Category Archives: Reviews

Portable Espresso Tweak(er)s

Two great options for taking your joe on the road, the Handpresso and the MyPressi TWIST, have a few different options and variations. We recently did a crew review of both the MyPressi TWIST and the Handpresso with the Domepod (the original Handpresso Wild that is pod-friendly was originally reviewed a little over a year ago) and we got a couple of suggestions from both viewers and the manufacturers on ways to get a better shot.

For the Handpresso, the manufacturer sent us the Intense filter lid, which is designed to make a shorter, more intense shot. To see how well it works, check out this video:

The MyPressi TWIST has a ton of devoted fans, and both they and the manufacturer let us know that you can get better results by going naked. No, keep your pants on, but take the bottom off the TWIST so that you’re brewing directly from the basket into your pre-warmed cups, without those pesky spouts getting in the way. Check out our experience here:

Crew Review: La Pavoni Stradivari 16

One of the first demonstration videos we did was Gail using how to pull a shot on the La Pavoni Europiccola 8 manual/lever espresso machine, which we followed up on several months later by demonstrating that same machine’s steaming functionality.

We recently decided to take the Stradivari 16 out for a stroll to see how it compared to the other version. Watch as Gail pulls shots, steams and uses the included cappuccinatore attachment with this machine.

Crew Review: Breville Barista Express

In the vein of the old Profi Estro machines that had a grinder built into the machine, Breville recently released the Barista Express, a programmable espresso machine that has a doser grinder incorporated into it. You can select the quantity and then indicate either a double or single amount to be dispensed into the portafilter, then tamp and extract. The pressurized portafilter system makes it simple to use, and it even comes with its own magnetized tamper.

Watch Gail show us the ropes of this machine, pull some shots and steam up some milk. While the shot quality on this Breville does seem to be a bit better than the others we have tried, we still think this machine is probably best suited for latte/cappuccino drinkers and espresso shot-only or Americano drinkers will find better flavor elsewhere.

The Grind: February 2010

Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter, The Grind, landed in an email box near you today — and if it wasn’t near enough for you to actually read it, you can do so here on the site or make sure you get up close and personal next month by signing up for future editions.

This month, we talk about the different functional types of espresso machines, include a recipe for Indochine Lemon, point you to our manufacturer manual resource on Brown Bean and introduce you to a few new products we have in the store. What you won’t see, however, is The Grind Special, which is for subscriber-eyes-only. Sign up to get that little bit o’ goodness every month.

Crew Review: MyPressi TWIST

We have been using the Handpresso for awhile now for our portable espresso maker needs, but thought we’d give the MyPressi TWIST a try to see how it compares. Watch as Gail uses the MyPressi with the regular basket, pod basket and pressurized basket (for coarse or variable grind) to see how they compare, shot-wise. Great quality on the ground basket shots, but not so good on the pod basket. We think this might be because it’s designed for the double-pods you can’t easily find in the US…but we’re not sure.

Look for this as a new addition to our products at Seattle Coffee Gear within the next few weeks.

Crew Review: Ascaso Uno Pro with PID – Round Two

We took a first look at the new Uno Pro with PID by Ascaso in December, and now that we’ve had a little bit of time to play around with it, we’re taking a second look. In this new video, Gail talks to us about programming the PID, pulls some shots, steams up some milk using the other steam wand attachment and shows us the included accessories. The jury is still out on the longevity/build quality/reliability of this machine — since it’s new on the market — but so far so good, functionality-wise.

Crew Review: Handpresso with Domepod

As we wrote about earlier this month, Handpresso has a new model available with a little filter basket that you can use with pre-ground coffee. It’s a great option because it gives you brewing flexibility — you can choose whatever coffee you love instead of having to rely only on the coffee produced in ESE pod format — but it is definitely a little messier. The results were markedly better than with a pod, however, as Gail shows us in this video.

Crew Review: Ascaso i-Steel Grinder

If you’re looking for a stepless burr grinder with a small footprint and all metallic casing, Ascaso’s I-Steel is a great option. It’s simple, easy to use and allows you infinite adjustment to truly dial in your grind. Additionally, even its chute is metal — unlike the plastics often found on other machines — and some people really dig that. This comes with either flat burrs (i-Steel I-1) or conical burrs (i-Steel I-2).

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The ‘Great’ Breville Steaming Experiment

Round two of our experimentation with the Breville machines covers steaming. We liked the fact that you could take off the panarello sleeve on this machine and have access to¬† a standard steam wand that would allow you more control over steaming. So Gail tried it out both ways — with the panarello sleeve and without — to see how it performed and this video records the result for posterity.

Handpresso with Domepod

We have dug the Handpresso for awhile now, because it’s a simple and lo-fi way to pull a single shot on the road — all you need is coffee, hot water and your own powerful strength! One thing that folks didn’t dig about it, however, was that it was ESE pod-only, which had the pro of being very mess-free (great for travel) but a con of not being as good as freshly ground coffee.

The machine was recently upgraded, however, with a new contraption called a Domepod, which will allow you to use your favorite fresh ground coffee. It’s the same price and makes an excellent single shot of espresso on the go. It is a bit messier, however, so we suppose that — like most things in life — you gotta give a little to get a little.