Category Archives: Reviews

Crew Review: DeLonghi Perfecta Superautomatic

Some people live and die by convenience. In fact, we’re pretty sure a few wars have been fought over it. And while the DeLonghi Perfecta may have not been high on the mission list, it is an arguably wonderful convenience with some great performance.

In this video, Gail introduces us to the Perfecta’s features, including it’s programming options and one-touch cappuccino interface.

Crew Review: Gaggia Platinum Series

With a more Italian, ornate design and stainless steel accents, the Gaggia Platinum series of superautomatic espresso machines are stylish and a little more sexy than their Saeco Talea counterparts (but maybe that’s just us!).

Watch Gail as she discusses the Platinum Vogue, Swing, Swing Up and Vision, describing their interface and feature differences and then shows us how to make a latte.

Crew Review: Saeco Odea Series

Looking for a superautomatic espresso machine without all the bells and whistles? Check out the Odea series by Saeco — a lower cost option that provides you with basic automation around shot extraction and the tools to get the rest of it done.

In this video, Gail talks to us about the Saeco Odea Go and Giro, discusses the differences between the two machines and demonstrates how to make a latte on the Giro.

Comparing Single Boiler Espresso Machines – Round One

Continuing our series of general comparison videos between different machines in a class, we took a look at some of the lower cost options available on the market. In this video, Gail gives us the basic rundown — pros, cons, likes, dislikes — on a few different single boiler machines, including the Ascaso Dream, Gaggia Color, Francis Francis! X7, Saeco Aroma and Breville Die Cast.

Crew Review: Quick Mill Alexia

For espresso purists out there, a Quick Mill Alexia with a PID interface installed might be the best of all worlds — not only do you have excellent temperature control of the single boiler when you have the PID involved, but the Alexia also offers the patented E61 brew group technology, which significantly improves the shot.

A step up from the Rancilio Silvia and not quite into heat exchangers, the Alexia is a great choice for espresso shot and Americano drinkers — of course, you also have a powerful copper boiler for steaming, if necessary, but you’ll still need to temperature surf on this baby between steaming and brewing. Check out Gail’s review and demonstration in this video.

Crew Review: Baratza Vario Grinder

One of the main questions people ask themselves while they’re researching a grinder is whether or not they want to get a stepped grinder — which would allow for easily changing between two disparate grinds like espresso and french press — or a stepless grinder — which gives you excellent control over very minutely dialing in the coffee’s grind.

The Vario was released earlier this year as a hybrid grinder that allows for both easy changes between different grinds and for slightly tweaking the grind to produce better shots. If you find that you’re stuck between two steps on your grinder, the Vario may be the solution. In this video, Gail talks to us about the machine’s features, functionality and demonstrates how it’s used.

Crew Review: Capresso FrothXpress

We’re huge fans of stovetop espresso at home, and we’re often just throwing in a little milk after the fact. Having a stand alone milk frother makes it easy to get a latte-style drink at home, sans espresso machine.

In this video, Gail shows us the FrothXpress, by Capresso, and gives us a demonstration on how it works. For our money, the Nespresso Aeroccino is probably still a better buy.

Crew Review: Starbucks Sirena

We had a customer contact us over at Brown Bean, looking for some help with her newly purchased Starbucks Sirena. Well, since we can’t sell these fine ladies, we asked her if she’d bring it in so we could play around with it — and then we’d be able to help her!

Witness our first crew review video of a machine that we do not (and cannot!) carry. These machines were manufactured for Starbucks by Saeco, so we often see them in for a couple of issues during their warranty period. Watch as Gail discusses the machines features, talks about a couple of it’s easily fixed manufacturing defects and demonstrates making a latte.

Comparing Mid-Range Superautomatic Espresso Machines

If you’re in the market for a machine that kind of does it all, choosing which one is right for you can be a little bit tricky. We asked Gail to walk us through the superautomatics priced in the $899 – $1199 price range and in this video she discusses their features, similarities, pros and cons.

New Reviews! Ascaso, Jura & Quick Mill

Over in the Brown Bean Reviews area, we’ve been adding new product listings and reviews for your research, reading and (hopefully!) reviewing pleasure. If you’re researching any of the below machines, please check them out. If you own one, we’d love it if you could write a user review to help others pick the machine that is right for them — your experiences are priceless.

ascaso-basic

Ascaso Basic
Semi-Automatic Single Boiler
ascaso-uno-pro Ascaso Uno Pro
Semi-Automatic Single Boiler
jura-z5 Jura Capresso Impressa Z5
One-Touch Cappuccino
qm-vetrano Quick Mill Vetrano
Semi-Automatic Heat Exchanger (Plumb-in Only)