Reviews

  • Holiday Staff Picks!

    Just in time for the holidays, we’ve got a brand new round of staff picks! If you’re not familiar with our staff picks, we periodically send a survey to every person at Seattle Coffee Gear asking them what their favorite items are in each category. We put those results together and mark each product that gets enough votes a staff pick badge on the site! Let’s run through some of these results.

    Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

    In the semi-automatic category we saw big wins for Rocket Espresso, and a whopping eleven winners overall. Rocket Espresso’s Giottos, Appartamento, Appartamento Nera, both Mozzafiatos, and the R58 Cinquantotto all made our list. Also joining the staff picks is for the first time is the Solis Perfetta, which we’re thrilled to see as one of our newest machines. 

    Both Rancilio Silvias (PID and standard) made the list, and finally, the Bambino Pro, and Barista Pro from Breville made it on as well. 

    This list of semi-automatic espresso machines represents a wide spread of options and price points, which we’re really happy to see! 

    Superautomatic Espresso Machines

    On the superuato front we saw an excellent spread of options from Breville (Oracle Touch), Miele (CM 6350), Saeco (Xelsis), Jura (A1), and Philips. Philips saw two machines on the list with the Carina and 3200 LatteGo. We’ve seen most of these machines on the list before, and it makes sense again that they fall into a number of price points. With a little less differentiation in the superauto space, price is definitely a prevailing factor. Of note here is the Jura A1, which is the only machine on the list dedicated purely to espresso, with no milk steaming option. It’s a testament to the quality of the espresso that comes out of this machine that it made it on alongside the others!

    Espresso Grinder

    For espresso grinders we saw a big win for Eureka, with the Mignon Notte, Mignon Specilita, and the Atom 75 all making the list. Rocket Espresso’s Faustino also made the list, along with the Baratza Sette 270Wi. Here the Sette and Notte fit in as great starter options, with the midrange Faustino and Specilitas sitting between them and the higher end Atom 75.

    Coffee Grinders

    On the brew grinder front we’ve got both the Baratza Encore and Forte BG, two solid Baratza workhorses that we all know and love here. The Eureka Mignon Filtro and Crono also made the list with their stepless brew grinding, and for the first time we see the Fellow Ode and Solis Scala make the list. Finally, fitting into that “espresso or brew” gap, the Rancilio Rocky made its way to the list as usual!

    Drip Brewers

    For drip brewers, we saw winners with Technivorm, Ratio, Breville, and Bonavita. Both models of Technivorm’s KB741 made the list along with the Ratio Six, Bonavita Connoisseur, and Breville Precision Brewer Tribute Edition. Here again we see staff opinions coming in in favor of a range of pricing options, with the Bonavita as the most affordable all the way up to the high customizability of the Precision Brewer.

    Here’s a few more categories of winners for your perusal!

    Presses

    Stovetop and Cold Brew

    Pour Over

    Scales

    Kettles

  • Top 3 Drip Brewers of 2020

    Welcome to another 2020 Best Of article! ‘Tis the season for our content team to come together and bring you our picks for the best coffee gear of 2020. Today we’re taking a look at our favorite drip brewers of the year! 

    In case you’re new to the world of coffee, a drip brewer is your classic “coffee maker.” These machines are usually pretty simple. Generally, you’ll put ground coffee in a filter, which you’ll then place in a basket. Next, you’ll fill up a water tank with water to the desired coffee volume you’re brewing. From there, you’ll turn the machine on, and it’ll begin to heat the water and pour it onto the grounds. The water will filter through the grounds and into a vessel as delicious coffee.

    Technivorm Moccamaster KBT741 Coffee Maker

    The key to brewing the perfect pot of coffee is temperature stability. You need water heated to 195-205 degrees fahrenheit. The thing we love about Technivorm brewers is how rock solid the temps are in their machines. Because they use copper boilers, you’ll get quick heatups and a 5-6 minute brew cycle with hot, delicious coffee every time. Like the other brewers on this list, the SCAA certification here confirms that the Specialty Coffee Association of America has confirmed that this machine keeps its water in that ~200 degree fahrenheit range. 

    Another key part of the brewing process is proper saturation of the coffee grounds. You want even spray of water around the brew basket to ensure that the water spreads correctly through the grounds. Many cheap brewers will drop water through a narrow spout right into the middle of the basket. This wastes all of that coffee around the edges of the basket and leads to less flavorful coffee. The Moccamaster features a spray head designed to evenly apply water to the coffee.

