Category Archives: Videos

Adult Mexican Coffee Affogato

Once in a while you need a little extra humph with your coffee. What’s better than a little tequila and coffee liquor to get the engines revving? Quick answer: Adding ice cream to your booze! Drink up this deliciously creamy Adult Mexican Coffee Affogato that’s just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Thank you, Jane for taking all of our favorite things into one yummy drink!

We used the trusty Breville Barista Express so we could grind and brew our espresso in one go. The easy programmability is nice after a couple of espresso shots, too, and you can be sure you’ll have a line out the door for this drink! We picked Victrola’s Streamline Espresso for the smooth chocolate and fruit flavor that’s robust in an espresso.

Pro Tip: We recommend a robust coffee blend for this drink, but it’s not necessary with the coffee liquor to get a well-rounded flavor.

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 16 grams coffee
  • 1/2 ounce tequila
  • 1/2 ounce coffee liquor
  • 1 BIG scoop vanilla ice cream
  1. Prep your espresso machine ahead of time. (If you’re using the Breville Barista Express, we clocked it at 70 seconds)
  2. Add one big scoop of ice cream, tequila and coffee liquor into your glass.
  3. Grind 16-ounces of coffee to make two shots of espresso. Brew straight onto your glass!
  4. Stir it up and take a big bite of your Mexican Coffee Affogato. ¡Delicioso!

Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Oscar II

How Does It Compare?

The future is here. You’ve been asking for it and finally we’ve got it! We unboxed the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and we hardly even recognize it. The original Oscar was wrapped in a plastic shroud that dulled the mighty power of its espresso. The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is decked in steel and features clean reflective angles—hello, gorgeous! The new design did a complete 360 from original, literally; the new C-shape front allows room for the extended steam wand that rotates on a 360° ball joint to reach every angle of your frothing pitcher.

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The updated steel body and C-shaped structure create beautiful dimension.

The innards of the Oscar II and Oscar are nearly the same. It’s still a heat exchanger with a copper boiler, which produces that fierce steam power and allows you to brew at the same time. The reservoir saw an upgrade in capacity and a bigger hole for sticking your hand in to clean out any gunk. Mostly, the Oscar II’s design finally reflects the high-quality that makes the Nuova Simonelli machines top of the line.

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The updated water reservoir holds 2.8 liters of water for more cappuccinos.

Shot

Hurray for heat exchangers! If you’re like us, we love to brew and steam at the same time so we can get to our latte faster. The Oscar II features front-facing indicator lights for the boiler and reservoir so you’ll know exactly when you’re ready to brew. Even though our indicator light clicked off at the nine-minute mark, you’ll want to give your machine a good 30 minutes to heat up. 

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Program a single or double shot using the soft-padded buttons. Above are two lights that indicate low water and the boiler temperature, respectively.

The two programmable buttons allow you to set the volume of a single or double shot. Getting the right volume is easy-peasy, too. Press and hold one of the volume buttons and wait for it to flash; once it’s flashing, press again to start the flow of coffee. When the cup’s filled to your desired caffeine intake, press it again to program the volume time. Tada! Coffee is served. Great coffee at that! We noticed the Oscar II pulled consistent shots and even at the set factory settings offered delicious espresso. Pro Tip: unboxing the Oscar II we noticed it pulled longer shots that give you enough wiggle room to program your preferred shot time.

Steam

Nuova Simonelli is the official espresso machine provider for the Barista Championship, so you know it’s got it going on. The steam power behind the Oscar II is a force to be reckoned with—they can’t let those professional baristas down. On a 360° rotating ball joint, you can get into any container at any angle to froth. Plus, the four holes releasing steam add extra power on all sides. The steam’s nice and dry, too, so there’s no extra moisture but plenty of piping hot goodness.

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Grabbing the nearest pitcher of ice cold milk, we put the steam wand to the test. Whole-y milk froth, Batman! In less than 10 seconds, we were looking at microfoam and feeling hot, hot hot! Needless to say, you’ll want to watch out where you put your hands when you’re steaming—remember the four holes that release steam. It’s so quick too, that some of Seattle Coffee Gear’s novice baristas were having trouble texturing the milk just right. The steam power is definitely something you’ll want to get a feel for with practice. Of course, our veterans took to it like a duck to water and were swimming in ponds of beautiful latte art quality milk.

