Category Archives: Recipes

For the Love of Coffee

Roasted coffee beans in the shape of the heart on white backgrouValentine’s Day: a holiday to celebrate the one who is near and dear to your heart, the one that is always there when you get up in the morning, the one who motivates you throughout the day and the one who will help keep you from falling asleep when you have a late night project  – coffee!!

What better day than Valentine’s Day to explore your passion for all things coffee? Of course, it might be nice to share your love of coffee with those who are important to you too. If you don’t know where to start or are having a hard time coming up with something to do, here are a couple of tips to help you out.

Bypass the Crowds

One of the things that people dread about Valentine’s Day is having to wait hours to get into their favorite restaurant (yes, it can happen even if you have a reservation). However, if you plan a coffee based date, you can skip the wait and spend the day as you please. Instead of doing dinner, try grabbing breakfast or brunch instead, that way you can start to your day by bonding over a cup of delicious coffee or espresso.

If you’re the type of person who likes to be on the move, you can also get your drinks (and snacks!) to go and take them to your favorite park or location in the city for a private picnic. In fact, many cities and towns have “secret” gardens or hideaways that only those in the know are aware of, which can be dug up with a little online research. Checking one of these places out is a great way to surprise your other half, and you will learn something new about your city.

Another option is to head out to your favorite café for dessert – after all, today is one of the few days where you have an excuse to eat copious amounts of chocolate and nothing goes better with chocolate than coffee. While drinking coffee at night may sound counter intuitive, there are an amazing number of coffee shops that are open late just for these types of occasions. Some cafes even sell drinks that are spiked with vodka or a variety of liquors so you can get your party started.

Brew Up a Heart Throb Latte

If you want to avoid going out all together today, you can always make your coffee or espresso at home. Surprise your sweetie with a latte in bed or brew up some tasty after dinner coffee. If you really want to go all out, try whipping up the “Heart Throb Latte,” a special drink that our Bellevue Store Manager, Rachel, created for Valentine’s Day. The recipe is actually pretty simple and the drink tastes just like a raspberry truffle – yum!



Combine the sauce and syrup together in a cup and then pull the espresso shots directly into the cup and mix well. Add the steamed milk to taste. If you’ve gotten your latte art making skills perfected, now is the chance to show them off by creating a heart-shaped design on top of the drink.

Share the Love

CoffeeLoveSharing is caring and our treat to you is to share our coffee knowledge thorough our  classes. They may even be a good date for fellow coffee and tea aficionados; after all, sometimes the best gifts are free.

Have you always wanted to be able to create beautiful hearts in your lattes but have not been quite sure how to make them? Then make sure to sign up for our Latte Art class in March, where you will learn how to make hearts and other designs. Come next Valentine’s Day, you’ll be able to surprise your sweetie with heart in their morning latte.

Most people use this day to shower their significant others, friends, family and even pets with affection, but don’t forget that machines need love too! After all, your espresso machine makes you tasty espresso drinks day after day, morning, noon and night with nary a complaint (well, it shouldn’t be complaining, and if it is, all the more reason to keep reading). However, just like any other relationship, the one with your espresso machine is improved with maintenance. So why not make a date to take your machine to one of our maintenance classes and give it a little extra TLC? At this event our Service Writer will teach you how to perform routine maintenance on your semi- or superautomatic machine, which will prolong it’s life and improve your espresso. Space is limited in all of these classes so, if you’re interested, make sure to get in touch with us and sign up.

Don’t Forget Your Friends

Doing something nice for someone doesn’t have to be reserved just for significant others. It’s great to also acknowledge those people who you see on a day-to-day basis or have known your whole life but don’t always have the opportunity to thank (or show your appreciation for all that they do for you). So pick up morning or afternoon coffee for your co-workers and neighbors, or even make it for them yourself. If you have friends or family members that live out of town, send them a letter, a gift card or even call them. While all of these things sound simple, just knowing that you care and took the time to think of them will brighten their day.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Shortbread

espresso shortbreadPerk up your afternoon coffee or tea break with this espresso shortbread recipe. These cookies have espresso mixed into the dough and a layer of espresso on the bottom, so they are sure to give you a buzz that will get you through the rest of the day. The fact that they only require a couple of common ingredients and their short baking time make them easy to whip in a pinch (or whenever you are need of a extra jolt of caffeine).

