You’ve probably been advised not to put dark roasts into your superautomatic. If this is news to you, stop putting those oily, dark roasts into your superautomatic! You’ll just clog it up and get frustrated when the machine stops making caffeinated goodness.
Sweet, complex and crisp, the Bourbon coffee varietal is one of the first two know varietals from the Typica plant discovered on the island of Bourbon, now called Réunion. If you’re looking for the island, you’ll find it located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. Today, the Bourbon varietal is more commonly grown in Brazil and South America.
The Bourbon’s high bean yield made it desirable (understandably so) and it quickly spawned some other varietals like the Caturra. The Caturra subspecies is favored for its “compact” growth, allowing farmers to grow more plants together and get more beans.
How do they taste?
The Bourbon is sweeter with crisp acidity and is gentle on the palette. A great blend to try is the Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso, which features the Bourbon and other coffee varietals. Try it as an espresso or cappuccino—either way, it’s delicious!
For a sweet and fruity coffee, Counter Culture’sLos Rosales, a Caturra varietal, has a smooth, well-balanced taste with slight cherry undertones.
If you’re curious about trying one the Bourbon or Caturra coffee varietals, check out our tasting wall at the Alderwood store and ask one of our coffee specialist for a sample!
P.S. Hey, Bellevue! The Bellevue SCG Store is celebrating the grand opening of “The Wall” on Saturday, March 12 at 9:00 a.m. and we want you to join us! “The Wall” features forty speciality coffees that you can have freshly ground and brewed on the spot! (Sample the Black Cat Classic while you’re there.) RSVP for the grand opening in Bellevue here.
The one thing we look forward to each year (because let’s face it, we’re not all looking forward to our birthday) is that we’re sure to have a new or improved machine! Sure enough, we have the new kid from Saeco, the Intelia Deluxe, partnered with the good ole Incanto Deluxe ready to see Saeco’s machines at work.
The Intelia is also outfitted with a new design—and we’re not just talking about that shiny new look. What we didn’t like about the Incanto was it’s leaky coffee spouts. When we went to remove the brew unit, the disconnection from the unit and spouts created lovely coffee dribbles on your counter…or, more likely, on your shirt. Thankfully, the Intelia’s spouts stay in place, so it’s always dripping over the tray!
We’re not saying that looks are everything, but the Intelia does look better with a brushed stainless steel front.The stainless steel tray is also more heavy-duty and doesn’t have a plastic rim like the Incanto. The digital display on the Intelia is also crisper and performs better, such as warning you when pieces of the machine are missing.
As those still celebrating aging would say, peace out, Incanto! You can still find this discontinued machine refurbished, but if you’re itching for something new and improved, then the Intelia is right for you! Check out our full review below and let us know what you think.
Mason jars, coffee socks and cold brew coffee. You might be thinking this all sounds like an episode straight from Portlandia. But we assure you, coffee-lovers, it’s no joke! The Cuppow Mason Jar Cold Brew Kit is just that: a cold brewing mason jar kit with an organic cotton (we heard you laughing) CoffeeSock to brew your coffee grounds in.
While you might be laughing still, this summer-friendly cold brew is going to knock your socks off (pun intended) with its deliciously smooth flavor.
The Linea Mini has a couple things over the R60v. For one, the professional-grade—the same ones you’ll find at a cafe—stainless steel portafilter makes tamping worry-free. The portafilter is outfitted with an angled handle for even tamping and, in addition, a breakaway spout in case you don’t know your own strength. But hey, save your nerves and counter and use the flat spot under the portafilter that fits perfectly against the edge of the counter.
Another difference is the Linea Mini’s steam wand, which has four holes (instead of the R60v’s two) releasing steam, making it one powerful milk-frothing machine. That doesn’t overshadow the R60v’s steam power, though. If you’re worried about the steam power, go to 7:50 on the video and watch Gail demonstrate both machines. What did you think? When it comes to steam power, we’re happy with the results from both machines.
Now, let’s take a look at the R60v. Sleek, streamlined and built with power, it’s a definite favorite with our staff. Besides appearance, the biggest difference you’ll see in the R60v is its digital PID and pressure profiling—something you usually see on commercial machines! What’s pressure profiling, though? Instead of the typical 20 to 30 seconds of brewing at nine bars of pressure, pressure profiling on the R60v allows you to have three profiles that allow up to five different stages of pressure applied during your brew. If you’re looking to have more pressure control, the R60v gives you that tailored espresso shot.
So, did you figure out what machine you’re taking home? When it comes to deciding between the Linea Mini and R60v, you can’t go wrong with either machine!
So, you’re going to buy a Rocket? Let us tell you, you can’t go wrong with one of these high-powered, stunning machines. We love Rocket Espresso machines and the grinders are no exception. We have two grinders, the Rocket Macinatore Fausto and Mazzer Mini Type A, that are neck and neck, but in the end, only one won us over.
If you don’t remember our Crew Review on the Mazzer last year, let’s refresh your memory right now! We said it was the grinder of our dreams and we weren’t kidding. The Mazzer Mini features programmable dosing that you can adjust based on the amount of time it grinds and, thanks to the stepless grinding, you can tweak your grind and get that beautiful consistency that you want for your shot. But here’s the real kicker—and we still love you, Mazzer—the Fausto can do all that and more!
