Category Archives: Coffee & Tea

Comparison: Xelsis Evo vs Gran Baristo

We compared two of high end superautomatic espresso machines from Saeco. The Xelsis Evo and the Gran Baristo, the Xelsis Evo being the top of the line machine! Be sure to watch our full Crew Review Comparison video below to see these machines in action.Xelsis Evo

The first thing we noticed when comparing these two machines was the difference in size. The Gran Baristo is a slim machine, coming in at only 8.25 inches wide. The Xelsis Evo sits a little taller and about 3 inches wider. So if counter space in your kitchen is limited, it would be best to measure! The looks of both of these espresso machines are sharp. Stainless steel galore!

The Gran Baristo model that we compared comes with a removable bean hopper. This is a feature you just don’t find on superautomatic espresso machines, but is great to have! Swap out your beans with ease (a decaf in the evening perhaps?)

The Xelsis Evo features some great programability. In the easy to use interface, you can program up to 9 customized drinks for up to 6 different users! Everyone in your family (or office) can have the drink just how they like it, from the amount of milk used for a latte to the temperature of the espresso. What really sets the Xelsis Evo apart from the Gran Baristo is the available customization. The Xelsis Evo even has a traditional steam wand so you can froth the milk yourself to your desired temperature and texture.

Gran BaristoThe Gran Baristo only features an automatic milk option, and to be honest, we were not terribly impressed. The process as a whole was louder than other auto milk forthers and quite a bit messier. For this reason we feel the Xelsis is a better option for those who like to drink milk based espresso drinks daily.

Check out the full Crew Review Comparison below before heading over to our YouTube channel for more on both of these espresso machines.

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Crew Review: Saeco Xelsis Evo

The top of the line superautomatic espresso machine from Saeco, that’s right, we are talking about the Xelsis Evo! Programmable, customizable, what more could you ask for in a coffee making machine?Xelsis Evo

We took a closer look at this machine to see where what really separates the Xelsis Evo from the rest of the Saeco line up. In our Crew Review, three things stuck out to us as key features. The first being all the programmability you get with the Xelsis Evo. You can create and customize 9 different drinks for 6 different users! Each profile is designated by an easy to recognize icon, and once the drink settings are saved, brewing your drink just the way you like it is a button press away.

The next key feature that the Xelsis Evo has over it’s competition is the temperature of the espresso shots. After several tests, we measured the temperature of the espresso at the spout to be 193 F! That is hot, especially for a superautomatic espresso machine! So if you like a hot beverage, this is the machine for you!

Last but absolutely not least, the steam wand. A steam wand is a rare find on a superautomatic espresso machine. Even more rare, is a steam wand that is this caliber. Most steam wands on superautomatics have limited movement and/or only have a panarello. The steam wand on the Xelsis Evo is the real deal. So if the one touch milk carafe isn’t quite to your liking, feel free to steam on!

Be sure to watch the full Crew Review in the video below! Want to learn more or read customer reviews about this machine? Head over to our website for all that and more!

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Crew Review: Saeco Intelia Deluxe

Introducing the latest from Saeco, the Intelia Deluxe Superautomatic espresso machine! The Intelia Deluxe builds upon the already popular Intelia Class, while adding some great additional features. Be sure to watch the full Crew Review video below to see this machine in action!Intelia Deluxe

The Intelia Deluxe is a superautomatic espresso machine, meaning the only this separating you from a latte is a touch of a button. Inside this machine you will find a thermoblock boiler which heats the water for brewing and steaming on the fly. The benefit of a thermoblock is that it doesn’t take as long for your machine to heat up for either brew or steam; however, the drawback can be that your temperature for brew or steam is not quite as consistent as you might like. That being said, we were very impressed with the temperature of both the coffee and milk produced on the Intelia Deluxe (something that is hard to say for most superautomatics)!

With the Intelia Deluxe, you get more flexibility. More grinder settings and strength options than previous models, with the Intelia Deluxe you can really dial in the flavor of your espresso. Speaking of flexibility, this machine has the option to swap out the automatic milk option for a panarello attachment. A great choice for those who like there milk piping hot or with lots of foam!

Want to learn more about this machine? Watch the Crew Review below before heading to our website for all the stats!

