Tips and Tricks

  • Video Roundup: 11/1/2019

    Hello friends!

    It's time yet again for another weekly video roundup here at SCG! We've got 4 videos hot off the press for you this week, let's get started!

    First, we've got John with a review of the Rocket Espresso Boxer Timer One Group:

    Next is a much requested comparison between the Philips Carina and the Saeco Vienna, should you think about upgrading?

    Then Clementine offered up a tasty treat for this magical season:

    Last but not least, Allie provided some helpful tips and tricks for the Izzo Vivi PID Pro:

    And that's all for now! We'll be back next week with loads more to share.

  • Video Roundup: 10/18/2019

    It's another Friday and we have LOADS of videos to share this week!

    Let's dive in:

    First up, Gail took a look at the new 3200 LatteGo from Philips.

    Next, we tasted our Roast of the Month!

    Then we got another crew review, this time of the NON LatteGo 3200:

    Allie dropped by the studio to offer some Izzo tips and tricks:

    And last but not least, another terrifying Coffee Collaboration with Clementine!

    That's all for now, get to watching!

  • AeroPress Tips & Tricks!

    If you've been keeping up on the world of Press coffee you'll know that the AeroPress continues to grow as a beloved brewing device. Here at Seattle Coffee Gear we love it, and we're sure you will too once you get your hands on it! If you haven't seen this wonderful brewer, check it out here. Once you've done that, or if you're already an AeroPress user, read on for some tips and tricks!

    Pourover Techniques and Inverted Brewing

    One simple way to get better flavor out of your AeroPress is simply through blooming the coffee. This is a technique used primarily in drip brewing, and especially in pourover. The bloom is simply a small pour before your main pour to wet the grounds. Letting this mixture sit for 10-15 seconds will help the coffee taste less bitter and acidic! Other pourover techniques that help with an AeroPress include pre-wetting the filter to remove the papery taste an pouring in a circular motion to evenly saturate the grounds.

    Another technique you can look to is inverted brewing! To use this method you'll want to grind fine, using a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water. Flip the AeroPress upside down and push the tip of the plunger into the press. Add coffee and water as normal and stir. Next, let the coffee brew for one minute.

    Place a wetted filter in the cap, and put the cap on top of the AeroPress. Next, put your coffee cup on top of the AeroPress, then carefully flip the entire press and cup over and plunge as normal. This method results in a rich brew that, with proper plunging, comes out free of grit or sediment.

    Temperature and Pressure Variations

    One surprising thing to note about the AeroPress is that lower temperatures can work better than the typical brewing temps you may be used to. By brewing in the 175-185 degrees Fahrenheit range you can get better coffee than more typical, hotter temps. Try both ends of that range and see which one works better with different beans!

    Another thing many users don't consider is pressure variation. The rate at which you plunge affects the pressure that the coffee is brewed with. A harder, faster press will result in a heavier body. While not an exact comparison to espresso, it's the same principle as that brew method. on the flip-side, for a lighter cup, a slower, gentler press will result in less body and a lighter taste.

    Speaking of pressure, if using the standard non-inverted method, you can insert the plunger to use back-pressure to stop the drip that happens when you add water to the coffee grounds. this will prevent any weaker coffee from dripping out.

    Concentrates and Closing Thoughts

    One other practice to try is brewing AeroPress coffee as concentrate. Even at a standard 1:16 coffee:water ratio, this device brews some pretty strong coffee. If that alone is too strong for you, cutting it with water helps for a lighter cup. Another thing to consider is to brew with less water, creating a thicker concentrate. From there, you could store the concentrate in the fridge for an iced coffee, or just add hot water straight away to make more servings.

    All of these ideas an more are down to experimentation. One of the best parts about the AeroPress is how variable it is. Let us know if you come up with any other fun tricks!

  • Tips & Tricks For Better AeroPress

    The AeroPress

    It’s a press…it’s a dripper…no, it’s the AeroPress! The AeroPress Coffee Maker is a popular choice for brewing coffee. It’s a type of immersion brewer that’s similar to a press, but it has  a paper filter that removes coffee grit, unlike other styles. It’s an affordable, compact and lightweight brewer that’s incredibly easy to use.

    If you’re like us and have one (or even two) of these in your kitchen, you’ve probably gotten a brewing routine down, but it’s never too late to learn some new tricks! We’ve got four new tips for you to start using on your AeroPress today—so what are you waiting for? Let’s get brewing.