Style

Curvy in all the right places, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is carved to catch your attention. The clean look of the steel complements modern taste while the C-shaped frame adds futuristic dimension. Stand head on, the rippled brew head and reflection off the drip tray are reminiscent of a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica (seriously, go search “Cylon” right now). All these elegant curves and edges are interrupted by something it seems Nuova Simonelli forgot to add—oh yeah, the switch for the steam wand. Sticking out like a sore thumb, the switch flips on or off and we’ll generously add you can push it ever-so-slightly to get quick steam. For power and functionality standing behind the steam pressure of the Nuova Simonelli, it’s unfortunate to see the steam lever handled so carelessly.

The color block look is another eye-sore on this machine. We love the chrome. We love the black. We’re not fans of the gray. The color of the steam switch doesn’t coordinate with the rest of the design, either, unless you count the muted gray buttons and portafilter as a close match. Rubbing a finger over the surface of each button, it’s like flipping through the channels of an old remote control. The outdated texture leaves us yearning for more.

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The Oscar II comes with a 58mm commercial-grade non-pressurized portafilter with breakaway spouts—can we just say those open spouts offer the best view in the house? What’s not lovely is the plastic handle. You’d think the chrome cap was metal but it’s not. The other faux-steel look is the rippled chrome brew head. While you can’t tell from a distance it would have been nice to move away from plastic and committed to real steel like the rest of the body and drip tray.

Conclusion

The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II captures power and style. The updated steel body reflects the high-quality build of Nuova Simonelli’s internals and the new angled front adds intriguing dimension as well as more room for a longer steam wand. Just to recap, we steamed milk in 10 seconds! The steam wand on the original Oscar has nothing on the new one! It’s much easier to access and angle your pitcher in. While we went off on the plastic components a bit there at the end, the overall design is a refreshing upgrade from the previous model with all the same powerful gears making delicious espresso. 

Spring Apricot Scones

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The sun is shining, Cinco de Mayo is around the corner and we’ve got coffee on the brain! Naturally, we picked up a bag of our only coffee grown in Mexico, Velton’s Mexico Nayarita, and brewed ourselves a pot. This single origin is bursting with sweet notes of apricots and strawberries with hints of citrus and that got us thinking…we need a scone with this! Well, truth be told Gail has been dropping not-so-subtle hints on our videos that she really wants scones with her coffee. Inspired by the flavors of Velton’s Mexico Nayarita—and Gail’s subtle hints—we cooked up this recipe for Spring Apricot Scones!

We surprise her with a fresh batch of these scones on this week’s episode of Good Morning Gail—and let’s just say they were a hit with Gail and her cup of Velton’s coffee.

Equipment

  • Medium-sized bowl
  • Pastry blender
  • Mixing spoon
  • Cookie sheet for baking
  • Brush for egg wash

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups peach greek yogurt*
  • 3/4 cups dried apricots
  • 1 lemon for zest
  • Optional 1 egg for egg wash
  • Optional pinch of Demerara sugar**
  1. Set the oven to 425 degrees and grab the cooking utensils you’ll need.
  2. Prep ingredients. Grab a cold stick of butter from the fridge and chop into small chunks (you don’t want it melted or at room temperature). Dice apricots to the desired size and zest one lemon. The lemon adds refreshing flavor perfect for springtime!
  3. In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  4. Add the chopped butter to the flour mixture and use a pastry blender mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.
  5. Fold in peach greek yogurt, dried apricot and lemon zest until all the flour is moist (don’t use the pastry blender for this part).
  6. Add a bit of flour to a flat surface and shape the dough into a circle. Aim to have the dough height at half an inch and then cut into triangular sections at the desired size. Pro Tip: We cut it once down the middle and then into five triangle pieces.
  7. Optional, but highly recommended, scramble an egg and wash the top and sides of the scones. Sprinkle Demerara sugar on the top. **Demerara sugar doesn’t melt and adds a nice sugary crunch to the top of these scones.
  8. Bake for about 13 minutes or until the tops are golden. Enjoy these refreshing scones with a cup of Velton’s Mexico Nayarita coffee!

*Like, you could use plain greek yogurt, but peach is just oh-so-good in these apricot scones.

