Category Archives: Tips – Tech

The Grind – March 2010

March 2010’s version of Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter, The Grind, is live and direct in someone you love’s inbox. Is that someone you? Well, it should be. We should all love ourselves — truly, madly, deeply.

So give yourself some sugar and, while you’re checking out this month’s newsletter — which features a yummy mint & Irish cream latte recipe, tips on the Baratza Vario display panel upgrade, a blog showcase and info on some of the new products we’ve got — sign up to receive next month’s missive. What you won’t find online is our Grind Special, available only via the email version of the newsletter, and we know how much you love a good deal, baby.

Baratza Vario H2 Display Upgrade

Baratza recently released an upgraded display for their Vario grinder, which now has memory (so it retains its programming even when the grinder is unplugged) and sleep mode functionality. If you have a Vario that was manufactured before March 2010, you can purchase the upgraded display separately and easily install it yourself. Vario models produced from March 2010 forward will have this new display as standard.

We filmed Henry as he installed the upgraded display in our older floor demo model. Questions on how to program the sleep mode? Check out these instructions.

Look to the Coffee Grounds

Along the lines of reading the tea leaves or a chicken’s innards, a rich tradition of examining the coffee grounds at the bottom of one’s cup has long given answers to some of life’s more complex questions. It’s in that spirit that we divine your monthly dose of caffeinated fortune telling, our Espresscopes over at Brown Bean. Curious what 2010 will bring to your java-sphere? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

Ask the Experts: Can I use Lemon Juice to Descale my Machine?

DIY lovers are all into the idea of using lemon juice or vinegar to descale their machines, but while the latter will leave a nasty residue and we don’t recommend it for that reason, the former just isn’t concentrated enough to do as an effective job in as an efficient manner as a concentrated citric acid solution like Dezcal. This is what we find out from Gail, plus she makes freaky faces and it’s worth watching just for that.

Ask the Experts: How do I Keep my Grinder Chute Clean?

One of the most popular questions we receive on a regular basis is around keeping the grinder chute free of clogs. Often, people will clean the burrs regularly, but forget about the chute and they’ll have inconsistent grind results because of that. It’s pretty easy to keep this area clean — watch as Gail demonstrates how to take care of a few different models of burr grinders.

Tech Tip: Cleaning the Rancilio Rocky Grinder

Extend the life of your grinder and minimize re-calibration and changing grinder function by regularly taking it apart and thoroughly cleaning out the burrs. While the excellent cleaning product Grindz is really good at keeping the burrs free of caked-up coffee grounds, nothing beats a disassemble and reassemble.

In this video, Gail shows us how to take apart the Rancilio Rocky, clean it and then put it back together again.

Ask the Experts: What’s a PID?

Single and double boiler espresso machines can have greater temperature control if a PID is installed to more minutely manage the thermostat on the boiler. In this video, Gail talks about what a PID is and gives us the lowdown on why you might want one and how you can get one.

The Grind: November 2009

This month’s issue of Seattle Coffee Gear’s newsletter, The Grind, has hit an inbox near you! If it didn’t hit yours directly, you may want to sign up for it.

We promise we don’t rent or sell email addresses and only send our monthly missive, which includes a special recipe (this month: Sapphire Nectar), an Ask the Experts tip, a full directory of the previous month’s YouTube videos, an update on Brown Bean and some featured products.

Oh, yeah — and it also includes a Grind Special not published anywhere else! To check out this month’s edition and to sign up for future mailings, head over here.

New! Rancilio Silvia Steam Wand Retrofit

If you have a version 1 or version 2 Rancilio Silvia, it might be well worth your while to invest in upgrading the steam wand to the much more flexible and easy-to-control steam assembly available on the version 3. Doing so, however, involves popping off the lid and going at your machine with a few different wrenches — but, never fear, we’ve got a video of Henry performing the task for us.

Ask the Experts: Oops! I Poured Water into the Bean Hopper – What do I do?

We’ve all had a few rough mornings where we’re not sure where the floor and ceiling are in relationship to each other, so it’s no surprise that a few of us have had a tragedy occur: Accidentally pouring water into the bean hopper/grinder instead of the reservoir on our superautomatic espresso machine.

If this happens to you, the most important thing is DO NOT USE THE MACHINE. There is nothing that you can do to fix this because the grinder needs to be taken apart and cleaned as soon as possible to prevent it from seizing up. In this video, Gail shows us what happens when water gets into contact with the grinder and gives us advice on what to do — you know, after we’ve run around screaming in panic.