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.
There are a variety of Chai tea mixes available on the market — some are pre-made and you just add milk to taste, some are powders that you dissolve into water or milk and some are concentrated syrup. We often get asked how to make one of these and so we decided we’d whip one up using Monin’s Chai Tea concentrate. Mmmmmmmginger!
Recently re-engineered, Ascaso’s Duo series is designed to give you a little bit more power than a traditional single boiler at a portion of the cost of a heat exchange or double boiler. With a semi-automatic version or programmable/automatic version available, the Duos feature a brew boiler, thermoblock for steaming and two separate pumps so that you can theoretically brew and steam at the same time.
We have noticed that the steaming function is not as strong as you find on machines that have a steam boiler to back it up, and also that the Duos do not have a PID on the brew boiler, so you still have to temperature surf to be certain of where your temperature is at in the heating cycle. Watch Gail show us the internals of a Duo, temperature surf and pull a couple of comparison shots.
One of the most loved home espresso machines on the market is the Rancilio Silvia, which offers a great value in terms of price and performance. And, as with most things that are well-loved, this machine gets a ton of attention, tweaks and upgrade suggestions as folks quest for the best shot possible. One of the suggested changes is to swap out the stock filter basket that comes with the Silvia for one that is manufactured by La Marzocco — not only does the latter basket fit more coffee volume, it also has straight sides so you can tamp it more firmly.
We picked up one of these baskets and Gail did a toe-to-toe comparison of how each basket performs to see if there really is a noticeable difference. Enjoy!
Some of the earlier versions of the DeLonghi superautomatics didn’t seem to brew as rich of an espresso shot as their counterparts made by other manufacturers. With the release of the newer Gran Dama and Perfecta (the 6600/6700 and 5500 models), we noticed that the shot not only was hotter, it was richer too. Our techs examined the grounds from a disassembled machine and let us know that these machines were now grinding finer than the previous versions; additionally, the dosage functionality has changed.
Watch Gail talk about the dosages, grinding, programming functionality and how to brew a double shot roughly equivalent to what you can get off a semi-automatic.
Oooooo muy delicioso! You know that we dig orange, which we usually pair up with chocolate when adding it to an espresso-based drink. However, a life left unexamined is not worth living, so sometimes it’s time to stretch our wings and try something new — and, in this case, our quest for self-actualization has led us to caramel. Look, it could be worse, right?
Watch Gail whip up a smooth blended summery drink with a creamy caramel base and a hint of orange. Change never tasted this good!
A heat exchange boiler is not a traditional double boiler, as it doesn’t maintain totally separate boilers for the brew head and the steam wand. It does, however, have separate water delivery systems, so you can brew and steam with it at the same time — if you want. Some folks prefer not to (either the multi-tasking is a challenge or they are concerned with how it affects the brew temperature), and then the benefit of a heat exchange is that you can switch very quickly between the two functions.
In this video, Josh shows us the internal components of the Quick Mill Vetrano and explains how it all works — a great primer for anyone interested in the tech side of things.
Silky milky! We tested out non-dairy milks to see how well they produced microfoam and now it’s time to turn to dairy milks — specifically, which steams better: Non-fat, 2% or whole milk? And do they perform similarly across the board, regardless of the machine used?
Gail steamed up each of the milks on the Rocket Giotto Evoluzione, Saeco Xelsis and Saeco Via Venezia to see which works the best, if there are commonalities or if each machine works better with different types of milk. Watch and learn the results!
Maybe the moo juice just doesn’t agree with you or perhaps you’ve got philosophical dietary restrictions that say coffee is okay but animal’s milk isn’t and you still want a latte. Whatever the reason, it’s well known that achieving microfoam with non-dairy milk is next to impossible.
We recently requested samples of Pacific Natural Foods’ Barista Series soy blenders, which are specifically formulated to achieve better steaming and foam results. They also sent along some samples of rice and hemp milk, so we took those out for a spin, as well, to see how they stood up under the pressure.
Watch Gail test ‘em out! Mmmmmnnnnnutty.