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  • A Look At Braun Coffee Brewers!

    This month we added Braun's SCA rated drip coffee brewers to SCG. These brewers are yet another great option for fans of a classic pot of drip coffee. But what makes them special? Well first, there's that SCA certification. SCA stands for "Specialty Coffee Association." This is a large body that handles a lot of awareness and outreach around specialty coffee. One of the things they do is certify drip brewers capable of producing high quality coffee. This is largely done through maintaining consistent brew temperatures. All of the Braun machines that we now carry also have this SCA certification!

    Let's get into the brewers!

    KF9150

    The KF9150 offers handy features like dedicated over ice brewing and auto-on for your morning coffee fix. It also provides the ability to directly control things like water temperature and brew size. What's more, this brewer even offers a hot water spot. This isn't always the case with drip brewers, and the spout gives you the ability to use the machine for hot chocolate or tea. We love that about it! If there are any caveats, it's that this brewer is a little on the busy side in terms of looks. With that said, smart design features like a removable water tank more than make up for the crowded control panel.

    KF9170SI

    The 9170SI takes a lot of the features of the 9150 and adds a slightly more adaptable frame to the whole package. It retains things like the hot water spout, brewing options, removeable water tanks, and general programmability and combines them with a sleeker look. The 9170SI also includes a goldtone mesh filter, giving you more options for brewing. The only issue here, like with the 9150, is that the number of options can be intimidating at first.

    KF9070

    The KF9070 is still on the way to our site, but it delivers performance and consistency just like its larger siblings. The difference here is removal of the hot water spout and some progamming features for a simpler design and lower price point.

    Whatever machine fits your kitchen best, we're excited to welcome Braun to the SCG family!

  • Video Roundup: 1/3/2020

    It's 2020 y'all!

    We hope you had a wonderful holiday and New Year, we sure did! Here's some of the videos we've got for you this week:

    First, it's a crew comparison from Nicole taking a look at a couple of different drip brewers:

    Next up, we've got some tips for cleaning the LaMarzocco Swift Espresso Grinder:

    Finally, Gail walked us through picking out a French Press to fit your budget!

    That's all for this week! Go make some coffee you crazy coffee drinkers!

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 4

    It's time for our final holiday roasts guide for 2019!

    Check out parts one, two, and three if you haven't! Let's finish this list up.

    Kickapoo Coffee Roasters - Revelry

    Revelry is not a new name, but this year's version does bring some fresh notes. Fig, fruitcake, and honeysuckle should tell you that this is a sweet, fruity roast. Its bright notes a assisted by a generally lighter body that's still medium when viewed on the roasting spectrum. We think this is, like many other holiday roasts, a good beginner's coffee that adds just a little bit extra for those looking for it. Great for groups and easy to brew - you really can enjoy it however you like! Pick some up here.

     

     

    Ruby Colorful Coffees - Cheers Seasonal Blend

    Rich and warm are two words that perfectly describe Ruby's Cheers holiday blend. Cheers is an appropriate name too, because this is definitely one to cheer about! The notes of mulled wine, dried fruit, spice and sweet citrus go great together. All of those flavors work with its medium body to give just enough juiciness and plenty of flavor. Perfect for the season, we recommend this on as a drip/filter brew. Don't miss it! Grab a bag here.

     

     

    49th Parallel Holiday Blends

    49th has really spoiled us as usual with not one, but TWO holiday blends. Their Holiday Filter features notes of cherry strudel, redberry jam, and almonds. It's a flavorful cup perfect for drip and filter brew methods. On the other hand, their Holiday Espresso offers plum, pomegranate, and vanilla flavors. Both of these roasts are wonderful in their specific brew methods and give you a lot of flexibility this season. Great for those with a dedicated grinder for each brew method, and a delicious treat for entertaining friends and family! Get em' before they're gone.

