The Story Of Persephone: Intelligentsia Coffee Persephone Blend

Persephone was a beautiful young lady cherished by her mother, the Goddess of Harvest, Demeter. Demeter presided over the fertility of the earth and brought the cycle of life and death to the harvest. With Persephone by her side, the flowers bloomed. Soon, though, the earth would grow barren.

Intell_Persephone_Flowers

You may be thinking this is only a tale of our dear Persephone. Our friends at Intelligentsia Coffee used this fateful tale as a foundation to demonstrate their commitment to producing coffee from a seasonal perspective. Seattle Coffee Gear is proud to provide our customer’s with Intelligentsia Coffee Persephone Blend and share the story that inspired the name. 

One day, Persephone and her companions were picking flowers in a field, when Hades, ruler of the Underworld, caught a glimpse of Persephone and yearned to make her his. Hades sought help from his brother Zeus, who was also the father to Persephone, and revealed his love for her. Together, they plotted a plan to steal Persephone and bring her to the Underworld.

While still frolicking through the field, Persephone was enchanted by a lone daffodil. Little did she know, the flower was the trap set by Hades and his brother to capture poor Persephone. When she reached her delicate hand towards the flower, Hades cracked open the earth and spirited her away to the Underworld. When Demeter discovered her daughter was missing, the earth wilted under her vengeful spite.

Persephone was as distraught as her mother. She refused to eat a single bite—she knew that if she consumed food from the Underworld, she would be trapped there forever. Hades, undeterred, tempted her with food and elaborate decorations until eventually his offerings persuaded Persephone and she ate pomegranate seeds from the Underworld.

Above, the land still laid to waste, Demeter was determined to get her daughter back—no matter if Persephone consumed food from the Underworld. Hades refused since he had made Persephone his, but struck a deal to allow her to leave every six months of the year to visit Demeter. For the other six months, she would be Queen of the Underworld and rule with Hades.

That is why with each spring, Demeter wills the flowers to bloom with the arrival of her beloved Persephone from the Underworld. And when Persephone must fulfill the bargain and return, Demeter lets the crops wilt until she sees her daughter again.

The story of Persephone illustrates the seasonal cycle of coffee. During the spring, the coffee plant flowers and then summer ripens the cherries until they are ready to be harvested in winter. Intelligentsia Coffee’s Persephone Blend correlates with the growing season with their Direct Trade partners in the Southern Hemisphere. Persephone is composed of coffees from Bolivia, Brazil, and Zambia, where their most fruitful harvest during June through September.

Persephone’s blend carries notes of pomegranate—to honor Persephone, of course—and orange marmalade that finishes with a light bite of champagne. The balance of sweetness and acidity complements the contrast of Persephone’s story if you ask us. For as long as Persephone can stay with us, Seattle Coffee Gear will carry Intelligentsia Coffee’s Persephone Blend.

Crew Comparison: Rocket Fausto vs. Eureka Zenith 65E Grinder

How Does It Compare?

It’s kind of like comparing the same motor inside a monster truck and a racecar. The Eureka Zenith 65 E comes in at 23.5 inches tall and towers over the Rocket Fausto’s mere 17.5 inches. Not to mention the Zenith 65 E’s massive three-pound bean hopper. When we talk about power, man, do they sure put on a show! Both are matched with 65mm flat steel burrs and a whopping 1650 RPMs (rotations per minute) to make quick work of beans. We’d love to see an actual showdown between a monster truck and racecar, but we’ll have to settle a match between the Eureka Zenith 65 E Burr Grinder vs. Rocket Espresso Macinatore Fausto Grinder.

Grind

Both grinders eat through beans like champs thanks to their 65mm flat steel burrs. Both rotate at 1650 RPM (rotations per minute) to quickly and efficiently grind beans. The real catch here is the Zenith 65 E’s 500 watts juice. This level of performance stands up in a busy setting such as a cafe or office full of coffee-lovers. If you’re thinking about making cup after cup, the Zenith 65 E will hold up. Keep in mind, this sort of power isn’t necessary for the casual, one-cup brewer.

