For Richard Branson, an essential criteria for his business success, his compass, is the idea of ‘fun’. He has infused it into all the brands he has founded, promoted and seen flourish — and it’s arguable that the simplicity of the idea in and of itself is what has made the brands he’s launched gain traction and longevity in their respective markets. Sure, when we get too complicated, we lose sight of what we’re trying to achieve and run the risk of confusing the people with whom we’re trying to communicate.
While we absolutely cherish and extol the virtues of fun, when we thought about boiling down what we do at Seattle Coffee Gear to one simple, essential idea, we settled on another word: Knowledge. It’s in this blog we write, in the videos we produce, in our product descriptions, in the customer service we give on the phone and in the store — we have even dedicated a whole website to providing resources and knowledge to folks as they navigate the sometimes far-too-complex world of choosing their coffee related gear. While we have fun with this and it’s important to us to communicate the elemental joy to be found in the experimentation with, creation and drinking of coffee, teaching people, being honest and giving them the information they need to make the right choice for them is our ultimate ideal.
From a pure data perspective, this industry is really young in the United States: In Europe, the average household spends around $800 on their home coffee machine, while we spend an average of $80 in the US — obviously, there is significant room for growth and a big part of that growth is education. One of the most common refrains we hear from customers is that they want simple and concrete information, they’re confused by all the options, which is the best choice, etc. What these people are looking for is honesty, facts, advice and candid experience.
Now that we have all our Hario stock in the store, we had a chance to play around with the new grinders to see how they work with espresso machines. Watch as Gail goes through different grinds and tries them out on the Rancilio Silvia.
Originally manufactured for Starbucks by Saeco, the Sirena is a flexible and fetching automatic espresso machine. We are refurbishing a ton of these machines, fixing some original manufacturing defects and bringing them up to a ‘Like New’ state. You can check out our original review of this machine from several months ago and watch Gail talk about how we’re refurbishing these machines below.
Rocket Espresso’s new Evoluzione machines are the next step in functionality. Sure, they’ve got many of the lovable features that other Rockets do (the E61 brew head, insulated steam and hot water wands, polished stainless steel casing) and share the dual pressure gauge functionality previously released on the Professional version, but these babies also have one major difference: They have a convertible water source, so you can easily switch between an internal reservoir or plumbing it in!
Watch Gail take us through the features of the Evoluzione and talk about how to tweak certain aspects of it. While we feature the Giotto, the Evoluzione is also available in the Cellini style.
The final video (yes, can you believe it?!) from our field trip to Hario USA earlier this year features a competition between Gail and Velton regarding who could produce the better cup of pour over coffee. Velton might have had the edge, since his coffee was ground in a hand mill that had previously ground cloves — truly making it a ‘clovered coffee’. Hilarity ensues.
The newest superautomatic available in the US by Swiss manufacturer Jura Capresso, the Impressa C5 is economical, straight forward and has more programming options available than models available from the Ena series — although it’s right around the same price. It also has side access for the water and coffee beans, plus a heated metal cup warmer up top.
Released this year, Capresso has a couple of more inexpensive burr grinder options now available on the scene. We tested them out to see how they perform — will they grind fine enough for espresso? And are they as inconsistent as their Infinity brethren?
Watch as Gail shows us the grinder’s specs, grinds at the finest/coarsest and then demonstrates using it with the Saeco Via Venezia espresso machine.
The pour over technique can produce an excellent, single-cup of coffee at home with relatively minimal investment. It does take a little bit of knowledge on the front end, and choosing which pour over is the right one for you can be part of this. We headed up to the US HQ of Hario USA (a Japanese company) awhile back, and talked with the US rep, Edwin Martinez, about all kinds of coffee related subjects. In this video, he explains the concept behind pour overs and compares a few different available models.
Recently, Saeco re-worked their Talea Giro superautomatic and released the ‘Plus’ version in the US. This new model includes a bi-pass doser, an upgraded grinder and some other minor functional improvements.
Watch Gail talk to us about this new version, brew some coffee and steam up some milk. Whoopee!