Category Archives: News – SCG

SCG Portland Store

SCG Portland StoreIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the midst of another big build. You probably did hear about the one we did last September for Bellevue, and hopefully you’ve even gotten to visit our beautiful store. If not, it’s a great excuse to come visit the greater Seattle area. Of course, we hear attractions like the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the fantastic scenery and coffee on every corner make good reasons too if anyone needs any further convincing.

Yes, that’s right, we are opening a SCG Portland store in Oregon! This will be our third retail location ever and our first store outside the state of Washington, which is pretty exciting. We’ll leave it up to you to determine if we were kidding last year when we said we were going to take over the world.

The grand opening of our Portland store will be on Saturday, June 28th, so Gail, Jim and their four-legged helper Scooter are busily constructing some of the hardware in our shop. One of the big projects they are currently working on is creating an even bigger event bar than the one we currently have in Bellevue. At 12 feet long, the event bar in Bellevue is already pretty good-sized, but Portland’s is slated to be even bigger – over 16 feet long! In fact, everything in our Portland store is bigger. The store itself is about 1,200 square feet bigger than Bellevue, totaling 3,200 square feet of retail space, making it our biggest store to date.

In addition to the event bar, Gail and Jim are building a variety of fancy display cases for products and preparing the space for the installation of these items. Stay tuned for more information on our grand opening celebration and for updates and videos on how our new Portland store is coming along. In the meantime, check out this video to for a glimpse of Gail’s plans for the store.

SCG Portland Store: Update #1

SCG Classes and Events

Rachel makes mochas for the ladies of Visit Bellevue at one of our SCG classes and events.It’s two weeks into the new year and we’re off to a good start. We’ve recovered from the holidays and are gearing up for the rest of the year (which includes setting up new SCG classes and events). Although the winter months are a busy time for us, that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun too! Some of us got to travel to warmer (and in some cases, colder) climes, while others stayed in town and enjoyed the generally mild weather.

One of the exciting things that those of us who stayed in town got to do was host an event for the lovely ladies on Visit Bellevue Washington’s sales and marketing team. The team got in touch with us because they thought it would be fun to learn how to make a drink or two (and make sure they were fully caffeinated) before heading off to their holiday party. So Rachel fired up our Nuova Simonelli Musica, which happens to be the same type of espresso machine that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson owns, and showed them how to make peppermint mochas. Afterwards, we enjoyed chatting with the gals for a bit as they explored our store and bought a few goodies for their friends and family.

Of course it wouldn’t be a new year without resolutions – and one of ours is to provide you with more fun classes! This coming year we have a slew of events lined up, including classes on how to make a variety of coffee preps, coffee and tea tastings, maintenance classes (so you can keep all your gear in tip-top shape) and visits from some of our roasters and equipment vendors.

We are excited to get our classes going again, and will be resuming them this month at our Bellevue store. To kick things off we will be hosting two educational/tasting events where you can learn everything there is to know about the featured product and sample it as well!

Blooming Tea Tasting

Saturday, January 18th, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

You may have seen these display teas at parties or heard your friends talk about them. If not, now’s the time to learn! Blooming teas allow you to enjoy both tasty tea and a show, as these hand-sewn balls of tea transform into beautiful flowers when placed in hot water. Best of all, if you are one of the first few guests at the event, you will get a free tea ball to take home that you can use to impress your friends and family.

How to Make Excellent French Press Coffee

Saturday, January 25th, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We’ll be brewing delicious French press coffee at the top of every hour for this event, and discussing everything you need to know about making perfect French press coffee. From what type of grind to use, to how long to let your coffee steep, we have you covered!

If you are in the area or plan on visiting soon, make sure to keep an eye on our calendar for more classes in the months to come. We would also love to hear your feedback on our classes. Is there something you want to learn about that we haven’t covered? Or a class you’d like to see featured again? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make it happen!

SCG | Bellevue – Retail Store Tour

SCG Bellevue Store MapThere’s nothing like a room full of shiny gadgets and an enviable selection of coffee devices to make us happy little clams. With the opening of our second retail store, we now have two places in the Seattle area within which we can commune with coffee gear! Who doesn’t love that?

While we’ve previously posted a few different ‘making of’ videos that show all the work Gail put into our new location in Bellevue, WA, it’s now time to show off the fruits of her labor. Check out this walkthrough of our store, all gussied up in preparation for our grand opening event.

Live in the Seattle area or are planning to visit? Please swing by our new store and check it out. We’d love to have you!

Hot Blog On Blog Action: Seeing Double

Hot Blog on Blog Action: Zoka Coffee Profile
Dana Foster (left) Celeste Clark (right)

Is two better than one? With the fast approaching opening date of our second retail store, we sure think so. All that is left to decide is: Should we clone Gail? This month’s Hot Blog on Blog Action covers this (our new store, not cloning Gail) and much more coffee & tea news that you may have missed from SCG.

