how-to

  • Seattle Coffee Gear + illy: Be Your Own Barista

    SCG_illy (2 of 24)It’s a frustrating question that has plagued many a coffee aficionado throughout the years: why doesn’t the cappuccino I make at home taste as delicious as the cappuccino I buy from my local coffee shop? The answer to that question can be found by addressing a diverse set of material related variables from the freshness of your beans, to the quality and calibration of your grinder, to the pressure at which you are extracting your espresso. Maybe your machine hasn’t been cleaned? Maybe it wasn’t properly rinsed after cleaning?

    But what about when you’ve covered all of the variables and you’re still not getting the results you are hoping for? Then it’s time to look at your technique!

    SCG_illy (11 of 24)That’s where illy’s “Be Your Own Barista” course came in to play. Meant to empower coffee lovers who wanted to take their home coffee preparation to the next level, this class held at our Bellevue location provided participants with the opportunity to train hands-on with Giorgio Milos – illy Master Barista and Italian Barista Champion. Equipped with all of the tools needed to produce great coffee at home, fourteen students discussed coffee history, learned tips and tricks to consider when preparing their beverages, and were released to put their new knowledge to the test while illy’s education team helped fine tune their technique.

    “I never knew I could make espresso that tastes this good,” shared a participant frustrated with the past drinks she had been making at home. It was a matter of making small corrections to her grinder as well as changing her tamping that helped her produce a cleaner, fuller bodied drink. Many attendees took notes on the discussions while others asked technical questions they had been investigating for months.

    Seattle Coffee Gear strives to be a place where coffee lovers like us can go to the next level in beverage preparation using the best tools available while also being a resource for people to ask questions and learn. This partnership with illy is only one of the many ways we continue to help people “make coffee you love!”

  • How To Guide: Ask a Question

    Ask a Question

    You’ve probably spent hours reading through product reviews and prolonged stories just to discover the question you’re looking for wasn’t there. Enter: Ask a Question—our way of saying, “Hey, we know you’ve got burning questions best answered before you’ve made a purchase.” Ask a Question is an interactive community of machine owners and product experts answering questions using their real experience. If it goes unanswered, our Crew steps in with the best response—we’re coffee machine owners, too!

    Where To Find It

    Under every product, we've included the "Ask a Question" tab. Click on the tab and you'll see all the questions and answers. To ask and answer questions, you can be anonymous or log in to your account.

    How This Works

    1. Type in your question. If there are matching questions in our Q&A database, we'll show them immediately.
    2. If there aren't any, submit a new question. You'll get fast answers from customers who really own the item(s) and from our product experts. (About half the time you'll get an answer in under two hours, depending on your question and the item you are asking about...)

    Done! Now you can save time searching through the internet. If you need a place to start thinking of questions you'd want to ask, we've got you covered.

    Good Topics To Ask About

    • Which items will best meet your needs
    • What customers who own an item think of it
    • How to use, fix or take care of an item
    • Product information
    • General advice related to the types of products we sell
    Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 4.15.53 PM Here's a customer's answer to a question on the Saeco Xelsis Evo.


    Share Your Experience

    As a proud new owner of a coffee maker, you're in the know. Make suggestions for newbies or share your early morning coffee routine. It's your time to shine and show you've got this—remember the pure satisfaction of knowing the answer in class and impressing all the kids and teacher. Yeah, it's something like that.

    Now, you owners might be wondering how you'll know there's a new question to be answered. We'll shoot you an email and let you know when there's a new one. Or you can take a look under the Ask a Question tab and see if there's anything you can answer. If you don't know and you're thinking you got to know too, just click on the "I Have This Question Too," to let owners know. Our Crew can take on unanswered questions or provide other suggestions we know.

    That's all there is to it! Check out how many questions and answers you or others have entered by clicking on their name. You might be surprised at how much you know—any excuse to call Mom and brag, right?

     

  • Hayden's Cinnamon Coconut Latte Recipe

    We’re digging the coconut oil trend here at Seattle Coffee Gear. We’re trendy. We previously whipped up a delicious coconut oil recipe with butter that made one creamy creation, but this time, we’re leaving the butter at home. Hayden sent us in this recipe for a Cinnamon Coconut Latte and we’re more than excited—but not as much as Gail—to try it out!

    We’re pulling out big guns—the Rocket R60v—to make our latte. If you haven’t been following us, we’re head over heels for the new R60v. It’s a high-end home espresso machine built to be on par with their commercial. We brewed Counter Culture’s Fast Forward for our espresso shots. This light bodied blend with sweet and nutty notes is a perfect match with the refreshing coconut flavor.

