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).
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?