Crew Comparison: Chemex Ottomatic vs. Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup

How Does It Compare?

If you’re looking for hands-off brewing, then you’ve come to the right place. Sit back, relax and let the Chemex Ottomatic and Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup take the reins. The Bonavita Brewer acts like your typical drip brewer but the Chemex Ottomatic has branched off from the norm and married pour over with automatic functionality. What does that mean, you ask? Basically, the Chemex took their iconic carafe and created a brew system that pre-infuses and blooms coffee as you’d perform for a pour over. Traditional drip coffee makers feature a continuous drip and usually don’t pause to allow the coffee to bloom, which is the case for the Bonavita Brewer.

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The Chemex Ottomatic with the Chemex Classic Coffeemaker Series carafe.
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The Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup features the updated stainless steel-lined carafe.

How does the taste compare? We were curious if the Chemex’s innovative automatic pour over would create a different tasting cup. Using a fresh bag of Zoka Coffee’s Tangletown Blend, we brewed a pot on each. Our first thoughts were the taste was the same. After a couple of sips, Gail noticed that the coffee from the Ottomatic was smoother while the Bonavita had brighter acidity. The bottom line is both brewers make a similar cup.

Brew

Now that we know the coffee tasted similar on the Ottomatic and Bonavita, we wanted to understand the brewing processes. The Chemex Ottomatic is a new way to brew and it does it rather elegantly—dinner and a show! There’s no clunky basket obscuring your view of the brewing process; you can see the brew head gently dispenses hot water and pauses occasionally to allow the grounds to bloom. With all that pausing on the Ottomatic, it took roughly seven minutes to get our coffee. The Bonavita Brewer got us a cup in five and a half minutes since it continuously drips. Bonus: The Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup (model BV1900TS) is also SCAA certified, which means it went through rigorous testing on brew time, temperature, and overall quality.

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The Ottomatic’s shower head evenly wets the grounds and pauses to allow coffee to bloom.

Another well-known brewing step called pre-infusion is featured on both machines. The Ottomatic automatically pre-infuses before brewing, which we appreciate if it’s truly trying to replicate pour over. The Bonavita, however, needs to be manually started. So grab your manual! While it’s arguably not difficult to turn on, it’s not intuitive either. To turn it on, you press and hold the power switch for about five seconds (or waiting until the light flashes) then release and press it again to engage. The Bonavita will be in pre-infusion mode until you turn it off again—another press and hold situation. See? Not bad but we just skipped all the hullabaloo and went straight to brewing, which didn’t fully utilizing a great feature on the Bonavita.

Use this button to turn on and activate the pre-infusion.
Press and hold this button to activate the pre-infusion feature.

Brains

They might brew up the same cup, but they don’t think the same way. Besides the different brewing methods, the Ottomatic features a hot plate that’s automatically turned on after brewing. The carafe gets pretty toasty and pour over fanatics might scoff at the heating element—you know, we sort of turned our nose to it too. It’s great when you’re moseying around in the morning, grabbing a cup of coffee here and there, but if you accidentally leave the house—the Ottomatic won’t turn off. We tested it ourselves with a full carafe and gave it five hours to turn off. When we came back it was still on and the coffee was ridiculously hot. Why Chemex left out the auto shut-off is mind boggling. They included so many brainy automated pour over features in the brewing process that we expected the full automatic deal.

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The Ottomatic features a hot plate that turns off after brewing. The red light signals that it’s brewing.

The Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup also switches off brewing—which we’ll add saves your boiler—and simply turns off. Thank you auto shut-off! There is no heating element, instead, it comes with a thermal carafe that can keep your coffee warm for about an hour give or take. For the best results, you’ll want to remove the basket and twist on the lid that comes with it. Speaking of the carafe, you might notice the new carafe is stainless steel lined. Bonavita has discounted the glass-lined and introduced this model instead. The coffee’s still hot and flavorful with the new carafe so it gets high marks from us! Overall, the brains of the Bonavita are not glamorous, but it’s practical and sufficient for getting a cup of coffee. And the Bonavita eliminates worrying about forgetting to turn the coffee pot off on hectic mornings.

