Some people start waiting in line for the next installment of their favorite film franchise six months before the first ticket will be sold and, while we admire that level of devotion and fortitude, it wasn’t until the first whispering rumors about and furtive glimpses of the purported double boiler espresso machine from Breville that we really understood that kind of anticipation. After a whirlwind, backroom romance earlier this year at the housewares show in Chicago, our demo model showed up last week and we finally got to give this lovely new gear a serious test drive!
Watch as we discuss all of the features (too many to count!) of Breville’s entry into the specialty coffee world. We seriously loathe references to ‘game changers’ but, in this case, we’ll have to bite our tongues and admit that the new Dual Boiler by Breville really could change the face of making excellent espresso at home. It’s currently slated to arrive on US shores later this month, so keep an eye out for it!
We’re generally loyalists at heart, and for a few years now, said heart has belonged to the Rocket Espresso Cellini. Ever since Nuova Simonelli’s Musica came on the scene, however, this deeply held love has wavered and — the horror! — we have even begun to question it.
During our visit to Nuova Simonelli’s showroom, we were able to get our little paws on the Lux version, which is functionally identical to the stock version save for the flashing lights. Our adoration has further deepened — yes, we love shiny things!
Next in line from our field trip to Nuova Simonelli is the Appia, which is a middle-of-the-road commercial-grade espresso machine that is perfect for a coffee-focused business that has moderate traffic.
Watch Gail give us the lowdown on its features and functionality.
We hit the road again! This time around, we headed to Nuova Simonelli’s showroom in south Seattle to get a technical rundown and check out a few of their commercial-class machines. First up is the Aurelia, which was selected by the World Barista Championship as their competition model for the past few years, primarily because of its distinctively massive brew head design.
Watch as Gail takes us through the features, options, tech specs and functionality of this gorgeous machine.
If making espresso was a children’s fairy tale, this experimentation is all about good ol’ Papa Bear. According to Kenneth Davids, an espresso lungo is 2 oz of espresso, or 2/3 of a demitasse, pulled using the coffee dosage for a single espresso.
We have had several folks ask us if some machines are more suited to this than others, but we really think it’s probably going to be more defined by the coffee you’re using. However, we still tried it out on a few different machines to see if any of them produced a better long shot than the others. Watch Gail pull long shots from the Rocket Giotto, Nuova Simonelli Oscar, Saeco Via Venezia and Crossland CC1.
So you’ve got an espresso machine with a pressurized portafilter — like a Saeco Aroma, Via Venezia or Sirena — and you’re looking to improve your shots. Dialing it in doesn’t require the same level of precision as when you’re using a non-pressurized portafilter, and since the pressurization system impacts the pace of the shot, you can’t dial it in by timing the shots. So, what’s left? Tasting, of course!
Watch as Gail tries different grind and prep techniques and how that impacts shot flavor on the Via Venezia.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade the stock plastic panarello on your Saeco Via Venezia or Aroma with the stainless steel version or you just need to replace a well-loved panarello on your Sirena, the most important thing to keep in mind is: Do not lose those compression fittings! These aren’t sold separately, so if you lose one, you’ve gotta pick up a whole new assembly.
Watch Gail as she walks us through how to install a panarello on the Via Venezia.
We’ve been doing a lot of product testing and wanted to update you on gear we have decided to carry and that is now in stock:
Modern Stainless Steel Knock Box Replacement Bar
At long last, RSVP is now carrying replacement bars for their very popular Modern knock box. If you don’t want to go DIY and replace it with rubber tubing from your local hardware store, you can pick up a brand spankin’ new replacement to have on hand.
Krups KM7000 Pro Grinder-Brewer
We tested three coffee makers from Krups and this was one of our favorites! Featuring grind and brew functionality, programming options and the ability to tweak your dosage to improve your overall cup, this very popular coffee maker fit in nicely with our other grind-n-brew crew.
Krups XP5280 Precise Tamp Programmable Espresso Machine
Another Krups model that we dug was this automatic espresso machine that had several surprising features. Gail was not expecting much and this little champ outperformed her expectations. We love its unique tamping mechanism, temperature regulation and diminutive size. As usual, some plastic is involved — but it does feature more metal than is often seen in this class — and the optional cappuccinatore system isn’t anything to write home about.
After we tested this small semi-automatic espresso machine, we decided it was a keeper. Sure, it has a lot of plastic involved. Yes, it’s not a high class machine. But it is easy to use, fairly consistent and has a compact footprint. It’s not every day we get to say that.
We tested a wide variety of scales and elected to carry two: The Salter Electronic Scale and the ADE Pocket Scale. Both of them performed well, consistently read out the same weights regardless of item positioning and are a good fit for weighing portafilters (Salter) or weighing very precise, small amounts (ADE).
2 New La Cafetiere Coffee Press Designs
While we didn’t test these specifically because they use the same great press pot design as the others made by La Cafetiere, we did add two new models to the line-up that are both elegant and funky. The Lexi Bone China 8 cup is ridiculously sleek and modern looking, and we love its high-quality porcelain design. Contrast that against the curvy and classy Unique, a double-walled stainless steel model that we couldn’t say no to when we met with it at the SCAA. While the Lexi is a one-size-fits-all, the Unique ranges from 12 oz – 35 oz options.
La Cafetiere Jack Cups
If you’re a fan of double-walled glass cups, these latte, cappuccino and espresso versions by La Cafetiere are stylish and functional. They’ll keep the cool cool and the hot hot, just how you like it.
This is a pretty standard electric kettle, but it does allow you to select a specific water temp to which your water will boil. Great for specifying mildly different temps for varying teas or even dialing in a more accurate temp for pour over coffee.
Arguably our very favorite electric kettle around, this semi-sophisticated water boiler will not only bring your water up to your desired temp, but it will hold it there. We love this for brewing multiple cups of tea or pour overs without the wait time or guesswork sometimes related to other, more lo-fi kettles.
Capresso CM200 10-Cup Coffee Maker
Ain’t nothing fancy about this simple, straightforward coffee maker, but sometimes we don’t want any more pizazz in our life. Sometimes, our talented jazz hands are more than enough. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to keep ourselves from heading on a one-way trip to Fancytown. And it’s those times when we look to this coffee maker that will get the job done with limited muss and fuss.
We have two heat exchange, automatic espresso machines in our store so we thought we’d do a lil of the old side-by-side comparison, if you know what we mean. Gail runs through a basic overview of the features on the Nuova Simonelli Musica and Pasquini Livia 90, then pulls shots off each to see if there is any practical difference in shot quality or flavor.