Looking to jump-start your mornings? Well, the Capresso On-the-Go may be just the thing to speed up your routine and provide you with the delicious coffee you need to get you going. How does this little machine accomplish such a feat? It brews your coffee right into the included stainless steel travel mug, so all you have to do is grab it and go!
Besides being really convenient, this personal coffee maker is also very easy to use. There are only two buttons on this machine, an “On/Off” switch and a “Brew” button, so you don’t have to fiddle with a lot of settings in order to get your brew started. Dosing the Capresso On-the-Go is equally pain-free. All you have to do is fill water tank with the amount of water you want to brew with, load the reusable filter with 2-5 scoops of coffee, put it in the filter basket and then place the whole ensemble in the machine. One thing to keep in mind is that it is best not to exceed six scoops of coffee when brewing, as it may cause the filter to overflow. Likewise, while Capresso claims that you can use pods in this machine, we found that using pre-ground coffee works the best.
While playing around on this machine, we discovered that you might want to pre-heat the travel mug or whatever container you are brewing into before using it. We also wish that we could keep the lid on the travel mug when brewing, which unfortunately isn’t possible. Thus, be careful when making your coffee in this mug to make sure it doesn’t spill.
The Capresso On-the-Go is a great little brewer, especially for people who just want a simple, quick cup of coffee. It only takes about four minutes to brew, which is pretty fast! This coffee maker is also a good option for anyone who lives by themselves or with people who don’t like coffee or don’t like to share, you know who you are! See this machine in action as Gail and Brendan test it out for the first time.
Can you believe we’ve almost reached the end of June already? What is even more exciting is that the Grand Opening of our SCG Portland store is just three short days away! The Grand Opening festivities will begin at 10:00 a.m. so make sure to arrive early and join us for day filled with delicious coffee tastings, raffle drawings and other goodies.
Free Gift Bags
The first 30 customers in the door will get a free gift bag packed with all kinds of sweet stuff:
A candy bar (loaded with coffee beans, of course!)
Free Gift with Purchase (while supplies last)
Something has to be a surprise, right? Let’s just say this: You’ll be sporting your love of coffee!
Our giveaways don’t stop at just the gift bags or gifts with purchase! We’ll also be raffling off machines, grinders and other accessories from Bonavita, Jura, Baratza and more!
Tastings and Demos
In addition to our slew of giveaways, we’ll also be treating your taste buds. Local roasters like Ristretto and Sterling will be hosting coffee tastings through out the day. Likewise, Bonavita and Krups will be stopping by to teach you how to brew up the perfect cup of coffee or espresso on their gear. It wouldn’t be summer without some frosty treats to help you cool down, so we’ll also be mixing up some sweet snacks on our Breville ice cream maker.
If you’re in the area this Saturday, we’d love for you to stop by and help us celebrate the opening of our third retail store. You can find us at: 26 NW 23rd PL, Portland, OR 97210.
Are you new to the world of espresso and searching for a machine that you can cut your teeth on? Or perhaps you’ve gotten a starter apartment (or a weekend home) and are looking to outfit it with the latest gear with out breaking the bank? Well, you’re in luck since there are quite a few espresso machines under $300 that not only brew espresso but also allow to you to froth milk. To help you narrow down your options, Dori and Chris have kindly gathered their five favorite inexpensive machines – the Saeco Poemia, DeLonghi EC702 Pump, Saeco Aroma, Capresso EC Pro and the Krups Precise Tamp, to show them off.
A few of our favorite aspects on each machine (which are ranked from low to high in terms of price) are:
Saeco Poemia – With a pressurized portafilter and panarello, the Poemia is very forgiving and makes brewing your favorite drink a breeze.
Saeco Aroma – The Aroma has been around for ages, and is one of our most loved and best performing home espresso machines we have tested. You can also easily get parts for this machine should you need to replace anything.
DeLonghi EC702 Pump – The EC702 self-primes so you don’t have to wait a long time for your DeLonghi to heat up in the morning. In addition, the machine maintains consistent heat for brewing and steaming with two separate thermostats.
Capresso EC Pro – The EC Pro is a great option if you are looking to a machine that you can grow into. This machine comes with a pressurized portafilter basket to ease you into espresso as well as a naked basket if you really want to get into perfecting your tamp and timing your shots. Plus, the simple design of the machine makes easy to use no matter what your level.
Krups Precise Tamp – Unlike the other espresso machines under $300, which only have on/off brew cycles, the Precise Tamp is programmable. The machine also will auto-tamp your coffee grounds and has cappuinatore, which is like an automatic frother and can make a cappuccino or a latte – a big upgrade over the other options.
When it comes down to it, all five of these compact semi-automatics are great starter options for people who want to get a machine at a reasonable price point. The main differences when you go up the scale in price are that you get a machine with more metal components (instead of primarily plastic pieces) and slightly heftier parts (such as chrome-plated brass portafilters instead of aluminum). With these espresso machines you also have the option to upgrade to a non-pressurized portafilter and traditional steam wand once you’ve gotten the hang of pulling your own shots. Check out our video to learn more about each machine and find out Chris and Dori’s top picks.
