Category Archives: Reviews

Crew Review: Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino

The Intelia—part two? That’s right, folks! It’s the newest addition to the line: the Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino Espresso Machine. Not to be confused with the Saeco Intelia One Touch Cappuccino, the previous model, the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino is an upgraded coffee-making machine with more programmable options and updated style. Check out our video Crew Review below and tell us what you think of the new Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino in the comments below!

How Does It Compare?

The biggest difference you’ll notice in the new model is the features. Sure they look the same (with some minor flashy additions) but the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino features new intuitive buttons such as the carafe quick clean and “OK” button or aka the “Aroma Strength” button. The menu is considerably cleaned up and the word-choice is far more obvious than the previous model. These additions made navigating the interface a snap and while we’re talking about snappy, could we get coffee any quicker? In 33 seconds we had the machine warmed up and ready to brew espresso. The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino has all the improvements you’d expect from Saeco and more.

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Shot

This guy’s a hot shot—literally. We were impressed by the temperature of our shot and how much customization you could do with the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino. Each button can be double tapped for twice the volume and it’s easy to adjust the temperature and volume of your cup. And you set your customized cup at any time by pressing the button again. If you’re looking for a robust cup, the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino’s got you covered. It has five dosage levels and 10 grinder settings to make your taste buds holler. 

Looking for a special cup of joe? The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino isn’t called that for nothing—order the Baby Cappuccino for a pint-size cup that’ll complement a mid-afternoon caffeine craving (this guy is located in the specialty menu). Of course, if you’re ready for some shut-eye and caffeine is the last thing you need, use the bypass doser for your decaffeinated beans.

Steam

Piping hot milk is exactly what you need with you hot shot. The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino has a milk carafe on the side ready to disperse hot, foamy milk into your latte or cappuccino. There is no other option to add a manual-type steam wand, so you’ll need to be satisfied with the carafe controlling the milk for you. No need to worry about the milk chilling your drink, though. We found the milk temperature to be hot enough to complement the espresso without degrading the milk’s flavor. Customize the amount of steamy, creamy goodness in your cappuccino by simply pressing the “OK” button indicated on the digital display.

When it comes to foam, though, what you see is what you get. Without a manual steam options, you’re unable to customize the froth yourself. This is great for people looking to get a quick drink to-go since the carafe dispenses milk right into your cup. When you’re done with the carafe, it conveniently stores into the fridge for tomorrow’s coffee.

While this one-touch wonder does a great job at making milk based drinks if you wanted an Americano, you’ll need to move the cup over to get hot water. Where are you getting hot water, you ask? The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino comes with a removable hot water spout that is inserted in the same place as the milk carafe. This feature takes away from the one-touch functionality, but not enough to call it an inconvenience.

Bonus: Before inserting the carafe into the machine, you’ll need to pull out the milk spout. Fortunately for you, coffee-lovers, the carafe won’t fit into the machine otherwise, eliminating the potential annoying mess. Also, you’ll need come in at an angle with the carafe to get it in just right. You’ll know when it’s in when it clicks into place.

Style

Brushed stainless steel is the go-to, eye-catching look for kitchen appliances and we’re definitely pleased the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino will complement our stainless steel oven and fridge. The milk carafe went from a plastic handle on the previous generation to a sleek stainless steel finish on the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino. The sides are plastic, however, but you can cozy this machine up to the microwave because the water tank and dump box are accessible from the front. You’ll only need to access the side to clean off the brew unit every so often.

The digital display menu is easy on the eyes not just for looks, but for functionality as well. The light blue display looks cleaner and makes navigating the different menus effortless. The intuitive naming and buttons will make learning this machine’s inner programs a breeze. Error messages will also pop up when something is amiss, such as a low water tank or missing dump box, and make it so you can’t use the machine and potentially damage it. There’s definitely a learning curve even with the more intuitive display but with some patience and the trusty menu (don’t throw that bad boy away) you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Pro Tip: The “Aroma Strength” button is also the “OK” button (indicated by the checkmark in the top right corner). The OK button will be used often to adjust different settings such as volume. A cool addition on the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino is that the display will have the checkmark in the left hand, lower corner when it can be used. It’s conveniently located right next to the OK button, too. We highly recommend going through the manual and reading up on the display section and learning the different symbols. 

Crew Review: Eureka Zenith 65E Coffee Grinder

“Eureka! I have found it!”

Shout it out! If you’re looking for a commercially designed machine built to change beans into beautiful, consistent espresso grounds, then this is your machine! Are you shouting “Eureka!” yet? On this Crew Review, we’re exploring the Eureka Zenith 65E Burr Grinder and showing you some cool features on this mighty machine.

