Category Archives: Accessories

How-To: SCG’s Tune-up Kit for the Starbucks & Saeco Sirena

Sirena by Saeco for StarbucksWith its volumetric dosage, convertible portafilter (pressurized or non-pressurized, depending on how you roll) and high cup clearance, there was a lot to love about the Sirena. Originally produced for Starbucks by Saeco, it also had a long and glorious life on the market as a refurbished espresso machine once it was discontinued. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on one and it met your needs, you might want to take extra special care of it as there’s no way to pick-up a replacement.

Part of that care is a regular tune-up — a thorough descale and the replacement of some of the parts that see a bit more wear and tear. Because this was such a popular machine, we produced a Tune-Up Kit especially for it, which includes descaler, the recommended replacement parts and step-by-step instructions.

Interested in performing this tune-up but want to find out what you’re getting yourself into first? Check out Brendan’s walkthrough of the process in this how-to video.

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.

Blind Taste Test: AeroPress with Paper & S Filters

AeroPressWhile we’ve previously performed a taste test comparison between the Kaffeologie S Filter and the standard paper filter on the AeroPress, we were requested by our loyal fans to perform a blind version!

So we asked Bunny to brew up two batches of AeroPress coffee — one with the S Filter and one with the regular ol’ paper filters — and then Brandi, Teri and Brendan joined us for a tasting. Watch them weigh in on how they think they compare and which one (if either) they prefer, before finding out which is which.

How-To: SCG’s Tune-up Kits for the Saeco Via Venezia & Aroma

SCG's Parts KitsBack in our wayward youth, we purchased a motorized moon buggy for one of our brothers’ birthdays. After a few days of running it all over sand, grass, asphalt, linoleum and the spongy, pine needle-infused earth of the forest, his curiosity got the best of him: How did it work? To find out, he took it apart and meticulously laid out each tiny component on the table, then spent a couple of hours examining them, playing with where and how they fit, experimenting with how they interacted — or didn’t — with each other. Then it was time to put it back together again … and that’s when everything went a little bit sideways.

This story isn’t particularly unique; sure, it may reference a cheap plastic toy from the ’80s, but we’ve all heard of (or been personally involved with) situations in which someone decided to take the mechanical bull by the horns — literally — and lost. It’s super easy to take things apart, but the skill of a true engineer comes forth when it’s time to put it all back together again.

Preventative maintenance on your Saeco Via Venezia or Aroma includes a semi-regular replacement of some of the brew head components — the gasket, screen, anti-suction valve and more. But taking it apart and putting it back together again can seem daunting to some, and we want to allay your fears! Not only do we have parts kits with step-by-step instructions for each of these machines, we’ve made this guided video, courtesy of our parts guru Brendan. Check it out to see how easy it is to replace these well-worn parts — we promise you won’t have a non-functioning moon buggy at the end of it all.

How-To: SCG’s Tune-up Kit for the Rancilio Silvia

Rancilio SilviaPicture it: You have the day off, you wake up earlier than usual and lie in bed for awhile, staring up at the ceiling fan, which gently lulls your thoughts with its rhythmic whir … What will you do with the day? Where will you go? Should you finish that book you’ve been reading? Take the dog/cat/potbelly pig/chinchilla for a stroll? Help a pal with an errand that would be 4589% more enjoyable with a cohort? How will you design your perfect day?

Might we suggest that you first fire up your trusty Rancilio Silvia and prepare a delectable shot of espresso over which you may ruminate? Might we also suggest that, if that shot isn’t tasting as delectable as it used to, you consider performing a thorough tune up on your machine before doing anything else with your day? To facilitate this, we’ve produced this how-to video featuring one of the coolest cats in the espresso tech game, B. Swenson!

With that complete, perhaps it’s time to sip sangria in the park?

SCG Experiments: Pressurized vs. Non-Pressurized Portafilter with Older Coffee

One of the benefits of using a pressurized portafilter or filter basket is that you can generally use coffee that isn’t super fresh and still produce a serviceable shot. Is this best practice? Well, maybe not … but a lot of people who are making lattes and adding syrups and sauces might not really notice a big difference in the shot’s flavor as the coffee ages.

We wanted to find out how much of a practical difference one might be able taste if we opened up a bag that had been sitting around, sealed up for several weeks. We dialed it in for both non-pressurized and pressurized extractions on the Saeco Poemia, then tasted the shots to see how they compared. Find out what we learned in this fun video experiment.

Crew Review: Full Circle Maintenance & Care Products

grind-may13-full-circleWe can’t write too often about the importance of taking care of your coffee equipment, and we hope you don’t mind! With products that are designed to be both ecologically-friendly and sustainably-sourced, the home versions of Full Circle’s line of maintenance products also makes care super easy.

Watch as Gail shows us the different options they have available now in smaller sizes.