If espresso machines had a kryptonite, it would be scale build-up. This silent killer will degrade your machine’s performance over time — inhibiting steam performance, disabling valve functionality so that leaking begins and, eventually, contributing to boiler burn out. Your options in battling it are to use a filtration system, softener or a combination thereof … or to just plan on regularly descaling the machine.
One descaling solution on the market is the liquid formula produced by Durgol. Available in two different formats — one for coffee makers and one for espresso machines — these are very effective and easy to use solutions. Watch as Gail talks to us about their formulation and then demonstrates how to use it on the Saeco Aroma.
If your kitchen counter space is at a premium, an espresso machine with a small footprint is likely your first consideration. Saeco’s Poemia and Aroma models are great options to consider, as they pack a lot of simple functionality into a relatively small punch.
Watch Gail talk us through their features, how they compare and why you might choose one over the other. Then she demonstrates making a cappuccino on each so you can see them in action.
What it is!
If convenience is king in your household, your espresso machine selection will likely center on superautomatic, capsule or pod-friendly options such as those made by DeLonghi, Jura, Nespresso and Saeco.
But which of these three machine styles produces a better shot? Does it matter? Of course it does! Watch as Gail demonstrates making an Americano on a pod-friendly semi-automatic, a capsule machine and a superautomatic. We compare flavor and discuss the relative convenience and ease of use.
You wake up one morning and think, I want to open up my own cafe! Or perhaps you’re already running a small business and you want to add espresso as a complementary service. Or you’re the operations manager at your company and you think espresso in the break room would be an awesome idea. But how do you choose from the plethora of machines available? Do you need a one group, two group — four group?! — machine? What do the terms ‘semi-automatic’, ‘automatic’ and ‘volumetric’ mean in terms of actual functionality and your business’ workflow?
In this overview, Gail walks us through a few things you should consider as you’re researching commercial espresso machines. She discusses how to plan for your busiest times, your budget, your workflow needs and — of course! — grinders! If you’re just getting started and don’t know where to start, this video primer is the place for you.
It’s not just about how sexy it looks on your countertop, baby. Well, okay, that’s definitely part of it, but you also need to make sure you’re choosing the tamper that will best fit your portafilter. In addition to basic diameter considerations, there are some models that feature filter baskets with shapes conducive to different styles of tampers.
Watch as Gail shows us portafilters for several different models and provides her recommendations on which tampers fit best.
For years now, we have had a deep and abiding love for Rocket Espresso‘s heat exchange machines, so when their new dual boiler model, the R58, hit the market, you know that a dance party ensued. But aside from sharing some of the aesthetic principals of its Hx counterparts, how does the R58 compare? And why would you choose one style of machine over the other?
In this video, Gail does us the sweet favor of breaking it all down for us. She talks about functional and feature differences, why you’d want a dual boiler or a heat exchanger and then crafts cappuccinos on both styles of machine to demonstrate how they compare, performance-wise.
There’s a lot we love in the world; we’re just Pollyanna like that. But if we had to pick something we love a bit more than other things (and we’re working on a well developed sliding scale and/or bell curve here), upgrading something lo-fi into something a bit more hi-fi is definitely one of them. Maybe it’s the McGyver-esque shape and feel of it, we don’t know. Whatever it is, the Saeco Poemia was an excellent candidate for a little soupin’ up — especially given our awesome non-pressurized portafilter!
So this is how it went down: We asked Gail to pull shots with it, she did so and we filmed all the action for your viewing pleasure. Really, it’s a blast — so sit back, relax and watch the crema ensue.
Yeee-haw. We wanted to take a moment to let you know about a slew of new goodies we’ve added over the last few weeks.
Quick Mill QM67 Dual Boiler
A double boiler for under $2k? Quick Mill’s latest model features the E61 brew head, separate boilers for simultaneous steaming and brewing, an integrated PID for controlling the brew boiler temp and a simple case design. If you’ve been thinking about upgrading to a prosumer-class machine but your budget hasn’t allowed it, the QM67 is definitely worthy of your consideration.
Bonavita Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle
We did a crew review of this featuring the engineer, Brian, a few months back, but the kettles themselves finally hit the market at the end of August! Select a specific temp and the kettle will heat until it reaches it, then hold it at that temp as well. With the curved gooseneck, it’s an excellent option for precision pour over preparation (say that three times fast!).
Refurbished Jura Superautomatics
If you’re a fan of Jura’s superautos — or want to be — you can pick up a factory refurbished model at an awesome discount! We’ve added three new models to our refurb line-up: The space-conscious ENA 5, the ultra sleek J6 and the straight-forward C9 One-Touch.
Saeco Tune-Up Kits
Love your Saeco semi-automatic? Keep it tuned up and in excellent working order with one of our three new parts kits. These include everything you need for a regular cleansing of your Aroma, Sirena or Via Venezia, plus instructions on how to get the job done.
While these two machines certainly have some core functional differences, they are often compared by folks because once you retrofit the Silvia with a PID, its price tag is very similar to that of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar. So, is one better than the other? As usual, it’s all a matter of perspective.
Watch Gail discuss the features and functionality of these machines, then demonstrate how they perform in terms of drink quality. She also talks about why you might choose one over the other, so if you’re on the fence regarding these two models, this comparison video was made with you in mind. Cherish it.
Heat exchange espresso machines offer simultaneous brew and steam functionality by employing a large steam boiler with an embedded brew boiler and a dual pump. They’re easy to use and work well for the majority of home espresso enthusiasts who aren’t interested in dialing in and playing around with different temperatures.