Category Archives: Reviews

Crew Review: MiiR Travel Tumbler

Ok, I will be honest with you. I like to drink my coffee in a mug, a nice and heavy mug. Miir Travel Tumbler

I’m going to keep on being honest with you, those big heavy mugs are more trouble than they are worth when I am on the go. Trust me when I say I’ve tried and failed. I can no longer come into work with coffee stained pants, I would never hear the end of it from my co-workers.

Although I have had to put my coffee mugs away, I have found a replacement that I am quite enjoying. Let me introduce to you the MiiR Travel Tumbler. Aside from the awesome name, these tumblers have some great features. The most important factor to me is the double wall design. One of the reasons I love my big and heavy mugs is because of there ability to keep my drink hot! And the double wall on the MiiR Travel Tumbler does the same thing (and probably better, if I am keeping honest with you). The lid on these travel tumblers are great at keeping the coffee in the cup and not on my pants. However, the lid does not have a closing function on the drink hole. So you wont be able to be doing any backflips with this in hand. Although I suppose if you were able to flip fast enough the centripetal force would hold the coffee in its place, but I digress.

The MiiR Travel Tumblers come in a variety of colors, 6 to be exact. And if you want you can even get the stainless steel tumbler with the Seattle Coffee Gear logo on it, like all the cool kids are doing.

What really makes these travel tumblers stand out is the story behind MiiR’s one4one initiative to bring clean well water to people around the world. With every tumbler sold MiiR helps someone in need get access to fresh drinking water. MiiR is a great Seattle-based company and the MiiR Travel Tumbler is an all-around staff favorite. You like Fair Trade coffee? Great! Grab a tumbler that does good too.

Watch the video below to hear what Gail thinks about these tumblers in this Crew Review. And if you want, head over to our YouTube channel and check out what else Gail has been reviewing. She has been very busy!

 

Crew Review: Acaia Pearl Scale

acaia pearl scaleI’m not sure about you but I use my smartphone to do just about everything. Gone are the days of simple arithmetic in my head, there is an app for that. There is also an app for controlling my wireless speakers, my lights, my thermostat, even when the cat gets fed. Can you see where this is going?!

Well now we can officially say it, gone are the days of the simple scale. Good riddance! The coolest new gadget on the block happens to be the Acaia Pearl Scale. It does everything you would want a modern scale to do, you know, like weigh beans down to a 10th of a gram. It is also super quick, giving you a read out in 20 milliseconds! That’s literally faster than a blink of an eye (by about 80ms no doubt). And of course it has a built-in timer!

But what really makes this scale special is its connectivity with the free app from Acaia. The app gives you a brewing timer, ratio calculator and a place to put all your coffee notes right at the tip of your fingertips. In addition to those features the app also contains some awesome visualization tools to analyze your brews. Nerdy? We think not!

What really makes this scale complete is the sleek design, reminiscent of a particular tech company that we have all grown to love. Am iRight?? Ok, clearly I’ve had too much coffee today. But brewing with this scale is just too much fun! Take a look at the Crew Review below. Gail and Miranda had a good time playing with all the features of the Acaia Pearl Scale as well.

Don’t forget to head over to our YouTube channel if you want to see more Crew Reviews or have a burning question to Ask Gail.

Crew Review: Rip van Wafels

Rip van WafelsIt’s coffee break time and I’m feeling a bit hungry. I could either eat yet another donut or I could open up a Rip van Wafel. What’s a Rip van Wafel you ask? Well it’s only the tastiest thing you can eat during your coffee break that will also start some chatter around the proverbial water cooler. This tasty item is both an experience and a snack.

It all starts with a piping hot cup of coffee. Before you even attempt a sip you place one of these Rip van Wafels on top of your cup, which is conveniently the perfect size and shape for your standard coffee cup. As your coffee cools down to a temperature that won’t burn your tongue the Rip van Wafel is getting all soft and gooey. Slowly you will see the middle of the Wafel sag, and that is when you know it’s ready to enjoy.

The texture is one of the better things in life. Soft and chewy. The flavor has notes of cinnamon and caramel, the perfect accompaniment for a cup of joe (as I am sure you know). Check out the video below and be sure to head over to our YouTube channel for more product reviews and general coffee goodness!

Crew Review: Coffee Grinder Comparison

Coffee Grinder ComparisonGrinders, grinders, grinders! So many coffee grinders, but which to choose? Well, we asked Gail if she would be so kind and review a few side by side. We decided the best place to start would be taking some grinders that are all in the same price range and see how they match up. In this coffee grinder comparison we took a closer look at the Rancillio Rocky, the Baratza Virtuoso, the Baratza Preciso and the latest from Breville- the Smart Grinder Pro.

