March 21, 2008

Starbucks Sirena Espresso Machine

StarbuckssirenaBrewer.jpg

The Starbucks Sirena hit the streets late last year, and is now making its way to retail outlets as the price on this well designed machine settle in. The machine is definitely a beautiful one, designed in part by BMW Design Works engineers, to make a prominent statement on anyone's countertop.

It's got some decent stats too:

  • 15-bar pump-driven espresso machine with stainless steel broiler
  • Dual brewing spout; one-touch pre-measured single and double shots and user-programmable settings
  • Steam wand with pannarello adapter; Rapid Steam boiler for rapidly switching from brewing to frothing
  • Accommodates E.S.E. pods and ground espresso, 57.5-ounce /1.7 liter removable water tank, adjustable and removable drip tray


    More at Amazon: Starbucks Sirena

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  • March 14, 2008

    Breville BES820 - Gets Design Award

    Breville800ESXLEspressoMachine.jpg

    Breville's BES820 espresso machine received the iF Gold Award recently, and it's no surprise; good looking machine. The heavy stainless unit and its sister unit the BES 800 ESXL have some impressive specs - 1500 watts and 15 bars of pumping pressure. The unit brews both ESE pods and freshly ground espresso from this 31 pound machine. The 75-ounce reservoir should last you quite a while.

    The unit comes with adaptors for single shot, double shot and an ESE pod adaptor as well as a tamping tool/measuring spoon, a cleaning tool, and a stainless-steel frothing pitcher. The espresso machine measures 12 by 10 by 12-1/2 inches and carries a one-year warranty.

    At Amazon - Breville BES 800 ESXL

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    March 7, 2008

    Jura Capresso Impressa J5 Super Automatic Coffee Center

    JuraCapressoJ5.jpg

    Capresso has released their new Impressa J5 model, and it looks excellent. The high end coffee center is a touch of the button easy cup of coffee ranging from an espresso to lattes and even americanos. As a super automatic coffee center, it grinds, tamps, and brews right in front of you. The Impressa J5 looks great, and they have designed it so that it looks great from every angle so that it can sit out on a kitchen island and look just as good from the side as it does from the front.

    This is not slouch of a machine either; it's got a 9-ounce while bean hopper, and a 71 ounce water reservoir, which also contains a water filter to make sure the water is pure going into the boiler and brew chamber. There are 6 grinder settings, and quite possibly the best feature of all; it's the quietest super auto on the market. No need to stop talking while this grinds away.

    The controls offer a lot of customization as well as ease of use. There are six one-touch beverage buttons (one espresso, two espresso, one coffee, two coffees, hot water, steam) that are already pre-programmed but can be customized too if you want to adapt the brew profile. This would allow you to change the brew strengths (coffee drop weight), and the water amounts, as well as the temperatures of the brew. Another great capability is that you can override the settings with the dial on the top of the machine without affecting the pre-sets at all.

    One of the things I like about these super autos is the by-pass doser that allows you to drop a scoop of pre-ground coffee into the top of the unit so that you can brew something other than the whole beans that are in the whole bean hopper; great for decaf.

    The two-step infusion process and 18 bar pump sets you up for excellent espresso, while the frother allows you to crank out great lattes and cappuccinos. The unit can accommodate manual milk steaming r can be hooked up to the Froth XPress to automatically draw steamed milk into your cup. I find that steaming the milk in the coffee cup and then dropping a shot into the cup after that makes for a great latte, without the need to clean up the extra frothing pitcher.

    The auto-on and auto-off timer makes sure that the Imprezza J5 is ready when you wake up and shuts off when you head out.


    At Amazon - Jura Capresso J5 Coffee Center


    More at Jura Capresso - Jura Capresso J5 Product Page

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    March 5, 2008

    Nespresso Essenza C100TB + Milk Frother - $229

    NespressoBundle.jpg

    I really like having a small and compact espresso maker on my counter that is fast and reliable. The Nespresso system is really one of my favorites, making excellent espresso shots consistently when time is a premium. This deal gets you the add-on milk frother that can help out those folks who want Cappuccinos and the benefit of having a small Nespresso maker on their countertop.

    The Frother allows you to plug it in, and in about 3 minutes you have hot frothed milk.

    After I reviewed the Nespresso Essenza C100, I liked it so much, I bought one, and have been ripping through capsules ever since (it's not my only espresso maker as you would imagine). You buy the capsules at Nespresso.com where they ship them out fast and I always get them within 2 days. There is enough variety to keep me coming back and exploring, and the seasonal capsules are great too.