    Equipment:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon + a dash
    • 20 grams of ground coffee (makes 2 ounces espresso)
    • 8 ounces of 2% milk
    1. Prep your semi-automatic machine. Before brewing give your machine 30 minutes to warm up.
    2. Grind 20 grams of coffee into a double-shot portafilter. This makes 2 ounces of espresso. Lattes are generally made with 1-2 ounces of espresso per 8 ounces of milk or 1:3 ratio.
    3. Pour 8 ounces of milk and add one teaspoon of coconut oil and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon.
    4. If you can steam and brew at the same time, we like to start the shot and then begin frothing the milk while it's extracting the coffee. If you can’t do both, first steam your coconut and milk mixture and then make your shot so it's at the hottest temperature.
    5. Add the 2 ounces of espresso to a 10-ounce glass and then pour the steamed milk on top. Try a little latte art while you’re at it!
    6. Add a dash of cinnamon to the top. Enjoy!

    Thanks Hayden for the recipe! We’re thinking about putting it on ice for this warm weather we’re having in Seattle.

    Send us your favorite recipes in the comments below and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all things coffee related!

  • Coffee Collaboration: Use Up Your Old Coffee Beans Recipe

    Here’s the age old question that’s been affecting coffee lovers across the nation: What do you do with stale, old coffee?

    To answer this questions, you should know why it goes stale.

    Coffee goes stale when it has been oxidized by contact with—you probably guessed—oxygen. Roasters will use different bagging methods to reduce oxidization, but once you split open that new bag of coffee and take a big whiff of those fresh roasted beans, the quality goes down from there. As the beans stale, the flavor quality is reduced and loses its unique profile.

    The best way to avoid old coffee is to brew it ASAP. Each coffee bag typically has a roast date and a recommended “best buy” date. But when your coffee ultimately goes stale, it’s time to get inventive like our coffee friend Saxman11290 who sent us this delicious recipe solution. Let's check it out!

    This recipe calls for a double shot of espresso, so you'll need a superautomatic or semi-automatic machine. Got it? Here's everything you'll need:

    Equipment:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup of ice
    • 1 cup of 2% milk
    • 14-18 grams of ground old coffee
    • Drizzle of chocolate sauce
    • Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

    Instructions:

    1. Add 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of ice into a shaker.
    2. Using an espresso machine, make a double shot of espresso. For semi-automatics measure 14-18 grams of pre-ground old coffee or use a superautomatic and brew a double shot.
    3. Pour your double shot on the milk and ice and shake it up!
    4. Pop off the glass and strain the mixture over a chilled glass.
    5. Top off with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Enjoy!

    Thanks Saxman11290 for this tasty creation! Gail whipped herself up a cup—and we don’t want to spoil it for you—but she couldn't tell that she was drinking old coffee.

    Send us your favorite coffee recipe in the comments below and we’ll share it with everyone on another episode of Coffee Collaboration.

  • How To Ice Brew Coffee

    Ice BrewIt's summer. Which means iced coffee of course!

    But we think iced coffee should be more than just hot coffee poured over ice. If you have been following our YouTube channel you know that we have been experimenting with different ways to get that coffee we know and love, ice cold.

    We have experimented with cold brew, which is amazingly smooth, but takes up to 24 hours to brew! Luckily we found out about this Japanese Cold Brew method, or sometimes referred to as ice brew!

    We made some great coffee using this ice brew method. It's as easy as making a cup of pour over except you substitute half of your brewing water with ice. As a result, you brew concentrated coffee directly onto ice, which instantly cools your coffee--locking in all the flavor. Trust us when we say, you need to try this!

    Watch the video below to see Gail demonstrate how to brew using the ice brew method! And don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking here. We publish a new video every day of the week, so we are confident there will be something for you ;)

     

     

     

     

  • Ask Gail: How To Make A Latte

    How to make a latteYou ask. Gail delivers. Simple as that.

    We here at Seattle Coffee Gear get asked all the time by customers, potential customers, family,  friends and even people waiting for us to leave work. Ok maybe not the last one, except that one guy. Anyways...the question we get asked all the time is how to make a latte. And not just any latte, the perfect latte.

    So we asked Gail if she wouldn't mind giving us a tutorial. And you know what she said? NO! But to her credit, she said she would find someone who could. Fair enough Gail. And like I said earlier, she delivered. Gail was able to track down and convince a local barista who has competed in several international barista competitions  to come to our offices and show us how to make a latte. And not just any latte, a perfect latte.

    We met Sean, our very kind barista,  and gave him the best equipment we could get our hands on: the La Marzocco GS/3, the Rancillio Rocky grinder, a frothing pitcher and a tamper. Everything you could need. We asked for the best latte he could make, and he showed us every step of the way.

    Be sure to watch the video below if you want to be able to make a perfect latte every time. We all learned a lot from our time with Sean and hope you do too! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel as well for new videos all the time!

