holiday

  • Guide to Holiday Roasts: Part 3

    Welcome to the final part in our holiday roasts series! Check our Part 1 and Part 2, and enjoy your holidays!

    Bluebeard Coffee Roasters - Snowbeard

    Bluebeard's Snowbeard features sweet, fruity and berry notes thanks to the natural-processed beans in the roast. Washed beans bring more traditional holiday notes of gingerbread and light spices as well. This is a warming, delicious roast that we love in a variety of brew methods. Try it today to wow the coffee lovers in your home!

    Anchorhead Coffee - Winter Warmer

    Winter Warmer is a wild roast from Anchorhead. Notes like "Sugarplum Fairy dreams" and "reindeer musk" are hilarious and silly, but this roast delivers on taste too. Featuring beans from Ethiopia and South America, this roast really brings the sweet notes. Everyone here loved it, and we're sure you will too. To top it all off, the bag is super fun!

    Batdorf and Bronson - Holiday Blend

    Batdorf's Holiday Blend is as classic as it gets. This simple roast features notes of dark chocolate and cherry liqueur. With a full body and those warm, sweet notes, we highly recommend this as a great one to share with friends and family. You can brew this roast a variety of ways, but we LOVED it as a drip brew especially!

    Intelligentsia Coffee - Celebration Blend

    For as iconic as oranges are as a holiday treat, it's surprising that we don't see more of this note in these holiday roasts. It's not totally absent from other coffees this season, but we still love the sneaky tangerine notes in this delicious blend for Intelligentsia. Other berry and spice notes combine with that tangerine to make a fruity, full flavored coffee that is perfect for this season.

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Seattle Coffee Gear Holiday Blend

    Last but not least! We couldn't not give a shout out to our collaboration with Brandywine Coffee Roasters. They helped us help them to do the roasting on a coffee that we're proud to put our name on. Rich jammy, cider notes meet the aforementioned orange flavors for a tasty, easy drinking brew. We can't help but love the wonderful artwork that Brandywine designed for the bag too!

     

  • Guide to Holiday Roasts - Part 2

    We took a look at some holiday roasts in part one of this feature, and we're back with several more! Check out these toasty brews for some tastes of the season!

    Espresso Republic - Cabin Fever Blend

    Espresso Republic offers an excellent holiday espresso roast in Cabin Fever. Listing tasting notes like root beer, molasses, and anise, this is definitely a unique roast. We love the holiday spice flavors present in this one for sure. The root beer notes listed come from a sweet nip at the front of the palate. This combined with the rich body and molasses notes, plus the aforementioned spice creates a very tasty brew! As we said, this is an espresso roast, so you'll want to enjoy it as such!

    Huckleberry Roasters - Sister Winter

    Sister Winter is a very simple roast, but perfect if you like a variety of brew methods. Press, pourover, and drip all offer a different take on these classic flavors. We even recommend this roast for superauto espresso machines! Chocolate and berry notes meet a toasty, pastry like aroma for a real crowd pleaser!

    Toby's Estate - Miracle on N. 6th St.

    Miracle on N. 6th St. is another one full of spice notes, but with a citrus twist. Celebrate the holiday citrus tradition with this roast, which features a blend of washed and natural process beans. We loved this one in a variety of brew methods too! Toby's lists notes of orange, cinnamon, and malbec, which we agree combine to create a satisfying holiday treat.

    49th Parallel Coffee - Holiday Edition

    49th lists fruity flavors like juice and apricot alongside a nutty roasted almond note. These flavors combine for a tasty mix of classic holiday flavors. We really love that this one offers that almond note, as the mild apricot flavors really combine in a mellow, but satisfying way. This one is definitely not designed for espresso, and we specifically recommend it as a filter brew. Great for a morning cup or a late night coffee beside the fire!

     

    Victrola Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Alongside cozy and cute bag art, this roast really satisfies. Victrola's tasting notes are chocolate, toasted pecan, walnut, and carrot cake. We love how varied and complex this blend is! The sweeter notes combine with the rich, nutty notes for a full bodied and delicious holiday roast. This roast uses natural process beans alongside washed process, so you'll notice hints of sweetness from the naturals and the nuttier notes coming from the washed beans. Recommended for filter brewing!

