Category Archives: Tips – Tech

SCG In Portland: Dialing In A Grinder

Dialing In A GrinderWhen pulling espresso there are 4 things that should be on the front of your mind. The beans, the grind, the tamp and the timing. We are going to focus on the grind right now because it can be one of the more difficult things to really nail. Your grind consistency is going to effected by the bean you are using, how fresh that bean is, the humidly in the room, heck, even your mood! So dialing in your grinder so you can pull your shot in the appropriate amount of time is essential!

Let me start out with a word of warning: dialing in a grinder will use up a lot of coffee, especially if your machine is new. So be prepared to grind up to a pound of coffee!

The trick to dialing in a grinder is keeping all your other variables consistent. So your dose, grind distribution and tamp pressure should be exactly the same every time. That way you know that it is just the texture of the grind that is affecting your timing.

Speaking on timing, this is how you will know which direction to adjust your grinder. The goal is to pull a double shot of two ounces in 25-30 seconds. If your shot reaches two ounces in, say, 15 seconds then you know your grind is way too course. A finer grind will slow your extraction time. On the other end, if it takes 35 seconds to reach that two ounce mark, your espresso will be over extracted. Adjusting the grinder to be more course will fix this.

Remember, when adjusting your grinder you should be making small adjustments. Sometimes one step is all it will take! Also be sure to grind at least a double portafilter worth of beans after each adjustment and throw that out. Otherwise you will have grounds from the previous setting muddling up your shot.

Watch the video below for the in depth tutorial on how to dial in a coffee grinder. And while you are at it, subscribe to our YouTube channel!




Breville Oracle Advanced Menu

If you are anything like us, and let’s face it you most likely are, you probably like to tweak every setting on your espresso machine! From the steam temperature to adjusting the clock, getting your machine dialed in to you is first on your list when you unpack your new espresso machine. So when you opened your Breville and saw the Oracle Advanced Menu, you were jumping for joy!Oracle Advanced Menu

But wait! Tweaking settings just for the sake of tweaking settings is not always the best course of action. Trust me when I say, you can easily adjust a setting that will put your machine on the fritz and have you calling our Customer Service department in tears. And while on occasion it may feel nice to chat to our wonderful customer service team with a tissue in hand, it’s best to avoid the situation altogether. How you ask? With knowledge!

The Oracle Advanced Menu is just that, an advanced menu. It won’t need to be adjusted regularly, some settings may not ever need to be touched. But knowing what each menu option controls is great way to know what to adjust when the time comes!

We had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Phil McKnight from Breville and thought he would be the best person to ask when it comes to the Oracle Advanced Menu. So we did!

Watch the in depth tutorial of the Oracle Advanced Menu below and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here.

Ask Gail: How Many Grams Fit In a Portafilter?

portafilterWhen you get your first espresso machine the first thing you want to do is pull a shot! As you are grinding out your beans you may ask yourself, how much coffee am I supposed to grind into my portafilter?

Well the answer is, it depends. As you may already know brewing espresso is a balancing act of multiple variables. And even the slightest change in a  variable can drastically change your result! So the numbers below are an average amount of coffee that should go into each portafilter.

Your grind setting will affect this amount, how oily the coffee you are using will affect the amount, even the humidly in your room will have an effect! So precede with caution. :)

Under typical situations a single basket will hold 11 grams of coffee. A double basket will hold 17 grams. And a triple basket will hold 21 grams of the good stuff!

Watch the Ask Gail video below and be sure to subscribe to our channel for all the latest videos :) Click here to subscribe if you haven’t already!

Ask Gail: Can The Crossland CC1 Auto Shut Off?

crossland cc1We live in the age of automation. Between our smart phones and our super automatic espresso machines, we almost never need to manually control anything! Which leaves us more time for the finer things in life, like savoring our freshly brewed coffee!

But with all this extra time, we can get to thinking about those things we can’t automate. Cue the Crossland CC1. An excellent espresso machine complete with a built in PID and 2 liter water reservoir. But can you set it to automagically turn on and shut off? Because as we know, when the machines abide by your schedule true happiness is reached.

We asked Gail if this was possible and she told us that the answer was no. The Crossland CC1 does not have a built in clock, which is required for it to be able to know when to turn on and off. Sad, we know. But not to worry! Gail also said that she has a workaround for those that crave the auto on and off feature!

Check out the Ask Gail video below to find out the workaround. You might just be surprised how easy it is! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel as well if you haven’t already! Gail will be glad you did :)


Ask Gail: Adjusting Grinder Burrs

Today’s Ask Gail is a special one folks. This is a direct question from our YouTube comments! Do you have a burning question for Gail? You can ask her in the comments of our videos and you might get featured on her segment! Cool, huh?

adjusting grinder burrsSo the question comes from YouTube user dan110024: In regards to adjusting to a finer grind, is the same to be said when dealing with conical burrs? We know that when going finer on a flat burr grinder we need to be running the machine so any beans that might be in between the burrs will be ground out while the burrs get closer together. If that doesn’t happen, the burrs can’t adjust properly leading to a headache when pulling inconsistent shots (and not to mention it isn’t good for the machine!)

So is the same to be said when adjusting grinder burrs of the conical nature? And the answer is yes! It is the same principal, flat or conical or whatever shape you might have ;)

And remember, after you make an adjustment you should be grinding out about a double portafilter worth (or about 18 grams) of coffee to make sure the old grind is out of the shoot! If that doesn’t happen crazy things will happen! Well, actually you won’t properly know if your adjustment is correct, but that can certainly be frustrating!

