In our quest to expand our available coffee presses to the best we can find, we ran across an insulated coffee maker by Frieling and their French Press timer. We love the design of the Frieling version — simple, elegant with a smooth handle design that is attached only at the top of the carafe. We think it looks modern and classic at the same time (is that possible? Sure!) and will add a touch of sleekness to your coffee gear.
Their Cilio timer has either a clip or magnet so you can attach it to your press and then set the clock — no more wondering how long that java has been steeping! This is a great, worry-free way to ensure consistent coffee press extractions.
We’ve tested ‘em and are awaiting inventory, so if you’re interested in picking them up as soon as they are in stock, you can sign up to receive an email on their respective product pages.
Last week, we brewed up a deliciously smooth cup of coffee using the Sowden Soft Brew — and loved it so much that we knew we had to carry it! Featuring a unique microfilter, this coffee brewer can use almost any coarseness of coffee grind so that you can brew very different cups of coffee with the same maker. It would also make a great tea brewer, as well, and can be used for both hot and cold extractions.
We just added it to our site and will be receiving inventory shortly, but you can sign up to get an email when it comes into stock if you want to jump on it all quick like. We’ll also be performing more testing with it — how different grinds taste, cold vs. hot extractions, etc. — so watch for more updates as we play around with this saucy new little gadget.
Roughly 80% of the machines that come into our repair center are having issues due to lack of regular maintenance, but keeping your machine tip-top also means your coffee will taste better as well. We know this and we hope you know this, but who really knows this (from a biased, albeit rather caring perspective) is coffee gear cleaning company Urnex, who manufacturers some of the best loved cleaning solutions on the market.
To promote their love of sparkly clean machines — and also make it easy for you to know exactly what to do to keep your machine in excellent shape — they have introduced the 1, 2, Brew Kit for Drip Coffee Makers that features the following accoutrement:
- Dezcal Espresso Machine Descaler
- Cleancaf Cleaning Detergent
- One Sample Pack of Grindz Burr Grinder Cleaner
- 1lb bag of Velton’s Coffee Beans — your choice of Treehouse, Twilight or Decaf blends
- Coffee Scoop with bag clip
We’re including this kit with our drip coffee makers now as a free item, but it’s also available for individual sale — great for yourself or a gift for someone else. And while this is specifically designed for drip coffee makers, we are working with them to develop one for espresso machines that will be released early next year…so stay tuned.
The inner workings of competitive businesses — especially those that have had closely intertwined histories, management and ownership like Bodum and La Cafetiere — often result in limiting consumer access to specific products. This isn’t because the products themselves aren’t great, functional, reliable or well-built; it’s often because of exclusivity agreements or international patent laws that prohibit selling an item in a particular country. Last year, the dust finally settled on the long-term, semi-acrimonious international tete-a-tete between Bodum USA and La Cafetiere’s parent company, and the latter is finally able to sell their wares in the U.S.
There’s a reason that the word ‘cafetiere’ is synonymous in Europe with what we Americans call a French press — it was the original inspiration for all presses to come, developed by a French clarinet factory. The presses that La Cafetiere produces are both classic and gorgeous — from the simple glass-and-stainless-steel-frame model to the sleek stainless steel thermal version — and are available in a variety of sizes, from 3 to 12 cups. We are also offering their Tea Swizzle (which we now refer to simply as the ‘Twizzle’, of course!) and will be adding more products in the future.
Do you find yourself slowly backing away from your drip coffee maker or espresso machine because of all the hullabaloo about BPA (Biosphenol A) in plastics? As you have no doubt heard by now, there have been a wide range of reports regarding BPA — an organic compound found in polycarbonate plastics — examining how safe it is to have in containers from which we eat, drink, etc.
A chemical that’s been historically used to make a variety of items (from children’s toys to food containers to water bottles to coffee makers), researchers have recently found that BPA emits toxins over time — especially when it’s heated. The long term affects of such leaching can cause health problems like cancer, reproductive abnormalities and neurological problems, just to name a (very nasty) few.
But don’t fret! Many coffee equipment manufacturers, such as Technivorm, Aeropress and Hourglass, have made a point to notify their customers or state on their products that they are BPA-free or that they’ve decided to switch to a safer alternative. As for Rancilio, Rocket, Delonghi, Saeco and Jura, we’ve searched high and low for some BPA-free facts, but have only received a verbal guarantee that they are BPA-free and FDA approved.
