Category Archives: Semi-Automatic

Morning Maintenance: CC1 General Maintenance Tips

An espresso machine is a lot like a car. If you keep up on your oil changes and tire rotations, it is going to last a whole lot longer. But don’t worry, you won’t need to bring your espresso machine into a mechanic for the tune up! You can do so in the comfort of your own home.General Maintenance Tips CC1

Below are our general maintenance tips for the Crossland CC1, but a lot of this information can be used on any single boiler machine. Of course it is best to consult your specific machines instruction manual   but feel free to follow along!

The best thing you can do for your machine is to use filtered water. By using filtered water you cut back on the amount of descaling you will need to do, which is good for everyone involved. (It can take a while to go through the whole descaling process!)

Backflushing is another important step to a healthy machine. Coffee has oils, and those oils like to go everywhere! Over time, those oils will build up and can change the flavor of your shots or even create a clog. Watch the video below to see Gail demonstrate how to properly backflush the Crossland CC1.

After each brew session, it is best to wipe down the machine immediately. Especially the steam wand if you steamed some milk. Any milk residue that is left on the wand after steaming will burn, and be very difficult to remove later. In addition to the unsightly burnt milk, the wand can also siphon milk back up and into the boiler as it cools. And milk in the boiler is never a good thing (and can cost a lot to repair)!

Those are our general maintenance tips for the Crossland CC1, be sure to watch the full episode of Morning Maintenance below. If you found this video helpful, subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos just like this!

 

Comparison: R58 and BES920

We are back with another comparison! This time we are looking at the R58 and BES920. The Rocket R58 is really the gold standard when we compare dual boiler machines.R58 and BES920

Last time we did a comparison to the R58 we took a look at the Oracle, which has a ton of extra features–causing it to sit in an espresso machine class of its own. So we decided to take another look at the R58 and compare it to something a little closer in  design.

The R58 and BES920 are both excellent machines, promising a great shot of espresso. But certain features and functions will be more appreciated by different home baristas.

The R58 is a classic espresso machine. It features a rotary pump which will create the ideal pressure and do so very quietly. It features a removable PID, so you can make the adjustments you want, but still have the clean looking machine that Rocket strives to design. The R58 also has the option to be a plumbed in machine if that tickles your fancy.  Oh and did we mention the E-61 brew head?

R58 and BES920The Breville BES920 features a lot of the “creature comforts” that the R58 doesn’t sport. Automatic on and off functions being the big one. The BES920 has a built in PID system, so you have the control to pull some great shots. The Breville has a stainless steel boiler while the Rocket is a brass and copper build.

Be sure to watch the full comparison video below!

 

Morning Maintenance: Setting Up The CC1

Congratulations! It looks like you just got yourself a Crossland CC1. We are excited for you (and maybe even a little jealous!)Crossland CC1

The Crossland CC1 is an excellent choice for the home barista. It features a PID system that is built right into the interface. This is a feature you won’t find on any other machine with this price point. One of the biggest complaints espresso enthusiasts have about other machines at this level is the temperature variance. But you won’t need to worry, since you have this PID to keep your temperature under control!

Once you get your CC1 out of the box, all you need to do is program your PID and then brew away! In the Morning Maintenance video below, Gail will go over how to program your PID’s brew temp, pre-infusion time, wait time and brew time. It is an easy process to master, and can result in some delicious espresso!

Watch the full video below!

 

 

Crew Review: La Marzocco Linea Mini

It’s new. It’s beautiful. It’s powerful. It must be from La Marzocco.Linea Mini

Yes! That is right. We are here today with a Crew Review of the new La Marzocco Linea Mini. And while the word mini is in the name, it really is anything but mini!

The Linea Mini has a huge 3.5 liter  water reservoir which is sure to last you several brewing cycles before requiring a refill. (And that means more coffee! We all can get behind that!)

We were really impressed with the details that were put into this machine. The drip tray features a new magnetic connection. Which makes for easy removal and re-attachment, it literally snaps back into place. The Linea Mini also has their lion logo etched into the brew head screen. Sure it doesn’t change the way your espresso will taste, but it certainly looks awesome!

The steaming function on this machine is truly a show stopper. It features a 4 hole steam tip, which makes for some fast steaming. During the filming of our Crew Review, Gail was able froth up a 12 ounce pitcher in no time flat!

Gail seems to enjoy the stainless steel model, but the Linea Mini also comes in black, red and white. Something for everyone!

Be sure to watch the full Crew Review below to learn about all the details of the awesome machine!

Crew Review: Saeco Aroma

Do you smell that? That aroma? Well? :)Saeco Aroma

That’s right! We are talking about the Saeco Aroma semi-automatic espresso machine. Perfect for those with limited space but still want the control for great espresso. The Saeco Aroma is a pressurized portafilter system which will improve the extraction from almost any fineness of ground beans. The pressurized environment promotes the perfect brewing conditions without need of an expensive grinder.

The Saeco Aroma has a huge water tank. Or should we say swimming pool. At 88oz, you will rarely need to refill this machine. The panarello steam wand makes frothing milk a breeze. You won’t have all the control you would get with a traditional wand, but it will get you very close! The steam wand does have limited motion, which can be make frothing larger pitchers more difficult.

The Saeco Aroma is smaller than the Saeco Via Venezia, therefore it’s great for those with limited space. Watch the full Crew Review below!

 

 

Crew Review: DeLonghi Dedica

DeLonghi DedicaBig things come in small packages! That’s right folks, we are talking about the DeLonghi Dedica. It’s a brand new machine to our store, and sure packs a punch! Coming in at just under 7 inches wide and 13 inches tall, the DeLonghi Dedica is dedicated to bringing you fast and tasty espresso when it counts!