    We couldn’t talk about Technivorm without talking about that look. The KBT741 features the same industrial design that other brewers in the Technivorm lineup offer. While it won’t be the perfect fit for every kitchen, we love the stark modern aesthetic that Technivorm’s designs offer. The model featured here comes with a thermal carafe, which we like for heat retention. Some users will prefer a glass carafe with a heating plate, which Technivorm also produces.

    The cherry on top is the Moccamaster’s longevity. The high quality components that produce such great coffee also have the added benefit of being long lasting. In fact, with appropriate cleaning and maintenance, we’ve heard stories of Technivorms lasting decades. While your mileage may vary here, these are incredibly solid drip brewers. It’s this durability paired with the high quality coffee that the Moccamaster produces that has earned it a spot on our list.

    Breville Precision Brewer (Tribute Edition)

    If we had to pick ONE favorite drip brewer, it’d have to be the Precision Brewer from Breville. This brewer delivers many of the features of the Technivorm mentioned above. A high degree of temperature stability and excellent sprayhead design provide the same brewing quality that you get from machines like the Moccamaster. The Precision Brewer alse offers extensive programming.

    This programming is really where the value of the Precision Brewer comes into play. A robust menu system gives you a wide range of brewing options. From simple combinations of parameters like a “Gold Cup” option, which adheres to SCAA Gold Cup settings, to more exotic and unique settings, this brewer can do a lot. We love the Precision Brewer’s iced coffee and cold brew settings, which are programmed specifically for cold copy. It also has single cup and pour over options (which work with the adapter included in the Tribute Edition). 

    The best part of all this programmability? You can also build your own settings. You can control volume with water in just like any machine, and the menus allow you to manually set temperature and flow rate. This is the kind of control you can usually only achieve with manual brewing methods like pour over. The reason these kinds of options are so great is the experimentation you can do with the Precision Brewer and a tricky single origin that has flavors a standard set of drip brew parameters won’t quite tease out.

    The Precision Brewer also hits other bullet points offered by premium drip brewers. From solidly built components like a sturdy thermal carafe (also available in glass), the Tribute Edition’s pour over attachment, and a brew basket that can accommodate multiple types of filters to a long lasting internal pump and heating element, this machine is built as well as it performs. 

    It’s really difficult to point to a better drip brewer for the coffee enthusiast who wants the widest range of brew options. The only potential turn off with the Precision Brewer is that there can be a learning curve as you come to understand its menu system. We feel the menus are intuitive, but they’re a little more complicated than the push button operation of other drip brewers.

    Ratio Six

    The Ratio Six is another brewer that makes the list based purely on its incredible quality. While it doesn’t feature the programming of the Precision Brewer, it’s just a really solid machine that brews great coffee. This, of course, starts with its incredible output. This machine makes some of the best drip coffee we’ve had. A stellar heating element and sprayhead produce heat stable water that properly saturates the coffee grounds. This commitment to quality components stays true inside and out as well, with stainless steel casing giving it the most premium feel of any of the brewers on this list.

    One of our favorite unique features of the Ratio Six is its optional heat shield. Most drip brewers have at least a very small gap between the showerhead and the filter basket that can release some of the water’s heat. The Ratio Six helps to ensure heat retention by including an optional silicone gasket that sits between the sprayhead assembly and the filter basket. While this can seem a little awkward to use at first, it helps produce extra hot coffee.

    None of this touches on another key part of the Ratio Six: Looks! While we always value function over form, the Ratio Six has performance covered already. In the looks department, this one’s a keeper. From gorgeous angles to that stainless steel finish, this brewer is a bit large, but it’s quite the art piece too. It’ll look great alongside a similarly stylish grinder, and it’s neutral color should make it a great fit in a variety of kitchens. 

    All of these features come together to make the Ratio Six a really excellent brewer that we’re happy to include among our 2020 favorites!

    And there you have it! Three of the very best drip brewers money can buy in 2020. Stay tuned for more Best Of 2020 content here and on our YouTube channel!

