Steam-driven espresso machines are few and far between these days, especially as folks learn more about ideal brewing temperatures for different coffee preparations. Steam pressure has the bad rap of burning the coffee, and while it will create a nice level of pressure for your espresso extraction, it isn’t going to give you those phenomenally complex and sweetly balanced espresso shots a lot of people covet.
We don’t pretend to be latte artists by any stretch of the imagination, although Gail has pulled off an abstract Snoopy on occasion and Velton can rock a mean rosetta if the moon is in the right phase.
Since spending a nice chunk of time in its rolling hills in our youth (St. Mullins reprazent), we have always had a soft little spot for Ireland. While the coffee scene in the rural areas was non existent, we didn’t really see much of anything going on in the major cities we visited, either, but that was 15 years ago and a lot has changed since then.
Creating a silky microfoam can be a challenging enterprise: Even with the higher end prosumer machines we sell, it is arguably the most difficult skill to learn and sometimes takes more practice (and patience!) than folks expect from the outset.
A little budget-conscious? Who isn’t? If you’d like to get your paws on a home espresso machine for under $200, Capresso’s Cafe Espresso Machine has a nice feature/value balance that could be an excellent contender. Here’s our assessment of this lil’ number.
We don’t know about you, but we are more than ready to get our summer on these days. Maybe it was the glimpse of 70F degree whether we had in Anaheim a couple of weeks ago, but we need to either be in the summer season Real Soon Now, or drink enough summery cocktails to delude ourselves into thinking we are in summer. Join us, won’t you?
Keeping your espresso equipment clean is essential to producing consistently excellent shots. Backflushing on the Rancilio Silvia and machines with the patented E61 brew group will definitely address the brew group and screen, but it’s still a good idea to take them apart every so often and give them a good scrub down. You’ll also need to know how to do this when replacing the brew head gasket, also an important part of regular care and maintenance.
No, there weren’t any wrestlers present, but there was a high concentration of coffee related ninjas on the floor. Last week, we were lucky enough to head down to Anaheim, CA, for the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Main Event, which is a specialty coffee industry educational and trade show that covers everything from coffee growers to roasters to equipment suppliers to mad skilled baristas. This year, it also hosted the United States Barista Championship — with Mike Phillips of Intelligentsia defending and re-securing his title. He’ll be heading out to compete with the rest of the national barista champs from around the world at the SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) event this summer in the UK.
Saeco’s newest one-touch superautomatic, the Xelsis, is just about to hit the market in the US and we were able to get a prototype in the store to play around with it! These little ladies are available for pre-order on the Seattle Coffee Gear site and they’ll be shipping in early May.
Acronyms unite! The United States Barista Championship kicked off today down at the Specialty Coffee Association of America conference in Anaheim, CA. It’ll be going on through the weekend and you can watch it streaming live on their website.