When we started carrying the Breville espresso machines a few months ago, arguably the most common complaint we heard was that the pressurized filter basket easily clogged and was difficult to clean. We looked into the construction to see if there was something we could change about that, but decided to go with a upgrade altogether by creating a unique, non-pressurized porftafilter basket specifically designed to fit Brevilles!
In this video, Gail talks to us about the baskets and pulls us a shot to show us how they perform. If you have a Breville, this is a highly recommended upgrade to your setup. You will need to be more in tune with your grind and tamp than if you’re using the pressurized baskets, however, but you’ll have the opportunity to significantly improve your shot.
If you have a version 1 or version 2 Rancilio Silvia, it might be well worth your while to invest in upgrading the steam wand to the much more flexible and easy-to-control steam assembly available on the version 3. Doing so, however, involves popping off the lid and going at your machine with a few different wrenches — but, never fear, we’ve got a video of Henry performing the task for us.
The only drip coffee brewer recognized by the Specialty Coffee Association of America for brewing at the optimal temperature, Technivorm’s Moccamaster features an innovative shower head which delivers water more evenly across the coffee to improve flavor extraction. In this video, Gail talks about the Moccamaster’s features and brews us a cup of coffee.
Always on the look-out to expand the vast array of espresso machines we have available, we just added the Breville series to our products over at Seattle Coffee Gear. As we’ve begun testing them, we’re starting to dig the 820XL — for a machine under $500, it’s got some great features.
First off, the die-cast, stainless steel casing is really gorgeous, with smooth lines and incredibly sturdy and durable finish. It also has programmable buttons, so you can easily reproduce your espresso shot every time, without having to worry about watching it to turn it off. Finally, it has a unique boiler design that results in a bit better temperature regulation than you might find on other single boilers in this class.
On the downside, it only comes with a pressurized portafilter, so you’ll have less control over your shot and it will be infusing the espresso with air — not producing a traditional crema. It doesn’t have a three-way release valve, so you end up with a watery puck, and the portafilter is stainless steel so suffers from some inconsistency in temperature regulation (unlike its chrome-plated brass brethren).
Overall, it’s a good value — if you’re not ready to lay down the cash for a Silvia but want something a little more powerful than the Aroma, this could be right up your alley.
The September issue of Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter has hit the bricks! In this month’s issue, we have a delicious Buttercream Cappuccino recipe, a directory of our most recent videos, some tips on using oily beans in your superautomatic and a few new product features. Plus, a coupon code for 10% off $99 or more during the month of September. Check it out!
When Rancilio was reworking the new Silvia, which was released in May, they tested it with a three-hole steam tip. It seemed to work just fine in their European testing labs, but when it hit the market in the US, they got nothing but grief. Ostensibly the difference in using a machine on 220V as opposed to 110V, the tip just didn’t offer a big improvement — the power and the boiler size simply couldn’t support the increase in steam expression and the resulting milk frothing was sub par.
Since the first iteration of the V3, they have released a new round of machines that comes standard with a single-hole steam tip. The steam wand is still the awesome, 360 degree articulating wand that we have grown to love on the V3, but with a single hole in the steam tip instead of three holes — which has vastly improved the steaming performance. If you’ve got the first generation of the Silvia V3 and would like to see how a one-hole tip performs, you can pick one up for just $9.95.
One of our favorite methods for making coffee at home is using our moka pot on the stove — sure, it’s not technically espresso, but it is a delicious, smooth brew that is a wonderful complement to a lazy Sunday afternoon. So it was with great relish that we tracked the development and evolution of OTTO, billed as the world’s best stovetop espresso maker. More than just a labor of love for engineer Craig Hiron of Sydney, Australia, OTTO is a significant achievement in function and design as well, taking the basic design of the 40’s era Atomic stovetop coffee maker and re-engineering it for a new millennium.
The folks over at CoffeeCrew got their hands on an OTTO and wrote a great review of how it works, comparing it to traditional pump-driven espresso machines and the standard moka pot. You can also check out a few videos that the makers of OTTO have produced to show off how it works. It looks like they’re shipping all over the world, with a base price of $595AU — it seems a little bit steep to us, but perhaps it will find a good home in the market usually explored by La Pavoni/lever espresso machine connoisseurs. It is a gorgeous piece of engineering, however, so if its functionality aligns with its design, it could be well worth the investment.
We love the Aeroccino stand-alone milk frother/steamer! It’s a great addition to anyone’s coffee or kitchen setup, allowing for automated frothing with really excellent microfoam results. Watch as Gail shows us how to use this great little contraption.
We’re really thrilled to have just inked a partnership with the US arm of Jura Capresso, which will allow us to begin selling refurbished models! Jura has excellent service and support, but runs their warranty and repair in-house, so we have never had the opportunity to take in Juras as trade-ins and then refurbish them for resale. And, honestly, these machines are so well built and perform so fantastically that we rarely, if ever, even get an offer!
Although we aren’t refurbishing these ourselves, they are given a complete once-over by the Jura factory and come with a 1 year manufacturer warranty. The pricing is really awesome, too, so if you’ve been considering a Jura for awhile but haven’t been able to get comfortable with the pricing, now might be the perfect opportunity to get into one of these machines.
Juras are our favorite superautomatics on the market and we highly recommend them!
As we wrote about last week, we just added the Nespresso suite of machines to our inventory and we’ve been having a ton of over-caffeinated fun testing out all the different capsules available. We really haven’t found one we didn’t like yet, and particularly we love the Fortissio Lungo for its rich and full bodied flavor — although the single origin blends are quite lovely as well, specifically we enjoyed the spicy Indriya from India.
We wanted to show folks how easy this machine is to use, as well as demo the really awesome Aeroccino, a stand alone milk steamer or frother that could be a part of anyone’s kitchen setup. It’s silent and makes really excellent frothed milk. Check out the video — Gail shows us the features, makes us an espresso, froths some milk and talks to us about the ins and outs of getting the capsules (which can only be purchased directly from Nespresso).