We all love our superautomatic espresso machines. And why wouldn’t we? They make us our espresso drinks with just a push of a button and for that we are grateful. Superautomatics are so good at what they do that we sometimes forget that they too need a little love and attention every so often.
So we asked Gail to give us a run down on what we should be doing to keep the espresso flowing morning after morning.
Watch this new installment of Ask Gail to find out the steps to proper superautomatic espresso machine care.
Brussel sprouts, you either love them or you hate them. Well at least that’s how it used to be back in the day. We here at Seattle Coffee Gear have gone through extensive testing (and tasting!) and are proud to announce that these Espresso Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts will change anyone’s mind when it comes to brussel sprouts. Seriously, these little things are delicious.
The secret to their deliciousness is a result of the cooking process and the flavorful glaze. The Philips AirFryer uses its Rapid Air Technology to crisp up foods without the use of excess oil. The result is a texture that is absolutely amazing. Add that to the deep flavors of the balsamic and espresso glaze and you are in for a real treat.
Enjoy these espresso balsamic glazed brussel sprouts by themselves or pair them with some grilled chicken to make a meal that will surely become a weeknight staple. Watch the video below to see how easily Brandi and Kaylie put this recipe together.
1/2 pound fresh brussel sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/3 cups balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 shots espresso
1/4 tsp oregano
Espresso Balsamic Glaze
In a 2-quart saucepan combine the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, espresso, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat to boiling on medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened and slightly syrupy. Set aside and let cool.
Remove any tough or bruised outer leaves. Trim the stems. Cut in half vertically. Rinse and shake dry. In a bowl, toss with olive oil and pat dry. Toss with balsamic glaze, pat dry again. Save some glaze for drizzling after the brussel sprouts are cooked.
For AirFrying with Philips Airfryer
Preheat Philips Airfryer to 390 degrees. Add prepared brussel sprouts to basket and set timer for 12-15 minutes. While cooking, occasionally remove and shake basket or stir. The brussel sprouts are done when the centers are tender and the outsides are caramelized and slightly crispy.
If we had a nickel for every time we heard this question, or a dime for every time a superautomatic was decommissioned due to this, we’d be rich (okay, maybe not rich, but we’d easily have a couple of dollars). However, we’d much rather save some machines then have the extra change jingling around!
The short answer is, unfortunately, that you cannot use oily beans in a superautomatic. Very dark and oily roasts clog up grinders and brew units over time, eventually leading to one very unhappy coffee robot. In superautomatic espresso machines, this is quite problematic, as you cannot take apart the grinders to give them a good, old fashioned cleaning. Eeeks!
If you’re looking for more info, and we know you are, Gail and Miranda have the lowdown for you. Take it away, ladies!
Nine out of ten home baristas agree, soupy pucks are a coffeehouse sin. Well, maybe not a sin, but in our experience it’s pretty close! What causes a soupy puck and why exactly is it so bad? When it comes to the hard questions, we like to ask Gail!
Gail and our excellent customer service team are always reiterating how important it is to dial in your grind – and this Ask Gail session is no exception! Having your grind too fine can cause soupy pucks, as a super fine grind will hinder proper water flow. The water is then “trapped” on top of the puck and released into the dredge box with the under-saturated puck, causing a sour or bitter espresso shot and the undesirable soupy puck.
If you think there could be more to your soup-tastic pucks, check out our first edition of Ask Gail!
Around these parts, we can’t just settle for truffles. They need to be dark chocolate truffles. But are those good enough? Nope. They also need coffee. Not any kind of coffee, though. It needs to be Velton’s Twilight coffee. Wow, we’re picky!
The result of all this pickiness, however, are some amazingly delicious food items. So, without further ado, we present to you Twilight Dark Chocolate Truffles!
You may remember that not so long ago we posted a blog about brewing tea on your espresso machine. Wha?! Yep, true story. At the time, we had a lot of fun with it and found that we could successfully pull a whole cup of tea through a pressurized portafilter. There was even a layer of tea crema. So crazy and so cool.
Around SCG, we’re always looking for different ways to use the equipment we already have. So this was pretty exciting to us, especially given that there are cafes specifically dedicated to this type of tea experience…and now we could do it ourselves!
