Crew Review: DeLonghi Lattissima EN680

DeLonghi Lattissima EN680Do you love drinking cappuccinos and lattes in the morning but don’t enjoy all the work required to make them or cleaning up the mess afterward? Well, you’re in luck, since DeLonghi and Nespresso teamed up a while ago to create the DeLonghi Lattissima EN680, which allows you to brew cappuccinos, lungos and espresso at the push of a button.

This hybrid is part of the Lattisima series, and features a removable 16.9 oz. milk reservoir (so you can keep your milk cold in the fridge) and has programmable milk froth dispenser for those cappuccinos and lattes. This espresso machine is sure to please non-milk drinkers too, since the coffee volume and water output are also programmable. Like other Nespresso products, the EN680 is a capsule machine so you have to fill it with capsules ordered from Nespresso. However, the machine does come with a sample pack of pods so you can try out the different flavors to see which ones you like the best.

The EN680’s small footprint makes it great for cramped counters, but the machine is large enough to offer an adjustable cup tray so you can make your coffee in different sized cups. You can even take your coffee with you on the go, as you can fit a small travel mug in this space, like a MiiR travel tumbler, but probably not anything larger.

To find out more, watch as Teri takes us on a tour of the specs and features of the DeLonghi Lattissima EN680, and then shows us how to make a hot, foamy cappuccino.

SCG Crew Review: DeLonghi Lattissima EN680

For the Love of Coffee

Roasted coffee beans in the shape of the heart on white backgrouValentine’s Day: a holiday to celebrate the one who is near and dear to your heart, the one that is always there when you get up in the morning, the one who motivates you throughout the day and the one who will help keep you from falling asleep when you have a late night project  – coffee!!

What better day than Valentine’s Day to explore your passion for all things coffee? Of course, it might be nice to share your love of coffee with those who are important to you too. If you don’t know where to start or are having a hard time coming up with something to do, here are a couple of tips to help you out.

Bypass the Crowds

One of the things that people dread about Valentine’s Day is having to wait hours to get into their favorite restaurant (yes, it can happen even if you have a reservation). However, if you plan a coffee based date, you can skip the wait and spend the day as you please. Instead of doing dinner, try grabbing breakfast or brunch instead, that way you can start to your day by bonding over a cup of delicious coffee or espresso.

If you’re the type of person who likes to be on the move, you can also get your drinks (and snacks!) to go and take them to your favorite park or location in the city for a private picnic. In fact, many cities and towns have “secret” gardens or hideaways that only those in the know are aware of, which can be dug up with a little online research. Checking one of these places out is a great way to surprise your other half, and you will learn something new about your city.

Another option is to head out to your favorite café for dessert – after all, today is one of the few days where you have an excuse to eat copious amounts of chocolate and nothing goes better with chocolate than coffee. While drinking coffee at night may sound counter intuitive, there are an amazing number of coffee shops that are open late just for these types of occasions. Some cafes even sell drinks that are spiked with vodka or a variety of liquors so you can get your party started.

Brew Up a Heart Throb Latte

If you want to avoid going out all together today, you can always make your coffee or espresso at home. Surprise your sweetie with a latte in bed or brew up some tasty after dinner coffee. If you really want to go all out, try whipping up the “Heart Throb Latte,” a special drink that our Bellevue Store Manager, Rachel, created for Valentine’s Day. The recipe is actually pretty simple and the drink tastes just like a raspberry truffle – yum!

Ingredients:

Directions:

Combine the sauce and syrup together in a cup and then pull the espresso shots directly into the cup and mix well. Add the steamed milk to taste. If you’ve gotten your latte art making skills perfected, now is the chance to show them off by creating a heart-shaped design on top of the drink.

Share the Love

CoffeeLoveSharing is caring and our treat to you is to share our coffee knowledge thorough our  classes. They may even be a good date for fellow coffee and tea aficionados; after all, sometimes the best gifts are free.

Have you always wanted to be able to create beautiful hearts in your lattes but have not been quite sure how to make them? Then make sure to sign up for our Latte Art class in March, where you will learn how to make hearts and other designs. Come next Valentine’s Day, you’ll be able to surprise your sweetie with heart in their morning latte.

Most people use this day to shower their significant others, friends, family and even pets with affection, but don’t forget that machines need love too! After all, your espresso machine makes you tasty espresso drinks day after day, morning, noon and night with nary a complaint (well, it shouldn’t be complaining, and if it is, all the more reason to keep reading). However, just like any other relationship, the one with your espresso machine is improved with maintenance. So why not make a date to take your machine to one of our maintenance classes and give it a little extra TLC? At this event our Service Writer will teach you how to perform routine maintenance on your semi- or superautomatic machine, which will prolong it’s life and improve your espresso. Space is limited in all of these classes so, if you’re interested, make sure to get in touch with us and sign up.