The Bonavita's new stainless steel-lined carafe keeps coffee warm for about an hour.
The Bonavita’s new stainless steel-lined carafe keeps coffee warm for about an hour.

Beauty

Chemex is renowned for its elegant designs. The carafe’s iconic hourglass shape paired with the wood and leather makes a beautiful statement piece in your home. The history and following of the Chemex Classic Coffeemaker alone make it desirable. Looking at the Ottomatic brewing system without the carafe, the matte black and chrome will complement modern kitchens. It’s compact, smooth and designed to be seen from any angle—we had it lined up next to our Technivorm in the kitchen and then swung it around with the cord against the wall, it looked great either way. The one downside to its design is the plastic water reservoir, brew head, and hot plate surface. It cheapens the overall design of Chemex and one of the appeals of Chemex is the high-quality materials used in the carafe.

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The Ottomatic doing what it does best—making a pot of coffee.

The Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup is wrapped in brushed stainless steel and matte black like the Ottomatic. And just like the Ottomatic, the water reservoir, brew head, and basket are plastic—but were you expecting something else from a conventional drip brewer? Technivorm’s coffee makers are nearly identical in the overall structure and feature a stainless steel body with plastic brewing components. It’s a look that works and the materials function to make a good cup of coffee—plus, the Bonavita is SCAA-approved—so you know this coffee maker holds ups.

 

The plastic components, such as the reservoir, are expected on a conventional drip coffee maker such as the Bonavita Brewer.
The plastic components, such as the reservoir, are expected on a conventional drip coffee maker such as the Bonavita Brewer.

Conclusion

Coffee is the most important feature you could ask for in a coffee machine and both machines deliver a robust cup. If you’re looking to replace your old, worn out drip brewer, then you’re probably not looking at the Chemex Ottomatic; it makes a great cup but you’re purchasing a coffee maker like the Chemex for the iconic design. The Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup may be the least unique coffee maker on the market but its stainless steel body will look uniform with your stainless steel appliances—and the SCAA certificate pinned on it easily elevates its position.

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The Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup (model BV1900TS) is SCAA certified, which means it’s been rigorously tested for brew temperature, time and overall quality.

Stefan’s Iced Tonic Espresso Recipe

We’ve got another delicious Coffee Collaboration recipe we just had to share: Iced Tonic Espresso with a dash of orange! We’ve received a lot of orange recipes that have and haven’t gone so well (hint: this crazy disaster with the AeroPress) and luckily this drink’s incredibly easy to make. All you’ll need is an espresso machine to make your shot and voilà—Iced Tonic Espresso à la orange.

Here’s a suggestion for picking out your coffee for this drink: We’ve sampled lots of coffees with citrus notes and that got us thinking we should pick a blend with balance. Zoka Coffee’s Zoka Java combines bright fruits with chocolate and nutty flavors.

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange slice
  • 6 ounces of tonic water
  • A couple ice cubes
  • 6-8 grams of coffee for a single shot
  • Squirt of orange (optional—but totally recommended)
  1. Prep your ingredients: slice up an orange and have your tonic water on hand.
  2. Add a couple ice cubes to a 10-ounce glass. Place the glass under the brew head of your espresso machine.
  3. Grind 6-8 grams of coffee into your portafilter. Brew directly into the glass. Aim for 20-30 seconds (you’ll want to dial in your shot and grind for balance between sour and bitter flavors)
  4. Add 6-ounces of tonic water and a slice of orange—and an extra squirt of orange if you’d like! Enjoy!

Pro Tip: The tonic water will fizz on contact! Add in more or less tonic water to taste.

Top Five Coffee Makers For Mom

We rounded up the best-of-the-best Mom-approved coffee makers. Between balancing making breakfast and ushering children out the door, Mom’s got to have some fuel—some caffeinated fuel we like to call coffee. These machines are ready to tackle Mom’s busy life and deliver a deliciously smooth cup of coffee. And these wouldn’t be true coffee makers for Mom without some features for the whole family. We’re all about giving kids espresso and a puppy—just kidding, but really some of these coffee makers can whip up creamy hot chocolate for the kids.

Jura Ena Micro 1 Automatic Coffee with the Breville Milk Carafe

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Jura Ena Micro 1 features a tall cup clearance that easily fits a travel mug.

