Category Archives: Breville

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.

SCG Crew’s Favorite Gear: Single, Hx and Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Next in our series of the crew’s favorite picks covers the world of traditional espresso machines. Find out which single, heat exchange and double boiler machines the team digs.


Single Boiler Espresso Machines


Heat Exchange Espresso Machines


Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

SCG Crew’s Favorite Gear: Kettles, Pour Overs, Press Pots, Coffee Makers, Oh My!

You know that we play with a lot of different types of coffee equipment here at SCG and the crew definitely has their faves! We asked for volunteers to share which gear they dig in different product categories. Watch as Brendan, Kaylie, Shiami, Sam, Gail, Bunny, Dori, Teri and Miranda talk to us about their favorite kettles, pour overs, immersion / press pots and drip coffee brewers.

SCG Experiments: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker vs. Sowden Penrose & Bonavita Kettle

More tea time! We have had folks ask us how the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker compares to making tea in the traditional manner, so we decided to experiment. Using the Bonavita Gooseneck Variable Temperature Kettle and the Sowden Penrose teapot, we brewed up batches of Dammann’s L’Oriental and Darjeeling loose leaf teas. We tried to approximate the same temperature, dosage and steep duration to determine if these was a difference in the cup.

Watch as Jess preps these up and we taste them to find out!

SCG Experiments: Frothing Soy Milk in Auto-Frothers

In addition to the temperature, foam quality and other general performance questions we get about stand-alone milk frothers, how they whip up non-dairy milks is definitely high on the list of many folks researching these little gems.

Since soy is one of the most popular non-dairy milks around, we selected it to perform a side-by-side functional comparison of the Capresso FrothTEC, Breville Milk Cafe and Nespresso Aero3. Watch our experiment video to learn how they measure up!