Category Archives: Accessories

The Grind – July 2009

Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter, The Grind, hit the ‘press’ today! July’s edition features a Tropical Mango Tea recipe, a directory of our latest YouTube offerings, info on a few featured products — such as the Espresso Gear tools and the new Nespresso machines — and a Grind Special of 10% off Espresso Gear!

Want to learn more? Check it out or sign up here.

The Great Vita-Mix Experiment 2009

Well…maybe it’s not that great — but it was fun and that’s about 63.4% of the reason why we do things around here. Gail shows us the ins and outs of the awesome Vita-Mix Professional Series blender, which we wrote about earlier this month, and even whips up a couple of experimental smoothies for our refreshment. We cannot stress enough how deeply we adore this blender — it’s unnatural!

New! Espresso Gear Tools

Soup up your home espresso setup with these professional-grade tools! Featuring polished stainless steel and highly durable rubber accents, Espresso Gear developed commercial-quality barista tools driven by their passion for great espresso. We think the design is a wonderful blend between form and function — elegant, stylish and simple.

Our favorite item is their Click Mat, which is the only pressure-sensitive tamping mat on the market. Allowing you to change the pressure sensor weight between 22lbs. and 55lbs, the mat will signal when you’ve tamped to the set pressure — giving you the ultimate tool in calibrating your extraction.

Ask The Experts: How Should I Clean My Grinder?

Your grinder may have a few nasty habits it’s not too proud of: Namely, it’s clingy and has difficulty getting rid of things. While we appreciate the packrat sentiment, it’s important that you motivate your grinder to regularly clean up its act — and since it’s an inanimate object, you’ll have to take the lead.

Depending on how much you grind, you’ll want to remove excess grounds from the burrs on a regular basis — home grinders should do this monthly, while cafe grinders will need to do it weekly. If it’s easy for you to pop out the burrs on your grinder, do so and thoroughly brush the burrs free of any built up coffee grounds. If you can’t easily get at the burrs, you can use a product such as Grindz, which is a hard, starchy product designed to clear out the oils and lodged particles from the burrs.

We have heard that some people use raw rice or wheat to achieve the same results as Grindz, which is a wheat-based food-friendly product. However, we haven’t tried this out and don’t know how successful or safe it is for your burrs.

In addition to the maintenance on the burrs, we also recommend wiping out the hopper regularly to cut down on oily build up that could become rancid over time.

New! Seattle Coffee Gear’s Commercial Espresso Equipment

We have a deep love for and commitment to the home espresso enthusiast, but as our passion for making excellent espresso at home has grown, we have been exploring commercial-grade equipment, too. Obviously, comparatively few of us can afford to drop $15k on an espresso machine for our homes, but if you’re looking to either upgrade your business’ existing setup or thinking about launching a new espresso-based business, we have a wide selection of machines that is going to continue to grow.

Currently featuring primarily La Marzocco and Nuova Simonelli and Rancilio commercial-class espresso machines & grinders, we’ve also included a few of the prosumer class of machines that could work well in a smaller-scale business that has espresso as a complementary service — such as a bookstore or an art gallery. We also have tons of quantity discounts on accessories and wholesale pricing on coffee and syrups so just ask.

We’re excited to venture into a new realm within the coffee world and look forward to talking with you more about it! This blog will also expand as a resource and start offering up information that may be of interest to cafes and other small coffee businesses, so stay tuned.

New! Scoop ‘n Clip

Coffee Scoop n Clip serves up your coffee and keeps it fresh, too! Easily dose out your coffee beans or grounds and keep ‘em fresh at the same time! The Scoop ‘n Clip has a 1-1/2 tablespoon scoop on one side and a press clip on the other side, perfect for affixing to the top of your coffee bag and keeping it closed.

While it’s no vacuum-sealed coffee container, it is very easy to use and we dig it’s multi-tasking approach to life. Now, if only our toothbrush clipped our nails and our vacuum cleaner washed the windows, our life would be complete. We have modest needs, really.

Une Tasse Savoureuse de Cafe

Look, we know that we spend a lot of time with fancy high-end machines like the La Marzocco GS/3 or the Rocket Espresso R58 Dual Boiler, but we’re not ashamed to fess up that our deepest appreciation for coffee has always come from the more than capable spout of a French press.

