Press

  • Pour Over or Press?

    Espresso and drip coffee both require machines that might not be easy to accommodate in a small kitchen, or travel with. For those looking for a brewing solution that fits some tighter spaces, pour over and press brewing is quite attractive! Let’s take a look at each style so you can get an idea for what might fit your taste buds more.

    Water

    Whether you end up going for press or pour over, hot water is a must. We recommend picking up a variable temperature kettle like this Bonavita kettle or this Fellow EKG. One of the most important parts of any brew method is accurate, consistent temperatures, and both of these kettles will provide that!

    If you’re traveling and don’t want to bring a whole kettle with you, you can get by with boiling water left off boil for 20-30 seconds. 

    Pour Over

    Pour over brewing is simple and effective, but takes a little practice to get right. When considering it as a brewing option with a smaller footprint, keep your scale in mind. Because of how pour over is made, you really need a scale to measure weight as you brew. This can take up additional space, but there are plenty of scale options that are compact enough to slide into a bag for travel. We love the Hario V60 Drip Scale for its slim profile and usability.

    You’ll also need a dripper, which doesn’t take up much cupboard space, but can be difficult to pack for travel if that’s your goal. The Hario V60 is a gold standard dripper, but this collapsible dripper from GSI Outdoor is perfect for travel. You’ll need appropriate filters for your dripper as well, which can add a bit more complication for travel.

    Space questions aside, pour over offers fantastic flavor. It’s the brew method we use here at SCG to try new coffees, and the perfect way to take in every note from a roast.

    Press

    Coffee presses generally offer a bolder, stronger flavor than pour over. For some, press coffee is the only way to go. Depending on your press, it can be a little bit difficult to get a totally grit free cup. With that in mind, the Aeropress Go is a fantastic press that uses a paper filter to strain the grounds. Aeropress is one of our most popular presses, and a fantastic option for coffee on the go or at home. The Go in particular collapses into a simple cup to travel with.

    Other presses can still offer excellent results as well and brew in larger quantities, but might be harder to travel with. Classic like this Bodum Brazil or this Espro P7 are fantastic options that are simple to use and delicious. These larger options are a little on the large side, so they might be hard to travel with.

    Final Thoughts

    One last thing to keep in mind is a grinder. Luckily a simple brew grinder like the Baratza Encore or the Oxo Brew can handle press or pour over brewing.

    The best thing you can do is try both brew methods. For those who like a little variety, the space and cost is gentle enough with pour over and press brewing that you might even find room for both!

  • 2020 Getting Started Guide: Alternative Brewers

    By now you’ve hopefully seen our guides for buying gear for pour over, drip, espresso, and superautos. Beyond those methods there’s a whole world of fun odds and ends to try! We wanted to list some of our favorite alternatives to the “standard” ways to make coffee, so read on to learn more!

    Presses and Cold Brew

    One very popular brewing method is the coffee press. While you’re probably familiar with the concept of the French Press, presses come in more varieties! First up, the American Press. This press uses the motion and ergonomic design of the French Press but has a brew chamber that increases the pressure to create a profile closer to espresso. For on the go brewing, AeroPress’ AP Go offers a similar cup to the American Press in a compact package. Both of these brewers use a medium grind, so you’ll be all set if you already have a burr grinder for use with a drip brewer or pour over!

    Cold Brew is one of the simpler ways to brew coffee, but it can seem like a pain given how much effort goes into one cup. The Cold Pro Jr. allows you to brew a large amount of concentrate overnight with very little prep. Simply add coarsely ground coffee to the filter, pour over water, and stick it in the refrigerator for 12 hours, and you’ll have more cold brew than you can drink. It’s a great way to explore this delicious way to brew!

    Siphons and Stove Top Espresso

    Two other fun ways to get more out of your coffee setup are the siphon brewer and the stovetop espresso maker. Stovetop espresso makers use steam pressure to make an espresso like drink on your stovetop instead of with a machine. The Ilsa Omnia is a great way to try this out, and works best with a finer grind like you’d get from an espresso grinder (though finer settings on brew grinders can work in a pinch too).

