Category Archives: Breville

How-To: Programming the Breville Infuser

Breville Infuser Espresso MachineIf we were going to anthropomorphize the Breville Infuser (BES840XL), we’re pretty sure its human counterpart is Gabby Douglas: Sleek, compact, multi-faceted and the best all-around performer in the group.

One of the features that it offers is automatic water dosing for your espresso extraction, which can take a bit of the guess work out of the process. But since programming the Breville Infuser isn’t as simple as measuring out exactly one or two ounces of water and then calling it a day, we asked Gail to guide us through the process.

Watch as she discusses with us how automatic dosing works, provides us with tips on getting the right shot volume and then shares her thoughts on why you’d want to do this. Whether you’ve been considering the Breville Infuser or already own it and just want to learn more, this how-to video dives a little deeper into one of its great, easy-to-use features.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Frozen Berry Yogurt Recipe

Recipe: Frozen Strawberry YogurtWith summer coming rapidly to a close, we wanted to rock a recipe that is both sweet and icy. With a wide array of naughty frozen delights available to you (like this or this), frozen yogurt truly is relatively nutritious — especially if you incorporate fresh strawberries into the mix! Right? Right.

Watch as Brandi demonstrates making this delectable dessert recipe on the Breville Smart Scoop ice cream maker.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled & quartered
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups plain yogurt

Recipe Directions

  1. Place quartered strawberries in a bowl and mix with 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice. Gently crush with a fork and let site at room temp for an hour to macerate. After an hour, gently crush with a fork again to desired consistency or blend into a puree.
  2. Combine strawberries, yogurt and sugar and pour into the ice cream bowl. Set ice cream maker to YOGURT setting an churn.

Breville Compare: Barista Express vs. Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Breville Compare - Barista Express vs. Dual BoilerHere’s a dirty little SCG secret: Sometimes, we’re a little shallow. We like pretty, shiny things and when we first began carrying Breville’s espresso machines, we did so only because, well, they were pretty and shiny. At the time, most of the more budget-conscious models were rockin’ plastic or powder coated metal cases, yet the Breville machines were lustrous, brushed stainless steel … and we totally went for it.

Sadly, in that first couple of years, we came to understand that their function did not measure up to their form and they just simply couldn’t get hot enough to produce a truly delicious espresso. With the release of their first version of the Barista Express (BES860XL), however, they started to address this temperature situation and haven’t looked back since.

Breville’s next entry into the home espresso enthusiast space was the beloved Dual Boiler (BES900XL) , which was a truly magnificent leap forward for the company in terms of temperature control and functionality. What they learned from developing that machine, they applied to the budget-friendly Infuser (BES840XL) about a year later, and what they learned from developing the Infuser, they then incorporated into the next iteration of the Barista Express (BES870XL): Namely, the thermocoil and PID temperature technology.

Since the new Barista Express has some great features like simple PID temperature control and an integrated grinder, folks often ask us how it compares to its larger, yet somewhat-similarly featured compatriot, the Dual Boiler. First off, of course, it’s got it’s own grinder and it doesn’t brew and steam at the same time like the Dual Boiler does, but there are a few other functional differences as well. The end cup of coffee, however, is remarkably similar … so it may just be your budget that casts the deciding vote.

Watch as Gail takes us through a feature and technology comparison of these two machines, then shows us how they perform side by side.

SCG How-To Guides: Packing Your Espresso Machine for Shipping

Packing an Espresso Machine for ShippingDoes your Saeco Via Venezia need to be repaired but you don’t have a repair center in your area? Did you try on a DeLonghi Magnifica for size and it didn’t quite fit? Will that Rocket Espresso R58 see more action at your vacation home? Regardless of your reason for shipping your espresso machine — repair, return or simple transit — ensuring that it’s packed properly to limit damage is key.

In this series of videos, we asked a member of our shipping crew, Spencer, to guide us through the best practices for three general styles of espresso machines: Small (under 35lbs), large (over 35lbs) and superautomatics (watch those drip trays!). Check out the video that most closely matches your style of machine to learn how the pros do it.

Episode One: Packing a Small (Under 35lbs) Espresso Machine

Episode Two: Packing a Large (Over 35lbs) Espresso Machine

Episode Three: Packing a Superautomatic Espresso Machine

Crew Review: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker – Redux!

Breville One-Touch Tea MakerEven though it’s smack dab in the middle of our name, coffee isn’t the only thing that we love around this joint. Tea holds a very special place in our hearts, and, as luck would have it, so does Breville. Combine two loves together and what do you get? A refreshed review of one of our more popular tea accoutrement, the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker.

We love this guy because of how easy it is to use — the automation and programming available make crafting a delicious pot of tea something even Bunny’s trill can do! Watch as she takes us through all of its features and specs, then demonstrates how it works by brewing up a batch of Rishi Blueberry Rooibos tea. Delish!

Brewin’ with Brandi: Chocolate Cake Shake

Yes, we’re serious. No, we can’t believe we are, either. We probably shouldn’t let Brandi choose her recipes on her own anymore after she brought this bad boy out to play. Who on earth blends up a slice of chocolate cake and then drinks it?! Probably the same person who blends up a donut.