     

     

    Anchorhead - Winter Warmer

    Winter Warmer is a proven classic for a reason. Despite some morbid bag art (who are we kidding, we love it), this is a tasty brew with some silly notes. While Anchorhead's listed flavors are a little coy, we can at least share that this coffee is rich, sweet, and loveable. Great as a filter brew, pour over, espresso, press, or really whatever type of brew method you like best. Share some holiday cheer and a whole lot of deliciousness this season with Winter Warmer! You can buy a bag of this annual favorite right here.

     

     

    Huckleberry Roasters - Sister Winter

    Last but certainly far from least, we've got Huckleberry's seasonal: Sister Winter! We're ending our list this year on one of the most classic tasting roasts we've got this season. Full of chocolate, berries, baked goods, and warmth, this is a coffee lover's coffee. A blend of natural and washed process beans, you'll get just the right medium body to enjoy with all that sweetness. Sister Winter won't overwhelm your palate though, tempering those sweet flavors with a tiny hint of bitterness and a warm undertone that keeps it an easy drinker. Buy a bag here!

     

    That's all for now! We hope you've enjoyed this look at our 2019 holiday roast lineup, and we'll see you in 2020 (or a little bit sooner)!

     

     

  • Video Roundup: 12/20/2019

    Welcome back to another video roundup!

    We're only a couple of weeks away from 2020, and we're pretty excited about it! Let's jump into our videos from this week:

    Kicking off our videos, Gail dropped in with her picks for the best grinders under $250.

    Next up, John took a look at how temperature can have an impact on the flavor of your espresso:

    Then, it's a classic Crew Comparison with Gail between the Miele CM6150 and the Philips 3200 LatteGo!

    Finally, we're so happy to share a look back at some of our favorite bloopers of 2019!

    That's all for now! We'll be back next week for our final roundup of 2019.

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 2

    It's time for part 2 of our holiday roasts series! If you haven't yet, check out part 1 here!

    Dogwood Coffee - Snow Emergency

    Dogwood's Snow Emergency is a certified classic holiday roast. Returning with some equally classic notes, we love this one for so many reasons! Fruity, chocolatey, vanilla-y, this is a must drink coffee for your holiday rotation. Sometimes with these roasts we get the most excited by wild new elements, but this one does a wonderful job of sticking to the script. Delicious in a wide range of brews too, try it as a drip brew to get a baseline. You can buy a bag here.

     

    Verve Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Verve's Holiday Blend is described with the note "comforting." We think that makes a lot of sense! Also featuring notes of candied orange and spiced rum, this is a satisfying sipper. As usual, we always have to point out that no, there is no alcohol in this roast despite the spiced rum note! Perfect for chilly nights by the fire, this one has just enough sweetness to put a smile on your face. Brew it however you like, but pick it up here.

     

    Espresso Republic - Cabin Fever

    Milk Chocolate, Molasses, and Nutmeg in one of the prettiest boxes we've ever seen... Sign us up! Espresso Republic's Cabin Fever is a wonderful holiday roast full of warm and cozy flavors. Enjoy this one snuggled under a blanket by a frosted over window with a good book while you recover from a busy evening with friends and family. Also great for sharing, but we won't tell! We're sure you'll love this one as a drip brew or espresso! Purchase it here.

     

    Camber Coffee - Cambrrrr

    It's a real treat to see Camber throw some humor into the title of this seasonal roast, especially given their gorgeous, classy packaging. This roast is more than a funny name though, offering a little something extra. Like we said above, some holiday roasts are all about bringing something new to the season, which Cambrrrr definitely does! The fruity sweetness on display here is soft and mild, without offering too much "candied" taste like you can get sometimes with particularly fruity blends. Try it as a pourover and buy it here!

