Last week, Joe Monahan and Jack Kuo of La Marzocco were kind enough to talk with this about their new, highly-precise basket — currently dubbed the Strada (after their cutting edge pressure profiling machines). Watch as they explain the theory behind it, why they wanted to build a better basket and the calibration process itself. The goal? Increase consistency in extraction, of course! These 58mm baskets will be available shortly.
Our next round of Krups testing features two espresso machines — one is a pump driven model and the other is steam driven.
We were pleasantly surprised by this little automatic — it has a unique portafilter design, pre-infusion and an automatic cooling cycle between steam and brew. We didn’t like that it has an aluminum boiler, but it’s one of the few automatic/programmable machines under $300. Because of its surprising, unique features and it’s price, we’ll be adding it to our line-up.
This steam machine is pretty standard and was nothing really to write home about. Performs well, makes suitable stovetop-like coffee and has powerful steam. It didn’t offer anything unique over the steam driven machine we already carry (Capresso’s 4-Cup Espresso & Cappuccino machine), so we opted not to carry it.
Awhile ago, we stored some beans in their original roaster bags in the freezer, then we pulled shots with them. The taste of freezer burn was so distinct, however, it was hard for us to recommend folks store their coffee this way. That video raised that hackles of many a folk (which we were very surprised to hear!) and we received a lot of feedback regarding ways in which they stored their beans in the freezer to ensure they still retained good flavor. So we tried three different variations recommended, two different freezers and two different grinders to see if any of them provided good results.
Watch as Gail goes through testing these different storage methods.
We went on a Capresso testing spree last week as we tried out some new products we’re bringing in to the store.
First up, the Perfect Tea, which enables you to boil water to a specific temperature:
Next is the H20Pro Kettle, which also enables you to boil water to a specific temperature, but also provides a holding temp option and a rapid boil duration option (if you want to dissipate chlorine in your water):
Finally, the simple, straight forward CM200 drip coffee maker:
We love this little workhorse, but one of the baddest raps she gets is in regard to her temperature instability. It’s the way the cookie crumbles when you’re working with a small single boiler using a bi-metal thermostat to manage its temp. Folks have been tricking out their Silvias pretty much since day one, and the most popular modification is to add a PID, which will maintain the boiler’s temperature within one degree of a setpoint you select. We tested several models and finally settled on these by Auber, which you can pick up and install on your own or add during purchase and have us install for you before the machine leaves our warehouse.
Watch Gail talk about what a PID is and walk us through its functionality. These will be available for sale within the next couple of weeks.
We’ve got a couple new kids on the block! Nuova Simonelli, purveyors of world-class espresso machines (and the models used in the World Barista Championship competitions) has two semi-professional machines designed for exuberant home espresso lovers or smaller commercial applications. Both of these machines are NSF-rated and are available in either direct plumbed or pour over (reservoir) models.
First up, the Musica. This gorgeous heat exchanger has two different trim options — black, as featured in the review video, or lux, which is lighted — and can be programmed for automatic volumetric dosing or used as a semi-automatic if you prefer to be a little more hands-on. Excellent steaming function and commercial-class components make this a definite contender when you’re considering which higher end espresso machine is right for your home. It is a bit on the tall side, but it’s so delectably designed you won’t want to hide it away underneath cupboards, we promise!
Next is the Oscar, a simple, straight forward and easy to use heat exchange with a highly attractive price. While that may be the only attractive thing about it, the Oscar will definitely get the job done and if you don’t want to spend a small fortune on your home espresso equipment but are looking for great results, the extraction and steam functionality is excellent. This is also a great choice for professional applications that require some mobility, as it’s lightweight and easy to move around, but will still afford you commercial-quality espresso drinks.
Whilst down at the Specialty Coffee Association of America event in Texas, we were able to catch up with Baratza’s Kyle Anderson and asked him to walk us through two new products they will be releasing this June: The Esatto, which can be retrofit on older Maestro, Maestro Plus, Virtuoso and Preciso models, and the Vario-E grinder. Both feature the unique functionality of offering weight-based grinding.
These were developed with pour over preps in mind, so one drawback is you won’t be able to grind into your portafilter directly — you’ll need to grind into the container and then transfer. Kyle explains why they designed it like this.
Practicality is king with this budget-minded superautomatic from DeLonghi. Pretty sure the Caffe Venezia isn’t going to win any pretty design awards, but if you want a superauto for less than $600, its definitely worth considering. Gail takes us through its features and demonstrates whipping up a latte.
We posed one simple question to Gail, Rob and Allison: Using whatever tools and beans you want, how do you make the best french press coffee? Watch as they each explain their approach, feverishly compete and then stand the taste test of Jessica, Sally and Brandon.
How do you make your amazing french press coffee? Please share!
Pretty sure there ain’t a better word on the planet! OK, maybe spruzzatori vapore might be better, but it’s two words so perhaps it’s not a fair contest. Known outside of sprechen zie Deutsch-land as simply a ‘cup warmer’, this countertop accessory will keep your espresso, cappuccino and latte cups nice and toasty. Gail gives us the rundown.