All of you techies out there are sure to fall in love with the new Jura Impressa Z9. The Swiss brand is known creating top-of-the-line machines; this one lives up to its name with an impressive lineup of features and functions. At least it impressed us anyway!
This latest addition to Jura’s army of superautomatic robots has lots programmability that enables you to speed up and simplify your morning coffee routine. The auto-on option allows you to set the machine to turn on at a certain time so it will be all warmed up and ready to go as soon as you’re out of bed. Likewise, the six preprogrammed drink options allow you to make your favorite drink with just the touch of a button. You can even customize the default settings for these drinks so they are brewed with the exact volume, temperature, coffee strength and amount of milk you prefer.
Maintaining the Impressa Z9 is also a breeze. Both descaling and rinsing are programmed into the Z9, so you can easily clean your machine whenever you desire. If you’re not sure when to clean your espresso machine, the Z9 still has you covered, as it will keep track of the number of shots you have made and notify you when it is due for cleaning. Be forewarned that the Z9 will not let you slack on cleaning, since it will not let you brew shots until you clean it or replace your filter. While this may sound a little high maintenance, the upside is this process ensures your espresso machine stays in good working order. In fact, we have found that most Jura’s rarely need to go in for service as a result.
Finally, not unlike your iPhone, the Jura Impressa Z9 has a sleek and sophisticated case and you can change the background and color scheme on the machine’s touch screen. Ultimately, this espresso maker is a great option if you like the machine to do a lot of the work for you. Perhaps you are new to coffee, have never pulled shots using portafilter or just like the convenience of having your coffee made for you. To see more of the Jura Impressa Z9’s functionality, check out Gail and Brendan as they put the machine through its paces.
Small in stature, but not short on fundamentals, the Capresso EC PRO is one of our newest espresso machine friends. The machine’s compact footprint makes it perfect for small kitchens where there is limited counter space. However, just because the EC PRO is diminutive in size, doesn’t mean it can’t make a great latte!
In fact, while some semi-automatic machines have a steep learning curve, the EC PRO is incredibly easy to use. Even if you are used to brewing on a superautomatic machine, like myself, you will quickly be able to get the hang of using this machine. Unlike some machines that have a number of buttons that can be confusing to figure out, the Capresso EC PRO has just two buttons, besides the power button, brew and steam. Thus, whenever you want to pull a shot or froth your milk, all you have to do is get your portafilter or milk frothing pitcher in place, select which option you want and away you go!
To make your brewing even easier, the machine comes with a pressurized portafilter so you don’t have to worry about perfecting your grind and tamp. Although, when testing this machine, we did find it helps to lightly tamp the coffee in the pressurized portafilter before brewing to get a better quality shot. If you are a more adventurous barista and really want to work on fine-tuning your shots, you aren’t out of luck with this machine, as the EC PRO also comes with a bottomless portafiler. This allows you get a better look at your shot as it comes out of the machine and note things like channeling, and adjust your grind, dosage and tamp accordingly if your extraction is messy. The upside is, once you have gotten these three variables down, the shot will look beautiful as it pours out of your machine.
To learn a few additional pointers about brewing on this machine, watch as Gail and Kris discuss it features.
Through the magic of the Internet, we heard that people have been using their espresso machines to brew black tea. This sounded like an interesting concept to us, and we were curious to see if it would work. People have been known to brew rooibos (also called red espresso) this way, and have even started whole cafes based on this idea. So why wouldn’t it work with black tea? We decided to put this theory to the test and use the Capresso EC PRO Espresso & Cappuccino Machine to brew Ceylon O.P. by Danmann Freres Teas.
To make the tea, we filled the machine’s pressurized portafilter up to the first line inside with the loose leaf black tea. Then we loaded the portafilter into the machine, and started the extraction. We let the extraction go long, about 30-40 seconds, until the cup was mostly filled and the brew started to become clearer. The tea that was produced had a good aroma and was medium orange-brown in color. However, when we sampled the tea, the flavor was not bad, but definitely weaker than normal.
Not ones to be easily defeated, we were curious what would happen if we ground up the tea leaves before dosing them into the portafilter. To grind the tea, we grabbed the Hario Skeleton (Skerton) Coffee Mill, and set it to a coarser grind setting since we were using a pressurized portafilter. After grinding a couple of teaspoons full of tea we noticed that many of the tea leaves were passing through the grinder whole, so we readjusted our grind to be much finer. We were a little concerned that the tea was now too fine and would choke the portafilter, but we decided to go ahead and try it anyway.
Once again we loaded the portafilter into the Capresso EC PRO and started the extraction. We immediately noticed the tea was coming out much darker in color this time around. Suddenly we began to notice a different color coming out of the portafilter – there was a crema on top of the tea! While having a crema is not unusual for rooibos brewed on espresso machines, we were surprised we’d get the same effect with black tea. After about 30-40 seconds, we stopped the extraction. The color of the tea was much darker in comparison to the first cup we made, and topped with a thick, foamy crema. This time around the tea tasted exactly like it should, as if it had been steeping for three to five minutes.