Don’t Forget Your Friends

Doing something nice for someone doesn’t have to be reserved just for significant others. It’s great to also acknowledge those people who you see on a day-to-day basis or have known your whole life but don’t always have the opportunity to thank (or show your appreciation for all that they do for you). So pick up morning or afternoon coffee for your co-workers and neighbors, or even make it for them yourself. If you have friends or family members that live out of town, send them a letter, a gift card or even call them. While all of these things sound simple, just knowing that you care and took the time to think of them will brighten their day.

Descaling the Saeco Via Venezia

Saeco Via VeneziaIn case you’ve missed it, we frequently tout the importance of performing regular maintenance on your home espresso machines. This topic is so near and dear to our heart that we’ve even started offering classes on the subject at our Bellevue store.  As we have become well versed on the matter, we are often asked how perform certain tasks, such as descaling, on specific machines. And since we want everyone to have a clean and properly functioning machine, we are happy to oblige! This time around we’re focusing on one of our favorite little semi-autos, the Saeco Via Venezia.

With its compact size, lower price point and easy to use pressurized portafilter, it is no wonder the Via Venezia is a well-loved machine. Plus, the machine is incredibly easy to take care of! The descaling process is similar to that of other Saeco semi-automatic espresso machines and involves pouring a mix of Dezcal and warm water into the water reservoir, pulling the mixture through the boiler and out the steam wand and then repeating the process with clean water to make sure there isn’t any descaling solution lingering in the machine.

Finally, keep in mind that how often you descale your machine shouldn’t be based on how many times a day you use the machine, but rather on timing. Even if you rarely use your machine you can still experience an attack of killer scale since there is water sitting in waterworks of the machine. A good rule of thumb is to descale about every 1-3 months, depending on how hard your water is.

Let Bunny be your guide as she shows us how to complete this process step-by-step.

SCG How-To Guides: Descaling the Saeco Via Venezia

Brew Temperatures on Drip Coffee Makers

drip coffee makersIf you haven’t noticed, we love science! Of course the best part is conducting fun experiments and playing around with toys like the Fluke temperature probe. This time around, we were interested in seeing how some of our drip coffee makers compare when it comes to how consistent and how hot they actually get while brewing.

In order to complete this experiment, we lined up the Breville YouBrew, Capresso CoffeeTEAM TS, Bonavita Coffee Maker, DeLonghi kMix and Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Brewer and tested each machine one by one. For the sake of consistency, we stuck the temperature probe at the bottom of each machine’s filter holder, and prepared a single brew with just water, no coffee. We might have gotten a more accurate reading by placing the probe right where the water comes out of the coffee maker, but it was not possible to do so on all of the drip coffee makers, so we didn’t structure our test that way. However, our quasi-scientific research will still give you a good idea of how the machines differ and how hot they heat the water. To find out which is the hottest, watch as Gail puts these five drip brewers through their paces.

SCG Crew Tests: Comparing Brew Temperatures on Drip Coffee Makers

SCG Crew Review: Frieling Milk Frother

Frieling Milk FrotherTurn ordinary milk into extraordinary milk with the Frieling milk frother! If you are looking for a quick and easy way to make creamy, foamy milk, this manual frother may be the device for you. To froth your milk, all you have to do is pour about half an inch of milk into the carafe, place the lid on top and then pump the handle up and down about 20 times. Made out of stainless steel, with a swanky mirrored finish, this little guy will not only froth your milk but also add some serious class to your beverage set.

We wanted to see this little beauty in action, so Bunny put it to the test and frothed up both warm and cold cow’s milk, as well as warm and cold vanilla soy milk. Check out the video for her assessment and to learn what drinks you can use the frother to make.

 

 

SCG Crew Review: Frieling Milk Frother

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Shortbread

espresso shortbreadPerk up your afternoon coffee or tea break with this espresso shortbread recipe. These cookies have espresso mixed into the dough and a layer of espresso on the bottom, so they are sure to give you a buzz that will get you through the rest of the day. The fact that they only require a couple of common ingredients and their short baking time make them easy to whip in a pinch (or whenever you are need of a extra jolt of caffeine).

To learn how to make them yourself, watch Brandi create this surprise recipe under Bunny’s direction.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Shortbread

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ sticks of butter
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of espresso powder (for convenience sake we used a finely ground espresso blend).
  • ¼ cup of espresso beans, roughly ground (French press grade grind)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven 350F.
  2. Cream 1 ½ sticks of room temperature butter and ½ a cup of sugar, until  the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds.
  4. Add 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour and 1 ½ teaspoons of espresso powder and mix until smooth (about one minute).
  5. Spray a 9×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  6. Scatter the ground espresso evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  7. Gently press the dough into the espresso covered pan.
  8. Place pan on the top oven rack and bake until the shortbread is set, about 18-20 minutes.