If you’re more into videos than text-based articles, we’ve created one specifically to walk you through the process of “dialing in” your cup of espresso machine-prepped tea. Now we’re off to daydream about the possibilities of tea lattes. Let’s say it together now: Yummmm!
Oftentimes when we find an espresso machine or coffee maker that allows us to make a cup of coffee exactly the way we like it, we use the machine until it no longer works for us. Only then do we then consider upgrading to a different model. However, that is not to say we won’t improve upon the machine while it’s still in our hot little hands when given the chance. Not only does this make the coffee the machine produces better, but it also might allow us to hang on to the espresso machine a little while longer. Luckily, we were afforded this opportunity with a few of our tried and true espresso makers and were able to create a Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrade that will work on machines like the Via Venezia and Aroma.
We were really excited that we here at Seattle Coffee Gear were able to develop an upgrade (that’s right you won’t find them anywhere else) for some of our favorite Saeco machines. The nice thing about this upgrade is that since the Aroma and Via Venezia already come with a pressurized portafilter, adding a non-pressurized portafilter increases the functionality of this machine. With the pressurized portafilter that comes with these machines you have the ability to use pre-ground in your machine, as the portafilter will compensate for the grind not being perfect. This will be your easy-peasy approach with no tamping necessary. In addition, with the non-pressurized portafilter you now also have the ability to get in touch with the barista side of your coffee experience and play around with the grind and flavors of coffee, which can be the most enjoyable part of espresso.
What is even better is we didn’t just create one non-pressurized portafilter upgrade for these machines; we created two. In addition to the standard Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrade, we also created a Bottomless Portafilter Upgrade for Saeco Machines as well. The bottomless portafilter is truly a great teaching tool, as you see your shot as it comes out of the portafilter. If you have done everything correctly, you will see your coffee first start to dispense around the edges of the portafilter, then form into a cone in the middle. On the other hand, if your coffee starts coming out on the side, or does anything else, that means you have fractures or channeling in your puck. All is not lost if this happens, part of the learning process is trying again and seeing if you can adjust your technique to get a better shot the next time around.
To use these Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrades on your machine, all you have to do is pop out the basket from your pressurized portafilter and put into one of the non-pressurized portafilters and you are good to go. Keep in mind that when you use these non-pressurized portafilters you have to be really in tune with the grind of the coffee. As such, you will want to a get good grinder and 53 mm tamper to complete your setup, which you can do fairly inexpensively. Ultimately, adding a non-pressurized portafilter to your Saeco setup is a great option if you are interested in upgrading to a fancier semi-auto and want to see what you are getting into. Or, perhaps you are enjoying your Aroma or Via Venezia but want to start trying to make the same drinks your favorite barista has been making at your local coffee stand. Speaking of brewing like a pro, check out as Gail shows off her barista skills while she and Brendan explore all the options these non-pressurized portafilters provide.
We’re back with double the latte art videos! Today Chad breaks down the elements of pouring a latte art heart and a latte art rosetta. Try each, impress everyone you know and then let us know how it went!
If we had to choose three words to describe the video below, they would be “Chad is awesome!”
When he’s not helping out customers in our Seattle Coffee Gear Portland store, Chad teaches barista classes. Which means that as soon as he joined the team we started hitting him up to make some sweet latte art videos for us. After all, we could write out the steps to latte art all day long, but having a visual aid is at least 100 times better (if not 1,0000).
In this video, Chad walks us through latte art basics. Pay attention, because you’ll need these next week when we post some advanced techniques!
When we think of reliable and hardworking, we think of the Rancilio Rocky grinder. Is that weird? We don’t think so…
The Rocky is available in a doser version, for those that go through a decent amount of coffee and/or rarely change their grind, or a doserless version, which grinds directly into your portafilter. Each one gives you a sturdy build and 55 different grind settings, so you can go from espresso to drip (and back again) with ease.
Given that the Rocky is the apple of our eye, we decided it was time for an updated Crew Review. Check it out below and watch as Gail and Brendan walk us through features, dialing in the grind and removing the burrs for maintenance!