It’s that time again — you know, when the secrets of the universe are revealed and their influences on your java become clear. August’s Espresscopes are up over at Brown Bean , so check them out!
Libras have romance and love on their cosmic horizons — accented, of course, by sharing their equally passionate ardor for coffee — while Cancers need to slow down a bit and maybe take some time to enjoy a slow cold brewed coffee over ice.
What’s in store for your sign this month? Check out these caffeine-imbued predictions.
We can’t help but hear Technotronic’s Pump up the Jam whenever our eye falls on the Ascaso Duo Tronic, but we’re pretty sure we’re the only one who tortures themselves that way. Those without a disturbing relationship to late 80′s/early 90′s dance music would likely have no issue seeing this machine on their countertop in the morning, however.
It’s a pretty cool machine, too — a brew boiler, separate steam thermoblock and dual pumps means you can brew and steam at the same time. The Tronic also features programmable buttons, so you can set the water volume for your double and single shots. If you are a shot or Americano drinker only, you can turn off the thermoblock steam system, too, so you’re not wasting energy on a feature you won’t be using. A sturdy steel construction and low water cut off are nice features, as well.
The only item on our wishlist for this machine? A PID! You’re still dealing with a thermostat with a 15 – 20 degree variance on the machine’s brew boiler, so you will need to temperature surf before you pull your shots. But that’s a small price to pay for the improved performance of simultaneous steam and brew — a feature generally reserved for machines that are significantly more expensive. Sure, the thermoblock isn’t going to give you the same kind of power as a traditional heat exchange or double boiler machine that has a big, beefy steam boiler, but the machine’s price reflects that.
If you’ve been coveting this machine for awhile or are new to the market and looking for a good deal, this machine’s price has been knocked down by a couple hundred bucks through August 31st. Duo Tronics purchased between 7/28/10 and 8/31/10 are now just $999! This is a great price for this kind of functionality.
So, as with all things, take a moment to assess your budget and your needs: Yes, the higher end machines will perform better shot/steam wise than this machine, but they are also twice the price. You can get great results with the Duo Tronic, it just takes a little more skill, participation and, perhaps, a little booty shakin’ on your part, that’s all.
If you have a pretty penny to spend on your home espresso setup, or you’re looking for a light-duty commercial machine for your business, La Marzocco’s GS/3 is a single group wonder that’s definitely worth your consideration.
Featuring dual stainless steel boilers (3.5 liter steam and 1.5 liter brew), convertible water source options, mechanical paddle brew functionality and a PID interface, the GS/3 is known to offer some of the best temperature consistency on the market.
We love its powerful steam boiler — you can easily produce silky microfoam in what seems like seconds — and the pre-infusion control that the paddle gives you. It’s also got a monstrous drip tray (into which you can install a drain kit) and a unique bottom-access 3.5 liter internal water reservoir which makes refilling easy, regardless of your overhead cabinets. We do wish the casing design was a little less industrious looking and shinier — but that’s just us. And we realize that, at nearly $7k, this piece of equipment is really priced well outside many folks’ budgets.
Other than those two minor cons, there’s not much bad to say about this machine; if you’re serious about your espresso and can justify the investment, the GS/3 is one of the best options available and worth checking out.
Where do espresso machines and coffee makers go to die? Not in the landfill, if we can help it! At Seattle Coffee Gear, we launched a recycling program last year in an effort to keep as many fully assembled machines from landing in the trash. Many of these are pretty complex — they have circuit boards, electrical wiring and miscellaneous metals that are best kept out of our ground water supply.
Our partner in this venture is Uesugi USA, a Japanese company that (as luck would have it) have a US presence here in the Seattle-area. We pulled Henry into the mix and headed out to their facility to talk about what they do and see how they take these machines apart, break them down to their components and funnel them back into the commodity supply chain as cleanly as possible.
It’s that special time again — Grind Time(tm)! June’s edition of The Grind features a yummy sangria recipe, tips on backflushing, info on the Nespresso promo and specials on products.
Didn’t get this month’s missive but don’t want to be left out in the cold come July? Sign up here, sugar; we’re happy to add you to our list.