To learn how to make them yourself, watch Brandi create this surprise recipe under Bunny’s direction.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Shortbread


  • 1 ½ sticks of butter
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of espresso powder (for convenience sake we used a finely ground espresso blend).
  • ¼ cup of espresso beans, roughly ground (French press grade grind)


  1. Preheat your oven 350F.
  2. Cream 1 ½ sticks of room temperature butter and ½ a cup of sugar, until  the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds.
  4. Add 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour and 1 ½ teaspoons of espresso powder and mix until smooth (about one minute).
  5. Spray a 9×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  6. Scatter the ground espresso evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  7. Gently press the dough into the espresso covered pan.
  8. Place pan on the top oven rack and bake until the shortbread is set, about 18-20 minutes.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Spicy Mocha Recipe

Spicy MochaWhen we found a recipe for a mocha that contained not one, but three of our favorite ingredients (chocolate, cinnamon and chilies) we had to try it. The cinnamon and hot chilies definitely provide this mocha with some extra heat, so it is sure to keep you warm on cold winter nights.

The cool thing about this recipe is that, unlike the other mocha recipes we’ve done, you don’t need an espresso machine to make it. We did use a machine to pull the shots for the three cups of espresso required for the recipe but, since the milk is being heated on the stove, you could just as easily produce the espresso using a stovetop or other brew methods that don’t have a steam function. It’s like “making a mocha the way your grandmother used to,” but with a little more of a kick when it comes to the taste. To learn how to make this recipe yourself, watch Brandi flex her cooking muscles and whip up this tasty drink.


Brewin’ with Brandi: Spicy Mocha Recipe


  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3 small dried red chilies
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cups of espresso
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream


  1. Start by combining the milk, cinnamon sticks and chilies in a large sauce pan.
  2. Turn the stove to high and heat until the mixture reaches a simmering point. Make sure to stir constantly to avoid scorching.
  3. Once the milk mixture reaches a simmer, remove from heat and cover and let steep for 15 minutes.
  4. After steeping, stir in the powdered sugar, 1 ½ cups of white sugar, 3 cups of espresso and 1 cup of cocoa powder (reserve ¼ cup for later).
  5. Return mixture to the burner and bring to a simmer again.
  6. While the mocha mixture is simmering, mix the heaving whipping cream and remaining ¼ cup of cocoa powder, and whisk until stiff to create a whipped cream topping.  Set aside.
  7. Once the mocha mixture has reached a simmer, remove the cinnamon sticks and the chilies.
  8. Ladle the mocha into cups and top with a dollop or two of the whipped cream blend. Enjoy!

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Whipped Cream

Espresso Whipped Cream RecipeSometimes, simple is better; but other times, souping up simple is even better. Take this espresso whipped cream recipe, for example: With the minor addition of finely ground coffee to a fairly standard whipped cream recipe, you produce something that is altogether more sophisticated and refined.

This delectable topping could proudly accent a gourmet coffee brew or molten chocolate cake; heck, it could even stand on its own, chilled in a decorative serving glass. And if you don’t have Brandi’s rockin’ biceps to work it out with a standard whisk, you can whip it up using an electronic mixer when you’re not even in the room! What could be more simple?

Watch her show us how it’s done in this fun recipe how-to video.

Recipe: Espresso Whipped Cream


  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons golden brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground coffee – we used Velton’s Twilight


In a medium bowl, beat all the ingredients until it forms soft peaks. Can be prepared up to 4 hours in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator if needed.


Brewin’ with Brandi: Happy New Year Boozy Shakes!

Happy New Year 2014!In preparation for tonight’s festivities, here’s a special episode of Brewin’ with Brandi — Happy New Year Edition!

Many of you will be rockin’ the bubbly when the clock hits midnight, but there’s plenty of time to get in some yummy drinks beforehand. For example: Breakfast. If you had a little pre-funk last night and need a good way to alleviate the boozy shakes, or are looking to set yourself up for a remedy tomorrow morning, then this boozy shake is just for you. With coffee, liquor, liqueur and chocolate ice cream, it’s certain to be a party favorite.

Watch Brandi whip up a batch for us to enjoy.

Recipe: Boozy Shake


  • 1/2 cup Irish whiskey
  • 2 cups chocolate ice cream
  • 1/2 cup chilled coffee
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur
  • 1 cup of ice (more or less)


Place all of the ingredients (or half or the ingredients) into the blender and turn it on high speed. If you have a ‘pulse’ feature you can use it to hear if your ice cream/ice cubes are well blended. Serve up to yourself and three of your favorite people.

Happy New Year!

