Looking for a quick, easy and relatively mess-free start to your day? The patented Nespresso capsule espresso machine may be the one for you. Taking all of the guesswork out of making your coffee — something that many of us require before, say, noon — Nespresso provides you with delicious variations of capsules and an easy-to-use system with which to extract them.
The good is all about the different modern designs available from this series (we personally love the ‘cube’ line) as well as its simplified functionality and great tasting espresso. The bad? Well, there’s a lot of waste involved here — every cup produces a used capsule, so if you’re trying to cut down on your non-organic waste, this would not be a good choice. Also, you have to order the capsules directly from Nespresso because they don’t resell them to any retailers — we hear the shipping is fast and efficient, however, which may end up being more convenient for the online shoppers among us. The capsules cost between $.50 and $.70/pop, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at the long term costs of owning this machine.
While it may not feature the frothy sweetness of the Brandy Alexander that inspired John Lennon’s famous 4-month long Lost Weekend, we’re pretty sure this tasty little number could function quite admirably under a similar strain.
The Rancilio Epoca E is a commercial-class automatic dosing espresso machine that features highly advanced heat exchange and boiler temperature/pressure management technology, which makes whipping up a long line of lattes or cappuccinos ridiculously easy. It can be configured for either 110v or 220v, is plumbed-in and drain-out only and is available in either 1 or 2 group heads.
Watch Gail as she talks about the machine and shows us how it works. Beautiful!
While it may be a little bit of a stretch (for both your pocketbook and your kitchen space!), the Epoca single group would make a great choice for someone who wants to take a step up from a home machine into one that has a significantly more powerful boiler — the steaming functionality on these commercial class machines just can’t be beat.
Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter, The Grind, hit the ‘press’ today! July’s edition features a Tropical Mango Tea recipe, a directory of our latest YouTube offerings, info on a few featured products — such as the Espresso Gear tools and the new Nespresso machines — and a Grind Special of 10% off Espresso Gear!
The only semi-automatic home espresso machine on the market that allows you to easily switch between main-line and reservoir water sources just got a whole lot cooler!
The Izzo Alex Duetto II features the same flexible plumping technology and double boilers as the original Alex Duetto, but has been significantly upgraded with an all-access PID interface that allows you to easily control the temperature on both boilers, switch either of them on or off (awesome energy savings for you espresso-only drinkers out there!), change it between 15 or 20 amp, select Celsius or Fahrenheit temperature readings and much more.
It also has the awesome E61 brew group, which we’re huge fans of because we definitely think it contributes to a great shot when compared to other models in this class that don’t feature this patented technology. The main drawback to this machine is that it’s a monster — requiring 16.5″ height clearance, which doesn’t leave a lot of room to move under most cupboards. We wish they would have made the warming tray sides up top removable to allow for more flexibility around space requirements, but it’ll give ‘em something to improve upon for V.3.0!
In the halcyon days of our much-storied youth, we spent a cool 8 months slinging fresh juice from behind the mighty wheatgrass wall of a juice joint. Strawberry lemonades, mango-banana smoothies and peach coolers were all on the menu — three drinks you can now very easily create at home using Monin’s Natural Fruit Purees.
These luscious little numbers are very concentrated and highly potent; the strawberry almost seems like a smoothed jam and the banana reminds us of slipping a fresh one off of a Costa Rican tree. We’ve tossed these into smoothies and mocha shakes and look forward to experimenting with them in desserts and cooking.
Monin says these are shelf-stable, but we’re always a little bit terrified of products that claim that, so we’ve been keeping our open bottles in the fridge. It definitely impacts their consistency, making them a bit thicker to pour, which can be good or bad depending on your application. We’re imagining combining the strawberry with our Meyer lemon-infused vodka for a delicious summer cocktail treat! Care to join us?
You know we’re big fans of Rocket Espresso and think that the Giotto Premium+ and Cellini Premium+ are some of the best home espresso machines on the market. When Rocket contacted us about a limited edition model of the Giotto that they designed in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Giro D’Italia cycling race, we thought we’d make buying this collector’s item a little bit more special.
And what better way to do that then to auction them off and donate all the proceeds to the non-profit organization Coffee Kids? We love their mission and we love Rocket, so for us they go hand in hand.
Beginning on 6/19/09 and continuing through 7/24/09, we’ll be auctioning off one Giro D’Italia Giotto each week, 5 of the 100 total espresso machines available in this limited edition run. If you or someone you love digs cycling, owning this little piece of history will give you something to brag about — not only because these machines are so unique, but you’ll be giving to a really great cause, too!
We like to think of ourselves as equal opportunity imbibers — coffee, beer, wine, cocktails, juices, smoothies, water…and even tea. Of course. Tea, for us, is pretty simplistic: We have a deep and loving relationship with genmaicha, but we’re willing to take a new tea out on a stroll every now and again. That’s just how we roll.
Enter Dammann Teas, the fresh and potent legacy of two French brothers who wanted to do tea and wanted to do it right. Available in both loose leaf and sachet, we can’t seem to get enough of the 4 Fruit Rouges or the L’Oriental — both are rich and complex, very delicious and a wonderful afternoon treat.
If you dig teas, definitely give these a try — we think you’ll love them!
Well…maybe it’s not that great — but it was fun and that’s about 63.4% of the reason why we do things around here. Gail shows us the ins and outs of the awesome Vita-Mix Professional Series blender, which we wrote about earlier this month, and even whips up a couple of experimental smoothies for our refreshment. We cannot stress enough how deeply we adore this blender — it’s unnatural!
Rancilio has souped up their semi-automatic espresso machine, the Silvia. Improvements are mostly aesthetic — the portafilter handle is now fashioned similar to their commercial machines and the knob for the steam/hot water has been upgraded — but the steam wand itself is a marked functional improvement with its increased range of motion and an option three-hole tip upgrade.