Brew Tip: Temperature Surfing on the Rancilio Silvia

While single boiler machines are extremely cost effective, they do suffer from wide temperature fluctuations which can result in poorly extracted espresso. As such, the technique for ‘temperature surfing’ was developed by home espresso enthusiasts and you can watch as Gail goes through the process on a Rancilio Silvia. This technique can be applied to any single boiler machine — such as the Saeco Aroma, Ascaso Basic or Dream and any of the Gaggia semi-automatic espresso machines.

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

It would make sense that the purported origin of coffee would proffer an elegant and traditional ceremony that highlights the importance and appreciation of this little bean. Taking you from green bean to brew, the Ethopian Coffee Ceremony begins with freshly roasting beans before your eyes and ends with the sipping of a rich, delicious cup of joe — or three.

We found a great description of the ceremony, which covers both how you might experience it in a restaurant versus a traditional ceremony at home.

Brew Tip: Static Cling

Does your bipass doser sometimes seem a little faulty? We occasionally get reports from customers that their older Saeco or Gaggia superautomatic espresso machine (which features a metal burr grinder instead of the newer ceramic grinder found on the most current models) is producing nothing better than dirty water every time they try to use pre-ground coffee in the bipass doser.

The cause? Static cling. In really dry climates, the static can build-up in the metal burrs, so when ground coffee is poured into the bipass chamber, it ends up clinging to the sides or going around the brew group instead of landing directly into it.

The best way we’ve found to counteract this issue is to add a little bit of moisture to your grounds before you pour them into the bipass chamber. The moisture and extra weight will make sure the majority of the grounds land in the right place and that you’ll brew a great shot of espresso.

Perky Tampa

This year’s Super Bowl may seem far more animated than usual, considering its stadium will be chock full of Tampa residents — the highest caffeinated town in the US. The source of the caffeine for Tampans was more likely pain relievers, energy drinks or tea than it was coffee, but they’ve finally outpaced the previous over-caffeinated city of Seattle this year.

After Tampa, Seattle and Chicago rank 2nd and 3rd, with New York City and LA rounding out the top 5. The least caffeinated region is the Riverside/San Bernardino area of California, where you’ll no doubt find plenty of chilled out folks telling you to just take it easy.

Recipe: Chai Spiced Wine

Recovered from the holiday festivities? Much more chill than December’s counterparts, January’s get-togethers are all about relaxing — and what could be better than sipping a warmed mulled wine to get you in the mood?

We’ve spent hours over the stove top, concocting the perfectly mulled wine…a delicious endeavor that we thought might be short cut by the introduction of Monin’s Chai Tea Concentrate. Containing cloves, cinnamon and ginger — the hallmarks of mulling spices — this concentrate also kicks it up a bit with the addition of green tea extract and orange blossom. If mulled wine is up your alley, we think this is a delicious (and quick) twist on an old favorite!

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle full bodied red wine (3.5 cups) — we chose Syrah
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Monin Chai Tea Concentrate
  • Optional: Cinnamon sticks (for garnish)

Directions

  1. In a non-reactive pot, combine wine and chai mixture
  2. Warm mixture until slightly too hot to the touch
  3. Serve in your favorite heat-proof glasses or mugs
  4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick

Event Update: NWRBC Winner – Alex Pond

If you aren’t in the NW area or couldn’t make it to the regional barista finals this past weekend, you might be interested in reading about the winner — Alex Pond of Fresh Pot in Portland OR.

The 22-year-old wunderkind concocted a signature drink using Tanzanian salt and Balinese chocolate that sounds quite delish. He’ll go on to compete in the US finals this coming March in Portland — where all of the regional winners will be pit against each other to determine which java slinger will represent the US in the world championships later this year.