    A siphon brewer is another way to use your stovetop, and the Bodum’s Santos is a fun way to see this method in action! Easy to clean and simpler than it looks, vacuum brewing makes brewing coffee into a cool science experiment.

    Ready for something different?

    Bonus round! If you’re ready for something different, we recently brought in some incredible tea makers as well. The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker and Brewista Smart Brew each approach hands off, automatic tea brewing a little differently, but with similarly excellent results. Both offer the ability to brew puts of tea and keep them hot to sip on over time, a great change of pace for the coffee fan who craves some variety!

    Check out the rest of our getting started guides!

  • 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!

  • Gail's Picks: Top Three Brew Grinders of 2019

    The year is coming to a close and it's time to celebrate our top threes for 2019! We'll be rolling out our top three favorites in a range of categories over the next month. To kick thinks off we're starting with the best brew grinders of the year! These grinders are for use with drip brewers, pour overs, and other non-pressurized brewing methods. (In other words, these guys won't do espresso!) Let's get started!

    Virtuoso+

    The Virtuoso+ comes to us from Baratza. This grinder features 38mm conical steel burrs. That means that it'll produce consistent, clump free grounds perfect for slow brew methods. A digital dial lets you dial in a specific time, which means you can determine how much you'll need for pourovers, drip brewing, or whatever method you use. That'll cut down on waste and ensure that you have the perfect amount of grounds every time. The fact that you can push the button and walk away means you can save time by setting up your grew while it grinds. We also notice less static in the catch bin than what we tend to see with most brew grinders.

    If we can find any cons, its that the hopper does not have a bean gate. This means you'll have a hard time removing all of the beans to change them out without grinding through them.

    Eureka Mignon Filtro

    The Filtro is one of Eureka's new brew grinders for 2019. This grinder steps up the burr game to 50mm flat steel burrs. These large burrs are controlled by a stepless grind adjust. This can feel finicky at first, but the stepless adjust means there are literally infinite settings you can set the burrs to. This will give you very fine control over grinding to adjust flavor for specific roasts. Aside from this, this stylish grinder provides super high quality grounds fed into its durable catch-bin. Simplicity in design means this grinder is a breeze to learn and use, and a hopper gate makes switching beans easy.

    The only real con with this grinder is its simple interface doesn't allow for programmed timed dosing, so you'll have to hold the button down to grind.

    Baratza Encore

    The perfect entry level grinder, the Encore uses 40mm conical steel burrs and simple operation to bring perfect brew grinds to your drip life. While this grinder doesn't offer as much control in burr adjustment as the ones above, it's powerful, consistent, and easy to use. This is a fantastic grinder for a new pourover enthusiast!

    The only real issue here is the simple operation and lack of programming paired with limited control. This is still a grinder that will be perfect for drip, press, and pourover brewing.

    Conclusion

    That's all we've got for 2019's best brew grinders! We'll be back this week with more 2019 best ofs!

     

  • All New Brew Grinders From Eureka!

    Eureka has long been a producer of exceptional espresso grinders. For years we've enjoyed consistent, simple grinding for home and commercial espresso. One thing we always say is that drip and espresso grinders are two different animals. While many espresso grinders are capable of grinding for drip, they're not ideal. Separating these processes is convenient, but it can also be hard to to get your espresso setting back after swapping to drip. For more information on why we think budgeting for a separate drip grinder is a good call, check out this article! Without further adieu, let's dive into these two new grinders.

    The Filtro is a simple grinder with a lot of quality and consistency. It uses the stepless grind adjust, found on Eurekas espresso grinders. While stepless adjust isn't necessarily needed for drip brewing, and it is a little tricky to get the hang of at first, it also offers rock solid consistency. Powerful 50 mm flat steel burrs deliver the fluffy grounds you'd expect from Eureka grinders, but for drip instead of espresso. This grinder also grinds at consistencies perfect for pourover as well.