Grinders at this caliber are stepless to allow you to fine-tune your grind with every inch of the burrs. This amount of control creates the perfect consistency for espresso and the Rocket Fausto and Zenith 65 E don’t fail to deliver. Both produce less clumping, which is a great accomplishment for these machines since a fine-grind naturally sticks together and forms clumps.

Lastly, what’s a high-class grinder without some programmable features? The Zenith 65 E offers two programmable doses that you can set for your portafilter. To grind, you press the portafilter against a button behind the adjustable holder. The Rocket Fausto also has two programmable doses and dispenses grinds when you press those buttons—with or without a portafilter, so have the portafilter ready to catch those grounds! Really, though, we think both machines take first place in grinding.

Glamour

So clearly the Eureka Zenith 65 E is a monster. If you haven’t seen a picture of it, it’s standing at staggering 23.5 inches and is 9 inches wide. The Rocket Fausto is 17.5 and 6.5 inches, respectively. We’ve talked about the Rocket Fausto a few times before and we were impressed by the one-pound bean hopper—the Zenith 65 E outdoes it with a three-pound bean hopper. Honestly, at Seattle Coffee Gear, we go through a lot of beans and we adore this three-pound monster, but not everyone needs these guy. The size alone would be a puzzle to fit in most kitchens, but we’ve definitely seen it done and admire home brewers with amazing commercial-grade machines like this.

Are such massive machines a glamorous addition to your home kitchen? The industrial-style build showcases raw, utilitarian appeal, especially in the chrome, that brings home kitchens a sophisticated edge. The matte black color also had trend appeal that complements the modern kitchen. Both are doserless with stainless steel adjustable portafilter holders that you’d find in a commercial setting, further completely the cafe-at-home style. You’re probably thinking with all this talk about industrial looks that the noise on these powerful machines is less than glamorous. Surprisingly, these grinders produce the average noise that you’d expect and hear from a smaller grinder of this grade.

Grade

We’re not handing out A’s and F’s for our grinders (but we’d never hand out an F to these guys). What we are dishing out are suggestions for these high-end grinders. When you have a grinder of this grade, you want to pair it with a machine that it will be compatible with. The Zenith 65 E and Fausto both create consistent, fine grounds that are perfect for non-pressurized portafilters. We wouldn’t pair these grinders with a machine that uses pressurized portafilters since the grinders do all the heavy lifting.

The Rocket Fausto is an obvious match for any of the Rocket Espresso Machines. We have our hearts set on the new Rocket Espresso R60v and with a grinder like the Fausto at its side, there’s no telling what sort of coffee-magic it will create.

The Eureka Zenith 65 E, with a three-pound bean hopper and massive stature, sets it up to be used in a commercial setting like your favorite cafe spot. That being said, we see commercial-grade machines in the average home brewers kitchen.  Since these grinders are so similar, we’d also recommend pairing this machine with the Rocket R60v.

Crew Review: Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino

The Intelia—part two? That’s right, folks! It’s the newest addition to the line: the Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino Espresso Machine. Not to be confused with the Saeco Intelia One Touch Cappuccino, the previous model, the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino is an upgraded coffee-making machine with more programmable options and updated style. Check out our video Crew Review below and tell us what you think of the new Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino in the comments below!

How Does It Compare?

The biggest difference you’ll notice in the new model is the features. Sure they look the same (with some minor flashy additions) but the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino features new intuitive buttons such as the carafe quick clean and “OK” button or aka the “Aroma Strength” button. The menu is considerably cleaned up and the word-choice is far more obvious than the previous model. These additions made navigating the interface a snap and while we’re talking about snappy, could we get coffee any quicker? In 33 seconds we had the machine warmed up and ready to brew espresso. The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino has all the improvements you’d expect from Saeco and more.

saeco-intelia-deluxe-cappuccino-side-view-withcups

Shot

This guy’s a hot shot—literally. We were impressed by the temperature of our shot and how much customization you could do with the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino. Each button can be double tapped for twice the volume and it’s easy to adjust the temperature and volume of your cup. And you set your customized cup at any time by pressing the button again. If you’re looking for a robust cup, the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino’s got you covered. It has five dosage levels and 10 grinder settings to make your taste buds holler. 

