upgrade, or for a new user who’s a little more confident. This is part of why we were so thrilled to bring the Notte in as a Seattle Coffee Gear exclusive.

    The Mignon Notte trades the sound insulation in the Mignon Silenzio for an incredibly attractive price point for a grinder of this quality. That means for a cost comparable to more entry level grinders, you’ll get the exceptional design and build quality of a Eureka Mignon. But what does that look like specifically? First of all, you get the same powerful 50mm flat steel burrs that come in the Silenzio. Burrs of this size and quality are hard to come by at any price point, and we love the consistency of the grounds out of the Notte. You’ll also get the Mignon-standard metal casing, which will help your Notte to last years and years. Finally, there’s the precision stepless adjust. Instead of stepped settings, the Mignon Notte gives you a free-moving burr, which lets you develop an extremely precise grind for trickier single origins. 

    So what do you lose out on? As noted, the Notte is a bit louder than its more expensive brethren, but don’t let that fool you, the noise level is very comparable to any other entry level grinder. You also only get a simple push button dosing option. This means you’ll need to measure your grounds with a scale to ensure the correct grind amount. The good news here is that with a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to feel out the right grind amount quite effectively.

    The Eureka Mignon Notte is one of our absolute favorites on the market, so it’s a no brainer for this list.

    Rocket Espresso Faustino

    If you know anything about Seattle Coffee Gear, you know we love Rocket Espresso machines. The same thing is true for their grinders! Last year their larger Fausto espresso grinder found a little sibling with the Rocket Espresso Faustino. There’s a number of reasons we feel it’s a great fit for this list.

    First of all, the Faustino delivers on performance. With 50 mm flat steel burrs, this grinder will give you serious consistency and quality. On top of that, you’ve got a stepless grind adjust, which we prefer for more precision grinding (though it does come with a bit of a learning curve). These features alone make the Faustino easy to recommend, but it also comes with Rocket Espresso’s signature visual design prowess and solid construction. This grinder is a looker, and it’s built to last. You can even get versions that include case cutouts with side panels, just like the Appartamento espresso machine (which also makes it a perfect pair with one of our favorie machines).

    Then there’s the programmability. Programmable dosing isn’t a must-have, but it’s an incredibly nice feature that can save you a lot of time. A vibrant, intuitive touchscreen drives the programming on the Faustino. With this, you can set specific dosage times, so once you dial in a grind, you can get your grounds with one press of the portafilter. The Faustino also offers a large hopper capable of storing a lot of beans. This is perfect to pair with that timed dosing. What’s more, it fits all of this into a compact case fit for any kitchen.

    You might think Rocket Espresso is only about espresso machines, but the Faustino proves they know grinders too. 

    Baratza Sette 270

    Baratza are absolutely one of the kings of coffee grinding. Whether brew or espresso, this manufacturer knows 

  • Baratza Encore 2020 Review

    The Baratza Encore is one of the most popular brew coffee grinders in the world. Featuring conical steel burrs, stepped grind adjustment, and simple operation, all for an entry level price, it’s easy to see why this grinder is so popular. Read on for more details about this fantastic grinder below!

    The Basics

    The Baratza Encore is a grinder specifically designed for brewed coffee. This means that it works for press, drip, and pour over brewing, but can’t grind fine enough for espresso. This has nothing to do with it being lower quality, and everything to do with specific design.

    The Encore’s 40mm conical steel burrs are engineered to provide consistent grounds and reduce retention from finer drip settings all the way up to coarse press settings. These burrs grind fast and are incredibly durable, which means they should produce the perfect grind for your brews year after year. Grind setting is handled by an well marked stepped adjustment operated by rotating the hopper. It’s intuitive, comfortable, and precise. This stepped adjust makes it easy to switch between grind levels for different brew methods.

    The Encore can be engaged by rotating its bi-directional on/off switch, or by pressing and holding the pulse button found on the front of the grinder. Both control options work great, and the catch bin is easy to remove and scoop grounds from. The Encore is also a stylish grinder, available in slick white and black color options. This makes it adaptable if looks are important to you!

    What really puts this grinder over the top for us is its reliability and support. Baratza offers highly engineered, long-lasting products. Considering the Encore’s price, we’d normally assume it is an entry level grinder that you’d wear out after a few years of use. Not so. This is a grinder that is built like a tank and really goes the distance.

    One of our favorite ways to use the Encore is as a single dose, so let’s talk a little bit about that next.

    Single Dosing

    One of the best ways to enjoy multiple coffee roasts and ensure that no beans are wasted is with single dosing. Instead of filling the hopper with beans, you measure out just enough beans for your brew method. This is easiest to do with a scale for pour over, but can work just as well for drip and press brewing too. From there, you dump the grounds in, flip the grinder on, and let it grind through your beans. Because of its relatively low retention, the Baratza Encore makes a fantastic single dose grinder for pour over. 

    You can, of course, fill this grinder’s hopper up to the top and use a combination of the on setting and pulse to grind just enough as well. We just like pointing out that it’s such an excellent single dose grinder because it’s one of the ones we use for coffee testing here at Seattle Coffee Gear!

    It’s for all of these reasons that it’s hard for us not to recommend the Baratza Encore. The perfect blend of performance, price, and reliability, this grinder is a phenomenal way to start your home coffee journey.