This is a  great entry level machine, that comes with a lot of features you won’t find on other machines in the same price range. The DeLonghi Dedica has a lot of programability. It allows you to control the water temperature (low, medium or high) for hotter espresso. You can adjust the amount of time until the DeLonghi Dedica goes into stand-by mode and you can set your water hardness (soft, medium or hard) for a better tasting brew.

But one of the features that really makes this espresso machine stand out from the crowd is the descaling mode. It will let you know when it is time to descale and it will even run the descaling solution through the machine for you. Yay for automation!

As you probably imagined, this is a single boiler machine. What does that mean for you? You can’t steam and brew at the same time. Which can be a turn off to some, but a non-issue to others!

The DeLonghi Dedica also comes with an E.S.E pod basket, allowing you to brew pods if that is the way you roll! Overall, this is a great machine and we are excited to share it with you. Be sure to watch the full Crew Review below! And please subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here!

 

 

Comparison: R58 vs. Oracle

Because two boilers are better than one, that’s why! Yes we are talking about the double boiler machines, and specifically we are going to take a closer look at the Rocket R58 and the Breville Oracle.

So ring the bell referee, it’s the R58 vs. Oracle.

While these two machines have a few things in common they truly are very different, each one catering to a different type of  home barista.

The Breville Oracle sits in class almost to it’s own; somewhere R58 vs. Oraclebetween a super-automatic and a semi-automatic.  It has a grinder and a tamper built right into the machine. The internal clock allows you to have the machine auto start in the morning, which can make waking up that much easier! The auto frothing steam wand allows for easy cappuccino creation. The Breville Oracle has many menu features allowing you to tinker until you get the perfect drink. However, automation always comes at a cost. Even with all the menu features, measuring exact amounts of coffee grounds, for example, is not possible.

The Rocket R58 sits up at the top of it’s semi-automatic class. It R58 vs. Oraclefeatures a dual PID temperature control system, allowing you to program both the steam and brew boiler temperatures. The commercial grade rotary pump is quieter than most and allows for pump pressure adjustments and monitoring. The R58 is also plumbable, which means you can say goodbye to refilling the water tank by directly connecting this machine to your water supply. Of course, you can’t talk about any Rocket machine without mentioning its beautiful design. A lot of care is put into each of these handcrafted machines, you can be sure it will look great on your countertop.

Be sure to watch the full comparison video below! If you found this comparison helpful, subscribe to our YouTube channel for more by clicking here.

 

 

Ask Gail: Espresso Shot Quality

espresso shot qualityAs with everything in life, when you choose one thing you will always have give up a little something elsewhere. And that’s not always a bad thing! But in order to make an informed decision you should know what it is exactly that you will be gaining and losing. When it comes to espresso machines, a lot of what you will be gaining and losing is espresso shot quality.

Let us preface by saying that there are a lot of factors that need to come together in unison in order to create the perfect shot of espresso. Everything from the grind, to the tamp, to the humidity in your environment need to be just right for that espresso to make the ultimate list of all things delicious. So one machine simply can’t make all things come true. But it certainly can get you close.

When it comes to espresso machines you have essentially three families: manual, semi-automatic and super-automatic. We are going to focus on the semi- and super-automatics since they tend to be the most popular. The super-automatics are the one stop shop machines. Espresso at the push of a button. Super convenient for those who want it. The semi-automatics give you a little more control over your espresso shot. You have the ability to fine tune your grind and tamp pressure to just how you like it. That is not to say that super-automatics don’t give you options, but there will inherently be less.

As a result, your shots will vary from machine to machine. We think that you can pull better shots on a semi-automatic but that comes at a cost. You will be required to hone your craft in order to get that sweet nectar just right. While a super-automatic will get you close enough with little to no effort. It all comes down to what you want! That’s really the best part of it all.

Watch the video below to hear Gail’s full explanation of espresso shot quality from machine to machine. And be sure to check out our YouTube channel as well for more information and Crew Reviews!

 

(Not So Scientific) Experiment: Brewing Tea in a Pressurized Portafilter

You may remember that not so long ago we posted a blog about brewing tea on your espresso machine. Wha?! Yep, true story. At the time, we had a lot of fun with it and found that we could pressurized_teasuccessfully pull a whole cup of tea through a pressurized portafilter. There was even a layer of tea crema. So crazy and so cool.

Around SCG, we’re always looking for different ways to use the equipment we already have. So this was pretty exciting to us, especially given that there are cafes specifically dedicated to this type of tea experience…and now we could do it ourselves!

If you’re more into videos than text-based articles, we’ve created one specifically to walk you through the process of “dialing in” your cup of espresso machine-prepped tea. Now we’re off to daydream about the possibilities of tea lattes. Let’s say it together now: Yummmm!

Tech Tips: Temperature Surfing on the Rancilio Silvia

Oh, Miss Silvia! A beloved home espresso machine among many a household, she can pull an Rancilio Silviaespresso shot like nobody’s business. However, like other single boiler espresso machines, you need to do a bit of temperature surfing after steaming your milk in order to get a quality shot of espresso. Unlike regular surfing, though, you don’t need to wear a bathing suit, so that’s pretty sweet.

Why do you need to temperature surf? Well, steam temperature is right around 212 degrees F, whereas brewing temperature is between 195-205 degrees F. If you steam your milk and jump immediately into the brewing process, you’re at far too hot a temperature for a tasty shot of espresso. Yes, it will still pull the shot, but there will be plenty of burned taste to be had!

Luckily, Gail and Brendan are here to walk us through the simple process in the video below. And let’s try to keep daydreaming about the beach to a minimum, shall we?