Update: Seattle Coffee Gear to Open Bellevue Location  (via Seattle Magazine)
We are getting the word out. And the word is … A second retail location for Seattle Coffee Gear! Beginning on September 3rd, we launch our caffeinated invasion of Bellevue, Washington. Help us celebrate said invasion during our Grand Opening event on September 14th, during which we’ll have tastings, giveaways, prize drawings, discounts and more!

Interview: Coffee Pros Dana Foster + Celeste Clark (via Food GPS)
In this fun blog article, we interview the heart and soul of Zoka Coffee, Dana Foster, Director of Coffee, and Celeste Clark, Head Roaster. This dynamic coffee duo injects professionalism and compassion into a longstanding Seattle-favorite roastery.

Giving Used Espresso Machines a Second Life (via Ground to Ground)
From humble beginnings, refurbished coffee makers and espresso machines are given a new lease on life under the care of trained technicians. Read how the Refurb Crew reduces, reuses and recycles onsite at Seattle Coffee Gear.

A Tea Time Moment in the Office (via An International Tea Moment)
It takes all kinds! And for Brenna that means the chance to make tea she loves at home and at work. We don’t judge, especially when she makes delicious Rishi Tea for us, too!

If you want a daily dose, we spill the beans about new store opening events, a coffee comic strip, sharing latte art and other items of caffeinated interest on:

A Tea Lover in a Coffee World: Follow Up Field Trip to Cederberg Tea House

Cederberg Tea HouseIt’s not always easy being a tea drinker when you’re working in an office full of java aficionados. Don’t get me wrong; I love triple shot lattes just as much as the rest of the crew, but sometimes a cup of tea just sounds better. Whenever I brew up one of our delicious Rishi teas, I end up having to explain why I chose to indulge in tea rather than coffee. If only I could pretend to be drinking espresso while secretly sipping on a cup of tea!

Amazingly, I recently discovered that one of our customers has come up with a way to drink espresso without actually drinking coffee. How is this possible? Natasha Robson-Lovato and her mother, Cecile Robson, of Cederberg Tea House pull Rooibos tea espresso shots using a Nuova Simonelli Appia that they purchased from us. Once I heard about this fascinating technique, I had to experience it for myself. So now that their store has been open for a couple of weeks, I stopped by to pay them a visit.

The charming shop, which is located on Upper Queen Anne, is named after the region in South Africa where Rooibos Tea naturally grows. Upon entering the store you’ll notice the walls are covered in beautiful shots of South African scenery and animals, some of which Cecile took herself. You’ll find cozy couches as well as a number of tables and chairs that invite you to relax and chat. In fact, Natasha says that taking the tea tray out to customers, seeing their reaction to its attractive design and getting to talk with them are her favorite aspects of owning the store.

Speaking of the tea, I had to try it. I ordered a Rooibos tea latte, and Natasha prepared the drink by filling up the espresso machine’s portafilter with finely ground Rooibos tea, loading it into the espresso machine and pulling pressured hot water through it. The beauty of making drinks with tea rather than coffee is that there is no tamp, grind or timing to worry about, which is great for espresso newbies like myself. Natasha explained she can tell a shot is right when it has three layers — heart (a dark brown layer at the bottom), body (a medium tan layer in the middle) and crema (a creamy-yellow layer at top, just as you would find on a shot of coffee). The two shots of Rooibos espresso are then combined with steamed milk, then topped with a swirl of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

Of course, I couldn’t drink my latte without sampling at least one of the many tasty looking pastries displayed in their deli case. I asked Natasha which pastries were the most popular and she said the malva pudding (a pound cake, filled with apricot jam) and koeksisters (a braided donut covered in sweet syrup) were the most popular sweet treats, while the sausage rolls were the most popular savory. The shop also serves a couple of vegan goodies as well. While I didn’t sample them myself, I couldn’t help overhearing a fellow customer exclaiming how the pastries were so good that she wouldn’t have guessed they were vegan at all.

I ended up going with a sausage roll to accompany my Rooibos tea latte. Both the latte and the sausage were served to me a on a cute black and white tea tray, making me feel as though I was at teatime. The Rooibos tea latte, served in a clear glass so I could see all of its layers, was almost too pretty to drink. The honey and cinnamon on the top of the drink provided an added sweetness, which went well with the smooth, slightly sweet taste of the tea. The sausage roll was made up of spiced pork and beef sausage covered in puff pastry, also delicious.