 

Comparison: Bialetti Stovetop Espresso

Stovetop espresso. What is not to love? It is easy to use, looks great on your countertop, and produces an intense cup of coffee! Bialetti is probably what comes to mind when you think of a stovetop espresso coffee maker. Does this look familiar?Bialetti Stovetop Espresso

Bialetti stovetop espresso coffee makers come in three different models! The first is the iconic Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker. With it’s art deco style, the Moka Express is easily recognized. It comes in 12 ounce size and is constructed out of aluminum. As with all the stovetop makers in this comparison, brewing is a breeze. Simply add your ground coffee and water, apply heat, and watch as your brewed coffee bubbles up!

Next up in our comparison of the Bialetti Stovetop Espresso makersBialetti Stovetop Espresso is the Musa. At just 7.25 inches tall for the 6 cup version, the Musa is small enough to stow away when not in use. The Musa is built out of stainless steel, so if you are adverse to the aluminum construction of the Moka Express, this would be an option.

Bialetti Stovetop EspressoThe Bialetti Venus Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker is the next in our comparison. Similar to the Musa with it’s  stainless steel construction and 2 size options, the Venus’s look is slightly more refined. Be sure to take a look at our Crew Review comparison video below to see how the looks of all three of these stovetop espresso coffee makers compare!

 

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Crew Review: Jura Impressa F8

So you want to Impressa your friends. Ok, ok, we know a bad joke when we hear one. Today, we are here to talk all about the Jura Impressa F8, a superautomatic espresso machine ready for what ever you throw at it.

The first thing we noticed when we turned on the Jura Impressa F8 was the color display. Selecting one of the 11 pre-programmed espresso drink options was easy to do with the rotary dial. You are even able to customize the four drinks featured on the homepage. Coffee literally at the touch of a button!Jura Impressa F8

One common complaint about super-automatics is the strength of the shots they produce. The Jura Impressa F8 has a feature that helps remedy this problem. The variable brew chamber allows you to brew anywhere from 5 to 16 grams of coffee. So if you are looking for a strong cup of coffee, set that puppy to 16 and hang on tight!

We also love the hot water option on this espresso machine. Something that you don’t always find on a superautomatic espresso machine. Now you can start your day with an americano or maybe a spot of tea! The choice is yours :)

Watch our full Crew Review video below to see all the features and watch Gail brew up a drink! And while you are at it, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here!

Crew Review: Breville Grind Control

Grind Control to Major Tom

Grind Control to Major Tom

Take your coffee beans and get your caffeine on

Grind Control to Major Tom

….Now that we have that out of the way. We would like to introduce the latest from Breville, the Grind Control Coffee Maker! The next generation of the YouBrew Coffee Maker, with some excellent improvements.Grind Control

We all know that grinding your beans fresh is the most important step to great tasting coffee, which is why Breville put so much effort into creating the perfect internal grinder. This coffee maker features stainless steel flat machined burrs, which means they will be much more precise and sharp than the conical burrs on the old YouBrew machine.

The Grind Control allows for all the customization you could ask for.  Choose from eight different strength settings! Can anyone say good morning?! Brew a whole pot or just one cup, the choice is yours! The internal clock allows for auto start functionality (is there anything better than waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee?)

A little pro tip, be sure to pre-heat the stainless steel carafe, so that your coffee will stay hot as long as possible.  We are really impressed with this machine, you get a lot of control that you simply don’t find in other drip machines.

Check out the full Crew Review below! Are you subscribed to our YouTube channel? You can do so by clicking here, that way you will never miss a video! Thanks for watching!

 

 

Crew Review: Behmor Home Coffee Roaster

We drink a lot of coffee. But you probably already knew that. But did you know that we also roast our own coffee? Well, did you? Because we did!Behmor Home Coffee Roaster

That’s right folks! Gail and the SCG team are coffee roasters! Not professional roasters by any means (and probably not even that good if we are being honest!) But we did play around and roast up a quarter pound of coffee beans on the Behmor 1600 Plus Home Coffee Roaster.

The Behmor 1600 Plus Home Coffee Roaster is small but mighty. Coming in at only 19 pounds, and no larger than your standard microwave, this home coffee roaster can roast up to 1 pound of beans at a time.

