Crew Review: OXO Cold Brew Maker

OXO Cold Brew Is that….the sun?! This is a question we are hearing a lot up here in Seattle. And it can only mean one thing, summer is right around the corner! And for us at Seattle Coffee Gear, that means cold brew.

And to celebrate the magnificent sunshine,  we are taking a look at the newest cold brew coffee maker on the market. The OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker! We all know the OXO products, you might even have their vegetable peeler in a drawer at home. But the OXO Cold Brew Maker won’t be slicing any vegetables, and that’s a good thing! This cold brew maker sticks to what is does best, brew cold brew!

The OXO Cold Brew Maker features a rainmaker design that you pour your cold water though. This design allows the grounds to be evenly saturated with water and bloom properly, resulting in a tastier finished product. The glass carafe that catches the final product is constructed out of borosilicate glass, which is extremely durable.  After steeping, all that is needed to be done in order to drink the tasty concentrate is flip the brew release switch and let gravity do the work!

The cold brew that this brewer yields is concentrated , so diluting 2 oz of the cold stuff with some ice or milk is suggested. You could of course dilute it with hot water if you prefer a hot beverage. The choice is up to you!

This brewer won our unofficial Cold Brew Taste Test. Be sure to check out that video if you haven’t already. Watch this Crew Review below before heading over to our YouTube channel and subscribing!

 

Comparison: R58 vs. Oracle

Because two boilers are better than one, that’s why! Yes we are talking about the double boiler machines, and specifically we are going to take a closer look at the Rocket R58 and the Breville Oracle.

So ring the bell referee, it’s the R58 vs. Oracle.

While these two machines have a few things in common they truly are very different, each one catering to a different type of  home barista.

The Breville Oracle sits in class almost to it’s own; somewhere R58 vs. Oraclebetween a super-automatic and a semi-automatic.  It has a grinder and a tamper built right into the machine. The internal clock allows you to have the machine auto start in the morning, which can make waking up that much easier! The auto frothing steam wand allows for easy cappuccino creation. The Breville Oracle has many menu features allowing you to tinker until you get the perfect drink. However, automation always comes at a cost. Even with all the menu features, measuring exact amounts of coffee grounds, for example, is not possible.

The Rocket R58 sits up at the top of it’s semi-automatic class. It R58 vs. Oraclefeatures a dual PID temperature control system, allowing you to program both the steam and brew boiler temperatures. The commercial grade rotary pump is quieter than most and allows for pump pressure adjustments and monitoring. The R58 is also plumbable, which means you can say goodbye to refilling the water tank by directly connecting this machine to your water supply. Of course, you can’t talk about any Rocket machine without mentioning its beautiful design. A lot of care is put into each of these handcrafted machines, you can be sure it will look great on your countertop.

Be sure to watch the full comparison video below! If you found this comparison helpful, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more by clicking here.

 

 

Crew Review: La Marzocco GS3

GS3The La Marzocco GS3. Need I say any more?

Folks, this is one of the best machines we have ever brewed up a shot of espresso on. You may recognize the machine in this video from our April Fools 2015 video, but trust us, this machine deserves all the respect it gets.

The GS3 is in the top of it’s class and for a good reason!It’s commercial grade features are built with the precision every serious espresso enthusiast looks for. Dual stainless steel boilers, powerful steaming functionality, PID temperature control, volumetric pump and variable hot water temperature regulation just to name a few.

What makes the La Marzocco GS3 so special is the blend of excellent internal parts with it’s beautiful customizable exterior. That’s right, customizable exterior. The machine Gail is demoing in this video has walnut wood side panels and a classy flat white body. We think this combination would look very stylish on your countertop, but you can choose which ever design you would like :)

Watch the video below to see Gail go through all the details of this impressive machine, and even brew up a cappuccino complete with latte art! Ok, maybe just the cappuccino (Sorry Gail!)

Like our videos? Subscribe to our channel and share the video with your friends! As always… Thanks for watching!

 

 

SCG in Portland: Silvia vs. Silvia with PID

silvia with PIDWhile we were “working” in Portland Gail wanted to show you all the insides of the Rancilio Silvia with PID. The Rancilio Silvia is a simple, reliable and powerful espresso machine. It will  produce excellent espresso and silky microfoam milk for your lattes and cappuccinos, and look pretty great doing it as well!

With it’s 67 oz Water Tank, 12 oz Brass Boiler and 15 BAR pump this little guy is ready for anything! And the Rancilio Silvia also has the option to add an optional PID. The optional PID is something that our tech team here at Seattle Coffee Gear installs and gives you precise temperature control.

Watch the video below as Gail walks you through the differences and opens up the Silvia with a PID installed!

 

 

Commercial Customer Spotlight: Microsoft Data Platform Group

Continuing our commercial customer spotlight series, we thought we would give a little insight into a business that out paces some coffee shops when it comes down to cups to day! That’s right, surprisingly when you give coffee away for free, people drink more of it! And by “more of it”, we are talking to the tune of 600 cups a day!

The Microsoft Data Platform Group’s building was recently remodeled and as a part of that remodel they decided that they wanted to offer free, self-service espresso for their employees. Naturally we wanted to help that dream become a reality, because we know first hand the power of a cup of coffee.Microsoft

TELL US ABOUT YOUR SETUP

Due to the high demand at our location (~600 cups per day), we chose the Rancilio Egro One Touch with attached multi-fridge option so we can serve both skim milk and 2%. Additionally, we added a large milk refrigerator and cabinet with beans right next to the machines so our employees can refill consumables themselves.

Microsoft

ANY ADVICE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?

We had to buy a second machine to keep up with the demand. We decided to set them up right next to each other rather than distributing them throughout the building because they act as our proverbial water coolers and are a destination in the building where the team members congregate and connect.