Brewin’ with Brandi: Winter Magic Coffee a la Jura GIGA 5

Jura GIGA 5This summer, we started filming Brandi as she tried out the rather unique drinks included in the Barista menu of the ultra-sophisticated Jura GIGA 5. From pepper-infused espresso to a souped-up latte macchiato, sampling these recipes was quite an adventure.

At long last, we’ve reached the end of the menu, topping it off with an interesting gem called Winter Magic Coffee. With ingredients such as chocolate hazelnut spread and ground ginger, we weren’t quite sure what to think. But we took it on anyway and were pleasantly surprised.

Like many of the drinks incorporated into the Jura GIGA 5’s Barista menu, it is an interesting answer to a question we had never even thought to pose: Will ginger and cardamom meld well with the flavor of espresso? Watch as Brandi rocks it out, again, and then both she and Gail give their feedback on the flava!

Recipe: Winter Magic Coffee a la Jura GIGA 5

If this drink intrigues you and you don’t happen to have a GIGA 5 at your disposal, here’s the recipe:


  • 1 teaspoon chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom
  • 1.5 oz of espresso
  • steamed milk to taste


  1. In your serving mug, combine the chocolate, honey, ginger and cardamom together, then stir well until smooth.
  2. Add the espresso and again stir until everything is well incorporated.
  3. Top with steamed milk to taste and serve!

What’s Your Signature Espresso Drink? Episode Two: The Puristas

Purista Blog - Coffee RoasterWe talk a lot about coffee experimentation here at SCG. The great thing about being a coffee lover is that there is always something new to learn. Heck, we will try any espresso drink and any coffee brewing method at least once and we love to share our knowledge.

Recently, we met a couple who have taken our raison d’être ‘How do you make great coffee at home?’ to new heights of exploration. They have even started to roast their own coffee beans at home! When passion and inquisitive minds collide … meet the bloggers behind Purista.

Home Roasters

David and Mae have a beautiful coffee review blog. In researching their coffee reviews they found ‘one green coffee can become any multitude of different roasts.’ Many coffee lovers would simply compare these final roasts but David and Mae were intrigued by the whole process. ‘In order to more fully explore coffee, and to provide ourselves with even more education and understanding, we decided to begin roasting coffee at home. We are still in the early stages of our roasting setup, and are learning new things with every roast.’

Ethiopia Aramo

David and Mae’s Recipe for Success

‘We recently adopted a back-to-basics mentality with our roasting. Per the suggestion of a member of the Sweet Maria’s coffee roasting community, we now roast in the following manner:

  • Turn on the roaster
  • Add just enough coffee to stop the rotation of the mass of coffee
  • Watch. Smell. Listen.

This has already proven so much better than how we were doing it before. Our roasts are now closer to seven minutes, rather than the four minutes we were getting before for the same roast level. This translates to a more developed profile — more complex aromas, flavors, finish.’

Signature Drink: Pomegranate Molasses Affogato

Here is the background and step by step recipe with pictures from David and Mae for this luscious and festive holiday treat. The volume yields 4 drinks total.

‘We wanted to create a signature drink that embodies the season, but keeps our Purista ideals in tact. What we mean by that is that we want the coffee to be the focal point and any additions secondary and complementary. Since we’re also proponents for taking the time to make something well, the recipe involves a bit of work.
Pomegranate Molasses Affogato


  • 1 pint Vanilla ice cream; chocolate ice cream would be a solid choice as well
  • 4 double shots Espresso
  • 8 oz 100% Pomegranate juice (POM makes a bottle just the right size)
  • 1 tbsp Agave sweetener (you can use cane sugar or honey instead)


We’ll walk you through the pomegranate molasses reduction before the assembly of the drinks. This takes some time, and attentiveness, but you can make it ahead of time and store it in a container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the pomegranate juice and agave sweetener and reduce on a medium-low heat. The liquid should simmer within about ten minutes. After ten minutes check it about every four minutes. In twenty eight to thirty minutes, the liquid should have reduced by more than half and coat a spoon ever so slightly, like syrup, when stirred. Don’t let it get too thick, as it will thicken a bit more as it cools, and for this drink we want it to be about the same consistency as the espresso.
  2. Remove from heat and let it cool about five minutes before pouring it into a suitable container. If you’re doing it ahead of time you can just put it in the refrigerator. If you need to use it relatively soon, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.

And now it’s time for assembly …

Pomegranate Molasses Affogato

  1. Place 1/2 cup ice cream into 4 small cups or bowls. For reference, our INKER cups are 6 ounces. Place in the freezer until the espresso is prepared.
  2. Pull a double shot of espresso for each serving.
  3. Take the ice cream out of the freezer and pour a fresh double shot over each serving, followed by a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses.

