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.
It’s spicy, it’s sweet, it’s peppy — it’s everything you want in a java-related pick me up! Watch Gail whip up a Fire Apple Latte on the Jura Impressa XS90.
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.
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.
Sometimes, simplicity is the thing: Too many bells and whistles and we might never figure out how to get our espresso. Superautomatics handle most of the java crafting for you, but if you don’t need programming, a bi-pass doser or a cup warmer, you might want to consider the Vienna Plus‘ scaled down approach to automation.
While you won’t find us purporting that cleanliness is next to godliness, you will hear us talk about keeping your gadgets clean for the good of all involved. Because darker roasts (such as French or Italian) bring so much of the bean’s natural oil to the surface, we wondered how this impacts a grinder’s burrs: Does it clog more easily and quickly? Do you need to clean your grinder more often if you’re using this type of bean/roast? What kind of residue does it leave in comparison to grinding medium roast beans?
To determine this, we put two Baratza Virtuosos to the test. Over a month period, we ran the timer on each of them twice each day, using Velton’s Treehouse drip coffee in one and some particularly intense French Roast Gail picked up at Costco in the other. Then we opened them up to find out what kind of residue was left on the burrs.
Watch as Gail takes them apart, meticulously studies them and then tests how easy it is to clean them (using Grindz).
Oxygen may be our friend, but it has no love for the coffee bean. Once you open up your bag of freshly roasted beans, the air starts to dry them out, causing them to go stale over time. It’s downright degrading!
You can keep ‘em fresher and yummier by storing them in airtight containers and there are a few different options on the market for doing this — plastic storage containers, battery operated vacuum gadgets and now the Airscape. We dig this new addition because it’s lo-fi and definitely not going to break down or run out of batteries over time. It’s also rather fetching and available in a variety of colors (not just pea green like the 70’s era Tupperware you’ve previously been rocking).
Watch Gail as she show us how these work (not complicated) and talks about how much volume these guys can hold.
For the separatists in the group, we offer up a new stand-alone milk frothing/steaming unit by Capresso, the FrothPro. Whipping up silky milky (hot or cold) is easy and fairly fool-proof, which we dig — plus, the milk pitcher is dishwasher safe! We’ve seen a couple of questionable Aeroccinos, so this could be the answer to those that are a little bit too busy to handwash their gadgets.
It’s also a great value, coming in at around $60, so that’s cool, too. The inserts are plastic, however, which we don’t love quite as much — but it’s all about balance, baby.
Watch Gail show us its specs and give it a run through.