Crew Review: Rocket Espresso Cellini Classic

Rocket Cellini ClassicCertain things are a classic for a reason: Like Prince, tea cozies and bow ties, the Rocket Cellini Classic offers tried-and-true, rockin’ functionality backed up by smooth lines. While its pricier counterparts sport dual manometers and a fully polished stainless steel casing, the Classic has a two ‘tone’ finish of both brushed and polished stainless steel and a single manometer for the boiler’s pressure.

If you’re looking for a simple heat exchange espresso machine that’s not too hard on the wallet, the Classic should be high on your list! Watch as Gail takes us through all of its lovely features and functionality, then demonstrates how it performs.

Compare: Rocket Espresso R58 vs. Quick Mill QM67

Dual boilers are where it’s at when it comes to controlling the temp of your shot while also sporting steaming functionality that is almost embarrassing in its ferocity.

These little babies come in variety of formats and price ranges, and Gail shows us models from Rocket Espresso (the R58, what!) and Quick Mill (the QM67, what!) to show you how their form, function, tech specs, internals and performance compare.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Savory Salted Caramel Appletini

Ring in 2013 with a devastatingly devilish riff on the very popular appletini! Brandi shakes up a batch of this lovely cocktail, which sets the sweetness of the apple off with its salted caramel undertones.




Fill a cocktail shaker with ice; add the syrup, vodka and apple juice, then squeeze the lemon wedge into it. Shake vigorously and serve up!

The Reluctant Barista: Xelsis SS One Touch Espresso Machine

xelsisIs there more than one coffee drinker at your place? How do you decide on an espresso machine that works for everyone? For this review I enlisted my significantly caffeinated other, Chris, to take a look at the superautomatic Saeco Xelsis One Touch for home use. [Ulterior motive alert! It’s holiday time and mama wants a new espresso machine.]

First off, Kat and Gail’s video covers how quick and easy it is to make drinks and to clean up on the Xelsis.  I brought Chris into the Seattle Coffee Gear store in Lynnwood to show him the features and hopefully win him over with one-touch espresso.

The Xelsis is a really attractive machine, something we wouldn’t mind leaving on the countertop.  Our upper cabinets are 18 inches from the counter and the Xelsis is 15 inches tall, which means I’d have to scooch it out to refill the water tank. It has a good size water reservoir, but I use fresh filtered water each time as Gail has mentioned for best shot flavor.

We turned it on and the Xelsis menu buttons were easy to navigate. I placed a cup under the spout and turned the milk carafe spout to point into the pre-warmed cup as well. After pushing the cappuccino button, hot frothed milk filled the cup and then, after a brief pause, the espresso followed. I like mine a bit stronger so I added an extra espresso shot — at the push of a button!

Next, we used the attached steam wand and a frothing pitcher to see if we could get a latte with hotter milk and a finer microfoam than the milk carafe provides. This produced the type of latte we prefer but took more time and effort. There are also ways to dial in the shot flavor to your preferences on superautomatics, which Kat and Gail explore here.

We sipped our drinks and considered what factors were important to us.  We have a small semi-automatic at home now, which is not as quick to make drinks. This comes into play because Chris works early and does not always have time in the morning for a mid-week latte. Also, there is a little bit of ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’ since Kaylie has an Xelsis espresso machine at home.

What is important to you? For us it boils down to budget, time and milk foam quality. Your needs may vary. How does the Xelsis compare? It’s got stylish looks, a high quality build, an easy user interface that remembers how you like your favorite drink, great coffee quality and push button convenience. For us, a mid-level semi-auto and espresso grinder is more budget-friendly, though. Perhaps one that is compatible with E.S.E. espresso pods to save time on weekdays. As much as I really really really want a superautomatic, I will reluctantly — and with much complaining — continue pulling my own espresso shots (for now!).

Compare: Rocket R58 vs. La Marzocco GS/3

In the market for a big baddie? Is having control over your brew temperature and/or steaming enough milk to serve up cappuccinos to a small army a high priority for you? If yes, you probably should check out the Rocket Espresso R58 or La Marzocco GS/3 double boiler espresso machines.

