Hanging with Gail and Jess is always a blast, but when there’s a Chemex added to the mix, things can get a little wild.
Sure, Jess originally chose it for its looks, but she has kept it around for its high quality performance — a lot like … well, we digress. Her shoot-from-the-hip Chemex brew style has always produced a delicious cuppa, without all the precision some might assume must be involved, so we asked her to come around for a little show.
Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Fake it ‘til you make it?’ This is my mantra in a sea of professional coffee quaffers. The words crema, micro foam, portafilter and panarello were not previously in my vocabulary. I enjoy any coffee that I don’t have to make myself. And after such a confession, you can now see why I approached the Crossland CC1 with trepidation.
At first glance the Crossland CC1 had a nice compact size for a serious espresso machine. It was not a countertop hog. I flipped the switch on and watched Gail’s video while the machine warmed up. Miranda walked by and gave me a pro pointer: ‘Pre-heat the portafilter in the group head.’ There are two knobs on the front of the machine which I pushed with hilarious results as 202°F water streamed through the empty portafilter and into the drip tray; I’m glad the drip tray had good capacity. I glanced at the water reservoir level, visible from the front, and there was still plenty of water left to try again.
Next, I unfolded my Seattle Coffee Gear cheat sheet and began with renewed hope that I could pull a decent shot my first time out. The included 58mm portafilter felt heavy in my hand as I used an Ascaso grinder that had been dialed in already. The delicious smell of freshly ground Velton’s Bonsai Blend filled me with anticipation. I tamped the fluffy grinds using an Espro calibrated tamper that Teri had told me about. This is a great beginner tool since I am not familiar with what 30 pounds of pressure feels like.
Now, the Crossland CC1 was ready, and so was I. From the menu, I selected the one-cup option (which is programmable) and positioned my lucky cow cup to catch the espresso. What I observed was that more dripped out one side than the other — a rookie mistake! My dosing and tamping skills needed much more practice. Before anyone noticed, I used the knock box to discard my mucky puck. This was user error, not the fault of the machine or the grind. My crema looked alright and the espresso was tasty, but I would not win a barista competition any time soon.
The Crossland CC1 was ready to go for milk frothing with no delay, thanks to a large boiler and thermoblock combination. If you like milk based drinks like I do, this is important because you don’t have to wait long to steam your milk. I scored a chilled stainless steel frothing pitcher from the SCG break room (a magical place where countless cups of coffee are consumed) and filled it 2/3 of the way full.
The tip of the traditional steam wand was just under the milk when I turned the front button to ‘steam’ and turned the dial on the side of the CC1 to inject the milk with perfectly heated steam. It made my milk much foamier, much quicker than I expected. I was impressed! *Procedural Note: I had previously frothed my milk prior to pulling the shot, just like Gail has advised us to do on a machine like this, but Kaylie stole my milk for her latte. Hence the CC1 steamed two pitchers of milk and pulled a nice shot of espresso without hesitation.
Although I did not brag about my first attempt, or even my second attempt the next morning, the CC1 is a great machine to learn on. It felt solid and there were no delicate parts for me to break. It was forgiving of my lack of skill! Imagine what it could do for someone who actually knows how to pull an espresso shot — the possibilities are endless.
If you retrofit a PID on a Rancilio Silvia, how should you calibrate it to ensure you’re getting the ideal shot temperature? How much of an impact does preheating your cup have on the end shot temperature? In this video, Gail measures the temp of extraction with and without preheating the demitasse beforehand.
If you’ve ever wondered about the finer points of the coffee pucks created by superautomatic espresso machines, we’re here to put that mystery to rest. Finally!
We setup three different machines — the Saeco Syntia, the Jura Ena 4 and the DeLonghi Magnifica S — to grind at their finest and dose their maximum quantity, then we compared them side by side. Check out how they differ in grind, consistency and dose.
In follow-up to our test video that we posted yesterday, we thought we’d break down and compare the different cold brew options we have — including the Sowden / Hario / Bodum variety and more!
|Dual purpose for hot and cool drinks, making cold brew in your french press will give you that kick in your pants all summer long. Whether you make it as a coffee concentrate to dilute or if you drink it STRONG like the SCG crew, all it takes is your desired amount of coffee, cold water and 12 hours in the fridge. This is great for making a big batch and stocking it up so it’s available whenever you need a cup o’ cold joe.|
Sowden Soft Brew Coffee Maker
|While you can use it to make cold coffee similar to that from a french press, the Sowden Soft Brew gives you more flexibility in that you can use different grind consistencies. The microfilter features over a million tiny holes that enable you to brew with even the finest grind, producing a richer cup or more concentrated coffee in a similar amount of time. This can also be used for make hot coffee, as well.|
|It may look like a science experiment, but the science of the Chemex is easier than it looks. Unlike the french press and Sowden, you’re going to start your coffee out hot and as it brews it’ll cool down in the second chamber. All it takes is placing a good amount of ice in the bottom chamber, placing a paper filter in the top chamber, filling it up with your desired amount of coffee, pouring hot water over the coffee and watch as the coffee is extracted on to the ice giving you a smooth, cold and refreshing cup o’ java.|
Hario Cold Brew/Mini Pot
|Made specially for cold brewing, the Hario Cold Brew and Mini Pots come in a sleek glass pitcher that will guarantee you will extract the most flavor out of your coffee. No need to heat up your water, whether it be cold or room temperature, fill up your pot’s nylon filter basket with coarse grounds, pour the water and brew it in the fridge for about 12 to 24 hours. You won’t need to finish your brew all in one sitting as it can keep for up to one month in a sealed container.|
Hario Cold Brew Dripper
|If you’re fancy and have a lot of time on your hands, the the Hario Cold Water Dripper is what you need. A unique way of making your average cup of coffee or coffee concentrate, this dripper uses the classic cold-drip method. With every drop of water per second it saturates your coffee and drip by drip it will extract 26 oz. of coffee concentrate in about 5 hours. With a little more patience and learning curve, once you get the hang of it you’ll be sipping on some non-oily and acidic-free java.|
Summertime and the living is easy, right? Right! Especially if living involves a smooth cup of cold brewed coffee. We offer a few different ways to make it — from Sowden to Hario to Bodum — and wondered: Is one of them better than the others?
So we did what we usually do when faced with a tough question such as this: We put Gail to the test. Watch as she crafts three batches of cold brew, lets them hang out over night and then we perform a taste test. Find out if any of our cold brewers produces a better cup.
In follow-up to our recent post on gear you can easily take on the open trail, Gail gives us her recommendations for what coffee accoutrement she recommends for back country excursions.
We’re finally experiencing the joy of summer (!!) and there’s no better way to rock it than with a tall glass of cold brewed coffee in your hand. Jessica’s favorite brew method is the Chemex, so we asked her to demonstrate this brew technique to one of our compatriots, Teri, which involves standard Chemex brewing into a carafe filled with ice.
It’s a big bad mama jamma of a Kalita-related blog entry!
So, we went a little Kalita wild last week — trying this popular pour over out for the first time, then comparing the different filter material types and how it measures up against other popular pour over preparations.
In this first video, Gail takes on a Kalita Wave #155 for the first time:
Next, she brews up three batches of Velton’s Twilight Blend in the glass, stainless steel and ceramic versions of the #185:
We’ll definitely be bringing these new pour overs in. We loved how easy they were to use and they produced a really great cup. If you’re a pour over fan (or want to be), the Kalitas are definitely a must-have.