We locked Gail in a room, alone with only a La Marzocco Linea, Mahlkonig K30 Vario, a couple pounds of coffee beans & gallons of milk and a slew of cups. Then we told her the only way for her to get out alive was to see how many lattes she could make in one hour! Look, if we’re going to get anything done around here…
Watch as we check in with her every so often to see how she progressed and find out how many she was able to whip up in an hour on the 2 group, semi-automatic version of the Linea.
(No Gails were harmed during the making of this video)
If you’re going to do it, just do it, okay? No half steps! No ginger movements! No quasi-commitments! If you’re serious about making great coffee at your home or business, you seriously have to consider Mahlkonig’s K30 Vario. What? You don’t have an extra $1800 to drop on your grinder alone? That’s no excuse! Okay, maybe it is.
Nevertheless, even if you’re not willing to pick up one of these exceptional grinders because of mortgage payments or your child’s college fund, you can still enjoy watching the lovely conversion of form and function as Gail walks us through features and functionality, then demonstrates how well this baby grinds. Enjoy!
While we’ve carried the GS/3 for awhile now, we’ve decided to expand our La Marzocco selection to include their commercial-class equipment. Our first round of testing and reviews covers one of their most popular machines, the Linea, which comes with choice of 1 – 4 group heads and is available in manual paddle, semi-automatic and automatic configurations.
Gail gives us a brief overview of the machine’s internals, walks us through its features and makes us a latte on what is fondly referred to as A Northwest Workhorse.
Filtering your water is essential if you plan on plumbing in your espresso machine to a direct water line in your location. Without this, you run the risk of scale build-up that can only be removed by a professional taking apart the machine and physically removing the scale. How quickly this occurs will depend on your location — we did have a cafe attempt to go without filtration for just a couple of months and their equipment completely seized up as a result. Clearly, they were working with very hard water, but it’s not a risk we recommend you take, at all.
For commercial locations, there are tons of filtration options that will address a wide variety of water source needs. If you’re looking at that kind of a setup, then you’ll need to install something a bit more sophisticated and robust that will be able to address the multiple appliances that will require water (such as drip coffee makers, ice machines, water fountains and your espresso machine) in a way that’s easy to manage. But for just straight espresso machine filtration, the Mavea Purity C filters are simple, easy to install and do an excellent job of filtering out what you don’t want in your espresso machine’s boiler.
Watch Gail as she walks us through an overview of how she installed a Mavea filter on our La Marzocco Linea.
Last week, Joe Monahan and Jack Kuo of La Marzocco were kind enough to talk with this about their new, highly-precise basket — currently dubbed the Strada (after their cutting edge pressure profiling machines). Watch as they explain the theory behind it, why they wanted to build a better basket and the calibration process itself. The goal? Increase consistency in extraction, of course! These 58mm baskets will be available shortly.
We’ve got a couple new kids on the block! Nuova Simonelli, purveyors of world-class espresso machines (and the models used in the World Barista Championship competitions) has two semi-professional machines designed for exuberant home espresso lovers or smaller commercial applications. Both of these machines are NSF-rated and are available in either direct plumbed or pour over (reservoir) models.
First up, the Musica. This gorgeous heat exchanger has two different trim options — black, as featured in the review video, or lux, which is lighted — and can be programmed for automatic volumetric dosing or used as a semi-automatic if you prefer to be a little more hands-on. Excellent steaming function and commercial-class components make this a definite contender when you’re considering which higher end espresso machine is right for your home. It is a bit on the tall side, but it’s so delectably designed you won’t want to hide it away underneath cupboards, we promise!
Next is the Oscar, a simple, straight forward and easy to use heat exchange with a highly attractive price. While that may be the only attractive thing about it, the Oscar will definitely get the job done and if you don’t want to spend a small fortune on your home espresso equipment but are looking for great results, the extraction and steam functionality is excellent. This is also a great choice for professional applications that require some mobility, as it’s lightweight and easy to move around, but will still afford you commercial-quality espresso drinks.
Should you calibrate your shots to a specific timing duration or should you pull them until the coffee starts to blonde? We play around with blonding using Lavazza Super Crema on the GS/3 to see how blonding affects the shot’s overall flavor.
Do you experiment with blonding? We’d love to hear your experiences — please share!
Keeping your equipment sparkling clean is just as important as the freshness of your coffee and dialing in your grind & tamp — in fact, without the former, the latter will be an exercise in futility. If we have to tell you that rancid coffee oils will adversely impact the quality of your shot, we’re sorry. But if we have to be the first, then we might as well do it right, right? So we asked Louie Poore, who specializes in educating professional baristas on proper equipment care for Urnex, to give us the rundown.
First, he introduces us to Urnex’s new Full Circle, sustainably-produced cleaning products — including a toe-to-toe comparison of Cafiza and Full Circle’s coffee equipment wash.
Finally, Gail shows us the newly arrived 1, 2, Brew Kit for Espresso Machines, which features the goodies you need to keep your machine in tip-top shape (plus a bag of Velton’s Coffee of your choice!).
Quick Mill, Izzo and La Spaziale have new versions coming down the pike later this month, so we need to clear out our demo stock to make way for the new kids on the block. If you’re interested in any of the following models, feel free to contact us or come into the store to negotiate a fair price! They have all been used as demo models, minimal use (compared to what they would have seen in a home) and have had impeccable, regular maintenance. 1 year warranty supported directly by us.
Here’s links to the models — we’ve noted how they’re different from the new round of machines, available later this month. All of these are currently out of stock until late April, so if your timing is Real Soon Now, you could get a smokin’ deal!
- Quick Mill Alexia with PID – without hinged top cover
- Quick Mill Anita – without hinged top cover and upgraded steam / hot water wands
- Quick Mill Andreja Premium – without hinged top cover and expansion valve upgrade
- Izzo Alex II (Hx) – without the new casing style
- La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi – without the changes to the top cover
If you’re interested in a specific machine, we can give you detailed specs so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. Prior to shipping / pick-up, the machines will be thoroughly serviced and tested. Call us for more info!