Note the way that the syrup and espresso seamlessly blend together in texture. Then take note of the tartly sweet play on the coffee’s own acidity accentuated and complemented by the pomegranate. The ice cream is just a carrier vessel, and a balancing component that tames the intense flavors just enough, and shocks the coffee into a submissive temperature. This is our treat of the season, and since we can’t have you in our own living room, we send this decadence off to yours. Happy holidays!’

Many thanks to David and Mae. If you would like to share the recipe for your signature drink, send us an email!

Brewin’ with Brandi: Mrs. Claus’ Brewed Coffee Recipe

Mrs. Claus' Brew - Coffee Recipe When you have to stay up all night to deliver goodies around the globe, you need a sufficient amount of caffeine to stay legit. After all, you don’t want to run that sleigh off the road, do you? Or deliver an arsenal of presents to a small child who was naughty, and a trove of coal to another who was nice? No way! You want to stay alert and on point.

This is where a magical elixir that combines the energy-enhancing properties of both caffeine and sugar comes in. Yes, you could stick with a classic espresso shot or thermos of freshly brewed drip coffee, but why not put a little cheer in your cheer? With an infusion of spice in the form of Monin’s Chai Tea Concentrate and Gingerbread syrups, balanced by a little cream, this coffee recipe takes a simple pot of java and elevates it to something altogether more festive.

And even if you’re not traveling around the world delivering goodies near and far, you may still find this brew will properly motivate you through a long night of seemingly endless dollhouse construction and bicycle wrapping. Watch Brandi brew up a batch!

Recipe: Mrs. Claus’ Brewed Coffee Recipe

Brewin’ with Brandi: Coffee Fruitcake

Coffee Fruitcake RecipeThere are a few different theories on why fruitcakes in the US have become a point of humor and derision. Some equate their density to a doorstop, others find their sometimes-odd assortment of dried fruits to be cloyingly sweet. But not all fruitcake recipes should be given such short shrift! Brandi’s coffee fruitcake, for example, infuses a fairly standard cake batter with delicious java and simple dried currents. The key is to bake it low and slow, producing a dense and delectable dessert that would only be made more delicious by an accompaniment of even more coffee … of course.

Watch as she crafts this cake at the direction of a heckling camerawoman!

Recipe: Coffee Fruitcake


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee — at room temperature
  • 1 box dried currants


  1. Put the oven rack in the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 250F. Prepare loaf pan by lightly greasing with butter or oil.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, cloves, nutmeg and baking soda.
  3. In another large bowl, beat butter an sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and molasses to the butter and sugar, then incorporate well.
  5. Add the coffee and beat until well-blended.
  6. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth.
  7. Fold the dried fruit into the batter.
  8. Fill the loaf pans and then bake for about 2 3/4 hours, until a skewer comes out cleanly. Your cake may sink slightly in the center after cooling.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Spiced Pear Sorbet

Spiced Pear SorbetOne of our favorite desserts during the holiday season is created by slowly poaching pears in red wine and a mix of mulling spices like cinnamon and clove. When we were learning how to use Breville’s Smart Scoop ice cream maker, we found a recipe that sounded quite delicious in their user manual — a vanilla and pear sorbet — so we decided to experiment  with it! Instead of using simple syrup and vanilla extract, we used Monin’s Pure Cane Sugar, Vanilla and Cinnamon syrups to see if we could create a frozen treat that shared some of the delectable properties of our poached pear recipe.

The resulting Spiced Pear Sorbet was something that was altogether more refined and elegant! We think it would be exceptional when paired with an aged port. And while the recipe calls for canned pears, you could easily use fresh ones if you have access to them, you’ll just need to tweak the sweetener and possibly add a little liquid to make up for not having the canned pear juice.

Watch as Brandi preps it up and then lets the Smart Scoop do the heavy lifting!

Recipe: Spiced Pear Sorbet



  1. Combine syrups, lemon juice and the liquid from one can of pears in the ice cream maker’s mixing container.
  2. In a blender, puree the pears from both cans with 1/2 the juice of the remaining can and the egg white.
  3. Pour the puree into the mixing container.
  4. Set ice cream maker to Sorbet and begin the churn. This takes about 1 1/4 hours.
  5. Once it has reached your preferred consistency, remove and transfer to serving bowls. It can also be kept in the freezer for up to a week.