    The bundle with the $48 frother costs the same as the Nespresso C100 alone right now. Not a bad deal at all.

    Update: The C100 bundle has sold out but the Nespresso Essenza D90 and Milk Frother Bundle is available. Wow - that was fast.

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    January 29, 2008

    First Impressions on the Handpresso - Still Cool


    After an admittedly quick week, we've got to say that the Handpresso is still pretty cool. I cranked out a little more than a dozen shots this week and after a very short learning curve, I have to say that I like the espresso maker for a bunch of reasons. The unit is solid, I mean better built than my bike pumps. It is certainly precision made and I would expect it to last with proper care. Along the way I learned a few things that I think I'll share:

    1) Pre-heat the Handpresso - If you can, add hot water to the reservoir to pre-heat, then dump it after about 10-20 seconds and add fresh hot water. Without a boiler upstream of the brewing, like an electric home brewer, you can get a cool espresso shot pretty quickly.

    2) Pre-heat the cup - same reasoning here, I like hotter shots. The fact that things are chilly up here near Boston in the wintertime probably doesn't help.

    3) Hold the end of the Handpresso with your "static" hand while pumping, not the stock (like they tell you in the instructions). I say this because it's easy to pinch yourself when pumping the handle.

    4) It only takes about 25 - 30 pumps to get the full 16 bar on the pressure gauge. May seem like a lot but it goes fast.

    Overall, I love the fact that I can take this with me. While I got a few weird looks at work, I loved having a fresh shot of my own espresso whenever I wanted.

    handpressoPreheat.jpg

    1. Pump the Handpresso up to 16 Bar, then pre-heat with hot water.



    HandpressoPour.jpg

    2. Let it rip with 16 bars of pressure.



    Handpressoshot.jpg

    3. You even get a little foam/crema.

    I have found that the crema is more like a bit of foam to top the shot and that shorter shots are better shots, as the unit doesn't hold the 16 bar of pressure through the whole brewing process; it goes down as the compressed air runs out. I found that a shot slightly on the short side was best, and pretty darn flavorful. The differences between a home brewed shot and the Handpresso wasn't as huge as I originally was thinking, and is very passable for a decent pick-me-up where ever you want.

    See our Un-Boxing Post of the Handpresso.

    For more information see the Handpresso Website

    At Amazon - The Handpresso Wild
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    January 22, 2008

    Crap-Tastic Espresso Maker


    KalorikEspressoMaker.jpg

    Single Serve Espresso reader Adam sent this one in.... and we think that this could possibly be the most Crap-tastic espresso maker around. I'll admit that I haven't used it, but considering the $25 price, the fact that it's not a pump-driven machine, and the fact that you can get it at Wally's, which is not exactly the purveyor of the finest espresso machines, I'm pretty much guessing it's a dud. If I am wrong, let me know. For that price, I'd rather have a Moka Pot; they may be inexpensive but don’t be shy about using one of these.

    At WalMart - The Kalorik Espresso Maker

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    January 20, 2008

    Unboxing Handpresso - The Coolest Espresso Gadget

    Well, we are fortunate enough to have a Handpresso Wild in for review and I thought I would offer a few pictures of the coolest little espresso gadget I have ever seen. The Handpresso is a hand-pump espresso maker that allows you to pump up the handle to 16 bar, add hot water and an ESE Espresso pod to the brewing chamber flip the switch and go. The result is a freshly brewed authentic tasting espresso wherever you can access hot water.



    Handpresso_WildBox.jpg The Handpresso in its box.

    Handpresso_Four_EasySteps.jpg

    Four Easy Steps: 1) Pump the handle to get 16 bar, 2) Add Hot Water, 3) Add an ESE Pod, 4) Press the brew button to get your Espresso.

    The unit comes well packed and secure from the maker in France. "Well Packed" in an understatement. I mean Apple could learn a thing or two from Handpresso. The Handpresso comes packed in a box that I would say is more like a presentation quality box that a fine Cognac would come in.

    Handpresso_InnerCase.jpg

    The Handpresso in a nice inner case. Slide the overbox off to find a textured, inner, heavy weight case.

    Handpresso_Slideout.jpg

    Slide open the inner case that slides open to reveal its contents the foam packing.