MicrosoftOur main advice would be to install the machines over a compost bin so that the grounds can fall into a large receptacle rather than into the little drawer within the machine, which fills up quickly. Also, additional labeling was applied to inform people whom to contact if there is an issue with the machine and to push the milk cartons all the way back in the milk refrigerator to register their presence.


We  are so happy that the folks over at Microsoft are getting great use of their new machines! Cheers!

Are you interested in downloading a PDF of their spotlight? Get it here!

SCG In Portland: Dialing In A Grinder

Dialing In A GrinderWhen pulling espresso there are 4 things that should be on the front of your mind. The beans, the grind, the tamp and the timing. We are going to focus on the grind right now because it can be one of the more difficult things to really nail. Your grind consistency is going to effected by the bean you are using, how fresh that bean is, the humidly in the room, heck, even your mood! So dialing in your grinder so you can pull your shot in the appropriate amount of time is essential!

Let me start out with a word of warning: dialing in a grinder will use up a lot of coffee, especially if your machine is new. So be prepared to grind up to a pound of coffee!

The trick to dialing in a grinder is keeping all your other variables consistent. So your dose, grind distribution and tamp pressure should be exactly the same every time. That way you know that it is just the texture of the grind that is affecting your timing.

Speaking on timing, this is how you will know which direction to adjust your grinder. The goal is to pull a double shot of two ounces in 25-30 seconds. If your shot reaches two ounces in, say, 15 seconds then you know your grind is way too course. A finer grind will slow your extraction time. On the other end, if it takes 35 seconds to reach that two ounce mark, your espresso will be over extracted. Adjusting the grinder to be more course will fix this.

Remember, when adjusting your grinder you should be making small adjustments. Sometimes one step is all it will take! Also be sure to grind at least a double portafilter worth of beans after each adjustment and throw that out. Otherwise you will have grounds from the previous setting muddling up your shot.

Watch the video below for the in depth tutorial on how to dial in a coffee grinder. And while you are at it, subscribe to our YouTube channel!

 

 

 

SCG in Portland: Illy Capsule Recycle

 

Continuing our “working” vacation in Portland, Gail took a moment to talk about the Illy Iperespresso Capsules. As you probably already know, Illy has made making espresso easier than ever. Using one of their capsule machines, like the Francis Francis Y1.1, you can be brewing up a tasty shot in seconds. No grinding or tamping required!

But with a shot of espresso  a day, the amount of used capsules can quickly get out of hand. So instead of throwing your capsules away it is best to recycle them! The Illy capsule recycle program is something we are proud to support. So, save your capsules, and anytime you visit our stores you can bring them in and we will recycle your capsules!

Help us keep the world we share clean and caffeinated!

 

SCG in Portland: Pour Over Equipment

Pour OverPour overs. Probably the hippest way to brew your coffee right now. And as you already know, we are pretty hip! But perfecting the art of pour over takes a little bit of patience, skill and some basic equipment.

We decided to take a trip down to our Portland store to get the scoop about what options for pour over equipment are out there. Because, if you didn’t know already, Portland Oregon is the place for pour over coffee.  Gail met up with Celine and had her give us the low down.

Some of our big take aways from our “working” vacation to Portland:

  1. There are a ton of different tools for making pour over coffee.
  2. When it comes to pour over, it is all about the flow. (Certain cones help you attain the perfect flow by adjusting the amount of holes and their placement. The Kalita Wave is a great cone for those new to pour over)
  3. You should not put your Hario Drip Pot filters in the washing machine, under any circumstances.
  4. A gooseneck kettle, like this Hario, is essential for directing your water to all the right places.

Watch the video below to see all the pour over options and be sure to check out our Portland store, Celine is waiting for you!

Do you like our videos? Then you should subscribe to our channel! We promise we won’t disappoint!  Click here to subscribe.

 

 

Brewin’ With Brandi: Chocolate Espresso Waffles

Chocolate espresso waffles, need I say more?

This time on Brewin’ With Brandi, Brandi and Leslie whip up a batch and top it off with more chocolate chips and espresso syrup. Is it breakfast or dessert? That is really up to you to decide!

Watch the video recipe below and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for all things coffee!

 Ingredients For About 5 Waffles:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teasponns baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 shots espresso
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips

Ingredients For Espresso Syrup:

  • 1 cup brewed espresso (about 8 shots)
  • 1 cup sugar

Process:

To make the espresso syrup: Combine the espresso and sugar in a pan over medium heat. Stir consistently for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture is thick like a syrup.

To make the waffles: Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the milk, sugar, espresso, and oil. Blend until well mixed.

Preheat a waffle iron. While the waffle iron is preheating beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixed until the form soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter until mixture is just combined.

Spray the waffle iron with cooking spray and add enough batter to cover the waffle iron, about 1 cup of batter. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked through. Top with chocolate chips and espresso syrup and enjoy!

 

Ask Gail: Lavazza’s Packaging Change?

Lavazza's packagingJust as soon as you get used to something, it changes. Believe you me when I say, I get it! It can be frustrating, especially when you really loved what was changed.

Well I have some good news for you. It’s what is on the inside that counts! In case you don’t know what I am talking about, Lavazza updated some of their packaging a little bit ago. And to be honest, I rather like the change, it looks more fresh! But what does Lavazza’s packaging change really mean?

But like I said, it is what is on the inside that counts :) And even though Lavazza’s packaging is new and improved they didn’t change the coffee. So when you order your new bag of coffee, you won’t be able to taste a difference (because there isn’t any!)

Gail can assure you this. Watch the video below to see what Gail’s speculation is as to why the change happened! Then head over to our YouTube channel to see what else Gail has been up too!