Natasha, a former teacher, was inspired to open the shop so she could bring South African culture to Seattle and she clearly has succeeded. Cederberg is likely one of the only stores in United States where you can get a Rooibos tea latte made on an espresso machine, and the food she serves and the way it’s presented are unique as well. Even though the shop has just opened, they already experience a morning rush and another at teatime, not to mention a growing number of regulars. I know I’ll definitely be one of them!

SCG Customer Field Trip: Cederberg Tea House – Parts 1 & 2

Cederberg Tea House - SeattleOne of the coolest things we do here at SCG is help others get the equipment they need to start the businesses of their dreams. Recently, we headed out on a field trip to the labor of love of mother and daughter team Natasha and Cecile: The Cederberg Tea House, located in the heart of Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. With a unique rooibos tea latte preparation and delicious treats, these gals are focused on bringing a little bit of South African culture to damp Seattle.

Before they were fully open, we wanted to learn more about their experiences with starting their new business. What did they enjoy the most? What was the most difficult part of it? What do they know now that they wish they knew when they started out? Hear their story and watch Natasha craft us a delicious rooibos tea latte using a Nuova Simonelli Appia espresso machine.


Part One: Natasha and Cecile share their startup experiences


Part Two: Natasha makes us a rooibos tea latte

Workshops @ Seattle Coffee Gear: Camp-Friendly Gear – June 30th

Camp-Friendly GearLooking for some inspiration for your on-the-go java making this summer? Join us for an in-store workshop to learn more about some of our favorite camp-friendly gear, including:

What: Using coffee from Middle Fork Roasters, we’ll demonstrate a few coffee preparations, then you’ll have the chance to play with them yourself to determine the best setup for your needs
Where: Our retail store – 6911 216th St SW, Suite A, Lynnwood WA 98036
When: Sunday, June 30th, at 11:30am
Why: Because you love drinking coffee and want to do it while you’re hiking, camping or glamping
How: Let us know you’re coming by sending us an email or giving us a call at 866.372.4734

We’re also offering 15% off the featured products and 10% off the entire store to all workshop attendees on the day of the event. So come on by, try out some new gear and get a smokin’ deal! We look forward to brewing with you. :)

The Great Saeco Semi-Automatic Battle: Aroma vs. Venezia vs. Poemia

In search of a small single boiler espresso machine? Check out how these three models from Saeco stack up.

 

Machine

Saeco Aroma

Saeco Via Venezia

Saeco Poemia

Casing  Cased in a steel casing, this compact machine won’t take up too much space with it’s boxy figure. Internally you can call this bad boy and the Aroma twins, but externally it’s a little more of an upgrade. Cased in the same steel material, the Venezia’s curves do more of the talking.
Like triplets on the inside, it’s the Poemia that physically stands out from the rest of them by far. Modeled after the Saeco Xelsis and Exprelia, it has a compact metal and plastic casing.
Footprint 8.25″ W x 9.75″ D x 11.75″ H 9.63″ W x 11.5″ D x 13″ H
7″ W x 9.5″ D x 11.5″ H
Steam Wand Making life a little easier with the panarello wand, you’ll be able to get foamy milk in no time. However, this wand will only move left to right making it a little more difficult to fit bigger frothing pitchers underneath. With the ease to foam your milk into velvety goodness, this panarello wand gives you a little more clearance with your frothing pitcher. Its ability to swivel also makes for easier clean-up.
Taking a cue from its superautomatic cousins, the Poemia’s panarello wand has their design and will allow you to easily create milk with microfoam. However, like the Aroma, its right to left motion makes fitting larger frothing pitchers underneath more difficult.
Drip Tray This may be a little messier than most. But with a more compact machine comes smaller parts. You’ll find yourself having to lift the tray out of the casing to empty out a lot more often than not.
With more room and accessibility to slide the drip tray out when it’s time to empty, the Venezia gives you less of a mess. It also sports an accessory drawer underneath that is removable to provide more room for larger cups.
 Ridged (baffled) that will prevent messes and sloshing, you’ll find it easier to empty out your drip tray when it’s time, no matter how full it is.
Water Reservoir 80 oz.
98 oz. 34 oz.
Portafilter Equipped with a pressurized stainless steel with plastic cased portafilter, it will help you pull ideal shots no matter what grind you use. However, the quality of this portafilter is more basic than the sleek portafilter that comes with the Black Via Venezia. The Black Via Venezia comes with a sleek upgraded look to the heavy metal portafilter, however you’ll find the stainless steel version to have the same basic portafilter as the Aromas.
Functions as well as both the Aroma and Venezia portafilters, you’ll find that the quality of the Poemia is not as sturdy. Made of aluminum wrapped in a plastic case, it will still do the job.
Pods/Grounds Both Both Both