    The AeroPress is one of the most versatile pieces of brewing equipment we use! The AeroPress is one of the most versatile pieces of brewing equipment we use!

    AeroPress Tip #1: Wet Your Filter

    We recommend you don’t skip this one! Rinsing your paper filter helps reduces the papery or woody flavor taste.The best way to get it wet is to put the dry filter into the AeroPress’ black filter basket and place it over a cup, which also pre-heats your cup—win, win! Don’t worry about if the filter cools down before you brew because you’ll be pouring some hot water through it soon.

    AeroPress Tip #2: Level Out Your Grounds

    Your filter’s rinsed and ready to go—now it’s time for coffee! Grind 15 grams of coffee at about a drip coffee grind or a Chemex, but not too fine like for a espresso. Got it? Perfect, now let’s use that handy little funnel and add your grounds into the AeroPress.

    Now for the tip: Level out your grounds by giving it a quick shake back and forth (don’t stress it too much). The more even the grounds bed is the more even your extraction will be and the more even an extraction means a tastier cup of coffee!

    When you add your hot water, you want to evenly wet grounds by pouring in a circular motion. Since an AeroPress uses immersion brewing and pressure, we’re not worried about letting the coffee bloom. Go ahead and add all your water to the AeroPress and stir gently to ensure all your grounds are equally wet.

    AeroPress Tip #3: Use Back Pressure To Stop The Drip

    You’ll notice once you add the hot water, the AeroPress will start dripping—but this isn’t drip coffee! To stop the drip, insert the plunger piece into the body and…ta-da! Using back pressure is one of those wonderful tricks the scientist in us loves. It stops the flow of water and allows the coffee grounds to extract that wonderful flavor until we’re ready to plunge.

    We’ve also brewed the AeroPress in the inverted style, which is when the plunger is already attached. Using this method, you add your 15-grams of coffee and hot water through the opposite end or where the filter basket is placed. After you've let it steep, you twist on the filter basket (don't forget the paper filter) and carefully flip the AeroPress onto your cup. Plunge as usual! Since it's us, when we flip it we tend to make a mess. If you haven’t used the back pressure method, we totally recommend it when you’re brewing with the AeroPress!

    The inverted method is a popular brew technique on the AeroPress. The inverted method is a popular brew technique on the AeroPress.

    AeroPress Tip #4: Fast, Forceful Press = More Body and  Slow, Even Press = Less Body, Cleaner Cup

    You can think about this tip in terms of espresso, but, let's be real, you won't be able to create enough pressure for actual espresso. Espresso is extracted under pressure in a relatively quick time, typically, between 20 to 30 seconds, to produce a full-bodied shot. The idea applies to how AeroPress uses air pressure to extract flavor, but with human pressure. Another way to get more body is how far you plunge. If you push far enough to hear the air escape (that hissing sound) you're no longer pushing coffee water, but the slurry of dissolved coffee that's been extracted.

    As they say, slow and steady wins the race. There’s no right or wrong way to press the AeroPress, but there’s something to love about the slow method. The slower plunge allows the nuanced flavors, such as berries and fruits, to come forward and creates a cleaner bodied cup. We did about a 30-second slow plunge and stopped pushing after we heard the air release. This gave us a crisp, clean cup that we were looking for.

    Tell us what you think! Do you have any tips or tricks you like to do with the AeroPress? Share your ideas in the comments below.

  • 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

  • Tech Tips: Test Mode on the Saeco Intuita

    Saeco IntuitaOne of the hidden secrets of many espresso machines is that they come with an accessible test mode section. What is great about test mode is that it is an excellent resource for troubleshooting your machine. For instance, test mode can allow you to determine if components like your water pump, grinder or brew unit motor aren’t working because they are broken or because something in the machine has been misplaced and is keeping them from working.

    One espresso maker that has this functionality is the Saeco Intuita. Luckily, as its name suggests, getting into the test mode section on this machine is more intuitive than it is on other espresso machines and only requires a few simple steps. Once you are in test mode, there are five different levels to explore, which allow you to test everything from the lights on the machine to the grinder. You can even test the machine’s sensors to make sure they are working properly, which is a great way to help pinpoint what is causing an alarm in regular mode.

    In this video, Brendan shows us how to access test mode on the Intuita, guides through each of the different levels and explains how to use each one to diagnose any problems you are having with your machine.

    SCG Tech Tips: Test Mode on the Saeco Intuita

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