     

  • Top 3 Superautomatic Espresso Machines of 2020

    It’s time for a big one! As you know, we love superautomatic espresso machines. The combination of convenience and quality you can get from a great superauto is really great. Today we’ve got a look at our favorite Superautos that you can get right now. These machines may have released before 2020, but they’re what we consider the best combination of value and performance on the market today. We’ll also have a look at our favorite superautos without price/value as a metric soon as well. Let’s get started!

    Philips 1220 Carina Superautomatic Espresso Machine

    We know, we know, we talk about the Carina a lot. We also know that you might be tired of us lauding a machine only available at Seattle Coffee Gear. The thing is, we brought this machine in as an exclusive because we think it’s such a great value. Prior to the Carina, you might spend close to $1,000 just to try a superautomatic espresso machine. While we feel there are excellent machines that justify much higher price points than that, it can be a lot to spend if you’re not sure you even like these kinds of machines.

    That’s why we’re so thrilled to offer the Philips Carina. This fully featured machine lets you brew espresso and “long coffees” (shots of espresso with more water to emulate a drip brew) as well as steam milk. What’s more? It does a really great job consistently providing excellent espresso and milk. You’ll get the same quality of brew found on higher priced Philips models, just with a slightly reduced set of features. 

    On the inside, the Carina is powered by a quality burr grinder and thermoblock boiler. These deliver fast, consistent performance. This machine also features a panarello steam wand for milk steaming. This is a little different than a commercial steam wand, and is easier to use. While it doesn’t mean you’ll get automatic steaming, you do get control over heat and texture. This is great for new users, as you’ll be able to really understand different espresso milk drinks.

    The Carina does also offer a degree of programmability. While it doesn’t have the complex menu systems of the Saeco Xelsis, you can still set some parameters of your drinks. Dose (strength) and volume can both be shifted to fit your preferences. Finally, this machine is also AquaClean ready. This water filtration system is a great way to keep your machine in great shape, and reduces the number of descalings you’ll need to perform. Further, AquaClean filtration is easy to track and maintain with the help of the machine, which warns you when it’s time for a filter change or a cleaning.

    This all makes the Carina an incredible value at its price point that is easy to use and maintain, while also brewing up some incredible cafe style beverages.

    Jura A1

    Sometimes specificity and simplicity can really lead to magic. Such is the case with the Jura A1. By Comparison, the A1 makes some of the best espresso available from a superauto at its price point. The big difference? This one’s all coffee. No milk steaming with the A1. While that can seem like a terrible feature to lose, it’s simply not an issue for a lot of users.

    Many coffee drinkers don’t need steamed milk to add to their coffee for lattes or cappuccinos. Instead, a lot of folks just prefer a delicious shot of espresso or a long pulle “Lungo” style shot. The A1 achieves its delicious coffee through it’s patented Pulse Extraction Process, or P.E.P., brew unit it. Instead of a steady stream of water, the P.E.P. brew unit pulses water through the shot, creating a unique flavor and helping with extraction.

    It’s also super fast. With high speed grinding, you’ll get a perfectly timed shot without an extra wait on the front end for grounds. Programmable cup sizes help too, and the A1’s intuitive touch interface makes using it a premium experience.

    Then there’s the case. This is an ultra small machine, which is part of its appeal. At under 13 inches tall and only 18 inches deep, you’ll enjoy the space you save by taking out the milk system. It’s also got a height-adjustable spout to accommodate different mug sizes, as well as slick black and chrome coloring that makes the A1 look as great as it brews.

    And… That’s kind of all there is to it. This is one of the best ways to easily turn fresh roasted whole bean coffee into a delicious shot of espresso, and we love it enough to consider it one of the best values in superautomatic machines.

    Philips 3200 With LatteGo

    We couldn’t finish this list without one more Philips machine! We know, it’s kind of cheating, but we have a good reason! The Philips 3200 With LatteGo is one of the coolest machines to come out in the past few years. That’s mostly down to its innovative steaming system that we’ll dig into in a few!

    First, let’s talk about the ways in which this machine is like the 1220 Carina we listed above. The 3200 looks and brews a lot like the Carina with a few differences. In the brewing department, the primary difference is the dedicated Americano button. While you could brew an Americano with the Carina, you have to first pull a shot of espresso, then use the hot water option button to pull water. The LatteGo automates the process for an easier time making this classic beverage.

    But the real star here is the milk system. 