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Do you have three pounds of beans you’re looking to grind up? Because the Zenith 65E can handle it. The bean hopper holds three pounds of beans and is matched with 65mm stainless steel flat burrs that’ll turn nails to dust—just kidding! Don’t try that at home. But really, these burrs create grounds quickly and consistently, which is what you need for a great espresso shot.

The stepless grinder gives you full control to find your sweet spot—the best grind for your shot—which marries seamlessly with the powerful burrs. You have complete control over the coarseness (as Gail demonstrates in the video). With unlimited options, it’s easy to see how you could lose it. This is what we’d call a double edge sword. A cool feature on the Eureka Zenith 65E to keep your grind is that the bottom burr adjusts the setting. When you go to clean your grinder you’ll remove the top burr and avoid losing your sweet spot!

The Eureka Zenith 65E has a built-in portafilter holder that’s ready for anything. Adjust the holder up or down to hold different sized portafilters and, when you’re ready, activated the grinder by pushing the portafilter into the button directly behind. The Zenith 65E also features an adjustable spout to dispense your grinds at different angels and a spotlight shining down onto your grounds. Didn’t we tell you it was ready for anything?

Once you’ve found your sweet spot and lined-up your portafilter, don’t forget to program your grind! Using two programmable portions, customize your volume for your ideal single or double shot. As long as you keep everything in place, you’ll have a consistent grind to come back to each time.

The Eureka Zenith 65E a worthy machine to bring into any home. Realistically this massive machine and its power might not be best for individual use. It would work wonders in an office, apartment community, commercial setting or a home business where you have people trickling in and out. Fill the bean hopper in the morning and you can pull espresso shots all day long.

Check out the full video below and tell us what you think of the Eureka Zenith 65E by leaving us a comment on our YouTube video!

Crew Review: Bonavita Travel Kettle

If you’re looking for a traveling companion for your spring break plans, then you need the Bonavita Travel Kettle! Whether you’re traveling within the US or to Europe, this series has got you covered with the Bonavita Dual Voltage Travel Kettle and Bonavita Mini Travel Kettle.

In this Crew Review, Gail wants to see which one will brew faster. Which one do you think will win? Find out by watching the video below or continue reading. Ready. Set. Go!

Bonavita_Mini_Travel_Kettle

Here are some stats to help you guess which one will win. Both kettles hold half a liter of water despite the different heights (you can see the Dual Voltage is taller). They both auto shut-off once it’s boiling to save the heating element from burning out—a must-have when traveling because who wants that added stress?

The real differences come down to the power. The Dual Voltage model features a 700-watt heating element for fast boiling. This travel kettle model, though, can switch from 120 to 220 voltages, which is great for traveling in Europe. It doesn’t come with a converter plug-in so you’ll have to grab one of those separately.

The Mini is built for traveling within the US. Its itty-bitty size is packed with 900-watts for boiling super fast (no spoilers! You’ll know the winner soon enough). Its smaller size takes up less real estate in an office or suitcase and as long as you only need it for US travels, it’s a great little companion!

Time’s up!

The winner is the Mini Travel Kettle!

The Mini boiled the fastest at four minutes with the Dual Voltage right behind it at about five minutes. So what you’d really want to look for in these travel kettles is how often you’ll need the dual voltage.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Crew Review! Subscribe to our YouTube channel to discover new products and learn how they work.

Crew Review: DeLonghi EC860 Espresso Machine

The traditional artistry of semi-automatics meets the one-touch capabilities of superautomatics in this entry-level machine. The DeLonghi EC860 is a semi-automatic with programmable features and a milk carafe to froth-up a piping hot cappuccino right into your cup!

DeLonghi_EC860

We know what you’re thinking, it’s strange to see a milk carafe on a semi-automatic. The EC860 comes with the option to auto steam with the carafe or manual steam with the panarello. If you’re worried about the milk temperature with the carafe, don’t! The carafe delivers hot, frothy milk right into your cup just like a one-touch.

The programmable features also don’t fail to impress us. Customize the temperature and volume of your espresso shot and, for the speciality drinks, you can change the milk volume. That’s something you generally don’t see in an entry-level machine! 

This entry-level machine is also equipped with a pressurized portafilter with baskets for a pod, single or double shot. With a pressurized portafilter, newcomers don’t need to worry about dialing in a consistent grind, it’ll compensate for you!

Con-wise, we’re not too keen on the plastic scamper—the scoop and tamper combo (which is not as convenient as a spork). Even with the pressurized portafilter aiding your shot, you still want a nice, even tamp to reduce grinds on the brew head and, of course, deliver a delicious espresso. We recommend purchasing a sturdier tamper. Also, this machine lacks a three-way solenoid valve, which makes a soupy coffee puck.