Adding to the laundry list of manufacturer repair certifications (such as Ascaso, Pasquini, Quick Mill, Rancilio, Rocket Espresso and Saeco), our techs can now take on your DeLonghi espresso machine and make it as good as new. Well, within reason, of course.
We’re now both a regional warranty repair center (for DeLonghi superautomatics) and certified for out-of-warranty repairs on superautomatics, semi-automatics and coffee makers. While we doubt anyone will be bringing in their $50 drip maker for repair (given the average parts/labor would be around $50), we’re really excited to have easy access to parts so that we can help folks get a little longer life out of their machines.
If you own a DeLonghi superautomatic that is still under warranty, you would continue to contact them directly for warranty support; they will direct you to our repair center if we’re the regionally closest option available. If your machine is outside of warranty and it needs repair, however, feel free to contact us and we can setup a Repair Authorization number for you to send it in to the repair center for a free diagnosis and estimate.
You have been patiently waiting, missing, pining for and wondering where on earth they could be. Really, how could you be expected to make a better cup of coffee at home without the insight of your friendly javastrologer? It’s not natural.
After a two-month hiatus, the Espresscopes over at Brown Bean are back in action! Aquarians corner the market in easy perfection this month, while Leos should probably chill down a bit and just simply enjoy their lovely cup. Check them out to learn more caffeine-imbued cosmic predictions.
It’s that time again — that very special time. Oh, you know you like it.
This month’s Grind hit the streets just moments ago, featuring information on panarellos, all of our videos we posted over the last month, a tasty Karaoke-influenced lemonade recipe and info on our recent HQ move. Check it out — oh, and if you want a special coupon in your inbox each month, you’ll need to subscribe for future editions.
No, there weren’t any wrestlers present, but there was a high concentration of coffee related ninjas on the floor. Last week, we were lucky enough to head down to Anaheim, CA, for the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Main Event, which is a specialty coffee industry educational and trade show that covers everything from coffee growers to roasters to equipment suppliers to mad skilled baristas. This year, it also hosted the United States Barista Championship — with Mike Phillips of Intelligentsia defending and re-securing his title. He’ll be heading out to compete with the rest of the national barista champs from around the world at the SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) event this summer in the UK.
But back to the show. We attended a few different lectures, talked with many of our vendors on the trade show floor, watched Midwest Barista Champ Mike Marquard compete in the USBC semi-finals and even headed to a little partay that Intelligentsia, La Marzocco and Espressi (makers of the MyPressi TWIST) were throwing at Intelligentsia’s roastery in L.A. Yes, Grammy got her groove on.
In this video, Gail talks to us about what she learned from the lectures we attended, discusses some new products we saw and even shares with us her new love for TWIST-inspired cocktails.
For Richard Branson, an essential criteria for his business success, his compass, is the idea of ‘fun’. He has infused it into all the brands he has founded, promoted and seen flourish — and it’s arguable that the simplicity of the idea in and of itself is what has made the brands he’s launched gain traction and longevity in their respective markets. Sure, when we get too complicated, we lose sight of what we’re trying to achieve and run the risk of confusing the people with whom we’re trying to communicate.
While we absolutely cherish and extol the virtues of fun, when we thought about boiling down what we do at Seattle Coffee Gear to one simple, essential idea, we settled on another word: Knowledge. It’s in this blog we write, in the videos we produce, in our product descriptions, in the customer service we give on the phone and in the store — we have even dedicated a whole website to providing resources and knowledge to folks as they navigate the sometimes far-too-complex world of choosing their coffee related gear. While we have fun with this and it’s important to us to communicate the elemental joy to be found in the experimentation with, creation and drinking of coffee, teaching people, being honest and giving them the information they need to make the right choice for them is our ultimate ideal.
From a pure data perspective, this industry is really young in the United States: In Europe, the average household spends around $800 on their home coffee machine, while we spend an average of $80 in the US — obviously, there is significant room for growth and a big part of that growth is education. One of the most common refrains we hear from customers is that they want simple and concrete information, they’re confused by all the options, which is the best choice, etc. What these people are looking for is honesty, facts, advice and candid experience.
And that’s what we give them. But that’s not always perceived as a positive move in our industry.