Mineral content in your water will play a part in the coffee that you make and your machine’s longevity. In this video, Gail talks to us about a few different filters and softeners available for espresso machines, as well as explaining how a filter and softener differ.
For a long time, we had what most people would consider an unnatural love for the Jura Impressa Z5. It was so sleek, so flexible — and it did everything we asked it to. Who wouldn’t love that?
But an appreciation rooted in gadgetgeek love is always at risk of being supplanted, and the Saeco Xelsis is definitely wooing us. Watch Gail take us through the features of both of these machines and demonstrate their one-touch cappuccino functionality.
Creating a silky microfoam can be a challenging enterprise: Even with the higher end prosumer machines we sell, it is arguably the most difficult skill to learn and sometimes takes more practice (and patience!) than folks expect from the outset.
The technique involves infusing the right amount of air and steam at the right pace to ‘stretch’ the milk, ultimately resulting in that wet paint texture that can be used in latte art, if you’ve got the skillz. You rest the tip of the steam wand on the surface of the milk and ‘ride’ it as the milk is slowly expanding with tiny air bubbles and coming up to temperature via the machine’s steam. You’ve got to keep a steady roll going, the bubbles to a minimum and eventually you’ll submerge the wand completely once you’ve achieved the amount of foam you want and need to simply bring it up to temperature.
Saeco’s newest one-touch superautomatic, the Xelsis, is just about to hit the market in the US and we were able to get a prototype in the store to play around with it! These little ladies are available for pre-order on the Seattle Coffee Gear site and they’ll be shipping in early May.
Watch Gail take us through the basic features and show us how to make a one-touch cappuccino:
Arguably one of the best features of this one-touch is that, unlike the other one-touch models available from Saeco or Jura, the Xelsis also comes equipped with a powerful traditional steam wand. This is excellent flexibility if you have multiple coffee drinkers and one of them likes their milk extra hot because the automatic frothing will still make the milk at around the standard 165F. Watch as Gail shows us how the steam wand works:
If you’re anything like us, you probably used your gear’s user manual for one of three things:
- To ineffectively swat at flies, yet one day you accidentally killed one and couldn’t bear to keep the gut-stained book around.
- To prop up the uneven handmade bookshelf lovingly made by a friend/parent/spouse/sibling/child that never sits right on the wood floor.
- To start a fire in the fireplace to enjoy while sipping on a delicious glass of chai spiced wine. (Guilty!)
Or, maybe you just recycled it by accident. Whatever the case, the fact of the matter is that now you have no wisdom to guide you. We created our manufacturer manual repository over at Brown Bean to connect you with the source code. We have manuals for a lot of models both current and historical, so if you’re looking for tips on how to perform maintenance or need to find out what that error code means, check ‘em out.
Don’t see your model there? Leave a comment here and we’ll see if we can’t track it down and add it to the repository.
Have a Saeco superautomatic with the Saeco Brewing System (SBS) functionality? If so, this tip is for you!
We occasionally have customers calling with the following issue: They haven’t used the machine for awhile and now, when they try to use it, it’s grinding and tamping and everything but it’s either not brewing at all or giving an error. The cause? Well, if you let the machine sit unused for a few days, the coffee can dry in the SBS system, harden and clog it with a little coffee plug. This could even happen as quickly as overnight if you use dark roasted/oily beans in the grinder or if you use pre-ground flavored coffees (that sometimes have sugar in them) in your bi-pass doser.
How to resolve? Simple: Start brewing a shot and twist the SBS knob back and forth repeatedly. This combination of actions should break the hardened coffee free and coffee should start to flow.
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.
Check out Gail’s demonstration and review.
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!
If you have an Incanto Classic superautomatic espresso machine and you find that the coffee’s strength just isn’t doing it for you, it may be that the machine isn’t dosing as much coffee into your shot as you’d like. These machines can dose up to 10 grams of coffee per extraction, and you can specify the dosage range between 7 – 10 grams within the machine’s programming. Gail shows us how to do this little trick in this video.
Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter, The Grind, landed in an email box near you today — and if it wasn’t near enough for you to actually read it, you can do so here on the site or make sure you get up close and personal next month by signing up for future editions.
This month, we talk about the different functional types of espresso machines, include a recipe for Indochine Lemon, point you to our manufacturer manual resource on Brown Bean and introduce you to a few new products we have in the store. What you won’t see, however, is The Grind Special, which is for subscriber-eyes-only. Sign up to get that little bit o’ goodness every month.