    The Filtro uses a simple push-button system for operation. While this isn't as convenient as timer based systems, it does mean that its easy to control. Simply hold the button down until you get the volume you want. What's nice here is that the Filtro does grind quickly, so you won't be holding that button for long. What really seals the deal on why we like this grinder so much is its price point. This is a truly affordable grinder from one of the biggest, most reliable names in the business. If you want something with a little extra under the hood, check out the Brew Pro!

    The first thing you'll notice about the Brew Pro is its touch screen, shared with its Mignon cousins. While this is still a drip grinder, its one with enhanced controls. Using the Brew Pro's screen you can set timed grinding to push and forget while you prepare your brew method. Speaking of controls, this grinder also uses a single rotation dial for its stepless adjust. This means that you won't have to spin it multiple times to find the fully closed and open positions. The Brew Pro also features upgraded 55mm burrs for more power, speed, and consistency. A truly premium brew grinder that offers just about the best you can get for non espresso brewing.

    This is a more expensive brew grinder than what you might be used to seeing. This may be the case, but between the Brew Pro's upgraded burrs, powerful motor, easy to use interface, and single rotation stepless adjust, we think it justifies its price point.

    Both of these grinders offer great options for anyone looking for a highly reliable, efficient grinder. We hope you love them as much as we do!

     

     

  • Espresso Vs. Drip Grinders

    We get a lot of questions about what makes a good drip grinder Vs. espresso. We often get questions about the best grinder for both applications as well. There are a lot of things that go into a grinder, so we wanted to provide some tips for what makes each type tick.

    Drip Grinders

    What makes a great drip grinder is consistency. It's fairly well understood that larger burrs can lead to finer grind. In the case of a great drip brewer we're more interested in control settings and consistency than getting as fine as possible. Because drip brews require less fine adjustments, stepless controls are additional nice-to-haves, but not a necessity. What is important is consistency. A grinder with a decent sized (40mm or so) burrset and conical shape will provide quality, consistent grounds.

    Ultimately the point we're getting to here is that drip brewing is simply less demanding than espresso. This means that buying a drip grinder should be a much smaller dent in your budget than an espresso grinder.

    Espresso Grinders

    For espresso, consistency and control are important, but power is required as well. Espresso brewing requires a highly precise grind due to the pressure at play. This is especially true when using unpressurized portafilter baskets, because your grounds are helping to create that pressure. This means that you need very fine grounds that are also very consistent. The best way to get this is with larger (50mm or larger) burrs. Finding a compromise between burr size, shape, and price is key here. This need for more fine grounds is also why some grinders just can't to drip and espresso. Such a wide range of positions isn't possible for every burrset to do well.

    Another important facet here is control. Unlike other brew methods, desired fineness will shift from roast to roast. Some coffees will want a slightly coarser or finer grind depending on origin, roast level, and more. This all means that super fine adjustments are very important. You'll also need to carefully dial in your grinder for the best results for espresso whenever you refill it with a new bean. Which leads us to our conclusion...

    Why Not Both?

    Instead of hunting for a grinder to do both drip and espresso, consider budgeting for a separate one for each method. This may seem like overkill, but switching from your carefully dialed in espresso grind to drip and then re-dialing it is a large frustration. Even if you carefully mark where your espresso grind is set, it can be quite difficult to find the spot precisely. On the other hand, drip grinders are so comparatively affordable that by sacrificing a bit of budget for a separate one you can really make your coffee setup more usable.

    It's for this reason that we hesitate to recommend grinders that can handle both types of brewing, even if they technically do exist. Just make your life easier by adding a small drip grinder to your kitchen! We're sure it'll save you some headaches.

  • Holiday Purchase guide: Presses and Other Alternative Brew Methods!

    We’ve talked about various drip and espresso brew methods this season, but there’s a simple, delicious alternative that exists as well: The press! The French Press is a consistent, inexpensive brew method that makes stronger, full bodied coffee. It can be easy to get lost in the weeds of these simple machines, but we’re here to help. We’ll also look at a couple of other interesting methods that don’t fall into traditional categories!