Now this is one tall drink of water. For busy SuperMoms, the Jura Ena Micro 1 is fit with a tall cup clearance and capacity to fill a travel mug so Mom’s out the door with hot coffee in hand. Three programmable buttons make a sturdy lungo, ristretto or espresso and it’s all fresh, ground on-the-spot coffee. No pods or capsules here.

Pair the Breville Milk Carafe with the Jura Ena Micro 1 for a creamy latte.
Pair the Breville Milk Carafe with the Jura Ena Micro 1 for a creamy latte.

We paired the Jura Ena Micro 1 with the Breville Milk Carafe for Mom’s craving lattes and kids begging for a hot chocolate. The temperature control allows Mom to adjust the temperature a bit hotter for her latte and cooler for those little one’s fragile mouths. The Carafe also holds three cups, enough for all the kids to get a glass—no “me first” necessary!

Chemex Ottomatic

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The Chemex Ottomatic marries pour over with a drip coffee maker for the best of both worlds.

Moms are stylish, sophisticated and deserve a luxurious cup of coffee. The Chemex Ottomatic is all those things and more for Mom. Design with polished chrome and matte black, the brew system will complement the family’s kitchen appliances. The iconic glass carafe with the earthy wood and leather tie neck, on the other hand, will showcase Mom’s elegant taste.

The Ottomatic marries pour over with the automated functions of the dripper thanks to the brew head that regulates hot water to bloom and brew—essentially the cabana boy of coffee. Once it’s out of water, it’ll engage the hot plate to keep the coffee warm. So go ahead Mom, wrestle those kids into school clothes while making their breakfast and grabbing their backpacks, the Ottomatic will handle your pour over coffee for you.

AeroPress

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AeroPress’ compact design makes it an ideal traveling companion.

If you don’t already have one, the AeroPress will become a must-have for busy mornings. The rich, smooth flavor is savored by coffee professionals and professional Mom’s alike. The AeroPress only requires a bit of your time to add hot water, stir and plunge. That’s all there is to it. It’s so compact, Mom can easily pack it in her purse and take it to-go—all you need is ground coffee and hot water and you’re making coffee in the back of your van during soccer practice.

Breville Oracle

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The Breville Oracle offers manual and auto options so any level of barista can give it a go!

The Breville has a little something for everyone and it’s so easy to use the whole family can become coffee connoisseurs. The Oracle features a built-in grinder and tamper that can be adjusted for the perfect cup of joe. The digital display makes it easy for everyone to change it up to their preferences! Now twist on the perfectly tamped portafilter to the brew head and watch it create delicious espresso.

For anyone looking to add a little dairy to their drink, frothing steamy milk has never been easier with the Oracle’s steam wand. Set the wand to auto and adjust the temperature and let it do all the work. Prefer to get a bit barista-y? You can also froth it yourself and control all the milk steaming parameters. After steaming, push the wand back into place and it’ll auto-purge the milk for you! Fresh hot chocolate, anyone? With this impressive technology, you’ll never have to question if the kids properly cleaned the machine again.

The Ultimate Mom Machine: The DeLonghi PrimaDonna Exclusive ESAM6900.M Espresso Machine

The DeLonghi PrimaDonna comes with two carafes for Mom’s lattes and the kids’ hot chocolate.

The PrimaDonna will take center stage at your household once the kids discover Mom’s espresso machine can make hot chocolate! The PrimaDonna comes with a special carafe that whips chocolate mix with milk so all you have to do is fill up your kiddos’ cups. Put the carafe full of chocolate milk in the fridge and insert the second carafe for Mom’s latte. With one-touch technology, lattes are made right in the cup so Mom can kick her feet up as the PrimaDonna does all the work for once. When the bellies are full and the carafe’s empty, stick it straight into the dishwasher to breeze through clean up (now only if it did the laundry too).

Crew Review: DeLonghi Gran Dama ESAM 6600

How Does It Compare?

There’s something about finding a good deal that’s just so satisfying. You lock eyes with that bright red sign that’s yelling “SALE” and you instantly know you’re getting a super sweet steal. The Refurbished DeLonghi Gran Dama ESAM6600 is one of those deals that you can’t pass up. With all the nuts and bolts of a new machine, the refurbished Gran Dama is just that—refurbished. Compared to the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3500, which has the same features and functionality, the Gran Dama has only one lid for the milk carafe that can be adjusted to control the milk froth.

