It’s time for a vertical tasting! We asked Jess and Nick to join us in an extravaganza of different non-espresso coffee preparations, featuring Velton’s Twilight Blend. Watch as we brew up batches using the Chemex, Sowden SoftBrew, AeroPress, Kalita and Espro Press, taste them and then discuss how the flavors change between the different brew styles.
When we saw this gorgeous, candy-apple red version of our much loved Technivorm, we couldn’t wait to bring in a few for the holiday season! Functionally identical to the polished silver KBG741, this eye catching Technivorm is a saucy little homage to both form and function.
Watch Gail talk to us about specs and then brew up a batch o’ java for our enjoyment.
Whenever we need to learn about the finer points of java, our good friend Velton Ross of Velton’s Coffee Company is only too kind to drop a lil’ science in our direction. So when we wanted to learn more about blending/roasting theory and about why you might choose an espresso blend over a single origin bean (or vice versa), we headed up to his roastery in Everett, WA, to get his perspective.
If you’ve ever had similar questions, then this field trip video is right up your alley! In addition to the great information he imparts, he also busts out a few exceptional dance moves with Bunny. Who doesn’t love that?
There are so many things I love about French press coffee. First off, my mom makes it, so it reminds me of home. She has hand quilted a little coffee cozy to wrap around her La Cafetiere Classic … it is adorable. Next, French press coffee is about as easy to make as tea. Does your grind have to be perfect? No. Do your measurements have to be perfect? No. Can you use an espresso blend? Yes, if you feel like it! In my opinion, French press coffee is more art than science. Too strong? Add more hot water. Too weak? Add an extra scoop next time.
A French press requires a very low level of coffee commitment. You don’t need to remember what size paper filters it takes or bemoan how much counter space it occupies. And yet for all of the convenience a French press offers, manufacturers don’t make it easy to tell how much coffee will be produced per pot.
For my mad scientist coffee press experimentation I used a big measuring cup I borrowed from Brewin’ with Brandi and took over the SCG breakroom with a notebook, a Digital Timer and the Breville Ikon Electric Kettle. I pressed copious pots to give you the inside scoop!
My methodology included 1 rounded tablespoon per 4 ounces of hot, not boiling, water. When I make it at home I throw in an extra scoop for the pot, but here I went ‘by the book.’ I stirred half way through so that the coffee grounds and water were well incorporated. However I did not leave 1 inch of headspace. I filled to the point where I felt comfortable the plunger would fit without overflowing the pot. Pro-Tip: Just like when buying a car, your mileage may vary! Go with the coffee flow. Here is a chart chock full of caffeinated results.
We’re featuring one of our favorite new products in our semi-regular Flash Sale this weekend, so thought we’d delve a little into its manufacturer: Kaffeologie.
Initially on the search for something to improve the flavor of their beloved french press coffee, founders Nate Jones and John Custer created the Coffee Catcher in 2009. This little gadget removed more silt from the coffee press, but wasn’t as popular as they would have liked.
‘We have the competency of working with stainless steel mesh,’ said Jones. But he wondered ‘if there are any other products in coffee that need that?’ Fortunately for them, they discovered that their talent for creating reusable filters gained more traction with folks who enjoy pour over coffee preparations like the Chemex, Hario V60 and AeroPress.
By following this new direction and expanding from french press to pour overs, Jones and Custer have seen their company thrive. Based on customer input and a desire to produce the best quality stainless steel filters available, they completely redesigned their model for the AeroPress, the S Filter, which was produced in part by funding through the community site KickStarter.
‘We’ve connected to customers and have found a lot of folks who shop with us just want a better cup of coffee,’ Jones said. Stay tuned for more awesome filters for your favorite coffee preps coming from these Seattle-based designers.
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.
In the search for a clean, caffeinated world, Easy Serving Espresso (E.S.E.) pods make a tight little case for themselves. Individually wrapped and ready to rock, they make shot extraction a breeze — and clean up even breezier! But how do they taste?
Since you know we love nothing more than a grudge match, we pit a few brands against each other in this side by side tasting. Using the Saeco Via Venezia, Gail brews up shots with Caffe Umbria’s Gusto Crema, Lavazza’s Gran Crema and illy’s Medium & Dark Roast variations. Watch to learn which, if any, we prefer.
Added to the majority of smaller single boiler semi-automatic and superautomatic espresso machines on the market, a panarello has the benefit of incorporating both air and steam into the milk during the frothing process, enabling even the most green home barista to produce a nice, frothy milk for lattes and cappuccinos. And while it’s true that it does enhance a machine’s frothing functionality — especially when you’re working with a smaller boiler or a thermoblock — the ability to control the end product is very limited: If you’re not looking to produce a dry cappuccino, the foam can sometimes be a bit too, well, frothy.
For those that want to employ some actual stretching-the-milk skill to their drink creation on the Odea Giro, we thought we’d experiment with removing the panarello to see how well it works out. Sometimes, wands without the panarello end up being too short and, therefore, make the process even more difficult.
Watch as Gail demonstrates this simple mod and shows how well it performs in this demonstration video.
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.
If you’re experimenting with different styles of coffees — roast styles, bean blends, etc. — you’ll need to adjust your grind to dial that specific coffee in for your machine. It’s definitely not a set it and forget type of scenario, and there are general rules of thumb one might follow when switching between coffees that have a significantly different roast profile.
Watch Gail provide tips and advice on things to keep in mind when dialing in different coffees.