Guides

  • An Introduction to Seattle Coffee Gear's Getting Started Guides

    Hello coffee fans!

    Over the years, we've offered lots of insight, reviews, and advice for getting started with coffee. Through our Coffee 101 posts we've provided information on the basics of brewing, from espresso to pour over. We've helped to teach you how to start brewing all kinds of ways, but usually those guides don't help too much with purchasing. We've done guides designed to help you figure out what to look for in espresso machines, for example. Now we'd like to do some purchasing guides to show you what machines have those qualities now!

    We'll be breaking these guides down by brew method, and they'll include examples of why machines work well for new users. We'll talk about setting budgets as well to help alleviate the sticker shock of new machines. Finally, these guides will work to help you understand why items cost what they do, so you'll come away with an understanding of what you should be paying for.

    Finally, we'll also be refreshing these guides every year or so to help provide insight into new products. This way you won't find the perfect machine that has been discontinued or is in between models. So stay tuned! We'll be bringing you our 2020 Getting Started Guides over the next couple of months!

  • 12 Days of Coffee: Ruby Coffee Roasters - Cheers Holiday Blend

    Ruby_Text

    Ah the holidays - a time of merriment and glee! Everything feels a bit more sentimental - meals with friends and family, drives through your old hometown, Christmas movies from your childhood. Tidings of comfort and joy abound! With all this good vibes coloring the season - you need a beverage to match! Look no further than Ruby Coffee Roaster's Cheers Holiday Blend. It's the perfect seasonal offering to fill your mug with and clink to a healthy and prosperous 2018!

    We're excited to spend twelve days of the month highlighting delicious coffees coming from roasters near and far. All of which are available in the holiday blends section of our website! Reach for a mug and pour yourself a little holiday cheer with your coffee!

    Ruby Coffee Roasters:
    Cheers Holiday Blend

    A little background on the blend from the Ruby team...

    We look forward to working on Cheers every year and the fourth time around was no different. This year we decided to start with a microlot from Finca de Dios in Fraijanes, Guatemala, which has a nice cakey sweetness and some soft fruits that fit right into our vision. We paired that with Kenya Gachatha and Ethiopia Yabitu Koba to add some wineiness to the cup and take the roast just deep enough to coax out some spice notes. We’ve been brewing it on the Kalita Wave with 32g ground medium-coarse, 500g filtered water, lasting 3:30-4:00. It also makes a seriously decadent French press. Try a 1:16.5 ratio (grounds to water), steeped with very little turbulence for 10+ minutes and make sure to skim the brown muck from the top after breaking the crust. Enjoy with cherished family and friends. Cheers!

    "Holiday Light"-ning Q+A Round answered by their crew...

    What is your favorite holiday scent? The smell of Cheers in a favorite mug (lame answer, we know)
    What is your favorite Christmas movie? Jingle All The Way with Arnold Schwarzenegger
    What are your favorite winter activities? Skiing: cross-country, downhill
    White lights or colored? Colorful Coffees demand colorful lights! (but only the non-led type)
    Gift-wrap or gift bags? Wrap, obviously.
    Bows or curly ribbon? Curly ribbons if moms are the ones wrapping.
    Steady lights or twinkling? Twinkling, as long as they’re not flashing. A gentle twinkle is magic.
    Angel or star tree-topper? Classic star. No questions.
    Real tree or artificial? Only real trees in rural Wisconsin. Cut ‘em ourselves then burn in February.
    Long needles or short? Whichever is less prickly.

    Ruby Coffee Roasters big plans for 2018...

    Plenty of tasty coffee! We’ll be continuing to work with many of the same talented and dedicated producers that we worked with this year and in years past. We’re particularly excited for the coffees we have arriving very soon from Burundi--some of the most remarkable and intriguing lots we’ve tasted!

    We’re also working on a website redesign, which will create a nicer experience and add functionality that’ll help us serve our customers better.

    Click here to buy Ruby Coffee Roaster's Cheers Holiday Blend! 

  • Top Three Gifts For Coffee Lovers

    The holidays are here! Do you know what you’re giving to the coffee lover in your life? For someone who has it all, give them a gift they’ll remember—like one of these fresh ideas. We rounded up the top three gifts for coffee lovers!
  • Gear Guide: Convenience Rules With Superautomatic Espresso Machines

    Find Your Dream Espresso - Superautomatics

    Taking Home A Superautomatic Espresso Machine

    In our last post, we asked you how committed you were to your espresso. If you’re the one running out the door empty-handed and caffeine deprived, then you’re in the right place. We’re about to revolutionize your life—enter the superautomatic espresso machine. Superautomatics do all the heavy lifting and will grind, tamp and brew delicious espresso for you. It’s the perfect solution for coffee lovers who are “just friends” with their cup.

    Of course, there are a variety of superautomatics, so while they make getting a cup of coffee a snap, you still have some choices to make on how committed you’ll be to your machine. The way we like to decide between models is to use this simple scenario: You walk into your favorite coffee shop, what do you order?

    Espresso, Americano Or Drip For Me!