     

  • Brew Tips: How to Make a Macchiato

    Sarah and Dori are back (at the same bat time on the same bat channel) and ready to share their cafe macchiatobrew tips with you! Up this time is the macchiato, but not the one drenched in caramel that you are accustomed to seeing in a big chain coffee shop. While, admittedly, those are delicious, this is an old fashioned foamed milk and espresso type o' macchiato.

    Composed of two parts espresso to one part foamed milk. And by "foamed milk" we really mean either the foam off the top of the milk or really, really well frothed milk. So milky coffee lovers may want to look at a cappuccino to get their espresso beverage fix!

    How to Make a Macchiato

    1)   Clear the extra water out of the steam wand.

    2)   Follow our steps for frothing milk for a cappuccino (yes, even though you are making a macchiato) when preparing your milk.

    3)   As you froth your milk, keep in mind that you should be expanding it quite a bit and incorporating in as much air as you can. Remember: We're looking for that milk foam!

    4)   Clean up that steam wand while you pull your espresso shot.

    5)   Give your frothing pitcher a firm tap against the counter and swirl to incorporate the foam into the milk.

    6)   For a macchiato with very foamed milk, pour the milk directly on top of the espresso shot. For a macchiato with a dollop of foam, let the milk sit for a minute to let it separate from the foam (or don't tap and swirl initially) and then spoon a few tablespoons onto the espresso shot.

    You can be as pro as Sarah and Dori, too. Just watch the video below and then follow the foolproof steps to macchiato mania!

  • Tech Tips: Plumbing in a Rocket Home Espresso Machine

    We hear from customers quite frequently that directions for pluming in a Rocket Espresso machine are needed...desperately! We're not going to lie, we've even heard from plumbers calling in on behalf of their customers, as they are in their homes trying to complete the installation. And, on more than one occasion, we've had stories recounted of multiple hardware store trips and a fair amount of frustration.

    So we're here to set the story straight: You don't need a plumber to install your plumbed in machine. You don't need to spend hours, or really more than 10-20 minutes, on the installation. Last, but not least, you certainly don't need to suffer through sixteen trips to [insert name of your favorite hardware store]. What you do need is to watch the video below, which is a step-by-step walkthrough (with SCG's very own repair technicians!) of how to plumb in your Rocket home espresso machine!

    They'll even explain how to disconnect the hoses, in case you need to remove the machine for a repair or relocation, and show you the steps for programming the PID to accept a direct connection the R58. Espresso lovers, unite!

  • Brew Tips: How to Froth Milk

    How to Froth Milk2Among our most frequently asked questions is “how do you create perfectly frothed milk?” This question is often closely followed by, “how do I then use that milk to create latte art?” or “how do I incorporate that milk into a shot to make a latte, cappuccino, etc.?” This comes as no surprise, since one of the trickiest parts of making a great drink is getting the milk frothed just right. You don’t want your milk to be too frothy, but not entirely flat either. In most cases the goal you are trying to achieve is creating just the right amount of microfoam. To further help you achieve caffeinated bliss; we’ve decided to tackle all of these questions in this series of brew tips, starting with how to froth milk. After all, creating perfectly frothed milk is the one of the key components for creating all the other drinks.

    Getting your technique down, and then practicing a lot, is an important part of successfully frothing milk. However, the type of machine you are using as well as the type of steam wand the machine has, will also impact how your milk turns out.  For instance, inexpensive espresso makers and machines like the Saeco Via Venezia, often have panarellos, which basically foam your milk for you. This is great if you are an espresso newbie who isn’t used to using a manual steam wand or just want to have foamy milk and aren’t picky about what type of foam you get. The plastic models usually have four or more holes on the top, which bring in a lot of air and will make your milk bubblier. If you don’t like bigger, airy foam with a lot of bubbles, you might want to upgrade to one of the stainless steel panarellos that typically only have one hole.

    When it comes to frothing milk on a machine that has a traditional steam wand, like the Nuova Simonelli Musica, the rules about the number of holes in steam arm change. Wands with four holes will give you a lot of steam power and will heat the milk really quickly. These wands will also create really amazing microfoam. However, the quality of the microfoam you get is partially based on what type of machine you are brewing on as well as the tip. For instance, the Musica naturally has a lot more steam power, as opposed to a machine like the Breville Dual Boiler, which is a bit slower when it comes to steaming. That being said, neither machine is better than the other, it just depends on what you are looking to create. The Dual Boiler is nice in that it gives you a lot more time to work with, and produce a lot of, foam. On the other hand, it can be tricky to get a lot of foam on the Musica because it heats up so fast.

    Once you’ve got what machines and wands you will be using for brewing, it all comes down to practice as we mentioned before. However, we realize this can be harder than it sounds, so here is our cheat sheet for how to froth milk for a latte or a cappuccino.

