Saeco’s newest release in the US is the Syntia, a petite, scaled down version of their also recently released Xelsis. Like the Xelsis, it has a stainless steel casing (love!) a sleek, futuristic design (double love!) and some programmable options (ok, this love-fest is getting ridiculous!). It also has a bi-pass doser for pre-ground coffee, the standard removable brew group and it even utilizes the magic of magnets.
The Ascaso Dream UP is considered a ‘versatile’ espresso machine, meaning that — like its predecessor — the brew head has been designed for use with both ESE pods and ground coffee. However, the stock brew head definitely favors pods and you don’t get as rich of a shot using grounds as you can off of other machines in this class
Mmmmmmmocha. When coffee and cocoa beans hook up and get real with each other, they create one of the most enduring and appreciated flavor combos around. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t dig the espresso-infused chocolatey goodness of a well-crafted mocha — and while it may be a little on the sweeter side than some of us can handle in the morning (Read: Gail), it’s a nice mid-afternoon pick-me-up or a great option for an after dinner dessert.
The newly re-engineered Izzo Alex II is a semi-automatic espresso machine out to make a name for itself: It’s currently the only heat exchanger for home use that has a PID! Combine that with the convertible water source (which Izzo pioneered) and the no burn steam wands, and you can almost make up for the not-so-superb fit and finish elements that we don’t love about it.
We’re big on freshly grinding your coffee before each shot, as pre-ground starts to dry out (even in air-tight containers) within the first 24 hours. To show you how the shots degrade, we dialed in and ground a bunch of coffee, then pulled a shot the day of for baseline purposes. We then pulled shots 24, 48, 72 hours and 1 full week later to show how the shots measured up — and to give our unequivocal vocal and facial feature responses to their flavor. Yowza!
Recently re-engineered to include a three-way solenoid/brew pressure release valve, Ascaso’s Dream UP is just as aesthetically fetching as its ancestors and functions pretty much the same. It comes with a nice aluminum tamper (unlike the plastic style included with many other machines) and two different steam wand tips that you can choose from — a panarello (which incorporates air and steam for you) or a three-hole traditional steam tip (which requires a little more skill and allows you to stretch the milk).
We recently wrote about crema — what it is, what contributes to its formation, etc. — and we thought we’d film Gail talking about it, as well, and test out a comparison test between an Americano with and without crema. Check it out!
In follow-up to the Snake Bite recipe we posted last week, here is a how-to video showing this delicious concoction in action! If you haven’t tried it yet, we don’t know what you’re waiting for — it’s seriously delectable.
Since your coffee is over 98% water, it makes sense that the quality of the water will impact the taste. One of the subjects regularly bandied about in the home espresso world is if there is a significant impact on one’s shot if using a machine that has a separate brew boiler — especially if the machine isn’t pulling a lot of shots regularly and the water has a chance to sit for awhile in that boiler.
As we wrote last week, Seattle Coffee Gear now carries the La Marzocco GS/3 — and now here’s the Gail review that shows you how this excellent piece of equipment performs. Watch as she walks us through its features, function, pros and cons, then whips up a latte.