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Shot

DeLonghi has built a reputation for making hot shots. The Gran Dama lives up to the family legacy and creates enjoyable hot espresso just the way you want it. Choose from four pre-programmed settings or customize it as you go! Down the right side of the Gran Dama, you have different volumes for espresso and your coffee or lungo. We sampled the factory settings for the double shot and, you know what, we thought the refurbished Gran Dama held up in the espresso’s crema and flavor.

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If you’re looking for a stronger cup, push the “coffee strength” button (which has two beans and a scoop icon) and change your strength from extra-mild all the way to extra-strong. We appreciate how intuitive the system is, but it’s hard to know what’s “mild” coffee versus what’s “strong” coffee. We suggest trying your favorite blend (not dark, oily roasts, of course) and seeing how you like the taste. Like most machines, it’s a lot of trial and error before you get it just right.

Alternatively, you can switch the grind of your bean. The grind setting is located in the bean hopper and adjusting the settings from one to five will change how it brews. We’ll mention too that like other superautomatics, the grinder of this machine is loud. Of course, you can always skip all that grinding and use the bypass doser for your pre-ground coffee.

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Steam

Then you have your dreamy milk-based drinks, courtesy of the machine’s steaming power. There’s no steam wand here, though. Instead, the DeLonghi Gran Dama has an integrated milk carafe which delivered incredibly hot and foamy drinks in a matter of minutes—and we mean hot. We ordered a latte and it delivered! The Gran Dama first dispensed milk, which we liked because it means our espresso won’t lose heat sitting in the cup, and then espresso. The heat met our expectations for a one-touch machine and the separation of milk and espresso was a beautiful sight.

The Gran Dama offers three milk-based drink options: latte, cappuccino or Italian macchiato. This machine is super smart and the digital screen will guide you through your cup such as asking you to adjust the carafe’s the frothing level—the say what now? We were surprised to find that the Gran Dama’s carafe features a switch with one and two levels to change the foaminess of the milk. Move the pointer towards “1” for dense froth or “2” for less dense. When you’re done, clean out the carafe by pushing the button located near the handle and let the machine clear the milk pipes. Pull the carafe with the rest of your milk out and store it in the fridge.

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The drawback we have for the steam feature is the big, ole carafe. The handle sticks out awkwardly and takes up space when not in use. And if you want an Americano, you’ll need to insert the hot water spout where the milk carafe is—sort of killing the one-touch love. Then you’ll have to store that carafe or spout away when it’s not in use and hope you don’t lose it.

Style

What we thought really made this machine grand is the intuitive interface. As you press the different buttons the screen guides you swiftly to your cup of coffee such as adjusting the “coffee strength” the screen changes from extra-mild, mild and so on. It also features a “program” button to set the auto on and off time or change the time on the clock. Intuitive and easy-to-use? That’s our cup of coffee. Even with such an intuitive interface, the Gran Dama doesn’t utilize it to its full potential and that was a disappointment. Instead, it relies on tons of buttons which clutter the front of the machine.

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The refurbished Gran Dama takes up a small amount of kitchen counter and thanks to the front accessible components, you don’t need to worry about extra counter space off to the side. You will need some extra clearance on the top for opening the bypass doser and bean hopper so be aware if you’re purchasing this machine to place under your cabinets. The ambient heat also got pretty toasty, so we recommend giving some space between the Gran Dama and your other appliances to avoid any damage.

The industrial-inspired design with brushed stainless steel casing complements modern kitchen appliances. The rest of the machine is mostly plastic with the exception of the drip tray. The drip tray’s heavy metal will stand up to dropped mugs and milk carafe’s shoved into the Gran Dama. Whenever there’s a machine that requires pieces to be taken on and off multiple times, it increases the chance of something snapping.

Conclusion

When it comes to making hot, delicious espresso the Refurbished DeLonghi Gran Dama ESAM6600’s got it going on! Its intuitive interface makes getting your morning cup of coffee a breeze but also leaves something to be desired. If industrial-style complements your kitchen, it’ll be a welcomed addition to your home. We recommend storing the carafe away when it’s not in use to solve that unsightly problem. For us, the most important thing for us that the Gran Dama makes espresso right: piping hot and full of flavor.

