SCG Portland Grand Opening Event on Saturday, June 28th

SCG PortlandCan you believe we’ve almost reached the end of June already? What is even more exciting is that the Grand Opening of our SCG Portland store is just three short days away! The Grand Opening festivities will begin at 10:00 a.m. so make sure to arrive early and join us for day filled with delicious coffee tastings, raffle drawings and other goodies.

Free Gift Bags

The first 30 customers in the door will get a free gift bag packed with all kinds of sweet stuff:

  • Coaster
  • Shot Glass
  • Coffee
  • A candy bar (loaded with coffee beans, of course!)
  • Cups
  • And more!

Free Gift with Purchase (while supplies last)

Something has to be a surprise, right? Let’s just say this: You’ll be sporting your love of coffee!

Raffle Drawing

Our giveaways don’t stop at just the gift bags or gifts with purchase! We’ll also be raffling off machines, grinders and other accessories from Bonavita, Jura, Baratza and more!

Tastings and Demos

In addition to our slew of giveaways, we’ll also be treating your taste buds. Local roasters like Ristretto and Sterling will be hosting coffee tastings through out the day. Likewise, Bonavita and Krups will be stopping by to teach you how to brew up the perfect cup of coffee or espresso on their gear. It wouldn’t be summer without some frosty treats to help you cool down, so we’ll also be mixing up some sweet snacks on our Breville ice cream maker.

If you’re in the area this Saturday, we’d love for you to stop by and help us celebrate the opening of our third retail store. You can find us at: 26 NW 23rd PL, Portland, OR 97210.

Crew Review: Nespresso VertuoLine

Nespresso VertuoLineJust when you thought brewing your morning cup of Joe or espresso on a fully automatic espresso maker couldn’t get easy easier, Nespresso has created a new machine that further simplifies the process. Not only is the Nespresso VertuoLine capable of brewing espresso and coffee, but it also has been designed to do the thinking for you when it comes to making your preferred beverage.

How this possible? The machine is programmed to read the bar code that is printed around the rim of each capsule and determine the pressure (it still does nine bars of pressure on espresso), water volume, temperature and rotational speed it should use to brew each blend. If you’re wondering what rotational speed has to do with making coffee, Nespresso has developed a new technology that actually spins the coffee capsule while it is brewing. Water is then injected into the capsule while it spins, which likely allows the grounds to get better saturated. Some people may miss having the ability to program their machine themselves, but Nepresso believes you won’t ever need to as they have done a lot of testing to ensure their brewing parameters are just right.

One downside of the Nespresso VirtuoLine is that the old Nespresso capsules won’t work with it, since they aren’t designed for the VirtuoLine system. Thus, if you are upgrading from one of the previous Nespresso machines, make sure to use all of your old capsules before retiring your old machine. However, your new Nespresso VertuoLine does come with a sample box of capsules (or “Grand Crus” as Nespresso calls them), so you can sample the four espresso and eight coffee blends to determine which ones you like the best.

Overall, we really liked this upgrade to the Nespresso line. This compact machine brews a very hot and smooth cup, with a lot of crema. There is even a surprisingly large amount of crema on the coffee option; you may want to stir it in to the rest of the coffee in order to combine the flavors. Likewise, since the VertuoLine is so easy to use, it is a great option for people who want no muss and no fuss when creating their brew. The machine is also great for people who only want to brew one cup at a time or for households where everyone wants something different. To see how the new brewing process works, watch as Gail and Dori give the coffee and espresso a whirl on the VertuoLine.

Crew Review: Nespresso VertuoLine

Quick Review: Planetary Design French Presses

Planetary Design French PressesIf you’re lucky, you have a summer filled with fun adventures ahead of you. However, you maybe wondering what you are going to do without your favorite coffee or tea while you are away from home. Even if you don’t have a vacation planned, you may wish that you could take your coffee or tea with you on your ride to work. If you fall into either of these two categories, we have a variety of Planetary Design French presses that you can grab and take with you when you are on the go.

One option is the Table Top Coffee Press. This French press is available in a couple of sizes to ensure you have enough coffee for everybody. Although this press was originally designed for indoor use, it is incredibly durable and is perfect for camping and outdoor entertaining. Likewise, since the press is double walled and vacuum-insulated, it will keep your coffee warm for hours even if it is a little chilly outside.

The other Planetary Design French Press we carry is the Double Shot Travel Mug and Press. This French press is great for camping and back packing as well, and there are a couple of features we particularly enjoy. The first is that the travel mug comes with two lids, one lid that has a built in press mechanism and one lid that is a regular sippy top, so you can switch them out depending on which one you want. The second feature we like is the hidden compartment, which is found beneath the bottom of the cup, that allows you can store extra coffee or tea for later use.

While both of these French presses have great filtration systems, the Table Top Coffee Press even has two filters, we suggest that you use coarsely ground coffee with this French press. If you grind your bean to the finer side, you still may end up eating your coffee. To discover how to operate all of the Planetary Design French presses, watch as Dori walks us through their benefits.

Quick Review: Planetary Design French Presses

Crew Review: Krups Falcon

Krups FalconIn our technologically advanced lives, where nearly everything can be done in an instant, the desire for a fully automatic espresso machines is continuing to grow. Luckily, we have brands like Krups who are “dedicated to precision and technical perfection” to continue to create fancy little superautos for us. We recently got our paws on the newest machine to hit the U.S. market, the Krups Falcon EA84, and decided to give it a whirl.

