Seattle Coffee Gear | The Grind
Seattle Coffee Gear
January 2012
Recipe: Mocha Fondue
While nothing beats making a smokin' fondue in the Vita-Mix, you can also do this on the stove top (though it's not quite as fun).

Ingredients
  • 12 oz chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 oz brewed Velton's Twilight Blend 
  • 1 cup half & half
  • A selection of dippers: strawberries, pineapple, marshmallows, pretzels - whatever strikes your fancy! 
Directions
  1. Combine chocolate chips, powdered sugar, coffee and cream in the Vita-Mix and begin blending at variable speed 1.
  2. Continue to increase the speed until it's on high and then blend until warm.
  3. Pour out into a serving dish and go to it with your favorite dipping treats!  

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Sure, maybe our Choose Your Own Adventure series isn't populated with pirates or sea monsters, but it is a great primer if you -- or someone you know -- is interested in purchasing a new espresso machine and has no idea where to start.

First thing to consider -- how much work do you want to do? How important is convenience? Does the end shot quality mean more to you than a speedy delivery? From there, it's time to consider whether or not you want a grinder and then what your budget might be.

Selecting an Espresso Machine is the first in our series of interactive guides that will help narrow down the playing field when you're searching for new gear. We're working on one for grinders and one for coffee makers; if you'd like to see this same idea applied to a specific type of equipment, let us know! We really do love suggestions.
 
Ask the Experts
Q. It's difficult for me to get great results when steaming milk. Do you have any tips you can share?

A. There are a few basic tenets to keep in mind when frothing milk, but once you have these down, it's all about practice, practice, practice!

First, you want to start with a really cold pitcher (which is why those stainless steel models are so popular vs. using a glass measuring cup or your mug) and really cold milk. Fill the pitcher to around 1/3 of the overall volume so you have plenty of room to stretch the milk. If you like less foam, you can fill it higher; more foam, and the 1/3 volume is a good baseline.

With a traditional steam wand, you'll stretch the milk by allowing the tip of the wand to rest on the top of the milk, slowly incorporating air with the steam. Once you've created as much foam as you'd like, bury the wand to bring the milk up to temperature.

For 'wet paint', latte art quality foam, the temperature should be around 140F - 150F, otherwise the proteins will start to break down and the texture will suffer.

Watch Gail demonstrate and provide more tips in this video.
Seattle Coffee Gear TV
Featured Products
Our first official foray into creating new products is this upgraded, chrome-plated brass non-pressurized portafilter designed for Saeco and Starbucks machines. Using the original stock baskets that come with the machines and an espresso-grade grinder, you can craft shots that rival those on the legendary Silvia! A bottomless version will follow later this month, too.
One of our favorite grinders has been upgraded! The new Virtuoso now comes stock with the burrs manufactured for the Preciso, resulting in greater consistency in particle size and more room to move on the fine edge of things. This upgrade is definitely an improvement for espresso-lovers, as you'll find the 586 has more flexibility for different preps. 
Really, you cannot get more convenient than this -- a one-touch cappuccino that uses capsules? Minimal cleaning, easy to use, good results. The newly revamped Lattissimas offer improved temperature and end product, so if you're looking for the ultimate in cappuccino convenience, this petite machine is definitely where it's at.  
 
The Grind Special
Did Santa bring you some swanky new coffee gear but forgot to include a grinder? Bad Santa! Well, we're here to correct that oversight by sweetening the deal on a new Baratza Virtuoso - 586 with Preciso Burrs. Pick one up before 1/31/12 and we'll issue you a $30 gift certificate for you to use on a future purchase. To qualify, your order must be placed via this super special secret product.
Offer applies to purchases made between 01/05/2012 and 01/31/2012 and valid only while supplies last. Not valid with any other coupons or discounts. Must be applied at time of order and cannot be redeemed retroactively. Free shipping in the continental US on orders of $49 or more, otherwise shipping fees apply.