We were very pleased with the quality of all 4 coffee grinders. Hands down the construction of all 4 was nothing short of excellent. They all had a nice design and produced a good quality grind. Gail took each grinder down to it’s finest setting to see which would take the cake. In results we got, it was clear that the Rocky Rancillio will give you the finest grind. So, if you are looking for a grind that feels like a fine talc powder, you will want to go with the Rocky Rancillio. The other three grinders all delivered a grind that was consistent and worthy of espresso.

We also took a closer look into the burrs of each grinder. The Baratza Virtuoso and the Baratza Preciso both have 40mm stainless steel conical burrs. The Rocky Rancillio has 50mm steel flat burrs and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro has stainless steel conical burrs. We are in the process of finding out the exact size of the burrs on the new Breville machine (yes, it is that new!).

Overall each grinder will get the job done, but some are better suited for different environments. Watch this Coffee Grinder Comparison Crew Review to see them side by side and for Gail’s take on where each will be best suited!

Crew Review: notNeutral Ciclone Tumblers

notNeutral Ciclone TumblersDouble walled items seem to be hot right now (but not to the touch!). The latest product that takes advantage of this design are the notNeutral Ciclone Tumblers. A double wall is excellent for hot or cold liquids because it helps keep the heat (or lack thereof) where it belongs.

The notNeutral Ciclone Tumblers come in three sizes: 2.5 oz, 6 oz and 10 oz. We love the 10 oz. option for iced coffees (its almost summertime!). The double wall design is great for iced coffees because it eliminates the inevitable sweating glass! Each tumbler is hand blown from borosilicate glass (which is a great conversation piece), but be aware there may be slight variations from cup to cup. Borosilicate is a laboratory grade glass that is both heat and scratch resistant, so feel free to put these babies in the dishwasher!

We are really happy with these tumblers. The design fits nicely in your hand and makes a great addition to our ever growing collection. Watch the Crew Review video below and then head over to our YouTube channel to see what else Gail has been playing around with!

 

 

Crew Review: Hario Olive Wood Coffee Press

hario olive wood coffee pressWe love new things! This time it’s a new product from Hario. Building on the classic french press, Hario has really created something special. The Hario Olive Wood Double Walled Coffee Press is a new favorite of ours. While the 14oz won’t supply enough liquid gold for a crowd, it will easily satisfy a few.

One of our favorite things about this new product is the style. It’s contemporary design is complete with a removable (for easy cleaning) olive wood handle and leather strap. We know looks aren’t everything, but it truly looks great out on the counter. The design also includes (as the name suggests) a double wall which helps keep the heat where it belongs, in your brew! Another awesome feature worth mentioning is the mesh filter at the end of the plunger. It’s finer than you would typically find on a french press, which means less coffee silt in your cup. Yes please!

We asked Gail to give us a full Crew Review of the Hario Olive Wood Coffee Press. Watch the video below to see her brew a pot and give you the full scoop!

 

 

Crew Review: Acme Cups

Acme Cappuccino CupPicture yourself sitting outside a bustling cafe enjoying a delicious cappuccino in the morning sun. Maybe you are noshing on a crisp biscotti while solving the crossword puzzle. Is the mood set? Now look closer at the image in your mind. What are you holding? If the cup feels sturdy and proudly displays the beverage held inside, chances are, you are holding an Acme cup.

Acme cups were originally designed for heavy use in cafes (much like the one you are sitting outside of now). Made from thick ceramic, all the cups in the Acme line up are built to last. They also keep your coffee hotter longer because of the sheer thermal mass, and that makes for a great drink! The Acme cups come in 4 sizes: the demitasse, the tulip, the cappuccino and the latte. We carry multiple colors and even have a saucer option if you so choose.

Here we are going on and on about awesome cups again. Watch the Crew Review below to see what Gail really thinks about these Acme cups and be sure to head over to our YouTube channel for more videos!

     

 

 

 

Crew Review: Saeco Gran Baristo Update

Saeco Gran Baristo In case you didn’t already know, we love our Saeco Gran Baristo with Removable Bean Container. In fact, we love it so much that we made an updated Crew Review just for kicks! Well, we actually wanted to showcase this machine again because we found the more we used it the better our experience was.