  • Video Roundup: 9/11/20

    Hello coffee fans,

    We have three new videos for you this week, a fun one, an informative one, and one that's a little bittersweet. Let's jump in.

    First, Ariel continues her adventure through delicious drink recipes with an Iced Peppercorn Latte!

    Next up, Allie gave us a full rundown of everything you need to know about burrs:

    And finally, we have a bittersweet, but very special message from Gail:

    We're sad to see Gail go, but wish her all of the best in her further adventures.

    That's all for now coffee fans, stay safe, stay healthy, and we'll see you next week!

  • Video Roundup: 7/31/20

    Hey coffee fans!

    It's time for another video round up over here at SCG. We have a mix of videos this week we hope you'll love. Let's jump right in!

    First up, we have a review of the new and upgraded Capresso Infinity Plus:

    Next up, we've got some Rancilio Silvia tips and tricks with Allie!

    And finally, a commercial crew review of The handy dandy PuqPress Q2:

    That's all for now friends! We'll be back with more videos next week! Happy sipping!

  • Our New Arrivals!

    It’s time to take a look at some of the newest items we’ve added to our catalog here at Seattle Coffee Gear! With everything from grinders and scales to a brand new superauto, we have plenty to talk about. Let’s jump in!

    Jura Ena 8

    The Jura Ena 8 is the newest superautomatic espresso machine from this excellent manufacturer. The Ena 8 offers a small footprint and loads of drink options that make it the perfect superauto for someone who wants some style with their espresso machine. With a unique cylindrical water tank and bold design elements, the Ena 8 excels in that looks department. As for the drinks, this machine’s vibrant interface is intuitive and easy to use without sacrificing a depth of options. 10 build in recipes will be an excellent place to start, and one touch lattes will save you time when you’re in a hurry. To top it all off, Jura’s smart water filtration system keeps everything running clean and smooth and extends the time between descalings. Shop the Ena 8 here!

    All Black Eureka Mignon Filtro

    Eureka’s Mignon Filtro isn’t all new to the lineup, but its all black casing and hopper is. This excellent brew grinder is now available in a slick black finish that looks stunning alongside your favorite drip brewer. The new smoked black hopper adds an extra layer of style onto an already beautiful coffee grinder that we really can’t say enough about. Check out this update look here!

    Capresso Infinity Plus Coffee Grinder

    Looking for an affordable brew grinder? The Capresso Infinity Plus is a great option to get your first taste of fresh burr-ground coffee. With its affordable price point and simple operation, there’s a lot to love with this grinder. Using the original Capresso Infinity as a base, this new version features an updated hopper, clearer markings for adjustments, and a timer. All of this together makes it an excellent way to get started with brewing coffee from home. Just keep in mind that this is not a grinder we recommend for espresso, as it can only grind for pressurized baskets. Give the Capresso Infinity Plus a look here.

    Oxo Precision Scale and Timer

    We always love a new item from Oxo. This stylish little scale is a great way to dose and weigh your morning pour over. With a built in timer, you can even time your pour perfectly for that delicious recipe you have saved. An optional silicone sleeve keeps your vessel in place, and insulates the scale from heat. Finally, the Oxo’s big, bright display is easy to read even in lower lighting conditions. We do only recommend this scale for brewing, as it’s 0.1g accuracy is not quite fine enough for espresso shots. Shop this handy scale here.

    Stay tuned for more Summer additions to the catalog!

  • Video Roundup: 5/29/20

    Hey coffee fans!

    This week we've got at home discussions, recipes, and a good old crew comparison for you. Let's take a look!

    First up, Allie and I sat down to chat about brew methods:

    Next, we've got a tasty looking recipe from Ariel!

    And finally, Allie did a comparison of the new Eureka Mignon Notte and the classic Rancilio Rocky.

    That's all for now! We'll be back with more videos next week.

  • Static and Coffee Grounds

    One complaint we see a lot about grinders is that grounds can sometimes come out with a lot of static cling. This is certainly a pain, but how much is the grinder to blame for this clinginess? Read on to find out!

    What is static electricity?

    Static electricity occurs when there’s an imbalance of electric charge on a material. All materials are made of atoms that are, at rest, electrically neutral. This is due to a balance between positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons. When two materials come in contact, electrons can move from one material to the other. The result is an imbalance between protons and electrons. It’s a complex process that’s a little heavier than what we’ve got time for today, but the main cause of static in coffee grounds is friction. 

    As you can probably guess, there’s a lot of friction inside of a grinder as the beans make their way from the hopper, into the grind chamber, through the burrs, and down the exit chute. All of this is exacerbated by dry air. This is why it can be a problem one day and not the next.

    So what’s the solution?

    The general solution for reducing static buildup is introducing more moisture. If your beans are clingy, you are probably seeing static buildup in other places as well. A humidifier can be a good step towards making the air in your kitchen less dry. This can provide benefits beyond just coffee grinding! Another option is to introduce a bit of moisture into the equation with some water drops in the bean hopper. This is a delicate balance because you don’t want to add too much water to the hopper or it’ll cause grounds to clump, but too little won’t have much effect on the static. It’s also possible that adding water won’t end up counteracting the static either.

    In the end, the best solution may be the simplest. A good hard thump on the grind chute and knocking your catch bin on the counter can knock grounds to the bottom. From there, giving the coffee a few minutes to settle before pouring into a filter can help the static dissipate.

     

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