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.
A variation on their direct-to-airpot brewer, the D500, Curtis’ D60 gives you the tools you need to deliver coffee like Flo down at the greasy spoon! The only difference is that your coffee is going to taste much more amazing because you made it using Curtis’ excellent brew technology.
Watch Gail walk through the programming interface and functionality, then we make a pot of coffee, sit back and gossip with the best of them.
I think my favorite thing about the holiday season is coming in from the cold, changing into my comfy pants (you know you have some) and sipping away the winter chill with a nice warm beverage. Truth be told, my least favorite thing about the holidays has to be the crowds. If you’re still in search of the perfect gift this holiday season and would prefer to stay in your comfy pants, we’ve got your back! Jess and Kat gathered our favorite products in each category to give your tea or coffee lover everything he or she needs to get brewing. Check ‘em out for some great gift ideas!
Pour Over Gift Guide
Tea Lover Gift Guide
Drip Coffee Lover Gift Guide
Entry Level Espresso Gift Guide
Espresso Enthusiast Gift Guide
Superautomatic Gift Guide
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?
However, it has very little to do with combining food and coffee, which is my overarching mission in life. So, what would you say if I told you I recently made a wafflegato?
Your first question might be, ‘What’s a wafflegato?’ Well, it’s basically an affogato with the added amazingness of a Belgian waffle. Mmmm-hmmmm, I went there!
- Vanilla ice cream
- 2 shots of espresso (I used Velton’s Twilight Blend – can’t get enough of that stuff!)
- Monin caramel sauce
- Belgian waffle
- Place a large scoop of ice cream into a glass (I like the larger Bodum glasses for this, as it gives some room for the waffle!).
- Pull 2 shots directly into the glass, over the ice cream.
- Drizzle with caramel sauce and situate the waffle into the cup.
Now use your waffle to soak up some of that delicious espresso and ice cream mixture.
I’m very proud to say that I’ve finally busted down the stigma surrounding eating ice cream for breakfast. Waffles and espresso somehow make it all okay … in my head, at least!
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.
You’ve got pals over for the big game, the end-of-summer barbecue, the block party — or all three — and you need something to serve up that is both sweet and caffeinated, right? Right. Well you know that Brandi’s got you covered with a sumptuous treat that will have you cheering for more.
- 8 cups of brewed coffee – we used Velton’s Twilight Blend
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 pint heavy cream
- 1/4 gallon chocolate ice cream
- 1/4 gallon vanilla ice cream
- Brew up a batch of your favorite coffee and, while it’s still hot, dissolve sugar into it.
- Chill for at least 45 minutes — more if you can do so.
- Add heavy cream and stir well, then chill until you are ready to serve.
- To serve, pour coffee mixture into a punch bowl. Scoop the ice cream into the mixture and blend together. Enjoy!
On my never ending quest to mix espresso into food you might not otherwise add it to, I decided that root beer floats could use a makeover. Enter the Espresso Float. Yeah, I went there!
- Corn syrup (optional)
- Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
- A scoop of vanilla ice cream
- Shot of espresso (I used Velton’s Twilight Blend)
- 1-ounce of coffee flavored liqueur
- Root beer
- Dip rim of glass in corn syrup and then into a bowl of sprinkles.
- Add your scoop of vanilla ice cream to the glass.
- Pour the shot of espresso and the coffee liqueur over the ice cream.
- Pour in the root beer, going slowly to prevent the drink from bubbling over.
The ingredients for the coated rim are optional, but I highly encourage you to try it. Seriously, it adds a special touch to the drink and is sure to impress.
Okay, now go enjoy that deliciously caffeinated ice cream beverage!
Life is sweet when you’ve got Brandi around! Not only does she have a lovely demeanor, she also crafts deliciously naughty treats like this Mocha Syrup! Reminiscent of the chocolate chip pancakes from our youth, this syrup can also be used on ice cream or anything else that needs a healthy dose of rich mocha goodness!
- 1/2 cup strongly brewed drip coffee (we used Velton’s Twilight Blend — claro!)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, whisk together the coffee, cocoa powder, sugar and salt, then bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir continuously as the syrup begins to thicken — about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Serve warmed or chilled over pancakes, ice cream, whatever your imagination brings
Look, we know you’ve been coveting the oft-touted smooth cup of coffee from the Technivorm drip coffee makers, but your cupboards just don’t allow that kind of height, right? Well now you’re in luck with the K741, featuring the awesome cup quality of its larger compatriots, streamlined functionality and a bit shorter overall. Short is beautiful, baby!
Watch Gail show it off in this demonstration video. Then we brew up a batch of Velton’s Twilight Blend — of course.