Tag Archives: how-to

Compare: Convenience of Superautos vs. Capsule vs. Pod Espresso Machines

If convenience is king in your household, your espresso machine selection will likely center on superautomatic, capsule or pod-friendly options such as those made by DeLonghi, Jura, Nespresso and Saeco.

But which of these three machine styles produces a better shot? Does it matter? Of course it does! Watch as Gail demonstrates making an Americano on a pod-friendly semi-automatic, a capsule machine and a superautomatic. We compare flavor and discuss the relative convenience and ease of use.

Crew Review: Jura Ena Micro 1 – Gourmet Single Cup Coffee Maker

Brewing one delicious cup of coffee at a time is all the rage today, and Jura’s Ena Micro 1 is their take on the best way to produce a single cup of gourmet java at home.

Watch as Gail talks to us about the Micro 1’s features and functionality, how it differs from other models that Jura produces and then demonstrates a looooooooong coffee, pulled directly into her to-go cup. Awesome and delectable!

 

Brewin’ with Brandi: Spicy Cinnamon Apple Cider

The lovely colors, scents and chill of Autumn are upon us, and what better way to sit back and enjoy them but with a mug of hot apple cider? Brandi crafts a delicious variation using one of our favorite syrups — Spicy Red Cinnamon! Watch her steam it up on the Rocket.

Ingredients

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a steaming pitcher and heat to your preferred temperature using your espresso machine’s steam wand. Pour into a mug and enjoy!

Crew Review: Breville Cleaning & Maintenance Supplies

Given that she had to coerce us into cleaning our bedroom by rather surreptitiously hiding small change in the corners (and encouraging us to ‘find what the fairies left!’), our mother would be quite relieved to know of our passion for cleanliness in adulthood! And while you won’t find nickels and dimes in the brew head or the water tank — at least, you shouldn’t — Breville’s maintenance supplies make it easy and almost as fun to keep your espresso machine clean.

First, watch as Gail shows us how to use their cleaning tablets to clean the brew head of the Breville Dual Boiler.

She then discusses their charcoal/resin filters, shows how to install them and explains why they’re necessary — especially with the Dual Boiler.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Pina Colada Straight UP

We’re not going to serenade you about how we ‘accidentally’ answered your personal ad in the newspaper, lover, but we will make you one of your favorite drinks! Brandi incorporates Monin’s delicious coconut syrup into this straight-up version of one of our favorite swim-up bar offerings on the planet.

Ingredients

Directions

In a shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients and shake well to combine. Strain into a martini glass and sip while reminiscing about sunnier days.

Cooking with Kaylie: Caramel Apple Muffins

With autumn slowly creeping up on us, we’ve been a bit sluggish around the office. In my mind, there is really only one option to cure us of our fall funk: Eat as many seasonal foods as possible and stay in a food coma until spring rolls around again!

So, the first stop on our way to winter hibernation is the iconic caramel apple…in muffin form!Caramel Apple Muffin

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apples
  • Monin Caramel Sauce

Directions

  • Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together.
  • Beat together butter butter, white sugar, brown sugar and eggs until smooth.
  • Mix in vanilla.
  • Stir in apples, then stir in the flour mixture.
  • Divide mixture between a greased, or lined, 12-cup muffin pan and bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Drizzle with caramel syrup immediately before serving.

The greatest thing about this recipe? It’s technically a muffin, so you can guiltlessly eat them for breakfast!

Brew Tip: Steaming on the Saeco Odea Giro sans Panarello

Added to the majority of smaller single boiler semi-automatic and superautomatic espresso machines on the market, a panarello has the benefit of incorporating both air and steam into the milk during the frothing process, enabling even the most green home barista to produce a nice, frothy milk for lattes and cappuccinos. And while it’s true that it does enhance a machine’s frothing functionality — especially when you’re working with a smaller boiler or a thermoblock — the ability to control the end product is very limited: If you’re not looking to produce a dry cappuccino, the foam can sometimes be a bit too, well, frothy.

For those that want to employ some actual stretching-the-milk skill to their drink creation on the Odea Giro, we thought we’d experiment with removing the panarello to see how well it works out. Sometimes, wands without the panarello end up being too short and, therefore, make the process even more difficult.

Watch as Gail demonstrates this simple mod and shows how well it performs in this demonstration video.

Brewin’ with Brandi: Cafe Banana Split

Looking for a super simple sweet treat? This lovely recipe features a shot of espresso, a little sugar, a little cool frothed milk and some fun! Watch Brandi whip it up using Nespresso’s Gran Maestria capsule espresso machine and included Aero4 automatic frother.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Shot of espresso
  • Milk – cold or hot frothed
  • Tea biscuit
  • Banana, diced
  • Monin Caramel Sauce

Directions

Place brown sugar in the bottom of a demitasse. Add espresso and then pour frothed milk on top, leaving a bit of room at the top. Float the tea biscuit and diced banana on top of the milk, then drizzle with caramel sauce.

Selecting a Commercial-Grade Espresso Machine

You wake up one morning and think, I want to open up my own cafe! Or perhaps you’re already running a small business and you want to add espresso as a complementary service. Or you’re the operations manager at your company and you think espresso in the break room would be an awesome idea. But how do you choose from the plethora of machines available? Do you need a one group, two group — four group?! — machine? What do the terms ‘semi-automatic’, ‘automatic’ and ‘volumetric’ mean in terms of actual functionality and your business’ workflow?

In this overview, Gail walks us through a few things you should consider as you’re researching commercial espresso machines. She discusses how to plan for your busiest times, your budget, your workflow needs and — of course! — grinders! If you’re just getting started and don’t know where to start, this video primer is the place for you.