Category Archives: Tips – Tech

Ask The Experts: How Much Electricity Does My Espresso Machine Use?

Sure, our espresso machines give us energy, but how much are they taking from the planet? We ran a test on a few of our favorites to show examples of the electricity draw and cost involved with running these machines each year. Our cost estimates are based on a national US average of $.11/kWh — you can find more accurate data for your specific area here.

Machine Name & Type kWh Used Estimated Annual Cost

Jura Ena 3 & 4

Superautomatic

.17/day

62.05/year

$6.83

Jura Impressa Z7

Superautomatic w/One-Touch

.24/day

87.6/year

$9.64

Rancilio Silvia V3

Semi-Automatic w/Single Boiler

.81/day

295.65/year

$32.52

Rocket Espresso Cellini Premium Plus

Semi-Automatic w/Heat Exchange

1.91/day

691.15/year

$76.03

Incidentally, we measured how much kWh it took to make a one-touch cappuccino on the Jura Z7 and found that it was .02kWh — at $.11/kWh, that means you’d need to make about 5 cappuccinos to rack up 1 cent in energy costs!

Tech Tip: Superautomatics and Oily Beans

We have written before about the no love lost between superautomatic espresso machines and oily, dark roasted coffee beans, but when we got a machine in the repair center last week that was caked to the gills with coffee cement, we just had to film it and show you what we’re talking about.

Watch Gail take apart the grinder of a Saeco Vienna superautomatic espresso machine and show what happens over time to the internal grinders on these machines if someone is using super-dark and oily beans. We definitely recommend sticking with a lighter, drier roast for the long term health of your machine — and now you’ll see why!

Ask The Experts: How Should I Clean My Grinder?

Your grinder may have a few nasty habits it’s not too proud of: Namely, it’s clingy and has difficulty getting rid of things. While we appreciate the packrat sentiment, it’s important that you motivate your grinder to regularly clean up its act — and since it’s an inanimate object, you’ll have to take the lead.

Depending on how much you grind, you’ll want to remove excess grounds from the burrs on a regular basis — home grinders should do this monthly, while cafe grinders will need to do it weekly. If it’s easy for you to pop out the burrs on your grinder, do so and thoroughly brush the burrs free of any built up coffee grounds. If you can’t easily get at the burrs, you can use a product such as Grindz, which is a hard, starchy product designed to clear out the oils and lodged particles from the burrs.

We have heard that some people use raw rice or wheat to achieve the same results as Grindz, which is a wheat-based food-friendly product. However, we haven’t tried this out and don’t know how successful or safe it is for your burrs.

In addition to the maintenance on the burrs, we also recommend wiping out the hopper regularly to cut down on oily build up that could become rancid over time.

Tech Tip: Adjusting the Temperature/Pressure on the Rocket Giotto

While Rocket thoroughly calibrates their espresso machines prior to shipping them out, some folks have found that, over time, they can maintain their shot quality by adjusting the temperature of the water that’s delivered to the brew group.

Gail walks us through the process of popping open the lid of the Rocket Giotto Premium Plus and adjusting the pressure to improve the temperature — and while we know people love to geek out and mod their machines themselves, following this process will void any warranties still on the machine. If yours is still under warranty, leave this to the pros.

The Grind – April 2009

April’s issue of our monthly newsletter, The Grind, is now up! This month’s edition includes a spicy tropical mocha recipe that is not for the faint of heart, details on our espresso machine recycle program, a tip on keeping your brew head clean and the secret code for this month’s Grind Special coupon.

Check it out — or sign up to receive future editions in your inbox.

Green Machine

We’re all more conscientious these days about our environmental footprint — what we do every day and how that impacts the world around us — and our pocketbook. What started as a random inquiry every now and again eventually developed into a dull roar…people want to find a way to keep their fully intact machine out of a landfill.

So we developed our  Recycling Program to fill this need:  we will break it down into all of its components, reuse any parts that are still good and then recycle most of the rest.

If you’re interested in the program, just contact us and let us know the make, model, age and condition of your machine. We’ll get back to you on how to deliver your machine to us. Feel good when you choose a new, upgraded model that your old machine is still being green!

Tune It Up, Little Darling

We’re all looking for ways to stretch our loot a little further these days. Keeping your home espresso machine in excellent condition means you can enjoy high quality espresso for years to come at a significantly reduced cost than what you’d pay at a local cafe.

To that end, our techs offer a Tune Up service for both superautomatic and semi-automatic espresso machines. This is a popular service that we wanted to share with more people around the country (yes, you can ship your machine to us for this service) and so we asked Gail to describe how this service works, what we do, etc.

For those of you not into watching videos or if you’d like to contact us about having your machine tuned up, we have full detail on the service and a contact form here.

The Grind – March 2009

Our monthly newsletter, The Grind, shipped out today! Covering a special St. Patrick’s Day recipe (Paddy’s Mint Latte), a synopsis of the heat exchange vs. double boiler debate, a compendium of the YouTube videos that we have posted in the last month and tips on removable brew group maintenance, March’s edition is chock full o’ fun facts.

It also features a special March Grind Special — 10% off orders over $99, good through 3/31/09. Check it out!

Get the Extinguisher Ready

From music to gadgets, we’re hearty supporters of the lo-fi movement — we love the simplicity and classic elements often employed in its design. We’re also fans of DIY projects and figuring out how to do seemingly complex activities easily at home, so when we ran across this article on home roasting, it tickled our lo-fi/DIY fancy and we just had to share.

Utilizing the sophisticated Heat Gun/Dog Bowl method, this step-by-step guide will lead you through roasting your beans at home without investing in a roasting machine. All you’ll need is a heat gun (available at any hardware store — basically, the tool version of a hair dryer that can cost between $15 – $100), a stainless steel bowl (the aforementioned dog bowl is quite popular, but the guide’s author prefers mixing bowls with a little more of an egg shape) and some green coffee beans.

Now, we haven’t tried out this method and did read some critical reviews of the technique, namely that it doesn’t provide uniform results and is kind of a headache to manage. Also, you’ll need to make sure you do this activity in a fire-resistant environment, as hot coffee beans could fly out of the bowl and ignite any flammable materials. So, clear the oily rags and the open jugs of paint thinner out of the garage before you start.

Let us know if you’re brave enough to take this project on — we’d love to hear about your results.