    Most superautos rely on a panarello steam wand (like the Carina), a siphon milk system, or a carafe. Each system has its merits, but the carafe is often agreed on as the most convenient. This allows you to store frosty milk in the refrigerator in a special container that you plug into the superauto for milk brewing. The biggest issue with carafe based systems is cleaning.

    For many carafes, milk is pulled through a siphon and into the machine, then heated in a steam chamber and poured through a spout at the coffee dispenser. While proper maintenance and cleaning can keep these machines running for a long time, they can be tough to ensure a good clean on. 

    The LatteGo cuts out the middleman, using a steam chamber right at the carafe’s plug point. This means milk almost exclusively moves through the carafe itself, being poured from a spout in the carafe rather than in the brew unit. The result is one object that needs to be cleaned. What’s more, it’s very easy to disassemble and fully clean the carafe, and you don’t have to run complex cleaning routines through a siphon system. It also produces excellent milk texture and you can adjust the amount of foam with a programming button that sits next to the brew volume button.

    Speaking of cleaning, the 3200 features the same AquaClean filtration compatibility as the Carina. It also has helpful indicators to remind you to change the filter and descale the machine. 

    It’s for all of these reasons that we’ve snuck two Philips machines on our list this year. One offers incredible low cost value, the other an innovative automatic milk frothing system that’s worth the extra cost. One things for sure, 2020 has been a great year for Philips!

  • Video Roundup: 10/23/20

    It's Friday once again!

    You know what that means, another video roundup!

    Today we've got a crew review and some tips and how-tos. Let's get started!

    First, it's a look at some Eureka grinder cleaning with Jake!

    Next up, we've got a Crew Review of the lovely little Toddy Artisan with Ariel:

    And finally, some Breville Bambino Tips and Tricks:

    That's all for this week, make some coffee you love this weekend, especially if you're in for some chilly weather!

  • Jura A1 Review

    The Jura A1 is a dedicated superauto that is completely dedicated to brewing excellent espresso. The A1 is unique in that it forgoes a milk steaming system, making it an excellent choice for a user interested in getting some of the best espresso without concern for lattes and cappuccinos. Today we’re taking a look at what makes the A1 tick, so read on to learn more!

    The Basics

    As mentioned above, the Jura A1 is a dedicated superuatomatic espresso machine focused entirely on delivering espresso. It’s a compact model, measuring just 9 inches wide, 17.5 inches deep, and 12.7 inches high. This makes it easy to squeeze into even the smallest kitchen, and makes accessing its water tank and bean hopper easier than with larger machines. An adjustable spout allows for cup clearance from 2 to 5.5 inches.

    Speaking of the reservoir, the A1’s 37 oz. water tank is comparable in size to other brewers, but since it doesn’t provide water for a steam boiler, you’ll refill it less than if you were brewing up milk drinks. It’s 5 oz. bean hopper is relatively small, but its sealed lining helps keep beans fresh while they sit in the hopper. This also allows you to keep beans extra fresh by storing them in an external airtight container.

    Internally, the A1 features Jura’s Aroma G3 conical burr grinder for minimal retention and faster grind times. Jura’s Pulse Extraction Process powers the brew unit, which we’ll touch on in the next section. In terms of drink options, the A1 is able to produce a ristretto, espresso, and “coffee.” A ristretto is a short shot that is more intense than a standard espresso, with the “coffee” option actually being a lungo, or long shot. While this is different than a traditional drip coffee, it uses more water than a shot of espresso, creating a less intense drink at a larger volume. Each of these three drink volumes can be programmed with 8 or 10 gram coffee doses, allowing you to adjust the strength of the brew.

    Jura A1’s also feature a rigorous rinsing cycle that helps keep the spout and brew unit clean. Further enhancing the cleanliness of the machine is the A1’s Clearyl water filtration. It’s important to note that different A1 models can use different filters, so you’ll want to refer to the machine’s documentation to ensure that you get the right ones.

    Pulse Extraction Process

    Jura’s real claim to fame is their proprietary Pulse Extraction Process (which is often abbreviated to P.E.P. This process produces some of the best superautomatic coffee around, and it’s why we recommend this machine for those who prefer their espresso without milk. With most brewers, coffee is extracted with one sustained burst of water pumped through the coffee grounds.

