What goes better with summer than a nice, cold glass of coffee? Blackberries! We had a feeling Blackberry Iced Coffee recipe from our friend, Macejam, was going to be delicious and our hunch was right. This recipe quick to make and perfect for sipping by the pool.
We ground up good ole Bluebeard Coffee El Capitan to pair with our fresh blackberries—El Capitan sounds like a perfect pool-side drink. Its rich, full body with notes of chocolate and caramel will add a strong kick to this berries and cream drink. We suggest using 2% milk for the ultimate creaminess for your blackberry iced coffee.
Introducing the iconic carafe to an automated coffee brewing system was probably the most ingenious move for Chemex. The Chemex Ottomatic Coffeemaker showcases the elegance of their pour over carafe alongside the unbeatable convenience of a dripper. But this is no ordinary dripper—the brew head on the Ottomatic pulsates with hot water to equally wet and bloom grounds for even extraction. When it’s done brewing, the Ottomatic switched from brewing to heating the hot plate, adding extra cushion for you to secure a hot, freshly poured cup.
The Ratio Eight Edition Coffee Maker is the other brewing system that combines pour over with automatic functionality. The main difference here is the Ratio has no plastic components and doesn’t include a heating element to keep the coffee warm. Of course, the other noticeable difference is that the Chemex is much narrow and fits easily on the counter than the Ratio’s tall and round design. For our kitchen, the Chemex and Technivorm were designed more ergonomically to fit in on our counter. Check out our Crew Review above to see for yourself!
The Chemex Ottomatic proved that speed wouldn’t be an issue. When we turned on the Chemex, it took about 45 seconds before the brewing cycle started. It brews between 15 to 40-ounces and while we can fit the smaller carafes under the brew head, make sure you add the right amount of water—we may have accidentally overfilled the carafe.
The stainless steel shower head evenly distributes the water, while the pulsing brew head helps achieve what you’d want from a pour over—a soft, steady flow of water with interruptions to keep the coffee blooming and extracting. The Chemex Ottomatic can brew up to the eight-cup carafe and when you think about it, it would be so time-consuming to stand around to pour for those larger carafes, so thank you Chemex!
Once the Ottomatic is done brewing, it switches the heating element on under the carafe, keeping the coffee warm indefinitely (or until someone switches the brewer off, a major con for forgetful people). The heating element has divided us between labeling it a pro or con of the machine’s functionality. Our coffee connoisseurs relish a freshly pour cup of coffee and the heating element would overheat and potentially burn the coffee, essentially ruining the flavors. For the rest of our less indulgent connoisseurs, we love the convenience of going back cup after cup to warm coffee and can still enjoy the flavors that develop through pour over.
To back-track what we mentioned earlier, the heating element doesn’t turn off after it’s engaged. This machine is purely on and off. We tested it out and found the coffee to be extremely, even borderline, hot a few hours after brewing. So in conclusion, this machine needs to be monitored at all times when it’s turned on.
The Chemex Ottomatic comes with the shapely, hourglass carafe and is a welcomed sight for many coffee lovers. People recognize Chemex by their sophisticated design. The wood and leather tie around the neck add homey texture. If you’ve never owned a Chemex in any form, we highly recommend adding this timeless beauty to your kitchen.
When it comes down the design of the Ottomatic, Chemex elevated their style with an equally elegant and sophisticated system. The polished chrome and matte black will complement modern homes effortlessly and we adore its smooth shape. The Chemex Ottomatic also has a plastic reservoir, so people looking to brew coffee without plastic will need to look elsewhere. We were surprised it had plastic, but we didn’t have that nasty plastic taste, so give the Ottomatic a chance. Alternatively, you can check out the Ratio Eight Edition, which features similar functions to the Ottomatic, but with no plastic and different style. The evolution of pour over has certainly caught on and we’re ecstatic that the Chemex Ottomatic is everything we wanted and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
20 grams of ground coffee (makes 2 ounces espresso)
8 ounces of 2% milk
Prep your semi-automatic machine. Before brewing give your machine 30 minutes to warm up.
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.
Pour 8 ounces of milk and add one teaspoon of coconut oil and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon.
If you can steam and brew at the same time, we like to start the shot and then begin frothing themilk 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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.