Category Archives: Accessories

Crew Review: Capresso FrothXpress

We’re huge fans of stovetop espresso at home, and we’re often just throwing in a little milk after the fact. Having a stand alone milk frother makes it easy to get a latte-style drink at home, sans espresso machine.

In this video, Gail shows us the FrothXpress, by Capresso, and gives us a demonstration on how it works. For our money, the Nespresso Aeroccino is probably still a better buy.

New! Rechargeable In-Tank Water Softener

Looking to soften your water a bit without completely removing the mineral content? Try out one of these in-take resin water softeners. Not only are they rechargeable, so they’ll last basically forever, but they easily fit on any machine that uses an intake tube to pull water from the reservoir into the machine — such as the Rancilio Silvia, any of the Quick Mill machines or the Saeco Aroma.

It’s not super sophisticated, but it will reduce the hardness of your water and, in turn, how fast it takes scale to build up in your boiler and related waterworks. You can recharge it by putting it in a glass with water with a few tablespoons of non-iodized and additive-free salt (like kosher) and let it hang out once a week.

Silky Microfoam on the Saeco Aroma? Really?

We often get requests for tips on how someone can achieve a silky, super-fine textured microfoam on a Saeco Aroma. Doing so is less a technique issue than an equipment issue: The Aroma’s stock panarello wand/sleeve are designed to automatically incorporate air into the milk during frothing, creating a fluffy foam. The benefit of this is that someone can get a nice foamy milk without a lot of skill or technique involved; however, the texture of the milk is more fluffy and airy — with larger air bubbles — than most people like, so it’s not ideal if you’re interested in achieving that shaving cream-like texture you often find at the hands of a pro barista.

So we went back to the drawing board and tried to modify the wand so that it would suck in less air during steaming. We tried duck tape, we tried epoxy, we even tried using the wand without the sleeve but it was just too short to really do a good job.

Eventually, Gail stumbled upon the stainless steel panarello steam wand replacements that we sell. These feature a tiny pinhole opening which pulls in significantly less air, so she tried putting it on the Aroma and it worked! By replacing the entire stock wand with the stainless steel version, we were able to successfully create a silky microfoam milk without requiring any type of skill or technique. Watch Gail below as she shows how the different wands compare and steams milk with each of them.

If you’re interested in picking up one of these steam wands, you can do so here.

Monin Syrup Spree!

We have a fairly impressive collection of Monin syrups, sauces and purees available here in the store or online and we’ve just added three new syrups to the mix.

monin-green-tea Green Tea Concentrate
This sweet concentrate makes iced green teas simple and easy to whip up in a flash! We love its subtle flavor — and it’s really excellent mixed with the Monin White Peach syrup for a fruity and delicious iced tea.
monin-praline Praline
Praline lovers will rejoice in this buttery, nutty syrup — perfect for your favorite coffee-based drink, or perhaps worked into a holiday-themed cocktail.
monin-white-peach White Peach
Bright and summery — even in winter’s dourest days! This syrup is a great for easily making Bellinis (mix it with sparkling wine) as a fruity and smooth holiday apperitif, or mix it in with a warm tea for something a little cozier.

New! Breville Non-Pressurized Portafilter Basket Upgrade

When we started carrying the Breville espresso machines a few months ago, arguably the most common complaint we heard was that the pressurized filter basket easily clogged and was difficult to clean. We looked into the construction to see if there was something we could change about that, but decided to go with a upgrade altogether by creating a unique, non-pressurized porftafilter basket specifically designed to fit Brevilles!

In this video, Gail talks to us about the baskets and pulls us a shot to show us how they perform. If you have a Breville, this is a highly recommended upgrade to your setup. You will need to be more in tune with your grind and tamp than if you’re using the pressurized baskets, however, but you’ll have the opportunity to  significantly improve your shot.

Video Crew Review: Grindenstein Knock Box

Looking for a pretty little number that won’t take up too much space and will keep your countertop clean? We’re talking about knock boxes, of course (what were you talking about?). The Grindenstein is a great choice for a home espresso setup and Gail shows us how it works, plus compares it with other knock boxes available.

Not Your Average Cup of Joe

Intelligent coffee? Look, if we could get our coffee to do things like take out the trash and feed the cat, we’d be all set. Actually, that’s a little terrifying, strike that. We would, however, settle for it learning how to maintain its body temperature, but in the absence of that ability we’ll take the next best thing: A new ‘smart mug’ that incorporates a wax-like substance that can keep coffee (or any beverage, for that matter) at its optimal temp for 20 – 30 minutes! That’s right, no re-heating as you stumble through your morning.

Sounds like this is just out of the creation stages, however, so we haven’t been able to find any actual mugs for purchase on the US market, but we’ll certainly keep our eye out for them.

Crew Review: Bottomless Portafilter

If you’re interested in fine-tuning your grind and tamp — or just really love a good show — the bottomless portafilter provides a great tool for calibrating your technique. In this video, Gail shows us how it’s done.

The Grind: September 2009

The September issue of Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter has hit the bricks! In this month’s issue, we have a delicious Buttercream Cappuccino recipe, a directory of our most recent videos, some tips on using oily beans in your superautomatic and a few new product features. Plus, a coupon code for 10% off $99 or more during the month of September. Check it out!

Rancilio Silvia V3 Single-Hole Steam Tip

When Rancilio was reworking the new Silvia, which was released in May, they tested it with a three-hole steam tip. It seemed to work just fine in their European testing labs, but when it hit the market in the US, they got nothing but grief. Ostensibly the difference in using a machine on 220V as opposed to 110V, the tip just didn’t offer a big improvement — the power and the boiler size simply couldn’t support the increase in steam expression and the resulting milk frothing was sub par.

Since the first iteration of the V3, they have released a new round of machines that comes standard with a single-hole steam tip. The steam wand is still the awesome, 360 degree articulating wand that we have grown to love on the V3, but with a single hole in the steam tip instead of three holes — which has vastly improved the steaming performance. If you’ve got the first generation of the Silvia V3 and would like to see how a one-hole tip performs, you can pick one up for just $9.95.