The Behmor is pretty easy to use, and makes for a great entry level tool to begin roasting coffee beans at home. It features 5 pre-programmed roast profiles that allow for easy roasting of any type of bean. Simply set the amount of beans you are wanting to roast, a roast level and a profile, hit start and watch as your green beans turn into that beautiful brown we know and love.

After the roasting period, the Behmor 1600 Plus Home Coffee Roaster automatically goes into a cooling cycle. After a period of time, you can remove the drum and look at your freshly roasted beans. But don’t go grinding them up just yet. Several days of off-gassing is required for optimum taste!

Watch our full Crew Review below! And be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss the video where we taste the beans we roasted in the video!

 

 

Crew Review: Jura Gigga 5 Coffee Center

Coffee at work is no longer just a pot that someone brewed up who knows when. It’s 2015 folks, we all deserve much better. Enter the Jura Gigga 5 Automatic Coffee Center. It’s like a robot barista that sits in your break room, ready to fill all your caffeinated needs!Jura Gigga 5

We say its a robot barista that sits in your break room, because this machine can handle a large volume of drinks. But that isn’t to say the Gigga 5 can’t find a way into a home kitchen. Where there is a will there is a way.

The Gigga 5 features two bean hoppers, each one holding up to 9.8 ounces of coffee beans. This is a feature that you rarely find on a superautomatic machine. With two hoppers you can select which bean you want to brew, or you can even make your own “house blend” by combing beans from the two hoppers in any ratio you desire.

This Jura espresso machine is built with quality in mind. Many parts that you would typically find made out of plastic on other machines, are constructed out of stainless steel on the Gigga 5. The design details really makes this machine stand out.

As with all Jura machines, the digital display is simply beautiful. A full color display that is easy to navigate. Getting the beverage you desire has never been so simple. The Gigga 5 does  everything from shots of espresso to Irish coffees (whiskey not included)! No that isn’t a joke. The Gigga 5 has multiple recipes built in. Simply select the beverage you would like and follow the onscreen prompts.

Watch our full Crew Review of the Jura Gigga 5 Automatic Coffee Center below!

 

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Crew Review: Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker

What happens when you cross a science experiment with a coffee maker? You get the Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker of course! Vacuum Coffee Maker you ask? No we are not mad scientists, this style of coffee maker has been around for quite some time.Vacuum Coffee Maker

The Bodum Pebo Vacuum Coffee Maker works on the principle of expanding and contacting gases. As the bottom compartment is heated up on the stove, some of the water inside is turned into  vapor. As the water vapor expands it forces the liquid water up the spout and into the chamber above, saturating the ground coffee. Once the water has filled the upper chamber the vacuum pot is removed from the heat. The water vapor cools and no longer exerts enough pressure on upper chamber to hold the water up, and so gravity pulls the coffee back down into the lower chamber.

The result is a really clean cup of coffee. Gail was especially impressed with the quality of the taste. It was very smooth and drinkable.

Be sure to check out the full Crew Review of this awesome vacuum coffee maker!

Crew Review: CamelBak Forge Travel Mugs

CamelBak Forge Travel MugAhh, the great outdoors. There truly isn’t anything better than that first breath of fresh air before embarking on an outdoor adventure. Or is there? The answer of course is yes, yes there is something better (and it involves coffee!)

That’s right, we are talking about travel mugs today! And more specifically, the CamelBak Forge travel mugs. We are quite fond of this mug. Sure it works great for commuting to work in the morning. But we think it is even more fitting when “forging” a trail, hot coffee in hand. And speaking of hot coffee, the CamelBak Forge travel mug does an excellent job at keeping your coffee hot! The double wall, stainless steel body keeps your hot coffee hot (or your cold, cold brew…well, cold).

Be sure to watch our Crew Review below to see the results of our temperature test! (Spoiler alert: it does an superb job!)

One of the best features on this travel mug is the self sealing lid. Say goodbye to accidental spills! The lid also comes apart for easy cleaning in all the nooks and crannies. The CamelBak Forge Travel mug comes in two color schemes. Solid black or stainless steel and blue!

Check out our Crew Review video below for the full scoop!