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.

New! Rocket Giotto Premium Plus

Some people may consider the moment that you plunk down nearly $2k on an espresso machine a moment of personal reflection: Is excellent espresso so important to you that you can justify this expenditure? We consider it simply a moment of truth — while others may end up spending over $2k on their coffee throughout the year, they’d prefer to do it in $4 increments that seem like a negligible investment. You, on the other hand, have vision.

If you’re serious enough to get into the ‘prosumer’ class of home espresso machines, we can’t recommend the Rocket Giotto Premium Plus highly enough. It could be our favorite machine…and while we do try to remain machine-agnostic in our quest to ply you with the best coffee gear to suit your needs, our own moment of truth tells us that the espresso machine waiting on the other side of nirvana must certainly be the Giotto Premium Plus.

With its excellent temperature control, powerful steaming functionality and extremely functional design, the Giotto Premium Plus makes amazing espresso and silky foamed milk every time you go toe to toe. We love the separate water tank lid and its molded design — although we do wish that the drip tray was a bit bigger and we think the hot water nozzle sometimes gets in the way.

The Rocket stars in many of our YouTube videos, so check them out to see it in action — and then maybe it will be time for your own moment of truth: Yes, excellent espresso is that important.