    11 Steps for Frothing Milk for a Latte

    1)   Start with a very cold pitcher and milk. This will gives you more time to work with your milk. If it is already warm already it’s going to heat up faster, providing you with less time.

    2)   Blow out the extra water in the steam wand.

    3)   Adjust the angle of the steam wand to suite your preferences. We typically keep ours at a pretty high angle, but you can play around with it to see what works best for you.

    4)   Hold the tip of your frothing pitcher against the steam wand; this will give you more leverage when moving the pitcher around.

    5)   You will also want to angle your frothing pitcher to the side, which will help you get the milk swirling around in a circle.

    6)   Submerge the tip of the steam wand in the milk. Don’t be alarmed if you hear a high pitch squeal followed by slurping. While it is loud at first, this is exactly what you want to hear. As soon as you hear that squealing noise, make sure you bring the pitcher down so you hear that slurping noise as you start to incorporate air. This will help prevent you from getting too much foam, since for a latte you want to create a smaller amount of foam.

    7)   Submerge the rest of the wand in the milk after a few seconds.

    8)   Once you can feel the bottom of the frothing pitcher get nice and toasty, almost too hot to touch, remove the steam wand from the milk.

    9)   Always wipe down and blow out the steam wand when you are done to prevent the milk from getting sucked back into the boiler.

    10)     Mix milk in by slowly swirling the milk around the pitcher, to get a rich and creamy consistency. The milk will look a bit more porous before you begin this process, but once you start mixing it in it starts getting a really shiny texture and that’s exactly what you want.

    11)     Combine the milk with espresso and relax with your drink.

    7 Steps for Frothing Milk for a Cappuccino

    1)   Just like with a latte, you will want to start with very cold milk and make sure to blow out the extra water in the steam wand.

    2)   Start with the tip of your steam wand submerged.

    3)   Once you start hearing that high pitched squealing noise, you will want to slowly bring the pitcher further and further down to incorporate more air.

    4)   As soon as you feel the pitcher and milk get hot is when you stop frothing.

    5)   Tap the bottom of a pitcher on a table and swirl the milk around the pitcher to mix it in. You will notice that the texture of the milk is a lot thicker.

    6)   If you are creating a drier cappuccino (or a cappuccino with more foam and less milk), you will want to let the milk settle a little bit after you have mixed it, and it will separate out.

    7)   Combine the milk with your shot of espresso and enjoy.

    If you would like to see the process in action and follow along step-by-step, watch as our resident milk frothing expert Dori teaches Sarah how to perfect her pour. If you live in the greater Seattle area, you can also learn how to froth milk with Dori in person if you stop by for her Sunday milk frothing or latte art workshops in our Bellevue store.

    Brew Tips: How to Froth Milk

  • Removing Side Panels on Rocket Espresso Machines

    Rocket Espresso MachinesOne of the things we love the most about Rocket Espresso Machines is their beautiful and shiny stainless exterior. This casing is actually handcrafted in Italy, which makes each machine even more unique. However, a little known feature about these cases is that you can actually take them off fairly easily.

    Why would you want to do such a thing? Even if your local delivery company takes every precaution into consideration when transporting your machine accidents do happen and sometimes a case gets damaged. As a side note, if you ever have to ship your machine for any reason, make sure to check out the handy shipping guide we’ve created to help ensure your machine stays in good shape while traveling. Anyhow, if you do find yourself with a damaged case you may want to order a new one to replace it with and you will need to know how to remove the old one. Or, if you’re really tech savvy, sometime you may want to work on the internals of your machine and will have to take the side panels off to access it.

    Removing the side panels varies slightly for the different versions of each machine, but there are some aspects that are the same no matter what machine you have. The tools you need are a screwdriver, 7-millimeter wrench, socket set and an extension bit. Before you start to take off the side panels it is important that you make sure the machine is powered off and cold, and that you remove all of the accessories such as the lid, water tank, drip tray and portafilter.

    When it comes to locating and removing and loosening the screws and bolts is where things start to change per machine. Once you have located and removed or loosed the screws on the top of your machine, the first part of the process will be to remove the cup warmer, water tank and then remove the diffuser plate. The next step is to locate the bolts on the sides, bottom and/or back of the machines and loosen them to remove the side panels. On Cellini V1, you can take the entire case off at once by standing at the back of the machine, grabbing the front casing (you will have to pull to two sides apart a bit to get around the internals of the machine) and then pulling it back toward you. On the Giotto, you can remove each side panel one at a time, for whichever side of the machine you need access to.

    To see specific instructions for the Rocket Cellini and Rocket Giotto, watch as our repair tech Jeremiah takes the side panels off both machines. If you’re still not sure about taking the case off your Rocket Espresso machine yourself, we’re always here to help! Just let us know any questions you may have.

    SCG Tech Tips: Removing Side Panels on Rocket Espresso Machines

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