    So, you take your coffee black? Then we recommend checking out some introductory superautomatic espresso machines. These machines focus on convenience and are incredibly easy to learn and are built with fewer features and programmability. Before you jump to any conclusions, remember that saying "less is more?" We tend to see people favor an introductory superautomatic for its ease of use, affordability and small footprint. The coffee options are usually espresso, coffee or, sometimes called, lungo. Generally, you can program the volume but you really don’t see settings for temperature, coffee strength, etc. There are some doubts that superautomatics produce good espresso. While there will be quality differences between semi-automatic and superautomatics, we have definitely made delicious espresso with superautomatics.

    Add A Splash Of Milk...

    If you like your coffee with milk, no worries—there are introductory superautomatics with milk options. A panarello-style steam wand is the frother of choice because it does all the frothing for you. Panarello's work by aerating milk through a slit in the top. No skills required! Since it’s doing all the heavy frothing, you won’t have to worry about controlling the milk texture. It's easy to achieve fluffy cappuccino foam without any technique. Occasionally, some superautomatics won’t have a milk frother, in which case you could look into getting an external frother.

    Small And Easy To Clean

    Another benefit of these introductory superautomatics is their small footprint and maintenance. With fewer features, these machines tend to run small; small enough to fit into any kitchen or even squeeze on your desk at work (you’d be a hit at the office). Maintenance is also a breeze. If there’s no steam wand, then you’ll never need to worry about properly cleaning off the milk. And if you have a panarello, it's easy to disassemble and clean. Most superautomatics will have an automatic rinsing cycle before and after brewing, keeping your machine in tip-top shape. But you’re not off the hook completely. You’ll still have to descale and clean the brew group (if accessible) as the manufacturer recommends, but it’s nice to have some of the maintenance handled.

    Latte Or Cappuccino, Please!

    If you crave control, then we recommend bumping up to a mid-range, intermediate or advanced superautomatic espresso machine. A lot of these machines will allow you to adjust the temperature, volume, coffee strength, etc. Many feature a user-friendly interface, such as a digital display or labeled buttons, to make programming effortless. One of our favorite features is customizable profiles that allow a select number of users to program and save their drink preferences (of course, it’s only available on some machines. More on those in our next post). The amount of customization offered in superautomatics makes it easier to tailor your drink to your liking.

    One-Touch Lattes Or Cappuccinos

    Latte and cappuccino lovers, get ready to jump for joy—there are machines that blend coffee and cream directly into your cup. One-touch superautomatics have an attached carafe that siphons milk to steam. When you’re done, you can remove the carafe and store extra milk in the fridge.  Some machines even let you adjust the milk temperature, milk foam texture or milk foam amount. There can also be a more traditional steam wand, so if you wanted to improve your frothing technique, here's your chance!

    Learning Your Machine's Menu & Icons

    With the additional customization, there will also be a learning curve. Occasionally, the menus aren’t intuitive and icons or buttons have dual proposes. When you throw in alerts and lights, navigating the machine's interface might seem frustrating, but we there's a solution! We recommend referring to the manual to learn the ins and outs of the machine. There is also a troubleshooting section in most manuals that provides instruction to fix common issues.

    Bonus: Most menus feature amazing maintenance features. These machines also automatically perform or recommend daily maintenance such as rinsing. Even machines with carafe will prompt cleaning out milk from the hoses. Like some introductory superautomatics, these built-in features will help keep your machine well maintained.

    Conclusion

    If you’re just friends with your coffee, then a superautomatic espresso machine is the choice for you! Since there are a variety of superautomatic espresso machines we have another post coming out for you. We’ll dive into mid-range, intermediate and advanced superautomatics and what sort of features and functions you’ll find on those machines.

    If you’re looking for caffeine on the go, an introductory superautomatic is the machine for you. These machines offer a balance of convenient features without the fuss of programming. Some may only offer espresso options, but you will find some with panarello-style steam wands. If you’re satisfied with those features, we recommend checking out some of the entry-level superautomatic espresso machines under 'Shop.'

  • Ask Gail: Understanding The Technivorm Models

    The Technivorm coffee brewer. It's one of the best home coffee brewing machines out there. But finding the right one for you can be a little difficult. With so many models which one do you choose?technivorm

    The Technivorm coffee lineup can be demystified with a little knowledge (and a helpful chart!) The first thing you want to do is decide which style of carafe you want. The Technivorm models come in either a glass carafe or a thermal carafe. Are you someone who finishes a pot of coffee before it is even done brewing? If so, you may want to go for the glass carafe (we use a glass carafe in our breakroom!) Or maybe you are one who likes to leisurely sip your cup o' joe, in which case the thermal carafe will keep that pot of coffee hot till the last sip.

    The next decision that must be made is if you want an auto stop machine or a manual stop machine. The auto stop is great if you always brew full pots. The manual stop machine give you the ability to brew a half pot, but you will need to remember to flip the switch open or closed, otherwise the brew basket can overflow causing a mess. Trust us, we've made that mess several times before.

    Once you have those decisions made, the right Technivorm  for you will be clear. Check out the full Ask Gail video below to see the helpful chart!

     

     

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