What really put a smile on our face is the Fausto’s user-friendly features. Did you accidently start the grinder? Anytime during the grind, you can hit pause to stop the dosage and resume later. That really impressed Gail! In fact, let’s just call it a key feature on this grinder.
Speaking of adjusting your grind, the Fausto has a sleek, easy-to-turn dial off to the side. Gone are the days of overshooting your grind! The Mazzer Mini’s stiff dial around the hopper makes it hard to turn and less user-friendly. That’s why the Fausto’s new design set this machine apart.
Last, but certainly not least, on the Fausto is that the bottom burr controls your grind setting. Typically the top burr adjusts the setting and when it comes time to clean the machine, you lose the setting you were on and you’ll have to dial in again. The Fausto takes care of that problem and makes cleaning your machine a breeze and gets you back to the good stuff—making coffee.
We love our Rocket machines and the Fausto definitely takes the cake in user-friendly features on a grinder. Check out our Comparison video below for the full review with Gail and let us know what you think.
Today we’re bringing you two superautomatics that rival in appearance, performance and programmability—the Xelsis Evo and Exprelia Evo from Saeco. Just looking at both robust machines, it’s hard to notice the difference. Both are outfitted with a sleek stainless steel body, steam wand, milk carafe and that oh-so-nice one touch function. With so many similarities, how can you decide which one’s for you? Let’s make picking one of these top-of-the-line Saeco’s easier.
Side-by-side the Xelsis Evo is a bigger machine. At 15 inches high, 11 inches wide and 16.5 inches deep the Xelsis clears the slightly smaller Exprelia. Both have a 54-ounce water reservoir, but the larger Xelsis fits 12 ounces of beans over the Exprelia Evo’s 10 ounces. The Xelsis steam wand swings out further and is longer, too, but not by much.
Here’s the real deal sealer, the Xelsis Evo has six profiles and—drum roll, please—each profile can program up to five different drinks. You can customize the temperature of your morning latte, adjust the strength of your afternoon macchiato or the amount of foam in your cappuccino—need we say more? Yes, we do! The Xelsis also has an automatic timer you can set up to start up your machine in the morning for the hottest and freshest cup of coffee. The active cup warmer on the top will also heat up your mug before you brew.
So, why would you enjoy the Exprelia Evo, you ask? It has pre-programmed drinks that can be customized for temperature, espresso strength, the amount of milk and foam. If you’re usually up making breakfast in the kitchen, getting the Exprelia up and brewing is a cinch. While there aren’t profiles, you can stop the amount of milk on your drink if you don’t have time to set it up to your preferences.
The clear crowd-pleaser here is the Xelsis (and we mean this literally). The Xelsis is a great machine for people who entertain guests, have large families or for a small office setting. The six different profiles and customized drinks mean there’s going to be a cup for everyone. If you’re still unsure of which machine is for you, check out the comparison video below and the Xelsis Evo and Exprelia Evo on our site for more information!
Say hello to the latest version of Rancilio’s Silvia, the Rancilio Silvia M. Like it’s predecessor, it features an all-over stainless steel body, traditional steam wand, and non-pressurized portafilter, but with some technical (and rather handy) upgrades. Check out the Crew Review video below to see the new additions at work.
For those of you new to the Silvia, the machine features a traditional steam wand with a hot water feature and comes with a 58mm chrome plated brass portafilter—the same ones found on their commercial machines, so you know it’s good stuff—and stainless steel single and double shot baskets. It is a durable machine with equally reliable accessories, and we only recommend upgrading that plastic tamper for a metal-bodied one.
So, what has changed? The Silvia M has a new green “on” light. It may sound trivial, but as the machine is heating up, the orange light (directly below the green) will be on and then it’ll turn off. Since the green light will remain on, when the orange turns off it’ll be easy to see when your machine is ready to brew.
The Silvia M is still a single boiler machine, which means you’re steaming and brewing one at a time, so the two lights will help you temperature surf from steaming to brewing to get you ready to brew!
Inside the machine, there is a new the lead-free boiler and insulation wrap around the boiler. The heating element is still removable in case you do happen to get burnout, which will reduce the costs to fix it (but no worries there, our techs got you covered!).
In short, the heavy duty materials that make up the Rancilio Silvia M complement this hard-working single boiler machine and is for someone looking for control and quality in their espresso.
Who says you can’t have it all? If you want the control of a semi-automatic and the programmability of a superautomatic, then you’re in the right place! We have the Breville Oracle here ready to change the name of the game for semi-automatics.
Let’s walk through making your morning cup. The Oracle has a built-in grinder and tamper—you heard right, this machine tamps for you—that are both adjustable using the beautiful digital display. What makes the Oracle a hybrid machine are the automated features. You don’t see this sort of programmability in a semi-automatic and that makes it easier to brew a quality shot and spend less time dialing it in.
Are you an Americano drinker? Behind the brew head, you’ll find the hot water dispenser ready to deliver a piping hot Americano (programmable, again, for a shot and amount of water at the same time!) or hot chocolate for the kids.
Like everything else on this machine, the steam wand impressed us with its programmable milk temperature and texture. The display makes it easy to choose and achieve that quality cappuccino foam or perfect temperature for steamed milk drinks. Don’t feel like steaming yourself? No problem! The steam wand has an auto steam option that’ll do all the heavy lifting for you. After steaming, the steam wand will auto-purge to keep your machine nice and clean!