While perhaps not totally at home in your kitchen, this commercial-class machine is an excellent choice for locations that will not be doing a ton of espresso drinks but still want to be able to whip up the drinks in a timely, expert manner.
The Epoca S1 comes with an internal water reservoir (no plumbing) and runs on 15 amp / 110 volts, so you don’t have to have special electric outlets installed. It’s not a super mobile machine, however, because it’s a bit unwieldy, so may not be the best choice for caterers, but if you’re staying in one spot this could be the solution for your small cafe.
Watch Gail take us through the features and show us how this little baby performs.
It’s a tough call which one of these grinders is a better investment — ultimately, we think that they are so similar, the decision is really about the adjustment mechanism.
Gail walks us through the technical specs of the Mazzer Mini and Macap M4 burr coffee grinders, pointing out their differences and demonstrating their grind quality. We’re not sure if this answers the big question about which one to purchase, but hopefully the side by side comparison will serve as a helpful resource.
While the Rancilio Egro ONE is at home on a large cruise liner, the Jura Impressa XS90 is best suited to an office environment — one that requires a large water tank, extra bean storage and just enough dregs and drip tray capacity to be dangerous.
Watch Gail as Kat bosses her around this superautomatic espresso machine — including the usual feature description and a demonstration of its one-touch cappuccino functionality.
Got a spare $13k lying around that you’re just not sure what to do with? Of course you do! And the obvious expenditure is on a commercial-class superautomatic like the Rancilio Egro ONE.
OK, maybe it’s not up your alley for a home machine, but this fully programmable superautomatic would be right at home in a convenience store — you can program specific drinks and set it up to take payment — or a high capacity restaurant, cafe or drive-through espresso stand that requires extreme efficiency.
Watch Gail go through all the features and make us a few different drinks on this super fancy little number.
After years of schleppin’ java to the rumpled masses, the founders of Cafelat decided it was time to throw their tamper in the proverbial ring. Their line of professional-grade tools feature well-honed functionality set off by a sleek, classic design that seasoned baristas and home enthusiasts alike will dig.
We now carry them at Seattle Coffee Gear, offering a few different styles of tampers, knock boxes and frothing pitchers — but what we really love is the corner tamping mat (so stable!) and the tamping stand (an even tamp, finally!). Plus, their high quality construction and elegant lines also give your espresso setup the look of a seasoned pro, even if you’re just starting to get the hang of it.
Since your coffee is over 98% water, it makes sense that the quality of the water will impact the taste. One of the subjects regularly bandied about in the home espresso world is if there is a significant impact on one’s shot if using a machine that has a separate brew boiler — especially if the machine isn’t pulling a lot of shots regularly and the water has a chance to sit for awhile in that boiler.
We have spoken with folks on both sides of the ‘divide': Those that think the water goes stale in the brew boiler so that a heat exchange provides a cleaner, fresher taste and those that think the temperature control and performance differential you get from a double boiler outweighs any concerns of water flavor.
So we asked Gail to perform a practical test for us on the La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi: We dialed in our shot and then let the machine sit for a couple of days. Then we pulled shots with the water in the reservoir and boiler and shots with fresh water in the reservoir and a completely flushed brew boiler. Watch and find out the results.
As we wrote last week, Seattle Coffee Gear now carries the La Marzocco GS/3 — and now here’s the Gail review that shows you how this excellent piece of equipment performs. Watch as she walks us through its features, function, pros and cons, then whips up a latte.
If you have a pretty penny to spend on your home espresso setup, or you’re looking for a light-duty commercial machine for your business, La Marzocco’s GS/3 is a single group wonder that’s definitely worth your consideration.
Featuring dual stainless steel boilers (3.5 liter steam and 1.5 liter brew), convertible water source options, mechanical paddle brew functionality and a PID interface, the GS/3 is known to offer some of the best temperature consistency on the market.
We love its powerful steam boiler — you can easily produce silky microfoam in what seems like seconds — and the pre-infusion control that the paddle gives you. It’s also got a monstrous drip tray (into which you can install a drain kit) and a unique bottom-access 3.5 liter internal water reservoir which makes refilling easy, regardless of your overhead cabinets. We do wish the casing design was a little less industrious looking and shinier — but that’s just us. And we realize that, at nearly $7k, this piece of equipment is really priced well outside many folks’ budgets.
Other than those two minor cons, there’s not much bad to say about this machine; if you’re serious about your espresso and can justify the investment, the GS/3 is one of the best options available and worth checking out.
Mineral content in your water will play a part in the coffee that you make and your machine’s longevity. In this video, Gail talks to us about a few different filters and softeners available for espresso machines, as well as explaining how a filter and softener differ.
In follow-up to his seminal work on professional espresso preparation, The Professional Barista’s Handbook, Scott Rao takes on all the other forms of coffee brewing and gives them their day in the sun. Broken up into three main parts, and supported by a thorough reference bibliography for folks that want to read more, Everything but Espresso covers the following:
Part One: Coffee extraction, measurement and methods on improving flavor by changing the brewing parameters
Part Two: How to achieve optimal flavor via different brew methods (such as drip, pour over, press pot, steeping and vacuum pot)
Part Three: Proper water chemistry and bean storage
If you’re either an espresso aficionado who wants to spread their wings or someone who cherishes their old press pot, this book is the definitive guide to making the best possible brew at home.