We apologize in advance for any and all of the havoc this wreaks on your lovely figure, love. Ijole!

 Ingredients

  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 – 1 cup milk
  • (1) 8 oz. slice of chocolate cake
  • 2 shots of espresso

Directions

In a blender, puree the ice cream and the milk together. Add the cake and the espresso shot, continuing to blend and adding more milk (as needed) to get the right consistency. Serve with a straw and spoon in a pint glass, preferably away from any reflective surfaces.

Compare: Rancilio Rocky vs. Breville Smart Grinder – Redux!

Compare - Rancilio Rocky vs. Breville Smart GrinderLooking for a budget-conscious burr grinder that’s suitable for traditional espresso preparation? Consider the feature-laden Breville Smart Grinder or the robust, commercial-grade Rancilio Rocky. Both have great consistency and a wide grind range, so you can use them for anything from espresso to coffee press.

Watch Gail as she takes us through their features and functionality, then shows us how they compare, grind-wise.

 

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Gelato

While the sun keeps playing hide and seek with us here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re pretty sure that the rest of the you are having a hot and summery blast right now! Well, if you’re on this side of the equator, that is.

What better way to beat the heat than with a cool and delectable treat? Check out this super easy gelato recipe, courtesy of Brandi and Breville’s rockin’ Smart Scoop ice cream maker.

 

 

The Reluctant Barista Battles the New Breville Barista Express

photo-3Let’s be honest, I am not engaged in an epic battle with Breville … it is not even a minor skirmish; in fact, I don’t have a problem with Breville at all. Here’s what I truly love about all Breville espresso machines: They are easy to use and they make you feel like a rock star right out of the gate. Breville machines give me warm fuzzy feelings along with a good shot of espresso. The espresso shots are not going to be life changing (like that one time you found a small café and the barista’s skill blew your mind and now you can’t remember where it was or if it was just a caffeinated waking dream). But! They are always going to be really good espresso shots every time. No wasted espresso, no wasted effort.

So while I did ‘borrow’ the instruction booklet from Rachel in Customer Service, I already felt as if I knew my way around the Breville Barista Express automatic espresso machine. I quickly whipped up a few shots of Velton’s Bonsai Blend espresso to sip and then a caramel latte to check the frothing potential with my imaginary froth-o-meter. (Kaylie and I are going to invent this device in order to empirically rate microfoam.) Somewhere in the middle of espresso prep it occurred to me how much easier programmable semi-autos are to operate.

Besides ease of use, a few changes were made from the previous model (the well-loved BES860XL) that make the 870 worth consideration: a dedicated hot water spigot, PID temperature control within a few degrees and a smoother pathway from hopper to  grinder. These factors alone are not enough to convince the truly reluctant among us, though.

My essential battle with the Breville Barista Express boils down to the integrated grinder. Are you for it, or are you against it? The SCAA recently declared it Best In Show: Coffee or Tea Preparation & Serving Equipment (Consumer). However, when I hear Best In Show, I think of the movie and then I giggle.

If you see the benefit of saving money with an integrated grinder, saving counter space by having an all-in-one appliance and saving time with programmable dosing then you, my friend, are not sitting with us over here in Camp Reluctant.

If you see the integrated grinder and immediately flashback to the ill-fated combination dual tape deck + record player purchase you made in college, then you are going to need a few more facts before hopping on the Breville Barista Express bandwagon.

  • Fact: Upgraded stainless steel conical burrs are easily accessed for cleaning and can be removed for replacement.
  • Fact: The grinder can be adjusted for different espresso bean blends within a certain range.
  • Fact: A better bean hopper configuration allows whole beans to travel smoothly to the grinder.
  • Bonus: I like the removable bean hopper to empty, fill or re-fill without having to awkwardly scoop beans (or vacuum them up!)
  • Super Duper Bonus: Currently includes a new dosing tool called The Razor which sounds menacing but really confirms you have the right amount of coffee tamped into the portafilter.

Overall, I am less hesitant about this machine after reviewing these facts. Also, this is not truly a new  model, it’s one that Breville has improved upon over time. Ready to jump head first into the all-in-one pool? This model makes it a pretty safe dive into the deep end. Although I thought I would enjoy a Breville Infuser BES840XL paired with a Breville Smart Grinder more, I am now reluctantly considering the Breville Barista Express BES870XL for my next home espresso machine. In my case, reluctance is just another word for lazy and Breville makes espresso machines that are so easy to use, I can’t ignore them!

Crew Review: Breville Barista Express BES870XL

Breville Barista Express BES870XLWhen we heard that Breville was going to soup up one of their more popular — and unique — espresso machines, the Barista Express, we were a little bit excited. Some of the things we didn’t dig about its predecessor were going to be addressed, such as improved temperature control, an improved grinder and the addition of a hot water spigot. They even threw in some cool new toys (a Razor, anyone?), an improved hopper for easier bean feeding and the ability to tweak your brew temperature with a simple PID interface.

Enough talk — let’s show it off, eh? Watch Gail talk about the features of the new Barista Express BES870XL, give us a tour of all the goodies it comes with and then demonstrate making a latte.