Burundi Coffee Tour – The Story Behind The Coffee

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In the Headquarters of Seattle Coffee Gear, we’ve been dying to put together a special package of coffee that would excite your taste buds. This couldn’t be any ordinary package of coffee. We wanted to take you somewhere—somewhere luscious banana groves sway in the wind and coffee tree rows stripe the earth. One ticket to Burundi, please.

Olympia Coffee Roasting sent us an amazing selection of three coffees from Burundi with different processing techniques: washed, natural and honey. Each process changed our experience of Burundi. We noticed the washed was bursting with citrus notes and sugary tea. The natural—oh man—the natural, smelled and tasted like grandma’s blueberry cobbler. And the honey was, as the name suggested, thick bodied with notes of honey and fruit. As we leaned back in our chairs and relished each cup, we knew these coffees deserved a one-way ticket to Burundi—in the form of our Limited Edition Burundi Coffee Tour.

Our Burundi Coffee Tour comes with three 12-ounce bags of Olympia Coffee Roastings Nkonge Honey, Long Miles Reserve Natural and Mikuba (washed) for the ultimate journey that you can share with family and friends. Or perfect for adventurous coffee drinkers seeking to experience and compare the different processing techniques.

Olympia Coffee Roasting & Long Miles Coffee Project

Of course, after blissfully sipping a toasty cup from our Burundi Coffee Tour, we grew curious about the origin of these delectable coffees and did a little more research. As it turns out, all three coffees were produced by the Long Miles Coffee Project, one family’s dream to change the local coffee industry. This project has captured our hearts and brought attention a side of coffee we don’t always encounter—the coffee farmers. At Seattle Coffee Gear, we work closely with our roasters to taste their latest blends or single origins. Our roasters, on the other hand, build relationships with the coffee farmers. Olympia Coffee Roasting has supported the Long Miles Coffee Project from the beginning of their journey to help transform Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world. This was a chance for us to understand the world of coffee farming—and they filmed it all to share with everyone.

Video produced by the Long Miles Project and Olympia Coffee Roasting.

While continuing to savor the warm aroma of blueberry cobbler coffee, we watched their 10-minute documentary of coffee in Burundi. The Carlson family; Ben, Kristy and their kids, Neo, Myles, and Ari, had a dream to produce amazing coffee and care for the community who grew it. It goes without saying, to have the coffee thrive, the community needed to thrive too. We’ve been following their journey through their blog posts, too, and there’s a connection between the family and the farmers that you can sense through their posts.

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In the video, Ben explains one of the hardships Burundi coffee farmers face is the dreaded potato defect—where the coffee truly tasted like a raw potato and not the delicious, golden fried ones we all love. Over 20% of the crops are affected by this potato taste and it’s all because of this little bug, the Antestia, which bores into the coffee cherries and leaves a hole for bacteria to enter. The solution was simple. The Carlson’s moved their family to Burundi and started the Long Miles Coffee Project to collaborate with Burundi coffee farmers and educate them on how to maintain their coffee trees to reduce the Antestia bug. “Our challenge is actually our opportunity,” Ben says in the video.

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From there, the transformation can only be described in the way this coffee tastes. You truly get to experience the fruits of their labor through the quality of these cups. Burundi, as we learned through reading the Long Miles Coffee Project’s blog posts, is in political turmoil. The coup d’état uprooted the Carlson family and it’s only this April that we saw another blog post from Kristy and learned they’re ready for harvesting their coffee for another year. We’re excited to see what next year’s coffees will be. For now, we’ll continue to enjoy our Burundi Coffee Tour.

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Macejams’s Blackberry Iced Coffee Recipe

What goes better with summer than a nice, cold glass of coffee? Blackberries! We had a feeling Blackberry Iced Coffee recipe from our friend, Macejam, was going to be delicious and our hunch was right. This recipe quick to make and perfect for sipping by the pool.

We ground up good ole Bluebeard Coffee El Capitan to pair with our fresh blackberries—El Capitan sounds like a perfect pool-side drink. Its rich, full body with notes of chocolate and caramel will add a strong kick to this berries and cream drink. We suggest using 2% milk for the ultimate creaminess for your blackberry iced coffee.