No matter how you look at this machine (oh, by the way, super nice stainless steel body) the pros outweigh the cons. We recommend this machine for entry-level folks who want a semi-automatic with the convenience and programmable features of a superautomatic. Or, hey, this machine is great seasoned coffee-brewers, too! Check out the video with the full review below and tell us what you think!

Crew Review: Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit

Mason jars, coffee socks and cold brew coffee. You might be thinking this all sounds like an episode straight from Portlandia. But we assure you, coffee-lovers, it’s no joke! The Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit is just that: a cold brewing mason jar kit with an organic cotton (we heard you laughing) CoffeeSock to brew your coffee grounds in.

While you might be laughing still, this summer-friendly cold brew is going to knock your socks off (pun intended) with its deliciously smooth flavor.

Check out our full video below to see how quick and easy it is to use the Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit.

Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit

What it comes with:

  • Organic cotton CoffeeSock Cold Brew Filter, created by Cuppow
  • 32-ounce mason jar

How it works:

  1. If this is your first time using the CoffeeSock, make sure to boil it before you use it.
  2. Take your CoffeeSock and put it inside the mason jar. Fold the open end of the sock over the top of the jar, so it creates a nice opening for coffee grounds.
  3. Add three ounces of coarsely ground coffee into the sock.
  4. Grab 24 ounces of cold water. Add some of your cold water to let the grounds bloom, just like you do with a pour over.
  5. Add the remaining water into the jar.
  6. Close up the CoffeeSock using the built-in tie, so it’s nice and tight to make sure no grounds end up in your coffee.
  7. Stick it in the fridge for 12 hours or up to a day to brew.
  8. When the time is up, take out the CoffeeSock, squeeze it out and pour yourself a cold cup of coffee! (This makes a concentrated cup, so if it’s too strong for your taste, add water or milk. Enjoy!)

P.S. Go ahead and drink it straight from the mason jar—we’re Seattle Coffee Gear, after all, we won’t judge.

Crew Review: Rancilio Silvia M

Say hello to the latest version of Rancilio’s Silvia, the Rancilio Silvia M. Like it’s predecessor, it features an all-over stainless steel body, traditional steam wand, and non-pressurized portafilter, but with some technical (and rather handy) upgrades. Check out the Crew Review video below to see the new additions at work.

Rancilio Silvia M

For those of you new to the Silvia, the machine features a traditional steam wand with a hot water feature and comes with a 58mm chrome plated brass portafilter—the same ones found on their commercial machines, so you know it’s good stuff—and stainless steel single and double shot baskets. It is a durable machine with equally reliable accessories, and we only recommend upgrading that plastic tamper for a metal-bodied one.

So, what has changed? The Silvia M has a new green “on” light. It may sound trivial, but as the machine is heating up, the orange light (directly below the green) will be on and then it’ll turn off. Since the green light will remain on, when the orange turns off it’ll be easy to see when your machine is ready to brew.

The Silvia M is still a single boiler machine, which means you’re steaming and brewing one at a time, so the two lights will help you temperature surf from steaming to brewing to get you ready to brew!

Inside the machine, there is a new the lead-free boiler and insulation wrap around the boiler. The heating element is still removable in case you do happen to get burnout, which will reduce the costs to fix it (but no worries there, our techs got you covered!).

In short, the heavy duty materials that make up the Rancilio Silvia M complement this hard-working single boiler machine and is for someone looking for control and quality in their espresso.

Comparison: Xelsis Evo vs Gran Baristo

We compared two of high end superautomatic espresso machines from Saeco. The Xelsis Evo and the Gran Baristo, the Xelsis Evo being the top of the line machine! Be sure to watch our full Crew Review Comparison video below to see these machines in action.Xelsis Evo

The first thing we noticed when comparing these two machines was the difference in size. The Gran Baristo is a slim machine, coming in at only 8.25 inches wide. The Xelsis Evo sits a little taller and about 3 inches wider. So if counter space in your kitchen is limited, it would be best to measure! The looks of both of these espresso machines are sharp. Stainless steel galore!

The Gran Baristo model that we compared comes with a removable bean hopper. This is a feature you just don’t find on superautomatic espresso machines, but is great to have! Swap out your beans with ease (a decaf in the evening perhaps?)