Looking for a special cup of joe? The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino isn’t called that for nothing—order the Baby Cappuccino for a pint-size cup that’ll complement a mid-afternoon caffeine craving (this guy is located in the specialty menu). Of course, if you’re ready for some shut-eye and caffeine is the last thing you need, use the bypass doser for your decaffeinated beans.

Steam

Piping hot milk is exactly what you need with you hot shot. The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino has a milk carafe on the side ready to disperse hot, foamy milk into your latte or cappuccino. There is no other option to add a manual-type steam wand, so you’ll need to be satisfied with the carafe controlling the milk for you. No need to worry about the milk chilling your drink, though. We found the milk temperature to be hot enough to complement the espresso without degrading the milk’s flavor. Customize the amount of steamy, creamy goodness in your cappuccino by simply pressing the “OK” button indicated on the digital display.

When it comes to foam, though, what you see is what you get. Without a manual steam options, you’re unable to customize the froth yourself. This is great for people looking to get a quick drink to-go since the carafe dispenses milk right into your cup. When you’re done with the carafe, it conveniently stores into the fridge for tomorrow’s coffee.

While this one-touch wonder does a great job at making milk based drinks if you wanted an Americano, you’ll need to move the cup over to get hot water. Where are you getting hot water, you ask? The Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino comes with a removable hot water spout that is inserted in the same place as the milk carafe. This feature takes away from the one-touch functionality, but not enough to call it an inconvenience.

Bonus: Before inserting the carafe into the machine, you’ll need to pull out the milk spout. Fortunately for you, coffee-lovers, the carafe won’t fit into the machine otherwise, eliminating the potential annoying mess. Also, you’ll need come in at an angle with the carafe to get it in just right. You’ll know when it’s in when it clicks into place.

Style

Brushed stainless steel is the go-to, eye-catching look for kitchen appliances and we’re definitely pleased the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino will complement our stainless steel oven and fridge. The milk carafe went from a plastic handle on the previous generation to a sleek stainless steel finish on the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino. The sides are plastic, however, but you can cozy this machine up to the microwave because the water tank and dump box are accessible from the front. You’ll only need to access the side to clean off the brew unit every so often.

The digital display menu is easy on the eyes not just for looks, but for functionality as well. The light blue display looks cleaner and makes navigating the different menus effortless. The intuitive naming and buttons will make learning this machine’s inner programs a breeze. Error messages will also pop up when something is amiss, such as a low water tank or missing dump box, and make it so you can’t use the machine and potentially damage it. There’s definitely a learning curve even with the more intuitive display but with some patience and the trusty menu (don’t throw that bad boy away) you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Pro Tip: The “Aroma Strength” button is also the “OK” button (indicated by the checkmark in the top right corner). The OK button will be used often to adjust different settings such as volume. A cool addition on the Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino is that the display will have the checkmark in the left hand, lower corner when it can be used. It’s conveniently located right next to the OK button, too. We highly recommend going through the manual and reading up on the display section and learning the different symbols. 

Crew Comparison: DeLonghi Dedica vs. Saeco Via Venezia

How Does It Compare?

The Saeco Via Venezia and DeLonghi Dedica are made for the blooming barista. Both come equipped with pressurized portafilters, which transform inconsistent coffee grounds into enjoyable espresso that anyone can pull. When it comes to features, though, the Dedica has programmable buttons that adjust the espresso temperature and volume, and also includes auto-descale to maintain your machine. Lastly, the Dedica’s size and weight is considerably less compared to the Via Venezia. Its narrow body leaves only room for a 32-ounce water tank and is incredibly lightweight (enough to toss it off the counter if you’re not careful), whereas the still not-so-big Via Venezia holds a 98-ounce tank and is weighed down. You be the judge! Watch the full comparison below  and get more reviews and comparisons by following us on our YouTube channel

Shots

Both semi-automatics are built to accommodate entry-level brewers. The pressurized portafilter is a helpful assistant that takes subpar grounds and extracts the coffee without the fuss. Saeco and DeLonghi approach the pressurized design a bit differently, though. The Via Venezia uses a pressurized portafilter instead of the basket, so you’ll need to buy a non-pressurized portafilter to make the switch. The Dedica uses pressurized baskets with the same portafilter that you can switch out with an E.S.E pod basket—no non-pressurized baskets on the Dedica, though!

