Category Archives: Reviews

Hot Blog on Blog Action: Daniel’s World of Coffee

If you’re looking for a little perspective on the specialty coffee industry, head on over to Daniel’s World of Coffee.

Written by a coffee connoisseur and professional in the specialty coffee industry, Daniel Humphries, the blog discusses everything from different kinds of coffee varieties to roasting technique to a favorite cuppa to just plain caffeinated rumination.

It’s a fun read and we often glean a few tips, tricks and facts from it each time we take a gander. He’s also got some great educational videos that show cuppings, classes and his thoughts on certain coffee-related subjects. Enjoy!

Crew Review: Ascaso Uno Professional with PID

Ascaso has just introduced a new version of their Uno Professional machines, this one comes standard with a PID interface. The PID gives you temperature control over the single boiler, so you can dial it in and manage it better for making excellent shots. The new version also features a side-access water tank (no reaching over the top) but lacks one of our favorite Ascaso features, the low water reservoir sensor.

Watch Gail as she walks us through the features, pulls a shot and steams up some milk on the new Ascaso Uno Professional with PID.

Crew Review: Ascaso Uno & Duo Series Comparison

Ascaso has released new iterations of their Uno and Duo series, adding an automatic Duo, as well, called the Tronic. In this video, Gail talks to us about the machines upgrades, how they differ from each other and their pros & cons.

Crew Review: Breville Series

While relying a bit more on form than function, Breville’s series of espresso machines do offer some great features like dosage programming and on-the-fly water heating, plus quite striking design. In this video, Gail discusses the different machines available and tells us their features, pros and cons.

Comparing Single Boiler Espresso Machines – Part Two

The final installment of our series comparing different classes of espresso machines is the second part of our reviews on single boiler espresso machines — this time, four models that also feature a three-way release valve. Watch Gail as she talks to us about the features, benefits, similarities and differences between the Rancilio Silvia, Ascaso Uno Pro, Gaggia Baby Class and Quick Mill Alexia.

Crew Review: Saeco Nina Bar

What started out as pretty darn good in theory didn’t end up very nice in practice. Saeco’s attempt at an easy-to-use single boiler automatic, the Nina Bar, leaves much to be desired. We don’t love all the plastic, the low quality metal used in the portafilter (which doesn’t hold heat very well) or the steaming power. It’s nice, however, that you can program the shot timing and if you’re looking for something a little more stylized than the Aroma, you might dig the case and design.

Watch Gail as she goes over the Nina Bar’s features, pros, cons and demonstrates how to make a latte.

Crew Review: Breville Burr Grinder

While we dig how much metal Breville incorporates into their designs, we don’t know how well their functionality will stand up to the test of time and/or someone with more particular tastes. We checked out their burr grinder to see how it compared to other models that we carry, and weren’t very impressed with its particle consistency or maximum fineness. In fact, we’re pretty sure that even what they call ‘Turkish’ wouldn’t work in most espresso machines — but may very well work just fine in their machines with a pressurized portafilter basket.

At any rate, we had Gail show us this grinder’s ropes and demonstrate how it works.

Crew Review: Mazzer Burr Grinders

If you’re looking to seriously upgrade your espresso setup, you might want to investigate the Mazzer grinders. We can’t emphasize enough how essential a good grind is for producing yummy espresso, and we’ve often even recommended people spend more on their grinder than on their actual espresso machine. Feels a little backward, eh? Well, that’s just how we do ’round these parts.

There are a few different Mazzer models available on the market, and in this video Gail walks us through three of them: Mini, Mini Electronic and Super Jolly. These burr grinders are classified as pretty sophisticated home grinders or can be used in a lower-capacity commercial/pro setting as well.