The Xelsis Evo features some great programability. In the easy to use interface, you can program up to 9 customized drinks for up to 6 different users! Everyone in your family (or office) can have the drink just how they like it, from the amount of milk used for a latte to the temperature of the espresso. What really sets the Xelsis Evo apart from the Gran Baristo is the available customization. The Xelsis Evo even has a traditional steam wand so you can froth the milk yourself to your desired temperature and texture.

Gran BaristoThe Gran Baristo only features an automatic milk option, and to be honest, we were not terribly impressed. The process as a whole was louder than other auto milk forthers and quite a bit messier. For this reason we feel the Xelsis is a better option for those who like to drink milk based espresso drinks daily.

Check out the full Crew Review Comparison below before heading over to our YouTube channel for more on both of these espresso machines.

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Crew Review: Rocket R60v

The Rocket Espresso R60v might just be the best espresso machine you will ever own. Hand made in Italy, pressure profiling, easy to use PID and constructed with commercial grade components- do you see what we are getting at?r60v

The Rocket R60v is a high end home espresso machine. Rocket Espresso has taken a lot of the features that you find in their commercial espresso machines and brought them to the home user. The biggest (and most talked about) feature being pressure profiling.

What is pressure profiling? Pressure profiling allows you to adjust the brewing pressure throughout the entire brew process. Gone are the days of only brewing at 9 bars of pressure. With the R60v you can set  five different brewing pressures in each profile. This allows you to experiment and get the most out of each coffee you decide to brew.

The pressure profiling can be controlled via the PID (which comes with a handy mounting system) or via the smartphone app. In addition to the pressure profiling the app and PID can adjust both boiler temperatures, set language, turn the service boiler on and off, switch between tank or plumbed in configurations and set temperature units.

The Rocket Espresso R60v is a plumbable machine. Which means you can connect it directly to your water supply, and never need to fill the tank in the back again! The dual boilers are constructed with stainless steel, a shift from the brass/copper design of the R58. This machine is a little bit larger than your standard home espresso machine, so be sure to measure your counter space. The R60v sits 16.75 inches tall, 16 inches wide and 18 inches deep.

Check out our Crew Review of the R60v below! Want to watch our unboxing as well? You can check that out here!

 

 

Crew Review: Saeco Xelsis Evo

The top of the line superautomatic espresso machine from Saeco, that’s right, we are talking about the Xelsis Evo! Programmable, customizable, what more could you ask for in a coffee making machine?Xelsis Evo

We took a closer look at this machine to see where what really separates the Xelsis Evo from the rest of the Saeco line up. In our Crew Review, three things stuck out to us as key features. The first being all the programmability you get with the Xelsis Evo. You can create and customize 9 different drinks for 6 different users! Each profile is designated by an easy to recognize icon, and once the drink settings are saved, brewing your drink just the way you like it is a button press away.

The next key feature that the Xelsis Evo has over it’s competition is the temperature of the espresso shots. After several tests, we measured the temperature of the espresso at the spout to be 193 F! That is hot, especially for a superautomatic espresso machine! So if you like a hot beverage, this is the machine for you!

Last but absolutely not least, the steam wand. A steam wand is a rare find on a superautomatic espresso machine. Even more rare, is a steam wand that is this caliber. Most steam wands on superautomatics have limited movement and/or only have a panarello. The steam wand on the Xelsis Evo is the real deal. So if the one touch milk carafe isn’t quite to your liking, feel free to steam on!

Be sure to watch the full Crew Review in the video below! Want to learn more or read customer reviews about this machine? Head over to our website for all that and more!

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Crew Review: Eureka Mignon Burr Coffee Grinder

Sometimes big things come in small packages. And the Eureka Mignon Burr Coffee Grinder is no exception to that rule! Be sure to watch the full Crew Review video below for all the stats and to see this coffee grinder in action!mignon_side_black_2

The first thing that we noticed about the Eureka Mignon was it’s simple design. It’s sleek and has one of the smallest footprints we’ve seen for grinders of a similar caliber. Inside, it boasts 50mm flat steel burrs. The burrs are controlled with a stepless adjustment knob, which is conveniently located on the front of the grinder. A stepless adjustment gives you the ability to really fine tune your grind, great for espresso.

This grinder is great for use as espresso, or even Turkish! That’s right, this grinder can go very very fine. Which is a huge plus for those brewing espresso. That being said, this grinder has trouble going much courser than a standard pour over grind. So if you like to brew both espresso and french press, and are wanting to use the same grinder, the Eureka Mignon won’t work for you. But if you really want to play with the flavors of your espresso, meet your new best friend!

Another great feature that this grinder has is the built in timer. When grinding, you can either use the portafilter trigger or the timer. The choice is truly yours!

Watch the complete Crew Review below before heading over to our website for all the details on the Eureka Mignon!