Saeco Via Venezia non-pressurized portafilter upgrade

Another brewing bonus is that the Dedica has programmable buttons to adjust the temperature (low, medium or high) and volume of your espresso. It also allows you to set the water hardness to adjust, which makes it easier to know when it needs to be descaled—another feature on the Dedica. Together, these features make home brewing a snap for beginners.

Steam

DeLonghi Dedica

Both feature a panarello that turns milk into a hot, foamy goodness. The biggest difference we noticed is the Dedica produces dryer steam against the Via Venezia. You really don’t want water in your milk but it’s also not enough condensation to affect the taste.

The Dedica and Via Venezia can only brew or steam one at a time, so after steaming you’ll need to bring the temperature down before brewing. Luckily, you can temperature surf on both of these machines by running water out of the steam wand.

Style

Saeco Via Venezia

The Saeco Via Venezia has been around a long time and you might be thinking it looks a lot like the Starbucks Barista—well, you’re right! This style has stood the test of time. Both machines will sparkle on your countertop thanks to the stainless steel body (though it should be noted the Dedica is stainless steel covered plastic).

What we’re interested in is the size. The DeLonghi Dedica is a slim fellow coming in at 6.75 inches wide compared to the Via Venezia’s 9.625 inches. The Dedica is also practically weightless due to the compact size and plastic casing that’s surrounded by the stainless steel. That’s all good for saving counter space—which with tons of cool kitchen gadgets you’ll want room for all of them—but you’ll have to hold the machine when you’re cranking on the portafilter.

The Via Venezia is small, too, but sturdier. The stainless steel body adds weight to the machine so it doesn’t go flying when you want espresso. It also stores a 98-ounce water tank, which means less time running to the faucet to fill up and pull more shots.

Conclusion

The Delonghi Dedica is compact and would easily fit in tight counter spaces. Even with its small stature, this entry-level machine is built with programmable features that make life easier. This machine is designed for the big city (and a small apartment, if you know what we mean) and will easily fit in an office setting. Maybe even right on your desk!

The Saeco Via Venezia has both pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter options available, which would allow you to grow with the machine. It still saves on real estate but comes with a huge water tank that’s perfect for brewing multiple cups without running back and forth. The stainless steel body helped put some weight on the Via Venezia, too and that made it easier to use when making espresso.

Hayden’s Cinnamon Coconut Latte Recipe

We’re digging the coconut oil trend here at Seattle Coffee Gear. We’re trendy. We previously whipped up a delicious coconut oil recipe with butter that made one creamy creation, but this time, we’re leaving the butter at home. Hayden sent us in this recipe for a Cinnamon Coconut Latte and we’re more than excited—but not as much as Gail—to try it out!

We’re pulling out big guns—the Rocket R60v—to make our latte. If you haven’t been following us, we’re head over heels for the new R60v. It’s a high-end home espresso machine built to be on par with their commercial. We brewed Counter Culture’s Fast Forward for our espresso shots. This light bodied blend with sweet and nutty notes is a perfect match with the refreshing coconut flavor.

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon + a dash
  • 20 grams of ground coffee (makes 2 ounces espresso)
  • 8 ounces of 2% milk
  1. Prep your semi-automatic machine. Before brewing give your machine 30 minutes to warm up.
  2. Grind 20 grams of coffee into a double-shot portafilter. This makes 2 ounces of espresso. Lattes are generally made with 1-2 ounces of espresso per 8 ounces of milk or 1:3 ratio.
  3. Pour 8 ounces of milk and add one teaspoon of coconut oil and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon.
  4. If you can steam and brew at the same time, we like to start the shot and then begin frothing the milk while it’s extracting the coffee. If you can’t do both, first steam your coconut and milk mixture and then make your shot so it’s at the hottest temperature.
  5. Add the 2 ounces of espresso to a 10-ounce glass and then pour the steamed milk on top. Try a little latte art while you’re at it!
  6. Add a dash of cinnamon to the top. Enjoy!

Thanks Hayden for the recipe! We’re thinking about putting it on ice for this warm weather we’re having in Seattle.

Send us your favorite recipes in the comments below and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all things coffee related!

