Crew Review: Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrade

Saeco BottomlessSaeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter UpgradeOftentimes when we find an espresso machine or coffee maker that allows us to make a cup of coffee exactly the way we like it, we use the machine until it no longer works for us. Only then do we then consider upgrading to a different model. However, that is not to say we won’t improve upon the machine while it’s still in our hot little hands when given the chance. Not only does this make the coffee the machine produces better, but it also might allow us to hang on to the espresso machine a little while longer. Luckily, we were afforded this opportunity with a few of our tried and true espresso makers and were able to create a Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrade that will work on machines like the Via Venezia and Aroma.

We were really excited that we here at Seattle Coffee Gear were able to develop an upgrade (that’s right you won’t find them anywhere else) for some of our favorite Saeco machines. The nice thing about this upgrade is that since the Aroma and Via Venezia already come with a pressurized portafilter, adding a non-pressurized portafilter increases the functionality of this machine. With the pressurized portafilter that comes with these machines you have the ability to use pre-ground in your machine, as the portafilter will compensate for the grind not being perfect. This will be your easy-peasy approach with no tamping necessary. In addition, with the non-pressurized portafilter you now also have the ability to get in touch with the barista side of your coffee experience and play around with the grind and flavors of coffee, which can be the most enjoyable part of espresso.

What is even better is we didn’t just create one non-pressurized portafilter upgrade for these machines; we created two. In addition to the standard Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrade, we also created a Bottomless Portafilter Upgrade for Saeco Machines as well. The bottomless portafilter is truly a great teaching tool, as you see your shot as it comes out of the portafilter. If you have done everything correctly, you will see your coffee first start to dispense around the edges of the portafilter, then form into a cone in the middle. On the other hand, if your coffee starts coming out on the side, or does anything else, that means you have fractures or channeling in your puck. All is not lost if this happens, part of the learning process is trying again and seeing if you can adjust your technique to get a better shot the next time around.

To use these Saeco Non-Pressurized Portafilter Upgrades on your machine, all you have to do is pop out the basket from your pressurized portafilter and put into one of the non-pressurized portafilters and you are good to go. Keep in mind that when you use these non-pressurized portafilters you have to be really in tune with the grind of the coffee. As such, you will want to a get good grinder and 53 mm tamper to complete your setup, which you can do fairly inexpensively. Ultimately, adding a non-pressurized portafilter to your Saeco setup is a great option if you are interested in upgrading to a fancier semi-auto and want to see what you are getting into. Or, perhaps you are enjoying your Aroma or Via Venezia but want to start trying to make the same drinks your favorite barista has been making at your local coffee stand. Speaking of brewing like a pro, check out as Gail shows off her barista skills while she and Brendan explore all the options these non-pressurized portafilters provide.

Brew Tips: Latte Art Hearts and Rosettas

We’re back with double the latte art videos! Today Chad breaks down the elements of pouring a latte art heart and a latte art rosetta. Try each, impress everyone you know and then let us know how it went!

Brew Tip: Pour a Latte Art Heart

Brew Tip: Pour a Latte Art Rosetta

Brew Tips: Latte Art Basics

If we had to choose three words to describe the video below, they would be “Chad is awesome!”

When he’s not helping out customers in our Seattle Coffee Gear Portland store, Chad teaches barista classes. Which means that as soon as he joined the team we started hitting him up to make some sweet latte art videos for us. After all, we could write out the steps to latte art all day long, but having a visual aid is at least 100 times better (if not 1,0000).

In this video, Chad walks us through latte art basics. Pay attention, because you’ll need these next week when we post some advanced techniques!

Crew Review: Rancilio Rocky Grinder Redux

When we think of reliable and hardworking, we think of the Rancilio Rocky rocky_grindersgrinder. Is that weird? We don’t think so…

The Rocky is available in a doser version, for those that go through a decent amount of coffee and/or rarely change their grind, or a doserless version, which grinds directly into your portafilter. Each one gives you a sturdy build and 55 different grind settings, so you can go from espresso to drip (and back again) with ease.

Given that the Rocky is the apple of our eye, we decided it was time for an updated Crew Review. Check it out below and watch as Gail and Brendan walk us through features, dialing in the grind and removing the burrs for maintenance!

Crew Review: Bonavita Electronic Scale

Oh, how we love a great scale! It’s the basis for a beautiful shot of espresso or a Bonavita Electronic Scaleperfect pour over, as dosage of coffee to water has a huge impact on the outcome of your caffeine beverage of choice.

The Bonavita Electronic Scale not only meets the features a scale is pretty much required to (you know, weighing things properly), but it also is quite pretty. Look at that glass! Measuring accurately to .01 grams, the Bonavita Electronic Scale is now flying solo and can be purchased on its own versus just bundled with other Bonavita products.

Tech Tips: Saeco Water Tank Tune Up Kits

We’ve all been there: A leaky machine! A lot of friction occurs within the Saeco Water Tank manifold when you remove it, fill it up with water and then insert it back into the machine. Over time, the seals and spring can wear down and you’ll begin to notice dripping from the water tank when it’s not inserted to the machine. These kits will replace those seals and springs to get you back in working order in no time!

Tune Up Kit for Vertical Water Tanks

Tune Up Kit for Horizontal Water Tanks