We’ve been doing a lot of product testing and wanted to update you on gear we have decided to carry and that is now in stock:
Modern Stainless Steel Knock Box Replacement Bar
At long last, RSVP is now carrying replacement bars for their very popular Modern knock box. If you don’t want to go DIY and replace it with rubber tubing from your local hardware store, you can pick up a brand spankin’ new replacement to have on hand.
Krups KM7000 Pro Grinder-Brewer
We tested three coffee makers from Krups and this was one of our favorites! Featuring grind and brew functionality, programming options and the ability to tweak your dosage to improve your overall cup, this very popular coffee maker fit in nicely with our other grind-n-brew crew.
Krups XP5280 Precise Tamp Programmable Espresso Machine
Another Krups model that we dug was this automatic espresso machine that had several surprising features. Gail was not expecting much and this little champ outperformed her expectations. We love its unique tamping mechanism, temperature regulation and diminutive size. As usual, some plastic is involved — but it does feature more metal than is often seen in this class — and the optional cappuccinatore system isn’t anything to write home about.
After we tested this small semi-automatic espresso machine, we decided it was a keeper. Sure, it has a lot of plastic involved. Yes, it’s not a high class machine. But it is easy to use, fairly consistent and has a compact footprint. It’s not every day we get to say that.
We tested a wide variety of scales and elected to carry two: The Salter Electronic Scale and the ADE Pocket Scale. Both of them performed well, consistently read out the same weights regardless of item positioning and are a good fit for weighing portafilters (Salter) or weighing very precise, small amounts (ADE).
2 New La Cafetiere Coffee Press Designs
While we didn’t test these specifically because they use the same great press pot design as the others made by La Cafetiere, we did add two new models to the line-up that are both elegant and funky. The Lexi Bone China 8 cup is ridiculously sleek and modern looking, and we love its high-quality porcelain design. Contrast that against the curvy and classy Unique, a double-walled stainless steel model that we couldn’t say no to when we met with it at the SCAA. While the Lexi is a one-size-fits-all, the Unique ranges from 12 oz – 35 oz options.
La Cafetiere Jack Cups
If you’re a fan of double-walled glass cups, these latte, cappuccino and espresso versions by La Cafetiere are stylish and functional. They’ll keep the cool cool and the hot hot, just how you like it.
This is a pretty standard electric kettle, but it does allow you to select a specific water temp to which your water will boil. Great for specifying mildly different temps for varying teas or even dialing in a more accurate temp for pour over coffee.
Arguably our very favorite electric kettle around, this semi-sophisticated water boiler will not only bring your water up to your desired temp, but it will hold it there. We love this for brewing multiple cups of tea or pour overs without the wait time or guesswork sometimes related to other, more lo-fi kettles.
Capresso CM200 10-Cup Coffee Maker
Ain’t nothing fancy about this simple, straightforward coffee maker, but sometimes we don’t want any more pizazz in our life. Sometimes, our talented jazz hands are more than enough. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to keep ourselves from heading on a one-way trip to Fancytown. And it’s those times when we look to this coffee maker that will get the job done with limited muss and fuss.
We have two heat exchange, automatic espresso machines in our store so we thought we’d do a lil of the old side-by-side comparison, if you know what we mean. Gail runs through a basic overview of the features on the Nuova Simonelli Musica and Pasquini Livia 90, then pulls shots off each to see if there is any practical difference in shot quality or flavor.
In our next round of updated buying guides, Gail takes us through several single boiler espresso machines under the $1k mark, giving us a basic overview and comparison of their features. She talks about the Saeco Aroma, Via Venezia & Sirena, the Francis Francis X7, the Rancilio Silvia, the Ascaso Dream & Uno Pro with PID and the Crossland CC1. If you’re in the market for a machine, this is a great primer on some of the available options.
Filtering your water is essential if you plan on plumbing in your espresso machine to a direct water line in your location. Without this, you run the risk of scale build-up that can only be removed by a professional taking apart the machine and physically removing the scale. How quickly this occurs will depend on your location — we did have a cafe attempt to go without filtration for just a couple of months and their equipment completely seized up as a result. Clearly, they were working with very hard water, but it’s not a risk we recommend you take, at all.
For commercial locations, there are tons of filtration options that will address a wide variety of water source needs. If you’re looking at that kind of a setup, then you’ll need to install something a bit more sophisticated and robust that will be able to address the multiple appliances that will require water (such as drip coffee makers, ice machines, water fountains and your espresso machine) in a way that’s easy to manage. But for just straight espresso machine filtration, the Mavea Purity C filters are simple, easy to install and do an excellent job of filtering out what you don’t want in your espresso machine’s boiler.
Watch Gail as she walks us through an overview of how she installed a Mavea filter on our La Marzocco Linea.
Always on the lookout for new gear, we were excited by the prospect of a new entry-level machine being shepherded through development and into production by Bill Crossland, who previously designed the La Marzocco GS/3. Over the past year, we were lucky enough to play with different iterations of this machine, give general feedback on the basic functionality and beta test a final production model in our store for the past couple of months.
You know that we believe there’s a market for every machine, and while those operating in the upper echelons of espresso machine nirvana might find the CC1 a bit utilitarian, we love the fact that it effectively addresses some of the long term issues of machines in the under $1k class — namely, easily maintained temperature stability.
Watch as Bill gives a functional, spec-based overview of the new CC1, which is now available for pre-order.
Our refurbished Sirenas are incredibly popular because they have some great functionality for the price — including automatic, programmable buttons. The key with the two programmable buttons is that you have minimums below which you cannot program them: The single cup cannot produce less than 1.5 oz and the double 3.0 oz. If you try to program them for less than these minimums, the programming will not be saved and it will revert to the default values.
Watch Gail as she walks us through programming our demo Sirena.
Our next round of Krups testing features two espresso machines — one is a pump driven model and the other is steam driven.
We were pleasantly surprised by this little automatic — it has a unique portafilter design, pre-infusion and an automatic cooling cycle between steam and brew. We didn’t like that it has an aluminum boiler, but it’s one of the few automatic/programmable machines under $300. Because of its surprising, unique features and it’s price, we’ll be adding it to our line-up.
This steam machine is pretty standard and was nothing really to write home about. Performs well, makes suitable stovetop-like coffee and has powerful steam. It didn’t offer anything unique over the steam driven machine we already carry (Capresso’s 4-Cup Espresso & Cappuccino machine), so we opted not to carry it.