Coffee On The Brain: How Altitude Affects Coffee Flavor

By now you’re well on your way to being a coffee flavor expert. We’ve talked about how flavors differ from coffee varietals or how the roasting process changes the beans—just a few of the factors that create a unique profile! But have you ever noticed the elevation listed on your bag of beans? On this episode of Coffee On The Brain, Amber reveals how altitude affects coffee flavor. The answer might surprise you!

A coffees flavor can change based on where the plant is grown. The higher altitude affects coffee flavor by making it harder for the coffee plant to mature. You might think this means that the coffee’s flavor wouldn’t be good, but actually, the opposite is true. It takes longer for the coffee plants to mature and that helps produce cherries that are bursting with fruity, floral or spicy flavors.

When we say higher altitude, we’re talking about coffee that is grown at least above 3,000 feet or preferably 5,000 feet or 1,524 meters, which coffee roasters frequently use as their measurement. Some of our favorite coffees are grown above 5,000 feet like the Intelligentsia Coffee Bolivia AnjilanakaCaffe Ladro Ethiopia Yirg Z, and Bluebeard Ethiopia Ardi Natural.

ladro_yirgz

The lower you go in elevation—lets say down to below 3,000 feet—the easier it is for the plant to grow, mature and produce boring flavors. That’s right, boring. Lower altitude cherries create a less desirable cup described as simple and bland.

Here’s a quick and simple guide for how altitude affects coffee flavor:

How Altitude Affects Coffee Flavor

Growing at higher altitudes does have its drawbacks, though. It puts stress on the plant and makes it harder for farmers to grow a lot. With fewer plants, it is more expensive to produce those coffees and that means a higher price tag for us.

Here’s another factor to throw in the mix—slopes. Imagine you’re a farmer growing your coffee in a valley that floods. There’s no drainage so the plants begin to absorb lots of water and produce big, fat, juicy cherries. Sounds delicious, right? Wrong—those bloated cherries have lost lots of flavor thanks to the water diluting the sugars.

The farmer’s that planted their coffee on a mountain slope have better drainage and so the cherries are crisp. The harder cherries preserve the delicious sugars and flavor packed in the beans—think Intelligentsia Coffee Bolivia Anjilanaka that Gail brewed on this episode of Good Morning Gail. This seasonal blend is grown above 5000 feet and has notes of chocolate, nuts and fruit.

The higher altitude affects coffee flavor by making it harder for the coffee plant to mature.

Flavor profiles are complex with all the variables in the mix that produce different notes and body. It’s no wonder there are so many rich coffee blends to try! Watch the full episode of Coffee On The Brain with Amber and if you didn’t realize you were missing out on episodes, come on over and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Top Three Grinders For Espresso Machines

If you’re looking for a top-notch grinder, then look no further! We’ve picked out our top three grinders for espresso machines. When we’re looking for a grinder to go with our espresso machine, we’re looking it to be super fast and incredibly accurate for the best tasting espresso shot. 

  1. Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder

Rancilio Rocky

Tall, dark and built with pure muscle—no we’re not talking about that Rocky, but we might as well be. The Rocky by Rancilio is a powerful machine much like a certain boxer. Built with commercial-grade 50mm steel burrs, this is a professional machine that’s made for home brewing. This is a true underdog story folks.

This is the only grinder we’ve picked that isn’t stepless and we’re totally OK with that. The Rocky gives you 55 levels of control to grind your coffee beans thanks to ultra-fine threading that lets you go from espresso to French press without any fuss.

2. Rocket Mazzer Mini Electronic Grinder – Type A

Mazzer Mini Type A

Give us a shout if you’re a Type A, too! The Rocket Mazzer Mini is certainly the workaholic of grinders. It’s outfitted with a stepless grinder to allow you to fine-tune the grind, which is great for dialing in your beans. Once you hit that sweet spot, you won’t need to adjust it again.

The Mazzer Mini is also equipped with stainless steel burrs that rotate at a low RPM (rotations per minute) so that your beans won’t get extra crispy. These burrs are big; at 64mm the flat burrs grind beans quickly and that’s why the lower RPM won’t affect the overall speed.

