Continuing on our theme of Irish-inspired (read: Whiskey and/or Irish cream-inspired) recipes this month, Brandi has selected a rather interesting latte that features both Irish cream and a little spice.
Watch her craft it on the Saeco Exprelia — we even made her use the steam wand this time!
Steam your milk to your desired frothiness (what?!). Combine both syrups into your serving mug, pull shots and mix them together. Fill with steamed milk and enjoy.
Now that I have built my espresso connoisseurship from zero to somewhere above average, but still far below that of Juan Valdez, I was reluctant to go back to my lazy ways. New single-cup espresso capsule machines from Francis Francis for illy arrived awhile back and I played coy. I stayed away until I found out our crew of espresso machine technicians were proponents of this capsule craze.
I wrangled one each of the Francis Francis Y1.1 and the Francis Francis X7.1 Iperespresso Machines over to my desk. Mike and Jeff from the refurbish crew volunteered to be my guinea pigs …er, I mean taste-testers. They programmed the extraction time on both machines to their preferred shot length to assist me with a side-by-side comparison. The new illy coffee capsules come in a canister — like the whole bean and pre-ground illy coffees do — and in the same flavor profiles. I popped the top off of a can of illy iperespresso Dark Roast capsules to try in the two new machines.
In the end, it ‘all boils down’ to case style and drink preference. The illy iperespresso capsules have a patented pressurized design and both machines provide the right brew temperature and pressure to get the most flavor extracted. Upon Shiami’s suggestion we ran hot water through the machines to get them up to temp and to pre-warm the demistasse cups. Then we hunkered down and watched the espresso as it streamed out of the two machines for 29 seconds each.
All variables being equal, Mike and Jeff preferred the Y1.1 since it has one-touch operation right out of the box. Shiami preferred the X7.1 for her lungo. There may be a slight temperature advantage as the X7.1 maintained heat within the metal portafilter, but I did not taste a discernible difference as I sampled the espresso produced. If you are in need of steady milk frothing, the X7.1 is the one to pick. If your need for steamed milk is more occasional, an accessory frother like the Breville Smart Cafe paired with the Y1.1 is also a winning combination.
So who did we declare the winner? For me, at least, simple is always better, so the tie goes to … the Y1.1!
Today is the day when we look ourselves in the mirror and sternly pose the following question: If required to at gunpoint, would we be able to perform a side by side comparison of the Baratza grinders? Why we might be required to do so at gunpoint is neither here nor there, but we do believe that an unquestioned life is not worth living … so we ask the tough questions.
To get the answers, we turn to the beautiful Bunny Malaspino, who was more than happy to perform such a comparison (sans weaponry) for us in this video. Watch as she breaks down the current Baratza line-up — Encore, Virtuoso, Preciso, Vario and Vario-W — and shows us how they compare functionally. If you’ve been concerned about your own ability to perform such a comparison under such stressful circumstances, this video is for you.
We have folks asking us often how they should prep their espresso machine for storage, transport or shipping. Possibly the most important thing to do is to make sure all of the water is gone from the internal boiler and waterworks.
How you do this differs depending on the type of espresso machine you have. We asked Gail to break it down for us in four separate videos, each tailored for different boiler styles. If you need a walkthrough, find your machine type below and watch her take us through it!
|Single Boiler Espresso Machine||Superautomatic Espresso Machine|
|Heat Exchange Espresso Machine||Double Boiler Espresso Machine|
There’s many decisions one must make on a daily basis; some of them are highly personal and we’re really not going to get into them with you again, darling … but others are worthy of public exploration and debate. One such example is whether or not one might want to upgrade their Saeco single boiler espresso machine from its stock pressurized portafilter to the non-pressurized model produced by Seattle Coffee Gear. Is it worth the price? How about the work? Flavor-wise, how do the shots produced from either portafilter design compare?
We put Bunny in front of a machine and asked her to go crazy! She did that, but she also performed a few experiments. Watch as we try out a few different approaches using both the pressurized and the non-pressurized portafilters, taste the shots and then discuss how their flavors measure up.
Continuing her Gaelic-inspired theme this month, Brandi crafts a delicious cocktail replete with green sprinkles! Looking for the go-to cocktail for your St. Patty’s Day bash this year? Pretty sure this is it, love.
- Monin Dark Chocolate sauce
- 3 oz half & half
- 1 shot espresso
- 1 oz rum
- 1 oz chocolate mint liqueur
- Whipped cream and green sprinkles for garnish
Decorate your serving glass with chocolate sauce then fill it with ice. Add the half & half, espresso, rum and chocolate mint liqueur, then stir well to combine. Top it off with whipped cream and green sugar sprinkles for a festive flair!
When preparing coffee, we know that there are a few different variables we can tweak in order to impact the flavor in the cup. We can play with brew temperature, pre-infusion timing, grind consistency, coffee dosage and water ratio, and each element will produce a different flavor nuance.
So we decided to play around with that! In this video, we take three different Brazen Brewers and we change up the grind consistency, coffee dosage, brew temperature and pre-infusion time, then taste them to see how they compare. Watch as we learn more about how changing these elements impacts our coffee.
Part of their newer series of machines, Saeco’s Intelia Cappuccino is both petite and, quite simply, gorgeous. Featuring an upgrade to their one-touch milk frothing functionality that produces hotter auto-frothed milk and a sleek case design, we love its simple interface and its hematite hue.
Watch as Gail takes us through its features and then demonstrates making a one-touch cappuccino in this video review.
Mazzer’s suite of grinders offers something for everyone — from the small in stature and simplicity of the Mini all the way to the sophisticated conical burrs of the Robur E, you’d be hard pressed not to find one that meets your needs.
We’ve never had them all around at one time in order to compare them side by side, so when the opportunity presented itself, we had to jump on it! Watch as Gail takes us through all of their features and specs, shows off their burrs and then compares their performance.
As any good product developer knows, the key to keeping things real for their customers is to iterate, iterate, iterate! In Rocket’s newest version of their popular R58 dual boiler espresso machine, they’ve made a few adjustments to improve both the form and function of the machine.
Form-wise, they’ve strengthened the chassis, added nylon rails to improve the fit of the drip tray and implemented a magnetic drip tray closure. Function-wise, they’ve installed a new control board to optimize steaming and brewing and updated the firmware on the external PID.
Watch as Gail takes us through all the features and specs of the V2 R58, then makes a delicious cappuccino in a gorgeous Lino cup!