We can’t help but hear Patricia Arquette’s refrain in the second-to-last scene of True Romance when we look at the Jura Capresso Cool Control Automatic Milk Cooler. But instead of slipping it a note with hearts on it, we’ll just write about it here.
This handy little gadget is fairly lo-fi, costs pennies to run each day and will keep your milk cool and easily accessible on your counter top for all of your favorite latte or cappuccino drinks. It directly connects to the frothXpress adapter that is featured on many of the Jura superautomatic espresso machines (such as the Z7, C9 & S9, and Ena 3 and will cool your milk to 39F, the perfect temperature for fluffy, frothy foam!
If you’ve ever forgotten about your thermal milk container and suffered through cleaning up some nasty ol’ milk, gift yourself with never doing that dirty job again! The Cool Control will keep the cottage cheese out of your lattes and in your favorite…dish? We’re not actually sure how people use cottage cheese.
Arguably the best little workhorse in the business, the Saeco Aroma is a robust machine that had really only one major flaw (in our opinion): Its pressurized basket. Lauded as a triumph for non-grinding, quick-n-dirty espresso lovers everywhere, the pressurized basket gives merely the illusion of crema by aerating the espresso as it’s extracted. People that don’t want to put the time and effort into learning how to fine tune their grind and tamp love this contraption because it does give a fairly good shot without much fuss.
But if you’re a geek like us and love yourself some rich, thick crema, you’re going to be thrilled with the latest release out of the Saeco camp — a non-pressurized portafilter handle that uses the same baskets that came with your original pressurized portafilter. You can pull a delicious shot with this new non-pressurized portafilter — one that may rival the Rancilio Silvia!
In addition to the Saeco Aroma, this portafilter is compatible with the following machines:
- Starbucks Barista
- Starbucks Via Venezia
- Estro Profi
- Saeco Magic Cappuccino
- Saeco Gran Crema
- Saeco Via Veneto
Watch Gail pull a shot with the new non-pressurized basket on the Saeco Aroma:
Love your Ascaso Basic, Dream, Arc or UNO Special Edition espresso machine but wish that it produced a better shot? Well, we did, too — so we talked with Ascaso and asked them about creating an upgrade kit! While the original screen and water delivery works well for E.S.E. pods, its concentrated-stream functionality just doesn’t properly moisten ground coffee to the level required for a great extraction, so the upgrade kit includes an improved screen that showers water more evenly across the coffee.
The resulting espresso is rich, creamy and has a thicker crema — as good as any shot you’d pull from a Rancilio Silvia. This easy-to-install upgrade is essential, we think, but especially so if you dig using ground coffee in your Ascaso.
We often see folks struggling between two points: Which is more important, convenience or flavor? It’s the base notion in the semi-automatic vs. superautomatic debate and is one of the main questions we try to understand when helping a customer find the machine that is best for them.
But maybe it doesn’t have to be! We were lucky enough to get our hands on the new Quick Mill Superautomatic espresso machine, which sought to marry the convenience and excellent flavor factors in a prosumer-level home espresso machine. While it took us some time to dial in the machine and we wasted quite a bit of coffee (and a couple of hours) in finding the right balance between bean and machine, the shots we ended up with are the best we’ve ever tasted on a superautomatic — most likely due to the fact that it’s internal workings are not plastic, so temperature regulation is definitely superior.
We also love the traditional — and powerful — steam wand, although getting used to it’s position on the right side takes a bit of ergonomic adjustment if you’re more used to working with a wand positioned on the left. The high-quality stainless steel design, while bulky and taking up perhaps a larger footprint than many might want to sacrifice to their java needs, is sleek and definitely built to last.
All in all, we think this is a great first outing from Quick Mill in the superautomatic space and look forward to its continued evolution — we’d love to see more programmability in the future.
Some people may consider the moment that you plunk down nearly $2k on an espresso machine a moment of personal reflection: Is excellent espresso so important to you that you can justify this expenditure? We consider it simply a moment of truth — while others may end up spending over $2k on their coffee throughout the year, they’d prefer to do it in $4 increments that seem like a negligible investment. You, on the other hand, have vision.
If you’re serious enough to get into the ‘prosumer’ class of home espresso machines, we can’t recommend the Rocket Giotto Premium Plus highly enough. It could be our favorite machine…and while we do try to remain machine-agnostic in our quest to ply you with the best coffee gear to suit your needs, our own moment of truth tells us that the espresso machine waiting on the other side of nirvana must certainly be the Giotto Premium Plus.
With its excellent temperature control, powerful steaming functionality and extremely functional design, the Giotto Premium Plus makes amazing espresso and silky foamed milk every time you go toe to toe. We love the separate water tank lid and its molded design — although we do wish that the drip tray was a bit bigger and we think the hot water nozzle sometimes gets in the way.
The Rocket stars in many of our YouTube videos, so check them out to see it in action — and then maybe it will be time for your own moment of truth: Yes, excellent espresso is that important.
Flavored lattes originated in:
You’ll find out the answer to this and 59 other caffeinated trivia questions in CoffeeSmarts, a fun and interesting Q&A game that covers everything from coffee history to concoctions. In addition to the 60 Q&A cards, CoffeeSmarts includes a 16-page CoffeeTips guide with information on brewing, drinking and traveling to some of the world’s most infamously perky places.
Or…you can find out the answer…after the jump!
Continue reading New! CoffeeSmarts
We just got in a batch of Kenneth Davids’ seminal coffee book, Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying and we highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in an in-depth explanation of pretty much all there is to know about coffee.
Covering the entire lifecycle of your favorite bean, this book talks about history, agriculture, roasting, tasting, grinding, brewing and serving — a resource-rich compendium that will most certainly answer any coffee-related question you might have had.
Kenneth also authors the website Coffee Review, which provides detailed assessments of hundreds of different coffees from around the world. If you’re looking into trying out some new coffees, his website is definitely a place to start your research.
Grab a few extra seconds in the morning with the Baratza PortaHolder attachment, made for Baratza Maestro, Maestro Plus or Virtuoso grinders.
Insert the PortaHolder into the grounds bin slot and you’ll be able to rest your portafilter there, set the grind time and step away while your espresso is freshly ground. We love this new modification to the Baratza grinders and think you will, too.
Get back to espresso’s roots with these gorgeous and easy-to-use manual espresso machines by La Pavoni!
Featuring a variety of beautiful finishes – from chrome with wood accents to gold-plated brass — La Pavoni’s traditional lever-style espresso extraction is an espresso purist’s (and an esthete’s!) dream. We have expanded our selection of these strikingly designed espresso machines, so you can choose from different boiler capacities, frothing functionality and finishes. Providing the most control over every aspect of espresso shot extraction, La Pavoni’s manual machines are perfect for the espresso perfectionist or budding enthusiast alike.
Irish Coffee Tart or Profiteroles with Coffee Ice Cream & Warm Chocolate Sauce? Who can choose? We certainly can’t — and now, we don’t have to!
We love Betty Rosbottom’s elegant and treat-filled book Coffee: Scrumptious Drinks & Treats so much, we just had to offer it in the shop. We highly recommend adding this book to your kitchen’s library; it’s chock full of wonderful espresso-inspired recipes that will keep you, your friends and family sufficiently sweetened.