     

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Seattle Coffee Gear Holiday Blend

    It's back for 2019! We loved our 2018 holiday blend with Brandywine so much that we brought it back for this season. This year the roast features notes of mulled cider, marionberry jam, orange, and chocolate for a perfect mix of old and new notes. Sweet, juicy, and not too complex, we think this roast will be a great choice for just about very coffee fan. It's mellow, easy to drink, and easy to brew. Kind of the point! We wanted to bring you something you would love to try with your family and friends, and we hope we did so. Try it in a variety of brew methods. Be sure to get it before it's gone here!

     

    We'll be back next week with part 3!

  • Video Roundup: 12/06/2019

    Ho ho ho coffee fans!

    We've had some off and on weeks this holiday season because of all of the shopping! This week we did want to round up our week of video content for you, so let's take a look!

    First up, Gail took a look at the Philips Carina and Philips 3200!

    Next, we got a commercial crew review of the Bunn MHG from John:

    And finally, we're sad to see her go. It's Clementine's final coffee collaboration. :(

    We wish Clementine all of the best for her future endeavors!

    We'll be here next week to dish out some more coffee videos...

    P.S., Stay tuned to the channel later tonight for a special holiday treat!

  • 2019 Holiday Roasts Guide - Part 1

    It's that time of year for Winter cheer! We're celebrating the season with a look at all of our Holiday blends from a great collection of roasters. Here's part 1!

    Brandywine Coffee Roasters - Small Wonder

    Small Wonder is a Fall treat from one of our favorite roasting partners, Brandywine Coffee Roasters! We love this little bag of cozy Fall flavors like caramel, honeycrisp apples, pecan, and cider. Featuring natural processed coffee, this is a sweet roast that doesn't overwhelm like some naturals. We think this roast is an excellent example of the "true medium," and we think your friends and family will love it. What's more, this roast is great in a variety of brew methods, so try it in your superauto, drip brewer, semi-auto machine, press, or however you like to brew! You can grab a bag of Small Wonder here.

    Counter Culture Coffee - Iridescent

    Counter Culture's Iridescent leans into the "gift" aspect of the holidays. Its cheery packaging and bright colors look great with a bow, and it has great taste to boot! This coffee hits you with that classic chocolate note that you know and love. This is a key component of a lot of holiday roasts. Leaning into that classic coffee taste is a good start to a roast that's perfect for serving a crowd! The berry notes that add into this coffee are a perfect addition to the chocolate flavors, providing a deep, rich cup of coffee that will satisfy the most discerning coffee drinkers in a variety of brew methods. Perfect for a gift, pick up some Iridescent here today!

     

    Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Warm and full, Batdorf's 2019 Holiday Blend is another great offer from this long time SCG favorite. Featuring charming artwork that always brings a smile to our faces, this one offers just a hint of bitterness with its dark chocolate notes. Add in softer sweet flavors of dried fruit, and a dash of nutmeg and you've got an excellent holiday roast that will bring out holiday cheer in anyone who takes a sip! We love this roast as an espresso, but it can make for a great drip brew or pour over as well. Perfect for fans of coffee that's just bitter enough, you can purchase a bag of this blend right here!

     

    Victrola Coffee Roasters - Holiday Blend

    Featuring a beautiful bag depicting a cozy, snow cabin nestled in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, Victrola's Holiday Blend is a great mix of classic holiday notes and a little something extra. Cocoa, baking spice, and orange provide an interesting blend of flavors with a custard note that is subtle but quite interesting. A delicious blend of washed and natural beans, this is a roast that's great to try out in a few different brew methods if you have the equipment. We ultimately enjoyed it the most as a pour over, but suspect that others will love it as an espresso or press brew too. Pick one of these bags up over here!

     

    Olympia Coffee Roasting - Holiday Blend

    It should come as no surprise that one of the most traditionally delicious holiday blends we've received comes from such a traditionally brilliant roaster like Olympia. This is a classic set of Wintery notes: Chocolate, clove, and blueberry. The mix of washed and natural processed beans allows plenty of sweetness to shine through that ultra classic coffee flavor. We love this roast for its traditional vibes and also enjoy the way Olympia consistently nails those subtle notes of blueberry. Brew this one up as a pour over to get every bit of flavor from it, then try it as an espresso! Buy a bag here!