    Jura’s Pulse Extraction Process is different. Instead of a single stream of water pushed through by a pump, Jura machines with P.E.P. use pulses of water for extraction. These pulses help to fully saturate the grounds during brewing and prevent any channeling or uneven saturation. The result is a really well rounded shot that offers full, delicious flavor.

    While some users will still prefer espresso shots from a Miele, Saeco, or Philips machine, it’s undeniable that Jura’s P.E.P. produces excellent espresso. With the A1 offering this excellent coffee in a minimalist, compact package, it might be the perfect machine for you! Shop the Jura A1 here today.

     

  • Philips 3200 With LatteGo Review

    Last year Philips introduced a new line of superautomatic espresso machines. From the 1220 Carina to the 3200 with LatteGo, this line is a wonderful way to get brewing espresso at home. We love this line so much that we brought the Carina in as an exclusive machine here at Seattle Coffee Gear! Let’s take a look at how the LatteGo steaming system and the 3200 platform stacks up!

    The Basics

    The Philips 3200 with LatteGo is a superautomatic espresso machine. This means it’s a machine that combines an espresso brew unit, a milk steaming system, and a grinder in one machine. What’s more, it means that the machine uses extensive automation to make drink prep extremely simple. With just a few button presses you can get a shot of espresso or a latte.

    In the case of some superautomatics, you have to hold a milk pitcher up to a steam wand in order to make lattes and cappuccinos. While not as challenging as a full commercial style steam tip, these panarello wands don’t provide the same level of simplicity as an automated system. Some machines opt for a siphon system that pulls milk into a steaming chamber and then dispenses it into a drink. Finally, carafe based solutions have you fill a carafe of milk that the machine siphons cold milk from to steam for milk drinks.

    We’ll get into the specifics of why the 3200 with LatteGo is a little different from traditional superautos with its milk steaming in a little bit. The first question most users have though, is how’s the espresso? We’re happy to share that the 3200 matches the rest of the Philips superautomatic line in terms of espresso quality. The difficulty in evaluating espresso from superautomatics is that much of it is subjective. With that in mind, here at Seattle Coffee Gear we feel that Philips’ brew process offers a good platform for enjoying a wide range of beans.

    The 3200’s interface is easy to use, with simple controls to produce espresso, a long shot (labeled as “coffee”), americanos, cappuccinos, lattes, or hot water. There are also buttons to adjust the dose (or amount of coffee used per drink) and drink volume, as well as milk foam amount. 

    Finally, there’s the LatteGo’s maintenance. All of the machines in this line of Philips superautos are compatible with AquaClean water filters. With a simple notification on the machine face, you’ll know when it’s time to swap the filter, or even clean/descale the machine entirely. AquaClean filters filter the water you put into the machine’s reservoir to both produce excellent coffee and extend the time between descalings.

    Design and Features

    The biggest thing that sets this machine apart from others in the Philips line is the LatteGo steaming system. As mentioned above, LatteGo is a little different from a typical carafe. Most carafe based options still use a siphon to pull milk into a steaming chamber. With LatteGo, milk is siphoned through the carafe, but upon heating it is poured through a spout that is part of the carafe itself. 

    The difference here is a very simple system that looks like a standard carafe on its surface, but one where the milk doesn’t have to move through tubing inside of the machine to get to a spout at the brew unit. The result is a much easier to clean system that actually produces hot, well textured milk.

    In terms of the design of the 3200, it features a top loading bean hopper and front loading water reservoir. While it can be a pain to have to pull your machine out from under your cabinets to load beans, the front loading water reservoir means you won’t have to repeat this too often. This is a smart design feature that many superautos miss, and it really makes day to day use of the machine more convenient. 

    By combining the consistency of Philips’ espresso brewing and range of brew options with the high quality, easy to clean LatteGo system, the 3200 with LatteGo is a fantastic starting point or upgrade for your home espresso journey.

  • Breville Oracle Touch Review

    A lot of home espresso users know exactly what sort of machine they’ll want. On the one hand, you’ve got traditional semi-automatic espresso machines. These machines require some patience and practice to learn to use. The upside here is that they offer a high degree of control and precision. On the other hand, there’s the convenience of superautomatic espresso machines. While these machines tend to make the espresso they make, they are also extremely easy to use and can create delicious drinks with just a button press or two. For those looking for something a little more in the middle, there’s the Breville Oracle Touch Espresso Machine. How does the Oracle Touch stack up in 2020? Read on to find out.