3. Rocket Macinatore Fausto Grinder

Rocket Fausto

We thought the Rocket Mazzer Mini was impressive but man, when it comes to grinders the Rocket Fausto steals the show. The 65mm stainless steel flat burrs quickly and accurately create perfect, consistent grounds. It’s also stepless like the Mazzer Mini, so you have total control.

Now this is love—if you’re like us and make a lot of coffee, then you’ll love that the Fausto’s bean hopper holds a pound of beans. A. whole. pound. And, if you don’t go through the whole pound, there’s a stopper that’ll keep the beans inside so you can remove the whole bean hopper and change them out. Could you image trying to turn this guy upside down to shake out the extra beans?

We make a lot of coffee here at Seattle Coffee Gear and we love all our grinders for different coffee brewing methods. When it comes to getting the best grinder for your espresso machine, though, these three grinders fit the bill.

Crew Comparison: Breville Barista Express vs. Breville Infuser

We’ve got another Breville showdown for you today: the Breville Barista Express versus the Breville Infuser. It’s a tough match since these two semi-automatic machines are cut from the same cloth. On this Crew Comparison, we’ll go over the main difference between these machines—the built-in grinder on the Breville Barista Express.

Breville Compare - Barista Express vs. Dual Boiler
Can you tell which is the Barista Express?

Both machines have some of the same features and functions. Both use a Thermocoil boiler, which keeps the water in the boiler reservoir cool so that when you’re done brewing you can easily switch over to steam and has a Thermoblock to heat water on the fly. There are two programmable buttons for espresso volume and a three-way solenoid valve to ensure that you have a dry puck after each shot.

On both machines, all the goodies are conveniently stored in the machine. The tamper magnetically sticks up in the machine for storage and under the drip tray is a spot for the pressurized and non-pressurized portafilter baskets and razor to top off the grounds.

The biggest difference you’ll notice is that the Breville Barista Express is outfitted with a built-in grinder. There’s a lot of debate about the benefits of built-in grinders—so of course, we’ve compiled a simple pros and cons list for you to check out here—and the top concern for the Barista Express is that the grinder will break down while the rest of the machine works perfectly. It’s completely possible for it to stop working, especially if the it’s not properly cleaned, but the good news is we haven’t heard about it happening too often with the Barista Express.

Silvia vs Barista Express

It’s really hard to resist the convenience of the built-in grinder. For one, you don’t need to shop around for a grinder; you know from the get-go the grinder is going to work with your machine.The built-in grinder does limit the options to dial in the beans but if the grind isn’t great, it’s easy to pull a decent shot with the pressurized portafilter that comes with this machine. 

OK, time to discuss some cons on the Breville Barista Express. Let’s face it, with a built-in grinder, you won’t be able to use the grinder for other brewing methods like a French press. It’s designed for only pulling espresso shots on the Barista Express and the grind will be too fine to make a decent cup in a French press.

You’ll also notice a slot for the portafilter right above the drip tray. That alignment is handy for catching loose coffee grounds but it also means it’ll gunk up the drip tray. This mixing will be hard to avoid and cleaning the drip tray frequently is the only option.

Let’s say you did have a grinder—then the Breville Infuser is the way to go! It’s smaller and features the same functions as the Barista Express. The only set back is you’ll need to get a grinder but with the pressurized portafilter, you could get away with a less consistent grind.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to buy a grinder, invest in a grinder you can grow with. We recommend a high-end grinder that produced consistent coffee grounds such as the Rocket Fausto Grinder and Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder.

Tell us what you’re thoughts are on the Breville Barista Express and Breville Infuser in the comments below. Check out the full Crew Comparison and stay tuned for more episodes!

Pros & Cons Of Having A Built-In Grinder

Let’s talk about built-in grinders. There’s a lot of debate on the benefits of a built-in grinder on coffee machines. You expect it on a superautomatic, but what about those other guys? Built-in grinders can be found on some semi-automatic machines like the Breville Barista Express and some drip coffee makers like the Breville Grind Control. Naturally, we compiled a pro and con list for people out there weighing their options on buying a machine with a built-in grinder.

Built-In Grinder (1)

Our Top Pros

Space Saver:

When it comes to saving room on the kitchen counter, the built-in grinder optimizes every inch of your machine. Instead of having two machines sitting taking up space, you have one compacted unit. Arguably, a machine with a built-in grinder tends to be bigger overall, but we appreciate that it’s more ergonomically designed for space.