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of blackberries
  • 34 grams coarse ground coffee
  • 544 grams of water
  • 1.5 ounces vanilla syrup
  • 9 ounces of milk
  • 1/2 cup of ice
  1. In a medium bowl, smash six or more blackberries (half the cup). Add the smashed berries, coffee grounds into the French press. Tip: add a little bit of water to help scrap the berries out.
  2. Stir it all up then add 544 grams of water and brew for four minutes.
  3. Take the remaining blackberries and puree until mainly liquid. A blender is optional but helps create a smooth consistency. Add the vanilla syrup and stir.
  4. Fill your 10-ounce glass with ice and get ready for coffee!
  5. Pour five ounces of coffee onto the ice and then add the purple milk. Bon appétit!

Crew Review: Chemex Ottomatic Coffeemaker

How Does It Compare?

Introducing the iconic carafe to an automated coffee brewing system was probably the most ingenious move for Chemex. The Chemex Ottomatic Coffeemaker showcases the elegance of their pour over carafe alongside the unbeatable convenience of a dripper. But this is no ordinary dripper—the brew head on the Ottomatic pulsates with hot water to equally wet and bloom grounds for even extraction. When it’s done brewing, the Ottomatic switched from brewing to heating the hot plate, adding extra cushion for you to secure a hot, freshly poured cup.

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The Ratio Eight Edition Coffee Maker is the other brewing system that combines pour over with automatic functionality. The main difference here is the Ratio has no plastic components and doesn’t include a heating element to keep the coffee warm. Of course, the other noticeable difference is that the Chemex is much narrow and fits easily on the counter than the Ratio’s tall and round design. For our kitchen, the Chemex and Technivorm were designed more ergonomically to fit in on our counter. Check out our Crew Review above to see for yourself! 

Brew

The Chemex Ottomatic proved that speed wouldn’t be an issue. When we turned on the Chemex, it took about 45 seconds before the brewing cycle started. It brews between 15 to 40-ounces and while we can fit the smaller carafes under the brew head, make sure you add the right amount of water—we may have accidentally overfilled the carafe.

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The stainless steel shower head evenly distributes the water, while the pulsing brew head helps achieve what you’d want from a pour over—a soft, steady flow of water with interruptions to keep the coffee blooming and extracting. The Chemex Ottomatic can brew up to the eight-cup carafe and when you think about it, it would be so time-consuming to stand around to pour for those larger carafes, so thank you Chemex!

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Brains

Once the Ottomatic is done brewing, it switches the heating element on under the carafe, keeping the coffee warm indefinitely (or until someone switches the brewer off, a major con for forgetful people). The heating element has divided us between labeling it a pro or con of the machine’s functionality. Our coffee connoisseurs relish a freshly pour cup of coffee and the heating element would overheat and potentially burn the coffee, essentially ruining the flavors. For the rest of our less indulgent connoisseurs, we love the convenience of going back cup after cup to warm coffee and can still enjoy the flavors that develop through pour over.

To back-track what we mentioned earlier, the heating element doesn’t turn off after it’s engaged. This machine is purely on and off. We tested it out and found the coffee to be extremely, even borderline, hot a few hours after brewing. So in conclusion, this machine needs to be monitored at all times when it’s turned on.

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Beauty

The Chemex Ottomatic comes with the shapely, hourglass carafe and is a welcomed sight for many coffee lovers. People recognize Chemex by their sophisticated design. The wood and leather tie around the neck add homey texture. If you’ve never owned a Chemex in any form, we highly recommend adding this timeless beauty to your kitchen.

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When it comes down the design of the Ottomatic, Chemex elevated their style with an equally elegant and sophisticated system. The polished chrome and matte black will complement modern homes effortlessly and we adore its smooth shape. The Chemex Ottomatic also has a plastic reservoir, so people looking to brew coffee without plastic will need to look elsewhere. We were surprised it had plastic, but we didn’t have that nasty plastic taste, so give the Ottomatic a chance. Alternatively, you can check out the Ratio Eight Edition, which features similar functions to the Ottomatic, but with no plastic and different style. The evolution of pour over has certainly caught on and we’re ecstatic that the Chemex Ottomatic is everything we wanted and more.