SCG Westlake Grand Opening Event on Saturday, July 19th

SCG WestlakeThe grand opening of our SCG Westlake store is nearly here! We are really excited to open our first namesake location, we and would love to see you there and share a cup of coffee with you. Coffee and espresso will certainly be in no short supply, and we will also be brewing a variety of other tasty beverages. The fun begins at 10:00 a.m., so make sure to be there when the doors open. Here’s a run-down of what is on tap so you know what to expect for the day.

Schedule of Events

  • 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: Espresso brewed on our Francis Francis machines prepared by illy
  • 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.: Blossom Coffee will be showing off their One Brewer and preparing locally roasted Velton’s Coffee
  • 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Zoka Coffee Roasters will be brewing up some tasty roasts on the ever-popular Chemex.
  • 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Unwind with a glass of cold brewed coffee or a spot of iced tea prepared by Primula.
  • 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Its bound to be hot outside, but the folks from Breville will help keep us cool by whipping up some delicious treats on their Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker.

Free Gift Bags

  • Hario Dripper
  • Shot glass
  • Coffee
  • Cups
  • And more!

Free Gift with Purchase (while supplies last)

We’re keeping this gift a secret, but its hard not to love. After all, you’ll practically be wearing your heart on your sleeve.

Raffle Drawing

In our opinion, you never can have too much coffee making equipment! In addition to the free gift bags and gifts with purchase we will also be raffling off sweet gear from Jura, Barazta and more!

If you’re in downtown Seattle this Saturday, please stop by the SCG Westlake store and help us celebrate its opening. The store is located inside Westlake Center, with its address being: 400 Pine St, Suite 112, Seattle, WA 98101.

Crew Review: Capresso On-the-Go

Capresso On-the-GoLooking to jump-start your mornings? Well, the Capresso On-the-Go may be just the thing to speed up your routine and provide you with the delicious coffee you need to get you going. How does this little machine accomplish such a feat? It brews your coffee right into the included stainless steel travel mug, so all you have to do is grab it and go!

Besides being really convenient, this personal coffee maker is also very easy to use. There are only two buttons on this machine, an “On/Off” switch and a “Brew” button, so you don’t have to fiddle with a lot of settings in order to get your brew started. Dosing the Capresso On-the-Go is equally pain-free. All you have to do is fill water tank with the amount of water you want to brew with, load the reusable filter with 2-5 scoops of coffee, put it in the filter basket and then place the whole ensemble in the machine. One thing to keep in mind is that it is best not to exceed six scoops of coffee when brewing, as it may cause the filter to overflow. Likewise, while Capresso claims that you can use pods in this machine, we found that using pre-ground coffee works the best.

While playing around on this machine, we discovered that you might want to pre-heat the travel mug or whatever container you are brewing into before using it. We also wish that we could keep the lid on the travel mug when brewing, which unfortunately isn’t possible. Thus, be careful when making your coffee in this mug to make sure it doesn’t spill.

The Capresso On-the-Go is a great little brewer, especially for people who just want a simple, quick cup of coffee. It only takes about four minutes to brew, which is pretty fast! This coffee maker is also a good option for anyone who lives by themselves or with people who don’t like coffee or don’t like to share, you know who you are! See this machine in action as Gail and Brendan test it out for the first time.

Crew Review: Capresso On-the-Go

SCG Westlake Store Update #2

Westlake storeThe soft launch of the SCG Westlake store is coming up fast! In fact, it is only four short days way, as we will be open for business on Tuesday, July 15th.  With the opening coming up soon, we wanted to give to you one last preview at the store before it opens so you can check on our progress.

Since our first visit to the store, Gail and her team have been busy building many of the cabinets, shelving and display cases, and transferring them to them to the store. Most of them are nearly completed, and just need a few finishing touches like doors or steel plates on the ends. These displays and shelving will line the back walls and surround the pillar in the center of the store. We also have wooden boxes to create our coffee marketplace, which will hold an expanded selection of fresh, locally roasted coffee as well as blends from Lavazza.

Gail is also in the process of reworking the existing event bar in the store, where we’ll host all our workshops and demos, to add a nice granite counter top. The front of the bar will be slightly different than the bars in our Bellevue and Portland stores, but we’ll leave that as a surprise for when you come visit. We can’t give our all secrets away! However, you can expect to find our signature metal gear on the red wall behind the bar.

Of course we haven’t forgotten our glorious windows! The window facing the mall will feature a wall of sparkling, rainbow-colored Monin syrup bottles, while there will be shiny machines on display in the street-side windows. If you’re in Seattle next week, you should come explore and play with all our fantastic gear yourself. Our doors open at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday the 15th.  We also have a bunch of great stuff planned for our grand opening on the 19th, check back in next week for more details.

SCG Westlake Store Update #2

Java Talk: Zoka Coffee Chemex Demo

Zoka CoffeeContinuing on our tour of local roasters, we recently visited Zoka Coffee in Ballard, Washington. While we were at the roastry, we were lucky enough to have our friend David brew up some Zoka coffee on a Chemex for us. We were also able to persuade him, which really wasn’t too hard, to share some of his brewing suggestions during the process In fact, if you’ve visited us at our Bellevue retail location, hopefully you’ve been able to pick up some of David’s tips firsthand at one of the workshops he has hosted. If not, here’s your chance to see what you’ve been missing!

One thing that made this demo different from others we’ve seen was that David introduced us to a relatively new filter to use when brewing; the Coava Kone. The Kone is made out of locally sourced steel and has laser precision perforation (say that three times fast!), which provides a really clean, crisp flavor. Even without the Coava Kone, David said the Chemex is Zoka’s favorite way to make coffee in general. This brew method is a little more forgiving than something like a Hario Cone and creates a lot of body like a French press but without being as sooty or oily. As a result, the Chemex is a great way to bring out the flavor nuances in single origin coffees and in coffee blends as well. David explained that the Chemex is used as a standard in Zoka’s roastry and they are beginning to implement in several of their cafes. If you’re interested in doing the same, or want to learn how to brew on the Chemex at home, check out David’s brewing tips in this video.