     

    That's all for now, join us next week for more holiday blends from 2019!

  • Gail's Picks: Best High-End Superautomatic Espresso Machines of 2019

    Welcome back to our Gail's Picks series for 2019!

    Today it's time to take a look at our picks for the best high-end superuatomatic espresso machines in 2019. These machines have so much programmability and tech in them that it's almost like having a personal barista. But what sets these three apart from other expensive superautos? Read on to find out!

    Miele CM6350

    The Miele CM6350 is a powerful brewer that offers a pipe based system that connects to a carafe for milk steaming, and four customizable profiles. This machine set a standard for high-end superautos and still is one of the best you can buy. The menus can take some getting used to, but there's no denying the quality of coffee and milk that comes out of a miele superauto. Add to that a hot water spout, large hopper, and a removable reservoir and you've got a compelling option at its price point. Those four profiles allow you to set elements of drink creation for multiple users, so that the whole family can dial in their perfect latte.

    Miele is also the only superauto maker to offer carafe based coffee brewing. While the "coffee" from a Miele isn't truly drip coffee, it's about as close as you can get from this style of machine. With carafe brewing, you can brew a whole pot of this lungo pulled espresso at once to serve multiple guests. It all combines to make the CM6350 one of the best machines you can buy for families.

    Saeco Xelsis

    Last year the Xelsis got a major re-launch and totally blew us away. We declared it one of the best machines of 2018, and it maintains that this year. The new Xelsis redefines programmability, user interface, and milk quality for superautos. The touchscreen on the face of the machine gives you full control over multiple pages of drink parameters. Things like volume and strength are standard, but being able to adjust temperature, milk foam, and specific ingredient volumes is a great addition. All of it is extremely easy to understand and read as well. This extends to the AquaClean filtration and HygieSteam system as well. Both of these components are easy to understand and manage, and make maintenance of the machine a breeze.

    The front access water tank, general look and feel of the machine, and sturdy construction drive home the premium nature of this machine. Then there's the milk quality. Xelsis' HygieSteam system really nails one of the hardest aspects of drink creation. Professional baristas spend hours learning techniques to get just the right amount of foam for lattes and cappuccinos. The Xelsis still can't quite match a real, human pro, but it gets as close as we've seen. All of that makes it one of the best superautos you can get!

    Jura Z8

    Reaching for the highest of the high end machines, the Jura Z8 is like an espresso supercomputer. Its massive 4.3-inch touchscreen delivers a glorious user experience that offers programmability and simple one touch recipes. 21 of these recipes are built in, and brewing them is as easy as can be. Adjustable milk temperature and texture provide an exquisite set of options for lattes and cappuccinos as well, really living up to that "cafe in your kitchen" concept. Plus, this machine makes some of the best espresso available in the superauto category. This is achieved with Jura's exclusive P.E.P. brewing system, which teases out more of the depth in the brew method that you can normally only get by manually pulling shots.

    On top of being one of the best in the business in terms of drink quality, the Z8 offers looks and easy maintenance as well. CLEARYL smart filtration keeps you informed on when you need to change the filter and clean the machine. On the case side, thick plating and solid construction provide a visually appealing and high quality feel to the machine. While this is one of the more expensive machines on the market, it justifies this with its high performance.

    Conclusion

    And there you have it, our three favorites in the high-end market for superautos. We love these machines, and feel they represent some of the best options available for your kitchen. We're pretty sure you'll love them too. We're not done yet though, check back for more of Gail's Picks in the next week!

     

  • Gail's Picks: Best High End Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines of 2019

    Welcome back to Gail's picks for the best machines of 2019!

    Today we're taking a look at the very best higher end semi-automatics on the market, starting with the Rocket Espresso R58.