With such an impressive name, we were a little disappointed that the Krups Falcon didn’t fly around our kitchen when we unpacked it. In all seriousness though, this machine does have some pretty impressive features. Instead of having pre-set drink options, the EA84 allows you to tailor your drinks to your specifications on the fly. For instance, you can choose the number of shots you want, the strength of the coffee (aroma) and the volume of water used to make the drink. Besides being smart enough to create the perfect drink, this machine also keeps track of how many drinks you’ve brewed and how many coffee pucks are in the dregs box. This allows the Falcon to remind you when it is time to clean the machine, descale, empty the dregs box and change the filter.

Another aspect we like about this machine is the super cappuccino, which is a milk frother and hose that you can attach to the steam wand to create rich and steamy microfoam. In fact, for automatic steamer, the super cappuccino gets surprisingly hot. In addition, there is even a handy container built into the corner of the machine’s drip tray where you can store this device when it is not in use. Ultimately, the Krups Falcon has a lot of programmability, making it a good option for someone who likes to try new things, and not get in a routine of having the same shot every day. To learn more about the Falcon, watch as Gail, Brendan and Scooter examine its functions.

Crew Review: Krups Falcon

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Sugar Cubes

Espresso Sugar CubesWant to flavor your coffee, with cream, sugar and more coffee? Well, we have just the thing, with a bit of a sweet twist. What is this magical potion? Espresso sugar cubes! These sugar cubes are similar to the popular drink “shot in the dark,” which is a shot of espresso poured into a cup of coffee. If this blend of coffee, sugar and espresso doesn’t wake you up and get you’re heart racing in the morning, we don’t know what will!

These caffeinated sugar cubes are surprisingly easy to make. All you need is white sugar, brewed espresso and a few cooking utensils. If you want to get fancy, you can try experimenting with cookie cutters or ice cube molds to create different shapes like hearts, stars or seasonal patterns. If you really want to step up your game you can also try flavoring the cubes with something besides espresso, such as Monin syrups. For instance, we think Toasted Almond Mocha sounds pretty tasty, and that Rose flavored sugar cubes would even pair well with tea. In other words, don’t be surprised if you find us back in the kitchen playing around with sugar in the not so distant future. In the meantime, watch Brandi and Kaylie get their buzz on as they mix up these espresso sugar cubes.

 

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Sugar Cubes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons brewed espresso

Directions

  • Measure out the white sugar and brewed espresso into a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir the ingredients together until everything is moistened and combined. The mixture should have the texture of wet sand.
  • Pour mixture onto a large rectangle baking dish or baking sheet, and smooth out the mixture with a spatula. You’ll want the mixture to be about ½ inch high, otherwise you will have giant sugar cubes.
  • When you have achieved your desired thickness, cut the sugar mixture into small squares to form cubes.
  • Let the cubes air-dry, uncovered for 12-24 hours.

Tech Tips: Cleaning and Maintaining a Drip Coffee Maker

Cleaning and Maintaining a Drip Coffee MakerHere at SCG, we discuss the importance of taking care of various espresso machines and coffee accessories quite a bit. So, imagine our surprise when it came to our attention that we had yet to cover cleaning and maintaining a drip coffee maker. Although we use these machines every day, it seems that they are so easy to use that we tend to forget that they need maintenance too. Once we realized we were remiss in our ways, we set out to remedy the situation as soon as possible. We took stock of our machines, and realized that the much-loved Technivorm Moccamaster in our break room was overdue for a cleaning. Thus, we temporarily borrowed this little dude to return it to its shinning glory.

The first step in maintaining your drip coffee maker is making sure to descale from time to time. Technivorm recommends using Urnex’s Dezcal Coffee/Espresso Machine Descaler, so we used it for our descaling process, but it is a good idea to check with the manufacture of your particular machine to see what they suggest. To descale, simply mix the descaler with hot water and fill up the water tank with the mixture. When you turn the machine on, the mixture will be pulled through the water path of the machine and clear put any scale that has built up. Once you have finished descaling, make sure to run two cycles of just plain water through your machine to rinse out all of the descaling solution.

After you have descaled your drip coffee maker and rinsed it free of solution, the third, and final, step in this maintenance process is to give your machine a good cleaning. To do so, soak all parts of the machine that come into contact with coffee residue in Cafiza. Generally speaking, these pieces are the coffee pot, coffee pot lid, brew basket lid, water tank lid, spray arm and brew basket. Let all of this gear soak for about 5-10 minutes, then give it a rinse and wipe it down. You also may want to dip a rag into your Cafiza solution and give the outside of the water tank, heating plate, stand, etc. a good wipe down to get your coffee maker extra clean.

One important thing to keep in mind is that while descaling a drip is easy, it doesn’t mean should do it all the time. Generally most manufactures will have a recommendations for often you should descale, so it’s a good idea to consult your manual or local service center for advice before you start the descaling. To learn more about how to clean and maintain your drip coffee maker at home, watch Brendan take us through the process in this video.

Tech Tips: Cleaning and Maintenance for Your Drip Coffee Maker