Look we don’t want to tell you how to live, but we do care about you. So we’ve put these two popular machines side by side to show off their features, tech specs, internals and performance. Watch Gail walk us through this glorious adventure!

Crew Review & Compare: AeroPress with Kaffeologie S Filters

Kaffeologie S FilterIf purchasing paper filters on a regular basis seems like a bit too much organization on your part, the re-usable, fine mesh stainless steel S filter from Kaffeologie just might be the answer to the question you didn’t even know you had.

In this pair of videos featuring the S filter, we first show how it works with the AeroPress, performing our standard crew review. Then we brew up a batch on the AeroPress using the stock paper filters and the S filter to see how they compare, flavor-wise.


Crew Review: AeroPress with Kaffeologie S Filter

Compare: Kaffeologie S Filter vs. Paper Filter on AeroPress

Brewin’ with Brandi: Pumpkin Espresso Smoothie

Brandi’s recipe this week is both delicious and healthy — woah! We know, we know. It’s a rich, smooth and creamy smoothie that features real pumpkin and an espresso shot for a little kick. Watch her blend it up!



You’ll need to begin with frozen pumpkin, so it’s best to put the pumpkin in the freezer the night before you’re going to make your smoothie. Once you’ve completed that, throw all of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth! Garnish with crushed cinnamon graham crackers, if desired.

Crew Review: Curtis D60GT Thermal Brewer

Curtis D60A variation on their direct-to-airpot brewer, the D500, Curtis’ D60 gives you the tools you need to deliver coffee like Flo down at the greasy spoon! The only difference is that your coffee is going to taste much more amazing because you made it using Curtis’ excellent brew technology.

Watch Gail walk through the programming interface and functionality, then we make a pot of coffee, sit back and gossip with the best of them.


Cooking with Kaylie: Espresso Marshmallows

Espresso MarshmallowsI should start by telling you something: I am not a successful candy maker. Seriously, every candy-like venture, outside of divinity, has ended in a questionably edible product. While I’m not sure many people consider marshmallows to be candy, it does require a candy thermometer. So, I’m sure you can appreciate the ease of this recipe if it turned out perfectly, even with my occasional inattentiveness.

Speaking of which, keep an eye on the sugar mixture as it cooks. If you don’t, you may walk in to see that it is boiling over and be left with burnt sugar all over your nice glass stovetop. I mean, I’m not necessarily saying that this happened to me, but pay attention…


  • 3 packages of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup  very cold water
  • 1/2 cup espresso (roughly 2 shots)
  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch


  • Empty the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water into the bowl of your stand mixer and stir gently. Let sit while it blooms.
  • Brew the 2 shots and add ice. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, then fish out the remaining ice with a spoon.
  • In a pan, mix together the iced espresso, white sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla. Set to medium heat and place a lid on the pot. Bring to a boil.
  • Remove the lid and, using a candy thermometer, let boil until it reaches 240 degrees F.
  • When the sugar mixture reaches temperature, remove from heat immediately and carefully pour it into the gelatin.
  • Start your mixer at slow speed and work up to a very high speed. This will mix for 8-10 minutes, growing substantially in size as it whisks.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the powdered sugar and corn starch.
  • Line a square pan with plastic wrap and spray lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle the powdered sugar mixture over the plastic wrap, ensuring that every spot that will be touched by marshmallow is coated.
  • Once the marshmallow mixture has grown to double or triple its original size and stops growing (8-10 minutes from start of mixing), pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  • Smooth the top as best you can and sprinkle the powdered sugar mixture over the top. Place another piece of plastic wrap over it and let it sit for 6 hours, or overnight.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and transfer the marshmallows to a cutting board. Cut the marshmallow block first in half, then cut each half into eighths.
  • After cutting, separate the marshmallow pieces or they will stick together. Dip each piece in the powdered sugar mixture, coating the sticky sides. Pat off excess and place in an airtight storage container.

These are very much for the coffee lover in your life. They have a prominent coffee/espresso flavor and practically melt in your mouth!