Crew Review: Mahlkonig Pro M Grinder

We were recently given the opportunity to test out the Pro M grinder from Mahlkonig, a commercial-grade grinder manufacturer well-known throughout the pro coffee community, but with grinders that are generally too big, size-wise, for the average home kitchen. The Pro M, however, is petite and powerful — we really loved its design and performance and hope to carry it in the future.

Recipe: Sleep with the Fishes!

If you’re having a rough time of it and are unable to find dreamtime no matter where you look, incorporating a little bit of the good ol’ snooze-inducer tryptophan into your evening routine may be the answer. And who wants just plain old warm milk these days? Trick it up with this lovely sugar free recipe that is certain to warm your belly and send you to sleepyville.

Ingredients

Directions

Steam milk using your espresso machine or warm it over the stove/in the microwave. Mix together the sauce and the syrup, pour in a bit of the milk and thoroughly incorporate, then top with the remaining milk. Climb into bed, sip it slowly and then dream big.

Cupping Velton’s Single Origin Coffees

We’ve been offering Velton’s Single Origins coffees via our roast-to-order program for several months now, and we just recently rotated out one available option for a new one: The Ethiopian Sidamo Moredocofe was cycled out to make room for the new Peru Pichanaki. This new variety is full bodied with a very sweet and buttery-smooth flavor. It has a spicy tropical fruit and clean sugary-citrus finish — and we love it!

Since we hadn’t cupped these on camera before, we thought that the introduction of a new option deserved a tasting review. Watch as the crew (+ Velton) tastes the Guatemala Huehuetenango, Costa Rica Tarrazu and Peru Pichanaki. Tripleyum!

Crew Review: Rancilio Epoca S1 Tank Commercial Espresso

While perhaps not totally at home in your kitchen, this commercial-class machine is an excellent choice for locations that will not be doing a ton of espresso drinks but still want to be able to whip up the drinks in a timely, expert manner.

The Epoca S1 comes with an internal water reservoir (no plumbing) and runs on 15 amp / 110 volts, so you don’t have to have special electric outlets installed. It’s not a super mobile machine, however, because it’s a bit unwieldy, so may not be the best choice for caterers, but if you’re staying in one spot this could be the solution for your small cafe.

Watch Gail take us through the features and show us how this little baby performs.

Nespresso Testing

When we started carrying Nespresso machines, we didn’t realize they would be some of the most hotly debated machines in our store. Folks are not sure if they perform well — can they really make good espresso with a capsule? What is their brew temperature? Do their milk frothing options function well?

You know that we firmly believe that there is a market for every machine, and while these guys are definitely not going to please an ardent purist, they have a well-loved place in many homes throughout the world for a reason: They’re easy to use, no-mess and make espresso similar to what you find on a standard superautomatic espresso machine. Arguably their one drawback is their proprietary capsules, and some folks don’t dig having to purchase them only through Nespresso’s coffee club. But if you can get around that and you’re looking for a simple solution to get your morning java fix, this definitely could be the choice for you.

Since we get all kinds of questions about how the Nespresso functions, we did a few tests to show temperature, water volume and milk frothing temp so that folks would know if the basic function would meet their specs. Watch Gail run them through the gamut!

Recipe: Creole Fudge Cake

Craving the scents, spice and flavors of the American South? This sweet dish, inspired by Louisiana bakeries, is a culinary road trip to the bayou.

Ingredients

Fudge Cake

  • Cocoa powder for dusting pans
  • 1/2 cup brewed espresso
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2  1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)

Coffee Buttercream Icing

  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold espresso
  • 2 tablespoons cream

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease 3 (8-inch) round pans and dust with cocoa.
  • Place the espresso, brown sugar and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the chocolate melts and the brown sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  • Beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Mix until light and fluffy.
  • Add the cooled chocolate mixture, beating well.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl to combine. Beat the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture alternately with the milk.
  • Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes before turning out onto wire rack.
  • To make Coffee Buttercream Icing, beat 2 sticks of softened butter and 6 cups of powdered sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer. Beat in 1/4 cup cold espresso and 2 tablespoons cream until smooth.
  • When completely cool, frost between layers, on top and sides with Coffee Buttercream Icing. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Makes 12 servings.

Recipe: The Dallas Morning News

Crew Review: Saeco Talea Giro Refurb

We are refurb crazy these days! Our techs are churning out new batches of certified refurbished machines faster than we can tell you about them, and the next up for review is the first generation Saeco Talea Giro superautomatic. It has almost all of the same features as the newer Plus version, the primary difference being that it does not have a bi-pass doser (even though it has the chamber and the lid to tease you!).

Watch Gail review and demonstrate one of the recently refurbished models.

Crew Review: Saeco Incanto De Luxe Refurb

Some superautomatics are more like robots than others and the Saeco Incanto De Luxe is a great example: A shiny happy robotic entity ready to rock your socks off with caffeine. We dig the programming functions, the metal casing and the easily navigable digital screen.

We recently refurbished a batch of these machines, so we asked Gail to take us through the features and demonstrate its functionality.