For the budget-conscious still looking to make a lovely latte at home, these lower end single boiler espresso machines from DeLonghi will give you the basic tools you need to get the job done. They’re not going to win any awards in the looks or longevity department, but if your pocketbook is leaner than your need for coffee, these will work in a pinch. Gail reviews both models in these videos, going over their features and demonstrating their functionality.
A new spin on an old sugary stand-by, Espresso Chocolate Bark takes your grandma’s signature Peppermint Bark recipe and gives its a caffeinated kick. All you’ll need is three simple ingredients to create this buzzworthy treat.
1 bag (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup whole coffee beans
2 tablespoons coarse cane sugar
Melt down the chocolate chips and lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray.
Spread out the chocolate to be about 1/2 an inch thick.
Sprinkle on the coffee beans evenly and press them into the hot chocolate gently.
Lightly sprinkle a layer of sugar over the chocolate while it is still melted. Don’t worry about even layering since most of it will shake off when it’s dried. Just make sure to cover all of the chocolate.
You can either let the chocolate harden at room temperature or speed the process up by putting it in the refrigerator.
When it’s hardened, tilt the large piece of chocolate to shake off all the excess sugar. Break the chocolate into single-sized chunks.
It’s no secret that we have a sweet and abiding love for the petite figure and suitable functionality of Saeco’s Via Venezia. Having had a previous life as the base design for the highly popular series of Starbucks Barista machines, we know that many of you share this love — particularly when we see these well-loved machines over a decade old coming in for a little tune up. These babies are built to last.
So when we were able to take on a batch of refurbs of the Via Venezia, we jumped on it, of course! Gail takes us through the features and functions — if you didn’t know them by now.
With so many different model variations and filter options, we often hear from confused customers who don’t know which filter to purchase for their specific Jura machine. These can be a bit pricey, so purchasing the wrong filter can definitely make an unhappy dent in your wallet. Watch Gail go through the filters for each type of machine and check out the table below for a handy guide to choosing your filter in the future.
Update for Refurbished Models: Jura recently let us know that if they are required to replace a defective or damaged water tank during the refurbishment process, they will be replacing them with the Clearyl Blue versions of the tank (described below as having a light blue lid and white dial). In the event that they do this, they are including a note with a reference to the specific water filter model number you should purchase for your Jura. Please check your machine’s water tank color prior to purchasing, as that is the most accurate way to determine whether the White or Blue filters will fit your machine.
Breville have produced many gorgeous pieces of equipment that seem to favor form a little over function. They have some great features that we really love, but sometimes the overall performance isn’t ideal. However, as with every machine, there are pros and cons and the Smart Grinder has a lot of really great aspects to its design: We love the metal casing, the pull rings, the digital interface and how you dial in the grind. Where it didn’t measure up for us, however, was that it indicates you can use it with a traditional non-pressurized extraction and we were not able to do so successfully — it just doesn’t go fine enough right now.
We contacted Breville about this and they are working on ways to improve it so we are really hopeful that this will be a great multi-purpose grinder in the future. At present, it’s a good choice for drip / press pot and pressurized espresso extraction — but stay tuned on any future improvements coming down the line. For now, watch Gail take us through this grinder’s features and test how it performs.
Update 3/16/11: We were able to meet with Breville and they provided us with shims in order to tweak the burrs on the grinder. Watch Gail install and test here:
You know us: We’re always game to take a grinder out for a test drive. Bodum’s Bistro didn’t catch our eye at first (despite its vibrant hue!) but we decided to give it it’s day in court to see if it would make a good budget option for folks not pulling traditional espresso extractions. Watch Gail as she tests it out and we determine how well it performs. And while we won’t be offering the orange color any time soon, we will be adding the black version to our site soon.
We were recently given the opportunity to test out the Pro M grinder from Mahlkonig, a commercial-grade grinder manufacturer well-known throughout the pro coffee community, but with grinders that are generally too big, size-wise, for the average home kitchen. The Pro M, however, is petite and powerful — we really loved its design and performance and hope to carry it in the future.
We’ve been offering Velton’s Single Origins coffees via our roast-to-order program for several months now, and we just recently rotated out one available option for a new one: The Ethiopian Sidamo Moredocofe was cycled out to make room for the new Peru Pichanaki. This new variety is full bodied with a very sweet and buttery-smooth flavor. It has a spicy tropical fruit and clean sugary-citrus finish — and we love it!
Since we hadn’t cupped these on camera before, we thought that the introduction of a new option deserved a tasting review. Watch as the crew (+ Velton) tastes the Guatemala Huehuetenango, Costa Rica Tarrazu and Peru Pichanaki. Tripleyum!
While perhaps not totally at home in your kitchen, this commercial-class machine is an excellent choice for locations that will not be doing a ton of espresso drinks but still want to be able to whip up the drinks in a timely, expert manner.
The Epoca S1 comes with an internal water reservoir (no plumbing) and runs on 15 amp / 110 volts, so you don’t have to have special electric outlets installed. It’s not a super mobile machine, however, because it’s a bit unwieldy, so may not be the best choice for caterers, but if you’re staying in one spot this could be the solution for your small cafe.
Watch Gail take us through the features and show us how this little baby performs.
When we started carrying Nespresso machines, we didn’t realize they would be some of the most hotly debated machines in our store. Folks are not sure if they perform well — can they really make good espresso with a capsule? What is their brew temperature? Do their milk frothing options function well?
You know that we firmly believe that there is a market for every machine, and while these guys are definitely not going to please an ardent purist, they have a well-loved place in many homes throughout the world for a reason: They’re easy to use, no-mess and make espresso similar to what you find on a standard superautomatic espresso machine. Arguably their one drawback is their proprietary capsules, and some folks don’t dig having to purchase them only through Nespresso’s coffee club. But if you can get around that and you’re looking for a simple solution to get your morning java fix, this definitely could be the choice for you.
Since we get all kinds of questions about how the Nespresso functions, we did a few tests to show temperature, water volume and milk frothing temp so that folks would know if the basic function would meet their specs. Watch Gail run them through the gamut!