    The Aeropress

    The Aeropress coffee maker makes delicious press cofffee using a simple, easy to pack brewing system. Instead of needing to bring a full sized press on a camping trip, the Aeropress folds and packs into itself, while still brewing excellent coffee. This is achieved through small paper filters that filter out grounds to provide a grit free cup of press coffee. Some people love this brewer so much that they use it at home!

    For a more classic press design, check out the Bodum Brazil French Press. This 8 cup shatterproof press is simple, affordable, and makes a classic cup of pressed coffee.

    A Wide World of Weird Brewers

    For a solution your gift recipient may be surprised by, take a look at the Fellow Duo. The Duo is an awesome little brewer that provides the full tasting cup of coffee of a press and less acidity, like you’d get from pourover. It also does it all easily and in just about 5 minutes. Simply add medium-coarse ground coffee and hot water to the steeping chamber and stir. Then, let the coffee steep for 4 minutes. Finally, twist the top of the brewer, and fresh, delicious coffee will fill the lower half. This brewer’s coffee tastes great and is grit free!

    Another weird coffee option that makes a great cup is the Bodum Santos Stovetop Vacuum Coffee Maker. This brewer sits on the stove and uses pressure from the hot water to brew your coffee. It’s easy to use, fun to watch, and delicious! Check it out for the curious coffee drinker on your gift list.

    Check back soon for more holiday gifting tips!

  • Crew Review: Espro Press P5

    You’ll never go back to regular French press coffee after you’ve tried a cup from the Espro Press P5. A classic cup of French press is muddled with coffee grounds at the bottom, but Espro said enough with muddy cups and invented a double filtration press to seal out gunk—literally! The layered filter and silicone seal work together to keep grounds out. The result? That clean cup of coffee you’ll be happy to sip all morning long. If you’re searching for your next French press coffee maker, check out the Espro Press P5.
  • Top Three "Not Quite" Espresso Makers

    The Round Up

    What’s do we mean by “not quite espresso makers?” As we know, a true espresso shot brews consistently at nine bars of pressure. There are a handful of coffee makers that brew at one to two bars of pressure creating a cup that’s rich, dark and full-bodied like espresso. For coffee lovers craving a stout cup, we rounded up the AeroPress Coffee Maker, Ilsa Express Espresso Stove Top and Wacaco Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Machine to get the job done!

    AeroPress Coffee Maker

    First on our list is the beloved AeroPress. Simple, compact and affordable, the AeroPress easily finds its way into homes. It works similar to a French press by immersing grounds in water and then plunge, but the AeroPress brews directing into the bottom of a fresh cup. Not to mention, the pressure buildup is completely different. The AeroPress rubber plunger seals against the chamber and builds up one to two bars of pressure by hand. We’ve heard of some coffee lovers out there getting up to nine bars of pressure with the assistance of a lever device—still not quite espresso.

    Ilsa Express Espresso Stove Top

    The Ilsa Express brews by steam power, it doesn’t extract at nine bars of pressure. So not quite espresso. That said, stovetop makes one mean cup of coffee! And by mean, we’re talking about a seriously stout and strong cup. If you enjoy sipping the rich flavors of espresso, the Ilsa Express can make that happen for you at a fraction of the cost of an espresso machine. The Ilsa Express has a 3, 6 and 10-cup option available and, better yet, the 6-cup has a divider that can cut your portion to 3 cups.

    Wacaco Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Machine

    The Wacaco Minipresso Espresso Maker is the closest thing to espresso. It boasts eight bars of pressure and makes a single shot! Similar to a pressurized portafilter, it won’t release the coffee unless it reaches that eight bars of pressure. It’s designed like a mini espresso machine equipped with a brew basket, water reservoir and hand-driven pump system. At the end of the day, if you’re on the road the Minipresso is the perfect companion for a quick pick-me-up.