    The Basics

    The Breville Oracle Touch is a hybrid machine that offers some of the control of a semi-automatic machine while automating many of the steps of brewing like a semi-auto. This can be a tough concept to wrap your head around, but it makes sense when you start working with the machine. 

    For starters, this machine features a built-in burr grinder along with its two PID-controlled stainless steel boilers. This combination gives you everything you need to brew great espresso on its own, but then there’s the interface. Using the machine’s color, touchscreen interface you can automate the entire process of grinding, tamping, brewing, and steaming if you want. The only part the machine needs you to handle is moving the portafilter to the grinder, then back to the brew group, then cleanup of the espresso puck and wipedown of the steam wand. 

    The nice part about this is that you can automate as much of the process as you want to. If you like hand steaming milk, that option is there for you. If you hate milk steaming but want to tamp yourself, that’s an option as well. All of this makes the Oracle Touch a fantastic machine for any user that isn’t sure how involved they want to be in the brewing process. What’s more, while this machine is expensive, it doesn’t cut corners on quality or performance. 

    The Details

    As mentioned about, this machine features two boilers, one for steaming and one for brewing, with PID controlled temperatures. This means that you’ll be able to pull shots and steam milk continuously with stable temperatures and minimal downtime. The group head of the Oracle also features an electronic heating element, which keeps the portafilter at temp. This is important because it keeps water from the boiler at temp as it is pushed through the grounds in the portafilter. All of this ensures consistent, even extraction.

    The 58mm pro style portafilter also helps provide the most even extraction of the espresso. A built-in solenoid valve ensures pressure consistency and makes backflushing easy as well. With volumetric or timed programming, you can also dial in the perfect shot manually and have the machine reproduce it every time if you like that sort of hands-on preparation.

    Finally, there’s the steam wand. The Oracle’s steam wand monitors temperature of the milk and can be programmed to introduce a specific amount of air. The results is true differentiation between cappuccino and latte steaming, allowing you to trust in the machine to produce your perfect milk. 

    The biggest problems in the Oracle Touch come from it’s slightly slimmed down control options from the non-touch Oracle, and its size. As a result of development on the touchscreen interface, Breville has removed the programmable tamp pressure and pre-infusion, option for static values for each of these. This was done in an effort to make the machine a little easier to use for new users. Additionally, like the Oracle, and Breville’s Barista line of machines, the Oracle Touch is a large machine. While we think it makes up for this by combining grinder and brewer, having to find room for a combination machine can be a challenge.

    Taken as a whole, the Oracle Touch is a phenomenal platform for any user looking for the control of a semi-automatic and the available automation of a superauto.

  • Baratza Encore 2020 Review

    The Baratza Encore is one of the most popular brew coffee grinders in the world. Featuring conical steel burrs, stepped grind adjustment, and simple operation, all for an entry level price, it’s easy to see why this grinder is so popular. Read on for more details about this fantastic grinder below!

    The Basics

    The Baratza Encore is a grinder specifically designed for brewed coffee. This means that it works for press, drip, and pour over brewing, but can’t grind fine enough for espresso. This has nothing to do with it being lower quality, and everything to do with specific design.

    The Encore’s 40mm conical steel burrs are engineered to provide consistent grounds and reduce retention from finer drip settings all the way up to coarse press settings. These burrs grind fast and are incredibly durable, which means they should produce the perfect grind for your brews year after year. Grind setting is handled by an well marked stepped adjustment operated by rotating the hopper. It’s intuitive, comfortable, and precise. This stepped adjust makes it easy to switch between grind levels for different brew methods.

    The Encore can be engaged by rotating its bi-directional on/off switch, or by pressing and holding the pulse button found on the front of the grinder. Both control options work great, and the catch bin is easy to remove and scoop grounds from. The Encore is also a stylish grinder, available in slick white and black color options. This makes it adaptable if looks are important to you!

    What really puts this grinder over the top for us is its reliability and support. Baratza offers highly engineered, long-lasting products. Considering the Encore’s price, we’d normally assume it is an entry level grinder that you’d wear out after a few years of use. Not so. This is a grinder that is built like a tank and really goes the distance.

    One of our favorite ways to use the Encore is as a single dose, so let’s talk a little bit about that next.