It’s lo-fi, fast, easy and you can take it anywhere — just like us! We have had a few people ask for tips on making the best pot of french press coffee and so we decided to record the method to our madness here for posterity, etc.

There is a growing movement toward single-serve press pot coffee in the cafe industry, similarly to what you see with individually potted tea, and there’s definitely an art and science around that as well — how much coffee, what temperature the water, how long it should steep, etc. Like all things, you can probably get as obsessive about this as you’d like, and there’s going to be differences across the board; the process outlined below is what works for us — if you have differences in opinion/experience, we definitely want to hear them!

Water Works

We could spend a few days debating which type of water to use, but the most important element is to choose water that you think tastes great by itself. Definitely filter out any chemicals like chlorine or fluoride that might be in your tap water, but if you’re working with a highly mineralized water supply, we totally recommend sticking with it. That could just be our preferences talking, however, because we dig the flavor minerals add to the end product. Regardless of your water source, set the kettle on before you grind your coffee, as you want the water to sit a bit after boiling to reach the ideal temperature. We think bringing it to a boil and then allowing it to sit for a couple of minutes works well.

The Grind’s the Thing
You’re probably sick of hearing us chastise you about your cheap grinder, so we’ll stop nagging and just tell you this: As with all things coffee, the more uniform the coffee particles are, the better the flavor. French press is no different than espresso in this regard — consistent, uniform particle size is essential, it’s just the particle size that’s different. You’re going for a coarse grind, and if you have a metal mesh filter on your press pot, your grind should be a little bit coarser than if you have a nylon one. Uniform and coarse grounds = no muddy sludge at the bottom of your cup.

The Measure of a (Wo)Man
Now that you’ve got your freshly ground coffee and your water’s on the boil, measure out 2 rounded tablespoons for every 6 oz. of your press pot’s brewing capacity.

Islands in the Stream
There really is no end to the cheesy puns we can spin utilizing bad song titles, but feel free to challenge us. Now, your water’s just below boiling, your coffee is in the pot and it’s time to pour. The key here is a steady stream that thoroughly moistens all of the coffee. Your water level needs to take into account the space required for the filter, so leave room at the top. Stir up the grounds and water to release the “bloom.”

Steeped in Tradition
Now it’s time for a little patience — but not much! — as you allow the coffee to steep. This can take anywhere from 2 minutes for a smaller pot to 4 minutes for one of the larger ones. We dig multi-tasking, so use this time to warm our cups by pouring in some of the excess water we boiled. Let the warm water sit in the cups until you’re just about ready to filter the coffee, then toss it and wipe any lingering droplets out so that’s it’s nice and warm and dry for your perfectly brewed java.

Take the Plunge
Slowly and steadily, depress the plunger — too fast and you could let some grounds escape (resulting in the aforementioned mud) or you could end up spilling some over the side. Once you’ve fully depressed the plunger, serve the coffee into your warmed cups, taking care to keep the lid and plunger stable as your pour.

Sip and enjoy!

The Grind – April 2009

April’s issue of our monthly newsletter, The Grind, is now up! This month’s edition includes a spicy tropical mocha recipe that is not for the faint of heart, details on our espresso machine recycle program, a tip on keeping your brew head clean and the secret code for this month’s Grind Special coupon.

Check it out — or sign up to receive future editions in your inbox.

Crew Review: Grindenstein Knock Box

Let’s face it: Some of us are messier than others, and nowhere is this more true than around the espresso machine. Whether its leftover grinds spilling from the grinder, a soupy puck from the portafilter or some drips of espresso on the counter top, we all leave a little mess after we extract.

The Grindenstein knock box was designed to provide an affordable, sturdy, leak-proof and compact option for home espresso lovers everywhere. We dig its bright, durable plastic construction and think its innovative shape that’s made specifically to fit on your espresso machine’s drip tray is a definite plus for anyone with limited counter space.

What we don’t love is that, because of its compact size, it sometimes doesn’t catch all the coffee coming out of your portafilter. Also, the knock bar is a bit thick for our tastes, and we find that it doesn’t let the puck fall as easily down into the container, unlike its skinny-bar brethren.