DeLonghi Gran Dama Dosages

Some of the earlier versions of the DeLonghi superautomatics didn’t seem to brew as rich of an espresso shot as their counterparts made by other manufacturers. With the release of the newer Gran Dama and Perfecta (the 6600/6700 and 5500 models), we noticed that the shot not only was hotter, it was richer too. Our techs examined the grounds from a disassembled machine and let us know that these machines were now grinding finer than the previous versions; additionally, the dosage functionality has changed.

Watch Gail talk about the dosages, grinding, programming functionality and how to brew a double shot roughly equivalent to what you can get off a semi-automatic.

Recipe: Sunkissed Caramel Latte

Oooooo muy delicioso! You know that we dig orange, which we usually pair up with chocolate when adding it to an espresso-based drink. However, a life left unexamined is not worth living, so sometimes it’s time to stretch our wings and try something new — and, in this case, our quest for self-actualization has led us to caramel. Look, it could be worse, right?

Watch Gail whip up a smooth blended summery drink with a creamy caramel base and a hint of orange. Change never tasted this good!

Internals of a Heat Exchanger

A heat exchange boiler is not a traditional double boiler, as it doesn’t maintain totally separate boilers for the brew head and the steam wand. It does, however, have separate water delivery systems, so you can brew and steam with it at the same time — if you want. Some folks prefer not to (either the multi-tasking is a challenge or they are concerned with how it affects the brew temperature), and then the benefit of a heat exchange is that you can switch very quickly between the two functions.

In this video, Josh shows us the internal components of the Quick Mill Vetrano and explains how it all works — a great primer for anyone interested in the tech side of things.

Steam Test: Non-Fat vs. 2% vs. Whole Milks

Silky milky! We tested out non-dairy milks to see how well they produced microfoam and now it’s time to turn to dairy milks — specifically, which steams better: Non-fat, 2% or whole milk? And do they perform similarly across the board, regardless of the machine used?

Gail steamed up each of the milks on the Rocket Giotto Evoluzione, Saeco Xelsis and Saeco Via Venezia to see which works the best, if there are commonalities or if each machine works better with different types of milk. Watch and learn the results!

Steam Test: Non-Dairy Milks

Maybe the moo juice just doesn’t agree with you or perhaps you’ve got philosophical dietary restrictions that say coffee is okay but animal’s milk isn’t and you still want a latte. Whatever the reason, it’s well known that achieving microfoam with non-dairy milk is next to impossible.

We recently requested samples of Pacific Natural Foods’ Barista Series soy blenders, which are specifically formulated to achieve better steaming and foam results. They also sent along some samples of rice and hemp milk, so we took those out for a spin, as well, to see how they stood up under the pressure.

Watch Gail test ‘em out! Mmmmmnnnnnutty.

Recipe: Shake Your Body and/or an Iced Coconut Cream Latte

For some inexplicable reason, we’re craving coconut cream pie this morning — exacerbated by the Google image search for pictures of coconut cream pie, no doubt. Also, we are craving the disco. This iced latte is a delish summer treat that we think you’re going to love.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Fill a shaker with ice; add milk, sauce, syrup and espresso.
  2. Put Shake Your Body on the record player (and/or YouTube).
  3. Shake vigorously to the beat.
  4. Pour out into a serving glass and optionally garnish with whipped cream, more white chocolate sauce and toasted coconut flakes.
  5. Actually, garnish is not optional.
  6. Enjoy!

Field Trip: Uesugi USA – Recycling Center

Where do espresso machines and coffee makers go to die? Not in the landfill, if we can help it! At Seattle Coffee Gear, we launched a recycling program last year in an effort to keep as many fully assembled machines from landing in the trash. Many of these are pretty complex — they have circuit boards, electrical wiring and miscellaneous metals that are best kept out of our ground water supply.

Our partner in this venture is Uesugi USA, a Japanese company that (as luck would have it) have a US presence here in the Seattle-area. We pulled Henry into the mix and headed out to their facility to talk about what they do and see how they take these machines apart, break them down to their components and funnel them back into the commodity supply chain as cleanly as possible.

Video Crew Review: Hario Pour Over a la Gail

We spent an afternoon up at Hario USA (now Roustabout Products) earlier this year and posted a wide array of videos from that field trip. But there’s nothing like a Gail review, is there? So we asked her to show us the ropes on how to use one of the Hario pour overs. Watch as she talks to us about the process and whips up a smooth cup of coffee using Velton’s Twilight Blend. Delish!

Which is Better: 2 Hole or 4 Hole Steam Tip?

We often get asked whether or not a 4 hole steam tip is worth the upgrade on a machine like the Rocket Giotto Evoluzione. You definitely need to have more power to back up a multiple hole tip — as was seen on the first iteration of the Rancilio Silvia V3, the boiler size did not match well with the 3 hole tip and folks got very lackluster results. So it’s important to match the right tip to the right machine.

Gail shows us how each performs side by side and gives her assessment on their benefits/drawbacks.