Tag Archives: Grinders

New! Baratza Esatto & Vario-E

Whilst down at the Specialty Coffee Association of America event in Texas, we were able to catch up with Baratza’s Kyle Anderson and asked him to walk us through two new products they will be releasing this June: The Esatto, which can be retrofit on older Maestro, Maestro Plus, Virtuoso and Preciso models, and the Vario-E grinder. Both feature the unique functionality of offering weight-based grinding.

These were developed with pour over preps in mind, so one drawback is you won’t be able to grind into your portafilter directly — you’ll need to grind into the container and then transfer. Kyle explains why they designed it like this.

Espresso Machine Maintenance with Urnex

Keeping your equipment sparkling clean is just as important as the freshness of your coffee and dialing inĀ  your grind & tamp — in fact, without the former, the latter will be an exercise in futility. If we have to tell you that rancid coffee oils will adversely impact the quality of your shot, we’re sorry. But if we have to be the first, then we might as well do it right, right? So we asked Louie Poore, who specializes in educating professional baristas on proper equipment care for Urnex, to give us the rundown.

First, he introduces us to Urnex’s new Full Circle, sustainably-produced cleaning products — including a toe-to-toe comparison of Cafiza and Full Circle’s coffee equipment wash.

Next, he walks us through using tablets to backflush the La Marzocco GS/3.

Finally, Gail shows us the newly arrived 1, 2, Brew Kit for Espresso Machines, which features the goodies you need to keep your machine in tip-top shape (plus a bag of Velton’s Coffee of your choice!).

Testing: Coffee Ground Attrition & Water Content in Frothed Milk

We had a few viewer requests lately around the weight of things, so we produced two videos covering the following questions: How much coffee is left in the grinder after grinding? How much water is injected into milk when frothing?

In this first video, we weighed out 20 grams of whole beans and then ground them in several different grinders, weighing the grounds afterward to see if any was retained in the grinder.

In the second video, we weighed out 200ml of milk (in most cases — the exception being the stand alone frothers), frothed them to the same temperature on several different machines and then weighed them afterward to see how much water was injected into the frothed milk.

Crew Review: Breville Smart Grinder – Updated

Breville have produced many gorgeous pieces of equipment that seem to favor form a little over function. They have some great features that we really love, but sometimes the overall performance isn’t ideal. However, as with every machine, there are pros and cons and the Smart Grinder has a lot of really great aspects to its design: We love the metal casing, the pull rings, the digital interface and how you dial in the grind. Where it didn’t measure up for us, however, was that it indicates you can use it with a traditional non-pressurized extraction and we were not able to do so successfully — it just doesn’t go fine enough right now.

We contacted Breville about this and they are working on ways to improve it so we are really hopeful that this will be a great multi-purpose grinder in the future. At present, it’s a good choice for drip / press pot and pressurized espresso extraction — but stay tuned on any future improvements coming down the line. For now, watch Gail take us through this grinder’s features and test how it performs.

Update 3/16/11: We were able to meet with Breville and they provided us with shims in order to tweak the burrs on the grinder. Watch Gail install and test here:

Clump Testing on the Rancilio Rocky

To clump or not to clump — that is the question! You know that we shoot from the hip very often around here at Seattle Coffee Gear HQ and the whole subject of clumping seemed to be a little bit mythical. After all, you’re pressing down the grounds with the tamper so why would any clumps beforehand matter?

We wanted to see if we could practically notice a difference between shots pulled with coffee ground directly from the Rocky doserless grinder and shots which were stirred up beforehand. Watch Gail experiment to determine whether or not clumping really is something worth considering.

Crew Review: Bodum Bistro Grinder

You know us: We’re always game to take a grinder out for a test drive. Bodum’s Bistro didn’t catch our eye at first (despite its vibrant hue!) but we decided to give it it’s day in court to see if it would make a good budget option for folks not pulling traditional espresso extractions. Watch Gail as she tests it out and we determine how well it performs. And while we won’t be offering the orange color any time soon, we will be adding the black version to our site soon.