    Handpresso_packing.jpg

    Pull away the instruction manuals and the foam packing to see the Handpresso seated safely in its cocoon.

    Handpresso_Brewingchamber_O.jpg

    The water chamber unscrews where you insert the ESE pod and pour in the hot water.

    Handpresso_Top_Side.jpg

    On the top side you have 1) The water reservoir that holds 50mls, 2) The pressure gauge 16 bar (over 200PSI), and 3) The release or brew button.


    Hanpresso_Pump_Extended.jpg
    With the pump handle extended; the Handpresso is only a little more than a foot long.


    Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be brining the Handpresso along to a few places so that we bring espresso convenience to the masses. The first stop is going to be work, where the office coffee will be replaced with a nice shot of espresso every now and then.

    At Amazon - The Handpresso Wild

    More at the Handpresso website.


    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (13) | social bookmarking

    January 12, 2008

    First Impressions: Cuisinart EM-200 Espresso Machine


    CuisinartEM200.jpg

    We've been cranking out shots of espresso for a while now and enjoying the Cuisinart EM200 Programmable Espresso Machine and I am impressed. What I like is that they have a pre-infusion set in the program so that the grounds get wetted, there's a brief pause and then the true pumping begins. I was blowing through some fresh Major Dickenson's from Peet's and it was giving me some incredible espresso and crema. The picture below shows off some of the crema that pours out of the machine. With all of this brewing I think I have only gone through a few reservoirs full of water - it's HUGE (69 ounces).

    Also the Cuisinart EM-200 has two programmable buttons for pulling a single or a double shot. For me the single was a little tall, so I shortened it a bit down to about an ounce of espresso. Now I get my shot at the push of a button after I get all of the portafilter set. Nice convenience in the morning. I know, it only save about 30 seconds of your time standing there waiting to "shut off" the machine if you were using the manual button, but it's great.

    So far so good; programmable push button simplicity, pre-infusion, great crema being driven by a huge reservoir.



    CuisinartEM200Pour.jpg


    Product Features of the Cuisinart EM-200

    15 bars of pressure

    69-ounce removable reservoir

    Pre-programmed cup size set at 1.5 ounces and 3.0 ounces – with the option to select the serving size you desire


    Brews one or two cups – ground espresso or pods


    Professional stainless steel housing with embossed Cuisinart® logo


    Steam button is a separate function for easy use


    Stainless steel steam nozzle for cappuccino and latte


    Portafilter holder with locking mechanism that makes it easy to dispose of wet grounds after use


    Removable drip tray and cover for easy cleanup


    Warming tray on top


    Tamping tool with measuring spoon and stainless frothing cup included

    Limited 3-year warranty

    Also see our Unboxing of the Cuisinart EM-200 Espresso Machine

    At Cooking.com - Cuisinart EM200 Programmable Espresso Machine

    At Amazon - Cuisinart EM200 Programmable Espresso Machine

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

    January 10, 2008

    Handpresso - Coolest Espresso Maker?

    Well, fresh off the SingleServeCoffee.com forums, comes this story, the Handpresso a portable espresso maker. Tired of lame coffee away from home? This portable espresso maker gives you 16 bar in your back pocket for a quick and easy shot of espresso. Of course you need hot water out on the trail, so bring the thermos or another heat source.

    I already wrote the company, to see if they are available in the US. The price isn't cheap as 99 Euros is around $140 each.

    Here's the video

    More at the Handpresso website

    At Amazon - The Handpresso Wild
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    January 9, 2008

    Ultimate Single Serve Machine?

    Have you seen one of these around your favorite Espresso cafes? If you are hanging around some of the best coffee shops around the country, like Intelligentsia or Stumptown, then you might have seen one of these Clover machines in the corner as a way to sample some of the best brewed coffees in their shop. Let's face it filter coffee hanging around in a big urn can be bad stuff. Well this wonder of engineering is a commercial grade machine that is ready to go with a tweak-eriffic number of settings to dial in the perfect brew. The unit also based around a 4500 watt boiler that can run on 240 volt service! This thing is serious business.

    The idea is that an espresso cafe can set these up to run fresh grounds through whenever a customer orders up a coffee, much like how the espresso machine runs. I recently had the pleasure of having a Cup of Excellence coffee at Gimme! Coffee in Ithaca NY, where it really was a great experience to have it in a french press. With such a high quality coffee at these shops, you want to have a fresh cup.

    Via

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

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