    Rocket Espresso R58

    The Rocket Espresso R58 is a hand built, perfectly tuned machine. Practically a cafe for your countertop, this machine uses commercial grade components alongside Rocket Espresso's signature style, and it really wows. Every machine this manufacturer produces is powerful, but the R58 takes it to another level. The steel frame houses two boilers. The steam boiler clocks in at 1.7 liters, with the brew boiler is about half a liter. Having both of these boilers allows you to easily steam and brew at the same time. Having this ability puts your drink output on the level with your local cafe. The R58 also features tactile controls and an easy to use PID controller interface to give you loads of power without tons of work.

    Beyond all of these major features, the R58 is plumbable and offers some of the best pre-infusion available. A working piston and a static chamber combine to perfect infuse water into the grounds before brewing. This creates an incomparable shot of espresso. Even better, you can plumb this machine for maximum ease of use, perfect for the serious home coffee enthusiast.

    La Marzocco Linea Mini

    The Linea is one of La Marzocco's, and espresso in general's, absolute classic machines. Powering cafe's for decades, its a machine that offers legendary performance without putting anything between you and the brewing process. The Linea Mini is the home version of this machine, and its historic heritage is apparent in every part of its design. Simple, industrial design elements house elements like PID-controlled dual boilers, La Marzocco's signature saturated group, and the iconic brew paddle. This is a serious brewer that will last many years, can be plumbed for maximum convenience, and is fun to use. That brew paddle mentioned above allows you to initiate brew cycles confidently, and 1 second pre-infusion will ensure quality shots again and again.

    In fact, this machine is even NSF certified. That means you could use it to brew espresso in a small cafe or coffee cart. While we'll always direct commercial customers to machines specifically designed for cafes, it speaks to the Linea Mini's reputation. Commercial grade steaming and that saturated group head help that rep, creating consistent temperatures for crafting the perfect latte or cappuccino. We loved this machine, and it even comes in several colors!

    Rocket Espresso R Nine One

    At the highest of the high end, we couldn't help but squeeze the R Nine One onto our list. This machine is practically a spaceship that brew coffee, and it's evident as soon as you lay eye on it. Eschewing Rocket Espresso's more standard Italian design tropes, the R Nine One is really a next level machine. Like the other machines on our list, this one features two boilers, one for steaming, and one for brewing. This gives you consistent power to prepare milk and espresso at once. That's standard on prosumer machines like this though, what really makes this machine different is its programmability. The R Nine One's screen provides helpful feedback, and allows for some wild programming options. Pressure profiling is the concept of applying difference degrees of pressure with the pump through pulling the shot. Difference pressure profiles can create small differences in flavor. In the case of the R Nine One, this is something you can control.

    This means that you can use the R Nine One to recreate the brewing process of dozens of different brewers. This is done by mimicking the way they apply pressure to the grounds. You can, of course, also just use this technology to dial in your favorite profile for your beans. This system is in addition to all of the other bells and whistles you'd expect. That means a stainless steel frame and case, a saturated E-61 group, Pid controller, and plumbability. You really can't go wrong with this machine. That's why it's on our list of favorite high-end semi-autos for 2019!

    Conclusion

    Semi-autos aren't the end of the story! We'll be back with more of Gail's favorites, including best high-end superautos, very soon!

  • Video Roundup: 11/15/2019

    Happy Friday Coffee Fans!

    We've had a load of fun filming this week and have a few videos to share. Make sure you check out Gail's Picks for 2019, which we've been sharing in separate posts here on the blog! Today we're going to dig in to our regularly scheduled content.

    Fist up, we got a look at the La Marzocco Swift Espresso Grinder from John.

    Next, Clementine brewed up some apple cider coffee!

    Last but not least, Allie, Nicole and I had a taste of our newest roast, Onyx Coffee Lab:

    That's all for this week! Join us next week for more fun video content!

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