Tag Archives: Reviews

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!


Crew Review: Saeco Intelia Focus

Featuring a small footprint, simple to use interface and a cool new approach to the finger guard that actually promotes — instead of hindering — coffee bean feeding, there’s a lot to love about Saeco’s new Intelia Focus superautomatic espresso machine.

Watch as Gail takes us through the ropes, including its features, functionality and an overview of the accessories Saeco includes. Then she demonstrates making a delicious cappuccino!


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.

Crew Review: Cafelat Accessories

You know how deeply we love great design, so it’s no surprise that Cafelat’s series of accessories would woo us! In fact, while we’ve carried these for nearly two years now, they have been so popular it’s been almost impossible for us to film a review of the entire product line because they’ve been picked up so quickly by other ardent fans.

If you haven’t checked them out before, watch Gail walk us through their tampers, knock boxes, tamping mats and more. Who wouldn’t want this beautiful gear as a part of their home espresso setup? No one we want to know. (Okay, we’ll still know you even if you don’t dig ‘em.)

Crew Review: ADE Pocket Scale

Small things are wonderful. In fact, some of our favorite things in the world are tiny in scale and small in stature. Of course, we could be promoting this perspective because we’re goblin sized, but we also have another proof of concept — the tiny but wonderfully useful ADE pocket scale.

Watch as Gail demonstrates the features and functionality of this scale, perfect for measuring out small amounts of coffee for your portafilter basket.


Compare: Rocket R58 vs. Rocket Hx Espresso Machines

For years now, we have had a deep and abiding love for Rocket Espresso‘s heat exchange machines, so when their new dual boiler model, the R58, hit the market, you know that a dance party ensued. But aside from sharing some of the aesthetic principals of its Hx counterparts, how does the R58 compare? And why would you choose one style of machine over the other?

In this video, Gail does us the sweet favor of breaking it all down for us. She talks about functional and feature differences, why you’d want a dual boiler or a heat exchanger and then crafts cappuccinos on both styles of machine to demonstrate how they compare, performance-wise.

Crew Review: Chemex with Glass Handle

Hanging with Gail and Jess is always a blast, but when there’s a Chemex added to the mix, things can get a little wild.

Sure, Jess originally chose it for its looks, but she has kept it around for its high quality performance — a lot like … well, we digress. Her shoot-from-the-hip Chemex brew style has always produced a delicious cuppa, without all the precision some might assume must be involved, so we asked her to come around for a little show.

Watch as she demonstrates her ‘technique’ using the Chemex with a glass handle (as opposed to its Woodneck counterpart).

The Reluctant Barista: Crossland CC1

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Fake it ‘til you make it?’ This is my mantra in a sea of professional coffee quaffers. The words crema, micro foam, portafilter and panarello were not previously in my vocabulary. I enjoy any coffee that I don’t have to make myself. And after such a confession, you can now see why I approached the Crossland CC1 with trepidation.

At first glance the Crossland CC1 had a nice compact size for a serious espresso machine. It was not a countertop hog. I flipped the switch on and watched Gail’s video while the machine warmed up. Miranda walked by and gave me a pro pointer: ‘Pre-heat the portafilter in the group head.’ There are two knobs on the front of the machine which I pushed with hilarious results as 202°F water streamed through the empty portafilter and into the drip tray; I’m glad the drip tray had good capacity. I glanced at the water reservoir level, visible from the front, and there was still plenty of water left to try again.

Next, I unfolded my Seattle Coffee Gear cheat sheet and began with renewed hope that I could pull a decent shot my first time out. The included 58mm portafilter felt heavy in my hand as I used an Ascaso grinder that had been dialed in already. The delicious smell of freshly ground Velton’s Bonsai Blend filled me with anticipation. I tamped the fluffy grinds using an Espro calibrated tamper that Teri had told me about. This is a great beginner tool since I am not familiar with what 30 pounds of pressure feels like.

Now, the Crossland CC1 was ready, and so was I. From the menu, I selected the one-cup option (which is programmable) and positioned my lucky cow cup to catch the espresso. What I observed was that more dripped out one side than the other — a rookie mistake! My dosing and tamping skills needed much more practice. Before anyone noticed, I used the knock box to discard my mucky puck. This was user error, not the fault of the machine or the grind. My crema looked alright and the espresso was tasty, but I would not win a barista competition any time soon.

The Crossland CC1 was ready to go for milk frothing with no delay, thanks to a large boiler and thermoblock combination. If you like milk based drinks like I do, this is important because you don’t have to wait long to steam your milk. I scored a chilled stainless steel frothing pitcher from the SCG break room (a magical place where countless cups of coffee are consumed) and filled it 2/3 of the way full.

The tip of the traditional steam wand was just under the milk when I turned the front button to ‘steam’ and turned the dial on the side of the CC1 to inject the milk with perfectly heated steam. It made my milk much foamier, much quicker than I expected. I was impressed! *Procedural Note: I had previously frothed my milk prior to pulling the shot, just like Gail has advised us to do on a machine like this, but Kaylie stole my milk for her latte. Hence the CC1 steamed two pitchers of milk and pulled a nice shot of espresso without hesitation.

Although I did not brag about my first attempt, or even my second attempt the next morning, the CC1 is a great machine to learn on. It felt solid and there were no delicate parts for me to break. It was forgiving of my lack of skill! Imagine what it could do for someone who actually knows how to pull an espresso shot — the possibilities are endless.