Category Archives: Reviews

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!

 

Crew Review: Saeco Intelia Deluxe

Introducing the latest from Saeco, the Intelia Deluxe Superautomatic espresso machine! The Intelia Deluxe builds upon the already popular Intelia Class, while adding some great additional features. Be sure to watch the full Crew Review video below to see this machine in action!Intelia Deluxe

The Intelia Deluxe is a superautomatic espresso machine, meaning the only this separating you from a latte is a touch of a button. Inside this machine you will find a thermoblock boiler which heats the water for brewing and steaming on the fly. The benefit of a thermoblock is that it doesn’t take as long for your machine to heat up for either brew or steam; however, the drawback can be that your temperature for brew or steam is not quite as consistent as you might like. That being said, we were very impressed with the temperature of both the coffee and milk produced on the Intelia Deluxe (something that is hard to say for most superautomatics)!

With the Intelia Deluxe, you get more flexibility. More grinder settings and strength options than previous models, with the Intelia Deluxe you can really dial in the flavor of your espresso. Speaking of flexibility, this machine has the option to swap out the automatic milk option for a panarello attachment. A great choice for those who like there milk piping hot or with lots of foam!

Want to learn more about this machine? Watch the Crew Review below before heading to our website for all the stats!

 

Crew Review: OXO Glass Electric Kettle

They say a watched pot never boils. But boy how they were wrong! We got our hands on the latest from OXO, Clarity their Glass Electric Kettle.Glass Electric Kettle

This is a huge kettle, holding 1.75 liters of water! That’s a whole lot of tea or coffee. We were really impressed how fast a full kettle came to a boil. In our testing this Glass Electric Kettle from OXO brought room temperature water to a boil in seven and a half minutes! Once the water is brought up to a boil the kettle automatically turns itself off, so not only is this fast but also very safe.

The Glass Electric Kettle is considered cordless because the base separates from the kettle itself. The handle has a great grip which makes for a very easy pour. We enjoyed how much control we felt we had when lifting the kettle while it was full of hot water. Two thumbs up in that department!

All in all, this is a great kettle for everything from tea to french press coffee and everything in between!  Be sure to check out the full Crew Review video below to hear all the features and see this kettle in action!

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Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Oscar

We are back with an updated Crew Review of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar! This was the first cost-efficient heat exchanger espresso machine that we saw enter the market that didn’t compromise on the quality of espresso produced. Since it’s debut there have been a few other machines that get close to the price point of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar, but here are some of the features that keep this machine a top contender.nuova simonelli oscar

The Nuova Simonelli Oscar sports a 2 liter copper boiler. Be sure to give this machine about 25 minutes of warm up time to get optimal shots! The water reservoir in the back is a great size, coming in at 2.3 liters. Enough water to get you through several brew cycles by small enough that your water won’t go stale.

As we mentioned before, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar is a heat exchanger machine. What is a heat exchanger? It is the design of the boiler. The boiler is heated up to steam temperature, and the running through the boiler is a copper tube. This copper tube allows for cold water to quickly be heated up to brew temperature as is travels to the brew head. This design will allow you to steam and brew at the same time, while keeping the cost of a second boiler out of the equation.

The Nuova Simonelli Oscar is a great machine for someone looking for a quality design while keeping a budget. Be sure to check out our full Crew Review of this machine to hear all the stats and see this machine in action! Subscribe to our YouTube channel for daily coffee videos by clicking here!