Hitting the streets this coming October is Baratza’s newest offering, which is a variation on a theme: The Virtuoso Preciso takes it’s basic functionality from the popular Virtuoso grinder, but it’s tweaked a bit with some of the dialing-in features available on the more expensive Vario model.
Watch Gail take us through this grinder’s features and functions.
The Vario gives you a little more control over your grind than you find on a traditional stepped grinder (like its counterpart, the Virtuoso, or the Rancilio Rocky) because it allows you to tweak the fineness within each step of the burrs. If you find that your Vario doesn’t seem to be going fine enough for espresso, or that you have very little room to move on the fineness side of the spectrum once you get to your espresso setting, you may want to adjust the burrs so they are closer together.
Gail walks us through how to do this and demonstrates it on a grinder. Watch and learn!
For the antique/retro lovers in the crowd, the X1 by Francis Francis and the Dream UP by Ascaso have an old school look without the old school technology. Gail takes us through the similarities and differences of these two single boiler espresso machines.
We are not ashamed to admit that we have been diggin’ hard on the Francis Francis machines lately. We really love their auto-fill boiler and their sophisticated temperature control — with only around a 2 degree variance instead of the 15-ish degree variance we sometimes see on single boiler espresso machines in this similar price class.
Watch Gail take us through the features of the X1 — a stainless steel counterpart to the X7:
Now watch her compare the functional and feature differences between the X1 and the X7:
In the history of great competitions, never has there been a match so perfectly paired than that of Gail versus a steaming thermometer. Will her sense of touch correlate to an accurate steaming temperature? Is she stopping when it’s too cool or scalding her milk? Will she ever be able to do latte art? We asked these big questions and put her to the test to find out the answers.
It’s a tough call which one of these grinders is a better investment — ultimately, we think that they are so similar, the decision is really about the adjustment mechanism.
Gail walks us through the technical specs of the Mazzer Mini and Macap M4 burr coffee grinders, pointing out their differences and demonstrating their grind quality. We’re not sure if this answers the big question about which one to purchase, but hopefully the side by side comparison will serve as a helpful resource.
Leaving your machine alone for the winter? Need to store it or move it (by hand) to a new location? Gail gives us some tips on what you should do to prepare your machine so you limit the possibility of damage.
Does the shape of your tamper’s base make a significant difference in your shot’s quality? That’s the question that we asked and we brought in five base variations to help determine the answer.
Dialing in the Rocket Giotto Premium Plus with a standard flat base, we then pulled shots using the c-flat, US curve, Euro curve, ripple and c-ripple base styles available from Reg Barber. Watch as Gail tastes each shot to practically assess whether or not the base structure makes a noticeable difference.
While the Rancilio Egro ONE is at home on a large cruise liner, the Jura Impressa XS90 is best suited to an office environment — one that requires a large water tank, extra bean storage and just enough dregs and drip tray capacity to be dangerous.
Watch Gail as Kat bosses her around this superautomatic espresso machine — including the usual feature description and a demonstration of its one-touch cappuccino functionality.