Watch the video above and chat us up in the comment section on YouTube! We always love hearing your feedback and questions! Oh, and be sure to subscribe to our channel! :) Thanks for watching!


Ask Gail: Which Jura Water Filter Do You Need?

Gail got an office! If you haven’t had a chance to congratulate her, now would be a good time! Don’t have any idea what I am talking about? You should check out the old episodes of Ask Gail in order to really understand the upgrade Gail got :)

Water filterWhew, now that we have that out of the way we can jump to the question. Today on Ask Gail we asked Gail (funny how that works) to explain which water filter we need to buy for our Jura espresso machines. As you know, you should be changing the water filter every 2 months in order to keep the machine happy and the espresso flowing.

But don’t worry! Finding the right filter for your machine is a whole lot easier than replacing the ink on your printer (as most things are). All you need to do is check the color cap your Jura water filter has, and match it to the new one! The best part is, there are only 2 colors to choose from! Easy peasy!

Watch the brand new episode of Ask Gail above and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel! Every time we get a new subscriber Gail gets an extra day in her office! Ok, just kidding, but please do subscribe and we will keep the videos flowing!


Ask Gail: Troubleshooting Water Detection Sensors

Water Detection SensorsIt is early in the morning and you just filled up the water tank in your Nuovo Simonelli or Rocket machine in preparation for that first shot of espresso of the day. And then it happens. The lights start to blink and the machine won’t run. Even though you are 100% sure you put water into the machine, the water detection sensors say otherwise. Why is this happening! And before I can even get my daily caffeine fix.

Well it turns out that the water detection sensors on all the Rocket and Nuovo Simonelli machines use an electrical current to detect if any water is present. And it turns out pure water is actually a very weak conductor. So why then do they always say not to use the hair dryer in the bathtub? Well, the ions that are dissolved in the water (think salt) act as charge carriers and allows an electrical current to flow through the water. So if you are using distilled water or water that has gone through a reverse osmosis process you have water that is pretty close to pure. So the water detection sensors won’t recognize the water that is actually in the tank.

Gail has a pretty easy solution to this issue, watch the video below to find out what it is!


Ask Gail: How to Adjust The Water Hardness Level

Adjust The Water HardnessThe DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 might be small, but it’s packed with plenty of power and productivity-enhancing functions to deliver cup after cup of delicious roast. Magnifica ESAM3300’s digital control panel with programmable settings, built-in burr grinder and one-touch foam system help save you time, while its 7 1/2 cup (60 ounce) water reservoir means you’ll need to refill less often. Did we mention Magnifica’s self-cleaning powers? ‘Tis true, this sublime Super-Automatic includes a decalcification indicator and an easy-to-clean, removable coffee bin and drip tray.

With everything it can do, it is best to keep it running at tip top shape. Descaling when you need to and general maintenance that all espresso machines require. Knowing your how hard your water is will allow the machine to perform properly. How hard your water is depends on how much mineral content is dissolved in it. The more minerals the harder your water. You can test this level with the test strip that comes with the machine.

Once you know how hard your water is you need to do is adjust the water hardness level on the machine! (It’s a lot easier than it may sound). Watch the video below to find out how to set your water hardness level, Gail will be glad you did.


Ask Gail: Espresso Shot Quality

espresso shot qualityAs with everything in life, when you choose one thing you will always have give up a little something elsewhere. And that’s not always a bad thing! But in order to make an informed decision you should know what it is exactly that you will be gaining and losing. When it comes to espresso machines, a lot of what you will be gaining and losing is espresso shot quality.

Let us preface by saying that there are a lot of factors that need to come together in unison in order to create the perfect shot of espresso. Everything from the grind, to the tamp, to the humidity in your environment need to be just right for that espresso to make the ultimate list of all things delicious. So one machine simply can’t make all things come true. But it certainly can get you close.

When it comes to espresso machines you have essentially three families: manual, semi-automatic and super-automatic. We are going to focus on the semi- and super-automatics since they tend to be the most popular. The super-automatics are the one stop shop machines. Espresso at the push of a button. Super convenient for those who want it. The semi-automatics give you a little more control over your espresso shot. You have the ability to fine tune your grind and tamp pressure to just how you like it. That is not to say that super-automatics don’t give you options, but there will inherently be less.

As a result, your shots will vary from machine to machine. We think that you can pull better shots on a semi-automatic but that comes at a cost. You will be required to hone your craft in order to get that sweet nectar just right. While a super-automatic will get you close enough with little to no effort. It all comes down to what you want! That’s really the best part of it all.

Watch the video below to hear Gail’s full explanation of espresso shot quality from machine to machine. And be sure to check out our YouTube channel as well for more information and Crew Reviews!


Ask Gail: Troubleshooting a Panarello

Troubleshooting PanarelloOne morning you are frothing up perfect milk with your panarello and the next all you get is warm milk. What is going on?! Troubleshooting panarello issues can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for.

A panarello is designed to simultaneously infuse a small amount of air with the steam so you don’t have to do a thing in order to get that foam we all crave. Some of them do it better than others, and you end up with everything from super spongy meringue-like foam to nearly microfoam quality, depending on how the manufacturer designed the adapter. But what to do when things stop working?

Well, we Asked Gail to walk us through the potential issues that the panarello adapters could encounter. Watch the video below to find out what you might be able to do to get everything up and running again. Hint: you may need to grab a safety pin!

After you watch the video be sure to head over to our Youtube Channel and see what else Gail is chatting about.