Crew Review: Technivorm CDGT – Redux!

Technivorm CDGTEffortlessly embodying the axioms you get what you pay for and you get what you give, all it takes is one sip of the coffee produced by a Technivorm and you understand why it’s one of the specialty coffee world’s darlings.

Robustly built with high quality components — including a copper heating element — and simple in its feature set, this is not the coffee maker that will grind your coffee for you, brew it before you wake up, clean itself at the touch of a button … and then walk the dog. It’s also not the coffee maker that is going to go out in a blaze of glory after a couple of years — we’ve heard tales of folks rockin’ the same Technivorm they purchased in the ’70s. And while its five year warranty isn’t going to cover its entire lifetime, it’s still the broadest warranty offered on drip brewers.

In this review, Gail covers the cylindrical CDGT model, which, in addition to its curvy design, features a thermal carafe and mid-brew interrupt. Watch as she talks to us about its specs and then demonstrates making some of the best coffee we’ve had from a drip coffee maker.

Hot Blog on Blog Action: Tea Time — What?!

velton rossLast month something strange happened at Seattle Coffee Gear (well, stranger than usual): A bunch of the SCG Crew started drinking *gasp* tea! And with this new found appreciation for tea, we discovered the basic preparation fundamentals are similar to coffee prep.  It starts with fresh water, a quality product and the right gear. Check out the lovely links you may have missed about all things coffee (and tea!).

  • Here Is My Handle, Here Is My Spout via – Don’t settle for a drippy tea kettle when you can harness the power of fluid dynamics, no lab glasses or Bunsen burners required!
  • Interview: Coffee Pro Velton Ross via – Our ace reporter Brenna tracks Velton’s success from barista to renown roaster.
  • The Controversy Over Crema via – Shocking but true stories about espresso crema. Some people scoop it off! Some people have been known to mix it altogether! And some naughty people call blonding from a pressurized portafilter, crema.
  • The Art of Making Flowering Tea via – Grab a glass teacup or glass teapot and watch the magic unfold. Flowering teas are more fascinating to watch than Sea-Monkeys and more enjoyable to consume (we’re just theorizing here, though, because we’ve never consumed Sea-Monkeys).
  • Be A Coffee Pro At Home: Vertical Tastings via – Take the best whole beans you can find and then do a little side-by-side challenge with your favorite coffee preps. AeroPress, Chemex, French press … it’s all good!

If you want a daily dose, we spill the beans about serving espresso in brandy snifters, the Kaffeologie S-Filter upgrade and other items of caffeinated interest on:

Tech Tip: How to Clean the Mazzer Mini Coffee Grinder

Mazzer Mini ETaking sweet and loving care of your burr grinder is pretty much the best thing that you can do for it. After all, it really is the most important part of your coffee making setup! So we asked Gail to guide us through the process of taking apart, cleaning and putting back together several of the different grinders that we carry.

First up in the series are the ever-popular Mazzer Mini models — both the standard doser hopper version and the electronic doser version. While they manage dosage a bit differently, their internals are pretty much the same so you get to the burrs and care for them in the same way.

Even if you’re running Grindz through your beloved every month (like you know you should!), performing this thorough cleansing a few times each year will ensure that your grind remains consistent — and also that you’re grinding only the freshest of coffee.

Ready to take this on yourself? Watch Gail break it down, clean it up and put it all back together again.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Summer Sangria

One of the reasons we love sangria so much is that there is a seemingly endless number of ways to prepare it. In fact, you could probably drink sangria every night of the year and never have the same flavor combination twice. (And we’d be more than willing to test this hypothesis … you know, for science!)

This sangria recipe is perfect for summer because it incorporates a little bit of a tropical note, so even if you can’t enjoy it beach-side, you’ll feel like you are. Watch as Brandi crafts a pitcher of this deliciously refreshing beverage.



Fill a serving pitcher with ice and add fresh strawberries. Pour the syrups, wine and juice over the ice and strawberries. Mix in a bit and then add lemon lime soda (to taste).

How-To: SCG’s Tune-up Kit for the Ascaso Dream & Dream UP

SCG Tune-up Kit - Ascaso DreamWhile many relationships in life aren’t exactly quid pro quo, if you take care of your espresso machine, it will definitely take care of you. Some hallmark signs that it’s time to perform a thorough tune-up on your machine include leaking over the brew head, leaking from the steam wand and a decrease in either steam function or shot temperature. We’ve designed a series of tune-up kits that include descaling solution and the parts required for refreshing some of the most used parts on your trusty companion in caffeinated adventure — things like gaskets, brew screens and o-rings.

Our tech sherpa is the lovely Brendan, who has guided us already in the tune-up process for the Rancilio Silvia and the Saeco Aroma & Via Venezia espresso machines. In this episode, he takes on the tune-up of an Ascaso Dream UP. Watch as he walks us through how to remove and replace the parts that see the most wear and tear in the brew head and steam wand.