    Reverie Coffee Roasters - Christmas Cheer

    This one features delicious hot cocoa, baking spice, and roasted nut notes. These are really legendary holiday flavors and they combine for a predictable, but delicious blend here. We actually got peanut brittle notes from this one that we really loved! Definitely a richer blend, we recommend this one in a variety of different brew methods. And excellent all arounder that guests will love!

    Stay tuned, because we have ONE MORE holiday roast feature headed your way soon!

  • Video Roundup: 12/14/2018

    Hey everyone!

    We're back with another week of great videos. Check em out!

    First up, Gail gave us a look at some great gift ideas under $100!

    Then Gail tried some delicious Monin syrups paired with some of our favorite holiday roasts!

    Next, we shared some insight on several of our favorite 2018 stocking stuffers!

    Finally, we asked our staff to make an eggnog latte! It was a load of fun, check out the results below!

    We had a load of fun this week and we hope you will too! See you next week!

  • Holiday Buying Guide: Pourover!

    Drip brewers and espresso machines are great tools for producing a great cup of coffee, but today we’re looking at a slower alternative that might thrill someone on your guest list. For those that enjoy a carefully crafted cup of coffee, look no further than some pourover gear!

     

    The Perfect Pour

    There are three key components to any pourover set: Kettle, dripper, and scale. You need something to serve it in, but in a pinch any coffee cup will do as a thing to brew into. Lets start with drippers!

    There are a few things to consider when picking out a dripper. First, material is very important. While you can get a cheaper plastic dripper that may taste fine to some, it’s important to remember that you’re pouring water that’s quite hot through it. Plastic drippers are safe to use, but can impart flavors that will cause your coffee to taste off. Stainless Steel drippers look nicer and last longer, but some can taste the steel flavor in them. Plenty prefer this type of dripper, so it’s worth trying to find out if the person you’re buying for likes drip coffee from a glass or stainless carafe. Finally, there’s ceramic drippers. These are prone to breaking, but don’t impart any flavor and are easy to clean. Once you’ve settled on material, it’s down to style. The two styles we prefer are the Hario V60 and Kalita Wave. Both look nice on the shelf and are great at evenly distributing grounds and water. Just make sure you get the right filters!

    Kettles and Scales

    Next up is the kettle. Kettles range from under $50 to well into the triple digits. The most important thing when choosing a kettle is flow control. You’ll want to stick with kettles that feature gooseneck style spouts have solid build quality. We recommend options like the Bonavita Elective Pourover Kettle or the OXO On if you’re trying to stay under $100. If you’re looking to splurge, the Fellow Stagg EKG+ is an excellent kettle with some awesome app integration with Acaia scales (more on that in a minute).

    Finally, having the right scale will really up your pourover game. The Hario V60 is a great option under $100, it’s reliable, fast, and accurate. For a scale that will really blow the recipient away, check out the Acaia Pearl. This scale not only features several modes, extreme accuracy, and water resistance, but also interconnected app features. Acaia’s Brewbar app pairs with these scales (and the EKG+, mentioned above) to help you dial in and perfect your pourover brewing.

    Of course, if your gift recipient doesn’t have one already, they’ll need a grinder. For that, we love the Baratza Encore. Oh, and don’t forget the filters!

  • 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!

     

  • Staff Picks: Our Holiday Favorites!

    StaffPicks_2016_emailbanner

    Top Staff Picks

    - Breville Oracle Espresso Machine
    - Rancilio Silvia M
    Chemex
    Miele CM 6310 Coffee System
    Eureka Mignon Burr Grinder

    How We Pick Our Picks

    Everyone has a favorite machine! We asked the Crew to share their favorite machines from espresso machines to grinders, so we can share them with you. And these staff picks are ones that we would recommend to our friends and family to curb their coffee cravings! Each Crew member picks their top three machines in each category and then we select the machines with the most votes to add to our final list. Once that’s squared away, we add a Staff Pick badge to the machine and let you choose your favorites!