Convenience:

As if we needed more decisions to make, after you purchase an espresso machine you’ll need to search for a compatible grinder. Grinders come in all shapes and sizes and not all grinders fit the bill for your machine.

Saves Money:

We debated whether or not buying an espresso machine and built-in grinder saved money and we decided it can be less expensive to buy them together…depending on the model, that is. If you’re buying a grinder and espresso machine at a similar caliber, then it’s generally less expensive when the machine has a built-in grinder.

Compatible:

To pull off a delicious brew, you need a grind that’s consistent—and consistency can be tricky to find in a grinder! In short, you’ll cut out the middle man when you purchase a coffee machine that has a grinder that’s compatible with it.

Our Top Cons

If It Breaks:

Worse-case scenario is your grinder breaks. You generally have two options that will end up costing you extra money. The first option is to purchase a new grinder—which can be a good purchase if you invest in a high-end grinder. The second option is you have the scrap the whole machine and buy a new one. Hopefully, you have a machine that doesn’t rely on the grinder (such as the Breville Barista Express) but if it can’t be bypassed, then you’re out a whole machine.

Bulkier:

While the grinder and machine together create an ergonomic design the overall size is larger than a model without one. If you look at the Breville Barista Express and Breville Infuser, the Barista Express is about an inch wider than the Infuser.

Difficult To Change:

You can’t turn the whole machine upside down to shake out the old beans (well, we guess you could, but we highly recommend not doing that). To remove the old beans you’ll have to grind until it’s empty and waste beans—especially if you have multiple coffees you want to brew. 

One Function:

If you’re interested in brewing a pour over, French press or other brew methods that require a wider grind setting, generally a built-in grinder will only make a grind consistent for that machine. Take the Breville Barista Express again, for example, the grinder makes a fine grind for espresso shots that wouldn’t be coarse enough for French press.

We’ve heard the top concern is that if the grinder breaks down, then you’re stuck with a now completely useless feature. Fortunately for you, we haven’t seen that happen too often, so don’t let this be the number one deterrent. The biggest disadvantage, in our opinion, would be that the grinder is only designed for that machine, and not for other brewing methods such as French press or pour over.

Pro Tip: We recommend investing in a high-end grinder as your first purchase. If you are interested in investing, check out some of our reviews on top-notch grinders like the Rocket Fausto Grinder and Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder. We also recommend the Breville Dose Control if you’re leaning towards something sweet, but not too sweet.

Coffee Collaboration: Use Up Your Old Coffee Beans Recipe

Old Coffee Beans

Here’s the age old question that’s been affecting coffee lovers across the nation: What do you do with stale, old coffee?

To answer this questions, you should know why it goes stale.

Coffee goes stale when it has been oxidized by contact with—you probably guessed—oxygen. Roasters will use different bagging methods to reduce oxidization, but once you split open that new bag of coffee and take a big whiff of those fresh roasted beans, the quality goes down from there. As the beans stale, the flavor quality is reduced and loses its unique profile.

The best way to avoid old coffee is to brew it ASAP. Each coffee bag typically has a roast date and a recommended “best buy” date. But when your coffee ultimately goes stale, it’s time to get inventive like our coffee friend Saxman11290 who sent us this delicious recipe solution. Let’s check it out!

This recipe calls for a double shot of espresso, so you’ll need a superautomatic or semi-automatic machine. Got it? Here’s everything you’ll need:

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 cup of 2% milk
  • 14-18 grams of ground old coffee
  • Drizzle of chocolate sauce
  • Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Add 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of ice into a shaker.
  2. Using an espresso machine, make a double shot of espresso. For semi-automatics measure 14-18 grams of pre-ground old coffee or use a superautomatic and brew a double shot.
  3. Pour your double shot on the milk and ice and shake it up!
  4. Pop off the glass and strain the mixture over a chilled glass.
  5. Top off with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Enjoy!

Thanks Saxman11290 for this tasty creation! Gail whipped herself up a cup—and we don’t want to spoil it for you—but she couldn’t tell that she was drinking old coffee.

Send us your favorite coffee recipe in the comments below and we’ll share it with everyone on another episode of Coffee Collaboration.