A Tea Lover in a Coffee World: Follow Up Field Trip to Cederberg Tea House

Cederberg Tea HouseIt’s not always easy being a tea drinker when you’re working in an office full of java aficionados. Don’t get me wrong; I love triple shot lattes just as much as the rest of the crew, but sometimes a cup of tea just sounds better. Whenever I brew up one of our delicious Rishi teas, I end up having to explain why I chose to indulge in tea rather than coffee. If only I could pretend to be drinking espresso while secretly sipping on a cup of tea!

Amazingly, I recently discovered that one of our customers has come up with a way to drink espresso without actually drinking coffee. How is this possible? Natasha Robson-Lovato and her mother, Cecile Robson, of Cederberg Tea House pull Rooibos tea espresso shots using a Nuova Simonelli Appia that they purchased from us. Once I heard about this fascinating technique, I had to experience it for myself. So now that their store has been open for a couple of weeks, I stopped by to pay them a visit.

The charming shop, which is located on Upper Queen Anne, is named after the region in South Africa where Rooibos Tea naturally grows. Upon entering the store you’ll notice the walls are covered in beautiful shots of South African scenery and animals, some of which Cecile took herself. You’ll find cozy couches as well as a number of tables and chairs that invite you to relax and chat. In fact, Natasha says that taking the tea tray out to customers, seeing their reaction to its attractive design and getting to talk with them are her favorite aspects of owning the store.

Speaking of the tea, I had to try it. I ordered a Rooibos tea latte, and Natasha prepared the drink by filling up the espresso machine’s portafilter with finely ground Rooibos tea, loading it into the espresso machine and pulling pressured hot water through it. The beauty of making drinks with tea rather than coffee is that there is no tamp, grind or timing to worry about, which is great for espresso newbies like myself. Natasha explained she can tell a shot is right when it has three layers — heart (a dark brown layer at the bottom), body (a medium tan layer in the middle) and crema (a creamy-yellow layer at top, just as you would find on a shot of coffee). The two shots of Rooibos espresso are then combined with steamed milk, then topped with a swirl of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

Of course, I couldn’t drink my latte without sampling at least one of the many tasty looking pastries displayed in their deli case. I asked Natasha which pastries were the most popular and she said the malva pudding (a pound cake, filled with apricot jam) and koeksisters (a braided donut covered in sweet syrup) were the most popular sweet treats, while the sausage rolls were the most popular savory. The shop also serves a couple of vegan goodies as well. While I didn’t sample them myself, I couldn’t help overhearing a fellow customer exclaiming how the pastries were so good that she wouldn’t have guessed they were vegan at all.

I ended up going with a sausage roll to accompany my Rooibos tea latte. Both the latte and the sausage were served to me a on a cute black and white tea tray, making me feel as though I was at teatime. The Rooibos tea latte, served in a clear glass so I could see all of its layers, was almost too pretty to drink. The honey and cinnamon on the top of the drink provided an added sweetness, which went well with the smooth, slightly sweet taste of the tea. The sausage roll was made up of spiced pork and beef sausage covered in puff pastry, also delicious.

Natasha, a former teacher, was inspired to open the shop so she could bring South African culture to Seattle and she clearly has succeeded. Cederberg is likely one of the only stores in United States where you can get a Rooibos tea latte made on an espresso machine, and the food she serves and the way it’s presented are unique as well. Even though the shop has just opened, they already experience a morning rush and another at teatime, not to mention a growing number of regulars. I know I’ll definitely be one of them!

Maintenance Tip: Steaming with Rinza

RinzaLooking for a quick and easy way to keep the milk-residue at bay on your espresso machine’s steam wand? If you can take it apart and soak the components in a solution like Rinza or Full Circle’s Milk Cleaning Solution or Milk Wash, that’s a great idea, but what if there’s a leetle bit o’ milk hanging out in the internals of your wand?

Check out Gail’s super simple tip for keeping your steam wand super clean, even if you can’t easily take it apart to clean separately.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Red Cool a la GIGA 5 Recipe

Jura Giga 5If there’s one word that we can use to describe many of the recipes integrated into Jura’s GIGA 5, it’s interesting. Many of them include the combination of ingredients that we wouldn’t have previously considered, but actually end up tasting quite nice.

Case in point: the Red Cool, which is a variation of the White Cool we crafted awhile ago. Watch as Brandi let’s the Giga do the heavy lifting to create this refreshing drink.


  • 4 teaspoons Campari
  • 1.5 oz espresso
  • ice
  • carbonated lemonade


Fill your serving glass with ice. Pour the Campari over the ice and then fill the glass with carbonated lemonade about 2/3 of the way. Pull your shot of espresso and pour it over the lemonade to create a layered look. Serve with two straws so that you can mix everything together before enjoying.