    It's about time that you meet the Crew and hear what they have to say about their favorite machines!

    Breville Oracle

    Recommended by Michele in Customer Service

    Tell us a bit about yourself!
    I’m probably the most laid back, easy going person you’ll meet.

    What are your favorite features on the Oracle?
    I love that the Oracle does most of the work for me. It grinds, tamps, all I need to do is dial in the grinder and brew!

    What’s your favorite coffee to brew with the Oracle?
    I’m a HUGE Velton’s fan. Also love Bluebeard’s The Narrows roast.

    Between the Oracle and the Rancilio Silvia, why would you take one home over the other?
    I like the look of the Oracle more than the Silvia and enjoy how much the Oracle does the work for me.

    If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
    Flamingo Pink

    Rancilio Silvia M

    Recommended by Sue in the Lynnwood Store

    Tell us a bit about yourself!
    I’ve been drinking coffee for some decades. I started with cans of Vienna Cafe and over time I’ve weaned myself down to black.

    What are your favorite features on the Silvia?
    I like that it puts function before form. It’s still great looking though and it boasts endurance!

    What’s your favorite coffee to brew with the Silvia?
    I sing the praises of Sermon by Verve.

    Between the Silvia and Breville Barista Express, why would you take one home over the other?
    I would take home the Silvia over the Barista Express, even though I would have to purchase a grinder in addition. I like Rancilio’s background in the world of commercial espresso machines. I admire the Silvia’s reliability.

    Where did you first over-caffeinate yourself?
    Coco’s.

    Chemex

    Recommended by Miranda in Order Management

    What are your favorite features on the Chemex?
    You can customize it to the extreme! Want to brew a cup or two? Can do! Or for a larger amount besides just for yourself? Sure! Since it’s such a clean cup, you can also perfect that cup...dose, timing (grind size), pour technique, to affect your notes and results!

    What’s your favorite coffee to brew with the Chemex?
    Hologram is tasty, but I also love Black Cat and Cuatro.

    What are your must-haves to complete your setup?
    Scale to measure, otherwise I always make it too h2 or too watery.
    Gooseneck kettle, so that I don’t create a Grand Canyon on the grounds.
    Simple grinder, to be able to play with the grind consistency depending on the beans I’m using!

    Miele CM 6310 Coffee System

    Recommended by Josh in Marketing

    Tell us a bit about yourself!
    I'm SCG's resident product guru and reluctant video host! I dig interesting features, creative workarounds, and will research just about anything.

    What are your favorite features on the Miele?
    I always say that anything you use daily should feel good, not just look good or work well.  My favorite feature on the Miele is its fit and finish! There are no mixed design elements, the machine is clean and brews well and feels rock solid.  Even external features like the carafe and spouts are a matching steel, and the siphon even has a little slot to plug into the drip tray for cleaning. Respect the little things.

    What’s your favorite coffee to brew with the Miele?
    Verve 1950s. Very easy to dial in with a superautomatic and has a sweet caramel note.

    What new things would you like to see in coffee?
    Plumbable, PID-controlled hot water fonts with a flow restrictor. Why? On-demand Chemex pour overs! Install the font in your kitchen counter and you'll have hot water for coffee or tea without losing any precious counter space. Pre-weigh and store your beans in test tubes alongside a grinder set for single dosing = perfection.

    Eureka Mignon Burr Grinder

    Recommended by Vera in the Lynnwood Store

    Tell us a bit about yourself!
    An avid reader of thrillers and mysteries; what’s better with a cup of coffee?

    What are your favorite features on the Mignon?
    - Compact size
    - Beautiful polished chrome finish or the sleek black matte finish
    - Consistent grind especially for espresso brew

    Between the Mignon and Breville Smart Grinder, why would you take one home over the other?
    I already have the Smart Grinder at home! I would consider the Mignon an upgrade for espresso prep.

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