    Single Dosing

    One of the best ways to enjoy multiple coffee roasts and ensure that no beans are wasted is with single dosing. Instead of filling the hopper with beans, you measure out just enough beans for your brew method. This is easiest to do with a scale for pour over, but can work just as well for drip and press brewing too. From there, you dump the grounds in, flip the grinder on, and let it grind through your beans. Because of its relatively low retention, the Baratza Encore makes a fantastic single dose grinder for pour over. 

    You can, of course, fill this grinder’s hopper up to the top and use a combination of the on setting and pulse to grind just enough as well. We just like pointing out that it’s such an excellent single dose grinder because it’s one of the ones we use for coffee testing here at Seattle Coffee Gear!

    It’s for all of these reasons that it’s hard for us not to recommend the Baratza Encore. The perfect blend of performance, price, and reliability, this grinder is a phenomenal way to start your home coffee journey.

  • Video Roundup: 10/9/2020

    Hello out there!

    It's time for another video roundup here at SCG. Let's jump in to this week's videos!

    First up we've got some tips and tricks for the Saeco Xelsis with Jake!

    Next up, we've got a Crew Comparison between the Oxo 8-Cup Coffee Maker and the Bonavita Connoisseur!

    Finally, we've got a Crew Comparison between the Eureka Atom Pro and the Eureka Atom 75!

    That's all for now! We'll be back with more next week.

  • Rocket Espresso R58 Cinquantotto Review

    Rocket Espresso’s home espresso machine line up has seen some evolution over the last year. The Mozzafiato and Giotto received useful new timers, the Appartamento Nera offers a stylish new look for a legendary machine, and now the R58 has received a major overhaul in the form of the Cinquantotto. We’ve looked at the updates to the R58 in a separate post, but we wanted to give a review to the machine on its own as well. Let’s dig in!

    The Basics

    The Rocket Espresso R58 Cinquantotto is a hand-built, double boiler espresso machine that is the very definition of “prosumer.” This is a machine designed for the engaged home espresso enthusiast that wants to make a long-lasting purchase of a machine they simply won’t need to upgrade. This machine features a .58 L dedicated brew boiler offering fast recovery times for brewing multiple shots in a row. The Cinquantotto’s 1.7 L service boiler allows for back to back milk drink steaming and hot water with additionally quick recovery times.

    Perhaps more important than boiler size is overall construction. The boilers themselves are brass/copper, with a stainless steel case and framing for a rock solid brewing and steaming platform that will stand up to year after year of use. On top of all of these, PID controlled temperatures maintain rock solid stability to ensure consistently perfect shots and milk steaming every time.

    Aiding in this is the Cinquantotto’s heated E-61 grouphead, which keeps the portafilter up to temp with the water in the boiler. This means no heat is lost during the brewing process, further ensuring incredible espresso.

    A commercial grade rotary pump delivers perfect pressure every shot, and offers the capability of plumbing this machine in. This provides you the option of using the included water reservoir or directly running a water line to the machine for convenience. 

    All of this combines to deliver an incredible package from a raw power, reliability, and design perspective. What really puts the Cinquantotto over the goal-line is it’s sophisticated controls.

    The Controls and Extras

    The Rockest Espresso R58 Cinquantotto features an all new touch screen PID controller that allows you to control various aspects of the machine. With the basics like temperature control easy to manage, you’ll have more programming at your fingertips as well. This PID controller offers the ability to schedule an auto on sequence, one of the biggest requests from home espresso aficionados. With this functionality, you can schedule your startup so that the machine is heated and ready for duty as soon as you’re ready for your morning espresso.

    Also new to the Cinquantotto is a mini shot timer. This small, unassuming feature is key to helping dial in the perfect espresso shot. Using it, you can ensure that you’re pulling just the right amount of volume over just the right amount of time. This will help you to get that perfect grind from your grinder to pull the perfect shot. It’s a small, but incredible welcome feature for this machine.

    Finally, one of the best parts of all of this is that the PID controller can be detached, letting you keep that classic look. The shot timer also blends in with the machine when not in use, giving you the stunning stainless appearance that gives Rocket Espresso its legendary style. 

    It’s safe to say that we highly recommend this machine to any customer looking for the pinnacle of home espresso. While it may have a learning curve for newer users, it’s a consistent, powerful, beautiful machine that is the perfect way to ensure year after year of incredible coffee.

     

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