Category Archives: Reviews

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.

Crew Review: Rancilio Rocky Grinder Redux

When we think of reliable and hardworking, we think of the Rancilio Rocky rocky_grindersgrinder. Is that weird? We don’t think so…

The Rocky is available in a doser version, for those that go through a decent amount of coffee and/or rarely change their grind, or a doserless version, which grinds directly into your portafilter. Each one gives you a sturdy build and 55 different grind settings, so you can go from espresso to drip (and back again) with ease.

Given that the Rocky is the apple of our eye, we decided it was time for an updated Crew Review. Check it out below and watch as Gail and Brendan walk us through features, dialing in the grind and removing the burrs for maintenance!

Crew Review: Primula Coffee and Tea Products

We love a product that can do double duty (or, in this case, triple duty)! Primula Products

The Primula coffee and tea products do just that, allowing you to brew everything from cold brew coffee to fruit infused iced tea. They even have a bottle that lets you make cold brew on-the-go! So, let’s take these products one by one, shall we?

First up, the Primula Cold Brew Glass Carafe System. Simply add 16 tablespoons of ground coffee to the mesh filter, screw the insert into the carafe, add water and let brew in your refrigerator overnight. Easy peasy, yes? You can also store it the refrigerator for up to 14 days, so you’ll never be far from a chilly caffeine jolt!

Then you have the Primula Flavor It 3-In-1 Beverage System, which has inserts for: Brewing tea, infusing your beverage with fruits or herbs and a core you keep in your freezer for a quick cool down (minus the dilution of ice). But who needs tea when you can make sangria? Yeah, we went there. Oh, and you can use the same inserts from this little guy with the cold brew carafe.

Last, but not least, is the Cold Brew Bottle. It allows you to make cold brew on your way to work…’nough said!

If you want to learn more, you should watch the video below. Heck, you should watch the video below regardless. Sarah and Teri have a grand old time with the Primula product line!

Crew Review: Toddy Cold Brew System

Toddy Cold Brew SystemInterested in one of the summer’s hottest (or should we say coolest?) gadgets? If you’re in to cold brew coffee or even coffee in general, there’s a good chance you have heard of the Toddy Cold Brew System. The Toddy was originally created 50 years ago by Todd Simpson, after a Peruvian process for producing coffee concentrate inspired the chemical engineering graduate to make his own system for brewing cold (and hot!) coffee with less acid to be easier on the stomach. The rest is history and the Toddy has been popular ever since. In fact, ever since we opened our first store around eight years ago, people always came in asking for the Toddy. This brewer has gotten even trendier in the last year or so, and we are lucky enough to have it now gracing our shelves.

It seems we got the Toddy at just the right time, since we don’t know if we would have survived this scorcher of a summer without it. Several of our crewmembers haven’t been able to start their day without heading to the refrigerator for a fresh cup made on the Toddy Cold Brew System. It’s easy to see why everyone has fallen in love with the Toddy, even though it may not be the fanciest looking piece of equipment we carry, since it is incredibly easy to use and requires minimal prep-work.

Besides being easy to use, the Toddy Bold Brew System does also create some very smooth and tasty coffee. If you can’t get enough of this cold brew or want to serve it in your cafe, there is an even larger Commercial Toddy Cold Brew System that will produce 2.5 gallons of goodness. Now, that is a lot of coffee concentrate! The nice thing about this commercial brewer is that even though you are making more coffee, the process is relatively similar to that of the home sized brewer and takes the same amount of time. In addition, if coffee isn’t your bag, you aren’t out of luck as you can also cold brew tea on both models of the Toddy!

While it was hard for us to find many downsides to the Toddy, we do wish the removable handle were a bit sturdier, as all the weight from the coffee made it feel a little unstable at times. Likewise, we would also like to see the home model of the Toddy come with a lid for the brewer in the future, like on the commercial model, as this would make us worry less about our previous coffee getting disturbed during the steeping process.

Overall, the few issues we found were fairly minor and are made up by the days of coffee the Toddy can provide a solo sipper and all the fun recipe ideas that come with the brewer. Perhaps there will some experimenting in our future. In the meantime, you can pick some brew tips from Brendan and Gail as they review the Toddy and come up with a few recipes on the fly.

Crew Review: Toddy Cold Brew System

Taste Test: Mokito Coffee

Mokito CoffeeHere at SCG we love trying new things, and are always on the lookout for new coffee and tea to sample or new products to experiment with. As such, we couldn’t believe our excitement when we got our hands on Mokito coffee. This coffee has been produced in Lombardy, Italy since 1931, but it can be a bit challenging to get a hold of outside of the country. In fact, as far as we know, we are the only ones in the United States that currently sell Mokito blends.

Once these roasts traveled safely into our stores, we had to sample them! To make it a fair comparison, we decided to brew all the roasts across the same brew method. This time around, our brew method of choice was the Bodum Brazil French press. We loaded 45 grams of each flavor, ground to a French press grind, into our presses and added 23 oz. of 200-degree water. Then came the best part, actually drinking the coffee! Here are our thoughts on each Mokito Coffee:

  • Bianco: Best brewed as drip coffee, half of our taste testers feel in love with the Bianco blend. We found the blend to have hints of nutty flavors (although one taster thought the brew also had a slightly vegetable taste), and it was very clean and smooth.
  • Verde: The mildest of all three of the blends, we thought the Verde blend would be a great option for people just getting into coffee or for people who don’t like starting the day off with strong coffee. We also thought this coffee had a slightly green hue, but the name could have biased us. During later testing we found this roast tasted the best when brewed as drip coffee.
  • Rosso: Definitely the strongest blend, Rosso preforms really well as an espresso. We thought this blend had a smokey flavor, similar to toasted or roasted almonds. We also picked up a few hints of chocolate.

If you are a fan of Italian coffee, we highly recommend giving Mokito coffee a try. Overall, we found all three Mokito blends to be very smooth, and its flavor and aroma are very comparable to other well-known Italian brands, like Lavazza. For more tasting notes, watch as some of our crew sample this wonderful coffee.

Taste Test: Mokito Coffee