How to Brew Chemex Coffee Zoka Coffee Style:

In this brew, we used Zoka Coffee’s Santa Rosa 1900, a single origin coffee grown in the hills above Tarrazu, Costa Rica.

  • Measure out 48 grams of whole bean coffee and grind it to about the same size as kosher salt.
  • Place the grounds in the Coava Kone filter in the Chemex. This filter is the reason why your grounds should be a little coarser than what you would use with a traditional paper filter. If you use the same size grind, it will be too fine and you will have a thin layer of soot at the bottom.
  • Begin by saturating the grounds evenly with water that has been heated to 204 degrees Fahrenheit. Let saturate for about 30 seconds.
  • Continue to pour the rest of the water, using frequent small pours beginning in the center and expanding circularly to the outside. Avoid pouring down the sides of the filter to prevent water from getting underneath it, diluting the coffee.
  • The extraction process should take a little over four minutes, and use 720ml of water.
  • After your coffee has finished extracting, throw away the coffee in your filter, pour coffee into a preheated cup, and enjoy. You should have about 40 oz. of coffee, enough to serve three to four people.

Java Talk: Zoka Coffee Roasters Chemex Demo

Crew Review: Baratza Preciso

Baratza PrecisoWe’ve long enjoyed the grinders produced by Baratza due to their ability to grind our coffee and espresso to just the right consistency to produce that the perfect cup. The other thing we love about Baratza is they are constantly innovating and improving their grinders. This means each usually model features an upgrade that causes us to like it even more. Such is the case with the Baratza Preciso, which used to be called the Virtuoso Preciso. While the name of this grinder changed to simply the Baratza Preciso a while back, we realized we didn’t have a video of this model with its new moniker. We’ve also had a few people request that we compare the Preciso with its cousin, the Baratza Virtuoso. Therefore, we decided why not kill two birds with one stone and create a video that solves both problems.

Like the Virtuoso, the Preciso is designed with 40mm conical steel burrs that will produce a consistent grind every time. Yet, while both grinders create a very good grind, we found that the Preciso has a couple of features that give it a slight advantage over the Virtuoso. The main difference between the Preciso and Virtuoso is that in addition to the 40 macro adjustments found on each machine, the Preciso also has 11 micro adjustments in the front. This allows you to have more control over how fine or coarse your grind is, since you can adjust the micro setting to future dial in the macro setting you have selected. In fact, we’ve found that the combination of these micro and macro adjustments allow the Preciso to have more precision and options than other models, meaning you will hardly ever have any trouble dialing in your grind.

We also like that the Preciso comes with a portaholder (which is not included with the Virtuoso, but you can buy the portaholder separately and add it on) that will hold your portafilter in the grinder for you for easy dosing. We even tested out several different portafilters in the portaholder, and were pleased to find that the majority of them fit without any adjustments.

Ultimately, we decided that the Preciso has a bit of an edge over the Virtuoso, since it has more options. Thus, the Preciso is a great machine for home baristas who is brewing different types of espresso and really wants to experiment with their coffee and their grind. That doesn’t mean the Virtuoso isn’t a good grinder, because it certainly works well. However, the Virtuoso is better suited for people who don’t need as fine a grind or are using a pressurized portafilter. Of course, we couldn’t claim that the Preciso was, like its name, more precise without first testing our theory. Watch Brendan and Gail as they put both the Baratza Preciso and Virtuoso to the test to see which machine can create the finest grind.

Crew Review: Baratza Preciso

SCG Portland Retail Store Tour

Portland retail storeAfter six busy weeks of planning and building, our Portland retail store turned out fantastically! With the opening of our third retail store, there is now a place outside the state of Washington where you can come and visit us. Of course, there is also our website, which we must admit is pretty convenient and a great way for those of you who don’t live in the Pacific Northwest to check out and buy coffee gear. However, the advantage of visiting us in person is that you have the ability to play around with different products and the opportunity to attend some fun and interesting classes.

Speaking of those of you who are outside the Pacific Northwest, by now you might be wondering what the new Portland retail store looks like. Well, for starters, we have our shiny, new Rocket Espresso machines by the front door when you walk in. These machines are followed by a display of Technivorms and other drip coffee makers. We also have nearly every flavor of Monin syrup you can imagine setup in the front window, to create a lovely rainbow of goodness. Finally, just around the corner we have displays for well-known brands like Jura, Nespresso, Delonghi, Breville and Saeco.

In addition to espresso and coffee makers, we also have every accessory you need to around out your coffee making experience. For instance, we have hot water kettles, pour overs, scales, tampers, knock boxes and shot glasses. Of course, all of this gear wouldn’t be complete without the coffee itself. As such, we’ve created a “coffee market place” where you can find coffee from a variety of Portland roasters as well as a few Italian brands like Illy and Lavazza.

Besides all of the fantastic gear we have for sale on the floor, you will also find our repair center in the back of the floor. Here we can troubleshoot or fix your beloved machine on the spot or within a couple of days, if it is a more extensive repair.  We can repair most major brands, so if your machine is acting up, bring it on down and we can at least give you a free estimate of what it will cost to get your espresso or coffee maker fixed.

We think that store turned out wonderfully and couldn’t be happier with how the space looks. However, don’t just take our word for it. Take a virtual tour of our Portland retail store yourself in this walkthrough we filmed right before our grand opening. Better yet, come visit us in person the next time you’re in Portland, we’d love to have you!

SCG Portland Retail Store Tour