    Conclusion

    The true espresso coffee lovers crave brews with nine bars of pressure. Our makers don’t quite reach that mark, but they certainly make a strong cup of java! What did you think of our Top 3 “Not Quite” espresso makers? Share what you would have chosen in the comments below!

  • Crew Comparison: Aerobie AeroPress vs Wacaco MiniPresso

    How Does It Compare?

    Coffee to-go takes a whole new meaning with today’s two travel coffee makers, the Aerobie AeroPress and the Wacaco Minipresso Portable Espresso Machine. As you probably guessed, the Minipresso is a lightweight, compact espresso-making fiend—it makes a perfect camping companion for espresso lovers. Most of you don’t need an introduction to the AeroPress, a crowd favorite for home brewing and exploring! Like the Minipresso it’s incredibly light and stores easily. It makes a smooth, rich cup of coffee that we’ve heard some people compare to espresso. The AeroPress definitely brews a stout cup, but the Minipresso makes a strong shot that even has crema! Keep reading to find out the different mechanics of these two travel brewers.

    The Minipresso's lightweight, compact design is perfect for hiking, camping and more. The Minipresso's lightweight, compact design is perfect for hiking, camping and more.

    AeroPress

    Brew

    The Wacaco Minipresso Portable Espresso Machine has everything you need to make espresso anytime, anywhere. Brew basket? Check. Water tank? Check. Pressure? Check! The Minipresso uses a semi-automatic piston that extracts with 8 BARs of pressure just like your typical espresso machine! Pop open the piston in the middle of the machine and squeeze it about one pump per second—and presto! A delicious single shot in seconds! The brew basket holds 8 grams of coffee for a proper dose.

    The Wacaco Minipresso has everything you need! Portable espresso machine, cup, scoop—check! The Wacaco Minipresso has everything you need! Portable espresso machine, cup, scoop—check!

    By comparison, the Aerobie AeroPress has defined a new way to brew. It’s still an immersion-style coffee maker (French press anyone?) but the results are a cleaner, more concentrated cup of coffee. Instead of a metal filter, the AeroPress uses micro-filtered paper that picks up oils and grit that create a smoother sip. Some have described it as espresso; however, it creates less pressure and is made with 1:10 coffee to water. Whether you brew traditionally or with the inverted method, the beauty of the AeroPress’ design allows you to stop extraction whenever you like! It makes 1 to 4 cups of bold, rich coffee.

    Beauty

    Streamlined for traveling, the Wacaco Minipresso weighs 12.8 ounces and is 7 inches at its longest. Every inch counts when you start to factor in carrying the water and coffee to brew! The ergonomic design slips in backpacks or purses for a caffeinated companion while you’re hiking or traveling. The only downside for people on the road is the Minipresso requires basic maintenance to clean out the old coffee and has several small pieces such as the brew chamber—something that’s easily misplaced on the road. If you include a few extra moments to give the Minipresso some TLC, this portable espresso machine will make coffee you love everywhere!

    In just a couple pumps, you'll have a delicious shot of espresso. In just a couple pumps, you'll have a delicious shot of espresso.

    The AeroPress is renowned for it’s innovative, lightweight and user-friendly design—coffee aficionados just can’t get enough of it! And rest assured, the AeroPress is now BPA-free and dishwasher safe Outdoor enthusiasts or travelers will appreciate that it has fewer pieces for assembly and makes a larger cup of coffee. The only beef we’ve heard with the AeroPress is it can really engage the biceps—if you know what we mean. The plunger and pressure help develop the fuller body of coffee, but that said, it’ll be different for everyone.

    Conclusion

    If you’re looking for the perfect traveling coffee maker, check out the Wacaco Minipresso and AeroPress. Whether you’re on-the-go or just hanging at home, the AeroPress will fit into many lifestyles. With the immersion brewing, the AeroPress makes a strong, smooth cup some have compared to espresso. Of course, if you crave the real deal, the Minipresso is our top pick for portable espresso! Ready to travel in style with one of these portable coffee makers? Tell us which one is your favorite in the comments below.

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