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.
It’s time to get your summer plans in gear and prepare to hit the trails! Fun in the sun — or rain, if you’re in our neck of the woods — is oh-so-much better when you’re highly caffeinated. Watch Gail take us through some options for portable coffee making gear.
Should you calibrate your shots to a specific timing duration or should you pull them until the coffee starts to blonde? We play around with blonding using Lavazza Super Crema on the GS/3 to see how blonding affects the shot’s overall flavor.
Do you experiment with blonding? We’d love to hear your experiences — please share!
Cleanliness is next to godliness — or so we’ve read, anyway. But even heathens should remain committed to a tidy espresso machine because roughly 80% of the machines we repair come to us due to lack of regular maintenance.
Does the shape of the pitcher determine whether or not you can easily steam to create luscious, creamy microfoam? Gail takes several of our pitchers out for a test drive to see how easy it is to produce microfoam quality milk with each of them.