We were (pleasantly) surprised to find you can brew a decent up of tea using a semi-automatic espresso machine and a pressurized portafilter. If you are going to try this experiment yourself we highly recommend grinding your loose leaf tea into smaller particles, since that gave us the best results. We only tried this experiment with black tea, so we aren’t sure if this technique will work to brew other types of tea, such as rooibos or herbal infusions. We also haven’t tried brewing the tea with a different machine or tested to see if brewing tea on an espresso machine is faster than brewing with a kettle. If you try this experiment with different variables, let us know in the comments. I sense more tea experiments in our feature!
Although it is still pretty cold outside, at least around these parts, this is the time of year where the sun starts to appear a little more frequently, making us long for the return of warm summer days. While we have a quite a few more months to go before that happens, we can at least get our taste buds (and our minds) in the spirit for warmer weather with a milky melon cooler.
While the recipe for this drink might sound a little unusual, it is surprisingly light and refreshing. Better yet, it is super easy to make since all it requires is cold milk, watermelon syrup and an automatic milk frother. We made our milky melon cooler on the Capresso FrothTec Automatic Milk Frother, but you can make this recipe with any standalone milk frother that has a cold froth setting, or even on a manual model like the Frieling Milk Frother.
Watch Brandi walk us through these few easy steps and then mix up a drink of your own. You’ll feel like you’re relaxing at the beach or having a picnic in the park in no time!
Last, but in no way whatsoever least, in our series of refreshed Jura espresso machine reviews is the GIGA 5, an almost-ridiculously featured one-touch superautomatic that offers functionality like no other home machine available on the market.
In addition to its dapper case design, gorgeous, full color TFT navigation screen and one-touch cappuccino functionality, the GIGA 5 also rocks unique features such as dual coffee bean hoppers — which you can use to custom blend your beans — and an integrated Barista Menu that offers nearly 30 different programmable and customizable beverages, plus a slew of somewhat quirky guided recipes.
Crafting your cappuccino or latte macchiato at the touch of a button, the GIGA 5 is pretty much the top of the line where superautomatic espresso machines are concerned. We think the GIGA 5 is the machine of choice for gourmet home kitchens, small office break rooms or as a complementary service in a business environment such as a car dealership, art gallery or design studio.
But its singular features and exceptional functionality does come at a relatively high cost; if there has to be a drawback on this machine, it would be its price tag. Otherwise, it’s hard to go wrong with this gem!
Want to learn more about it? Watch Chris guide us through a comprehensive review, explanation and demonstration of the GIGA 5.
Next in our series of revamped reviews of Jura’s series of superautomatic espresso machines is the Impressa J9, a seriously sexy superauto that features Jura’s first implementation of the TFT screen. A gorgeous piece of eye candy, this full color menu is incredibly intuitive, with both programmable buttons and the rotary dial navigation Jura is known for. In addition to the fetching menu screen, the J9 also features one-touch cappuccino functionality, a sleek case design and luxe finishes like a polished stainless steel drip tray.
After having the Impressa J9 around for awhile and getting to know it much, much better, it was time for a redux! In this comprehensive review video, Chris takes us through the usual explanation of features and specs, provides tips and trick for making your favorite coffee on it, then demonstrates how simple it is to make a delicious espresso-based drink at the touch of a button.
The Impressa J9 is the superautomatic for you if you reside squarely where both form and function meet. It’s not only an excellent espresso machine, it looks darn great doing it … and who doesn’t love that? Check it out!
This summer, we started filming Brandi as she tried out the rather unique drinks included in the Barista menu of the ultra-sophisticated Jura GIGA 5. From pepper-infused espresso to a souped-up latte macchiato, sampling these recipes was quite an adventure.
At long last, we’ve reached the end of the menu, topping it off with an interesting gem called Winter Magic Coffee. With ingredients such as chocolate hazelnut spread and ground ginger, we weren’t quite sure what to think. But we took it on anyway and were pleasantly surprised.
Like many of the drinks incorporated into the Jura GIGA 5’s Barista menu, it is an interesting answer to a question we had never even thought to pose: Will ginger and cardamom meld well with the flavor of espresso? Watch as Brandi rocks it out, again, and then both she and Gail give their feedback on the flava!
Recipe: Winter Magic Coffee a la Jura GIGA 5
If this drink intrigues you and you don’t happen to have a GIGA 5 at your disposal, here’s the recipe:
1 teaspoon chocolate-hazelnut spread
1 teaspoon honey
2 pinch of ground ginger
1 pinch ground cardamom
1.5 oz of espresso
steamed milk to taste
In your serving mug, combine the chocolate, honey, ginger and cardamom together, then stir well until smooth.
Add the espresso and again stir until everything is well incorporated.