What are some of our favorite features of this machine you ask? Well the first one is in the name, “removable bean container”! This comes in handy if you find yourself with a couple types of coffee just waiting to be brewed. Perhaps something different for the evening? We also love the programmable user profiles. Since everybody likes their coffee a particular way, the Saeco Gran Baristo makes it easy for up to 6 different users to customize and save their drink preferences. Another feature that really rocks our world is the adjustable spout. You are able to adjust the spout so you can have up to 6.5 inches of cup clearance. Quad-shot cappuccino anyone?

We did few tests as well to see just how well the Saeco Gran Baristo functions in real world environments. The results of our temperature tests are as follows:

  • Espresso – During testing we were able to get both of these drinks up to 171°F on more than one occasion.
  • Milk – After three rounds of automatic milk frothing we were able to get the temperature to 144°F.
  • Hot Water – The hot water generally stayed around the 160°F mark.

We give this machine a thumbs up for functionality, performance, and quality of the drinks it makes. Watch the updated Crew Review below and then head over to our YouTube channel to see what else Gail has been up too.

 

 

Crew Review: Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle

Bonavita Variable Temperature KettleIf you are at all like us, you may have at one point found yourself lying awake at night in preparation for your morning pour over. Reliving past cups of coffee, looking for moments in your technique that you could improve so that the next one, would be the perfect one. As you might be able to tell, we don’t always get much sleep.

Well, we have good news for you! Bonavita has cured all our sleepless nights. The Bonavita Gooseneck Kettle is the must have for all pour over enthusiasts and insomniacs alike. It has a sleek design, the control that goosenecks are known for and the ability to set your water to any temperature you would like.

Oh, and did we mention it also has a timer built right in? Don’t just take our word for it, but you should listen to Gail. Watch the video below as she walks you through the features of this amazing machine in this brand new Crew Review.

And remember, a solid nights sleep is just a pour over away.

 

Crew Review: Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrade

Saeco BottomlessSaeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter UpgradeOftentimes when we find an espresso machine or coffee maker that allows us to make a cup of coffee exactly the way we like it, we use the machine until it no longer works for us. Only then do we then consider upgrading to a different model. However, that is not to say we won’t improve upon the machine while it’s still in our hot little hands when given the chance. Not only does this make the coffee the machine produces better, but it also might allow us to hang on to the espresso machine a little while longer. Luckily, we were afforded this opportunity with a few of our tried and true espresso makers and were able to create a Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrade that will work on machines like the Via Venezia and Aroma.

We were really excited that we here at Seattle Coffee Gear were able to develop an upgrade (that’s right you won’t find them anywhere else) for some of our favorite Saeco machines. The nice thing about this upgrade is that since the Aroma and Via Venezia already come with a pressurized portafilter, adding a non-pressurized portafilter increases the functionality of this machine. With the pressurized portafilter that comes with these machines you have the ability to use pre-ground in your machine, as the portafilter will compensate for the grind not being perfect. This will be your easy-peasy approach with no tamping necessary. In addition, with the non-pressurized portafilter you now also have the ability to get in touch with the barista side of your coffee experience and play around with the grind and flavors of coffee, which can be the most enjoyable part of espresso.

What is even better is we didn’t just create one non-pressurized portafilter upgrade for these machines; we created two. In addition to the standard Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrade, we also created a Bottomless Portafilter Upgrade for Saeco Machines as well. The bottomless portafilter is truly a great teaching tool, as you see your shot as it comes out of the portafilter. If you have done everything correctly, you will see your coffee first start to dispense around the edges of the portafilter, then form into a cone in the middle. On the other hand, if your coffee starts coming out on the side, or does anything else, that means you have fractures or channeling in your puck. All is not lost if this happens, part of the learning process is trying again and seeing if you can adjust your technique to get a better shot the next time around.

To use these Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrades on your machine, all you have to do is pop out the basket from your pressurized portafilter and put into one of the non-pressurized portafilters and you are good to go. Keep in mind that when you use these non-pressurized portafilters you have to be really in tune with the grind of the coffee. As such, you will want to a get good grinder and 53 mm tamper to complete your setup, which you can do fairly inexpensively. Ultimately, adding a non-pressurized portafilter to your Saeco setup is a great option if you are interested in upgrading to a fancier semi-auto and want to see what you are getting into. Or, perhaps you are enjoying your Aroma or Via Venezia but want to start trying to make the same drinks your favorite barista has been making at your local coffee stand. Speaking of brewing like a pro, check out as Gail shows off her barista skills while she and Brendan explore all the options these non-pressurized portafilters provide.