Here are a few tips on how you can make sure your java gear is safe and free of any dangerous toxins you don’t want floating around in your cup o’ joe:
- Hard, Clear & Unbreakable: Plastics that are hard and clear are usually made from polycarbonate. Unless the manufacturer states that it is BPA-free, it’s the BPA chemical additive that makes plastics clear instead of cloudy or opaque. Check on the manufacturing packaging for an explicit statement, otherwise skip it.
- Too Hot to Handle: Heat accelerates the possibility of BPA leaching into beverages stored in plastics. Make sure your to go cups are stainless steel where your coffee touches it.
- Unlucky #7: Take a look at your plastics and find the triangle stamp on or near the bottom of your product. Products consisting of polycarbonate should have the number 7 or sometimes the letters PC.
However, not all plastics with the number 7 mean they contain BPA. The number 7 can also mean that that certain plastic is in the ‘other’ category. These plastics are usually soft and pliable, and are not made with BPA. Because some of their products contain components with the number 7 on them, Technivorm has tried to clarify this, also specifically listing which materials are utilized in those products:
Although judged safe by most testing agencies and reports, a few misleading negative studies have identified plastics marked with recycling no. 7 as unsafe. Some — but not all — plastics with the recycling no. 7 are polycarbonate. — Technivorm
While a few of their components are a mixture of polycarbonate, they do meet FDA requirements. Technivorm hopes to get closer to being a totally BPA-free manufacturer by getting rid of the use of any polycarbonate in their current and future products.
But if you’re still worried about BPA in your coffee maker, just know that most coffee maker brew baskets are made of ABS plastic and polypropylene for their water tanks — both of which are BPA-free plastics.
Gift hunting season is on! For those with caffeinated accoutrement in their sights — but who are not quite sure about their target — we’ve created a series of introductory Buyer’s Guides to give you some ideas.
Check ‘em out:
- Back to School Coffee Fix for Students: Next semester is going to be even better than the last! Right? Right. Make it so with these java preps which require very little equipment and can easily produce excellent coffee from the convenience of cramped quarters — like dorm rooms.
- Give your Student the Gift of Espresso: It will increase their focus and concentration. They will get a 4.0. There won’t be a grad school that won’t accept them. They’ll go on to be extremely successful in their field. They’ll build you a little retirement cottage on a river somewhere. You will both thank that little espresso machine for years to come. Live the dream.
- First Time Espresso Makers: 2011 is your time to shine. We’ve selected some excellent introductory espresso machines that will have you — and/or the lucky beneficiary — making your favorite espresso drinks at home with ease.
- Picking a Grinder for your Cup o’ Joe: If you know anything about us, you know we’re serious about picking a good grinder. There are several out there that work for a specific purpose or budget, and this guide is a great primer.
- Gadgets for the Espresso Enthusiast: Is buying coffee gear for someone in your life kind of like trying to buy Richard Branson something he doesn’t already have? Here are some options for items they may not have in their setup — although we make no promises here.
We have expanded our Bodum collection considerably over the past few months, so thought it was time to notify the rumpled masses (AKA you!). New additions to the line include new Canteen double wall ceramic cups, Presso double wall glass cups, gorgeous Piccolo Veneziano glass cups with stainless steel saucers, all stainless steel travel press (for coffee or tea) and traditional french press, a stovetop espresso maker and thermal carafes.
These beautiful and functional new pieces are great gift ideas this holiday season — we especially love the Piccolo glasses and the stainless steel travel press.
We’ll never know how Marilyn Monroe’s figure would have held up over time, but that’s not the kind of Hourglass we’re talking about here, baby! We’re talking about the cold coffee brewing system that creates a smooth concentrate that you can use to make hot or cold coffee for up to two weeks afterward.
Or so they say! But can you, really? These are the big questions that only the crew at Seattle Coffee Gear are prepared to take on. We had Gail brew up a batch of the Hourglass coffee; she then tested it the next day for a baseline flavor assessment and then we followed it up 1 week and 2 weeks later to see how the flavor stood up.
Watch Gail as she takes one for science!
Where do espresso machines and coffee makers go to die? Not in the landfill, if we can help it! At Seattle Coffee Gear, we launched a recycling program last year in an effort to keep as many fully assembled machines from landing in the trash. Many of these are pretty complex — they have circuit boards, electrical wiring and miscellaneous metals that are best kept out of our ground water supply.
Our partner in this venture is Uesugi USA, a Japanese company that (as luck would have it) have a US presence here in the Seattle-area. We pulled Henry into the mix and headed out to their facility to talk about what they do and see how they take these machines apart, break them down to their components and funnel them back into the commodity supply chain as cleanly as possible.