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  • Posted on June 14, 2013 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    The Bonavita BV1800 and BV1800TH coffee makers have quickly become one of the go-to favorites for people who want to bring the most out of their morning coffee. Not only is it easy to operate, but it brews within the Specialty Coffee Association of America's brewing guidelines for time and temperature. The Bonavita Thermal and Glass Carafe coffee makers have earned a place on even the most finicky coffee drinker's counter.

    This post was posted in Review, Accessory Review, News and was tagged with Bonavita, Bonavita BV1800TH, Bonavita Coffee Maker, Coffee Maker, Video, Coffee Maker Review, Bonavita Review

  • Cold Brew Coffee | Video Tutorial

    Posted on April 22, 2013 by adminkeith


    Cold brew coffee has been around for many years and has had a loyal following of believers who have preached the goodness of this alternative brew method.  Toddy was the first to introduce a practical cold brew coffee maker for home use.  In fact, many people refer to cold brewed coffee as a "Toddy", regardless of the brewer used to make it.


    Surf the internet and you will find a plethora of information about cold brewing coffee, one of the more infamous is using old nylon stockings as a thanks!


    One of our favorite methods for brewing cold brew is also one of the easiest.  The Sowden Softbrew coffee maker, a fine porcelain brewer / carafe with a micro-etched stainless steel filter, simply fill the filter with your ground coffee, add water, steep at room temp for 12-18 hours, remove filter and enjoy!  Cleanup is as simple as dumping your grounds and placing everything in your dishwasher.

    This post was posted in Review, Coffee Education and was tagged with Cold Brew, Sowden, Sowden Softbrew, Cold Brew Coffee Tutoria., Video, DIY Coldbrew, Toddy

  • Baratza Vario Metal Burr Upgrade | Tutorial Video

    Posted on December 6, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    One of our favorite all-around coffee grinders, the Baratza Vario, is becoming very popular for both home users as an espresso grinder and coffee bars that use it as a pour-over grinder. (We use the Vario in our Lab as our cupping grinder). Compared to other grinders on the market the stock ceramic Mahlkönig burrs in the Vario (and Vario-W) hold there own in the medium-coarse grind settings and will satisfy most users. For those more finicky, Baratza has released a steel burr set designed to minimize the smaller fine particles that are produced during the grinding process. The below video tutorial shows how to install the new steel burrs.



    A few things to note.  The steel burrs are not for espresso use.  If you swap to the steel burrs, you are going to limit your grinder to medium/fine to coarse grind settings.

    Baratza made a burr removal tool that makes the change out really easy.  These burrs can be removed without it, but can be quite difficult.

    Product Links:

    Baratza Vario-W Weight Based Grinder

    Baratza Vario Timed Grinder


    This post was posted in Review, News, Coffee Education and was tagged with Coffee Grinders, Baratza Vario, Baratza Vario-W, Baratza Burr Upgrade, Vario Steel Burr Upgrade, Baratza Burr Replacement Tutorial, Pour-Over Grinder

  • The Large Espro Press | Venia Pays a Visit to Vancouver, BC

    Posted on June 18, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    A few weeks back I had the opportunity to head north on I-5 to visit our wonderful neighbors across the border in Vancouver, BC. Vancouver is the home to the creators of one of the most coveted coffee makers in the Venia lab, the Espro Press.


     US Canada Border Marker

    Border marker at Peace Arch Park. Heading North to visit Espro in Vancouver, BC


    If you are not familiar with Espro yet, they have brought several innovative products to the specialty coffee market in the past few years.  The first Espro product to make waves was the Espro Calibrated Tamper, an idea birthed to standardize one of the major variables in making espresso.  Designed to click when 30lbs of force is applied while tamping, this one product simply and easily improved the pull-to-pull consistency of even the best baristas on the bar.


    Espro Calibrated Tamper, Vancouver BC.

    The calibrated tamper was soon followed by the Toroid frothing pitchers designed to facilitate better milk circulation while frothing and texturing milk. Their next major project was to improve upon one of the most tried and true coffee brewing devices available, the french press.  But how does how do you improve on a classic?


    One of the joys of brewing with a french press compared to a method with a paper filter is all the wonderful aromatic oils that make it into the cup.  Nearly miniscule in volume, these oils can bring subtleties and nuances to a good coffee and make it great.  However, french press coffee brewers allow a large amount of "fines" into the cup as well, often leaving a little mud on the bottom of the drinkers mug.  Espro found a way to Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Review, News, Coffee Education and was tagged with Espro, Espro Press, French Press, Large Espro Press, Press Pot

  • New Coffee & Espresso Gear | SCAA Event Portland 2012 | Steampunk, Hey Cafe, Slayer Espresso

    Posted on May 7, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Alpha Dominche Steampunk Coffee Brewer

    I didn't get to spend nearly as much time as I wanted on the exhibition show floor this year and admittedly missed perhaps the one machine I wanted to see the most, the Alpha Dominche Steampunk Coffee Brewer (I saw it sitting idle, however, just not in use).  I didn't even get to snap a photo of the Steampunk, so I am using the press release image below:

    Alpha Dominche Steampunk Coffee Brewer

    Immediately visible are the four brewing chambers, called crucibles, that are clearly designed to give a visual coffee brewing performance to the customer.  These brewing chambers are a combination of both a french-press and coffee siphon. Brewing parameters such as time, water temp, agitation, and steam aeration are programmable, and each program and can be recalled on any crucible. Contained within the beautifully designed body is a whopping 20 liter boiler.

    The Steampunk is designed to to automate what is important in the brew cycle while at the same time leaving as much of the process as possible in the hands of the skilled barista to bring out the beauty of each coffee.

    Last year a similar machine hit the market to much fanfare and applause, the Bunn Trifecta.  The Trifecta, while lacking the design and visual appeal of the Steampunk (but quite capable of brewing a knockout cup of coffee), has been slow in gaining traction into cafes.   The Steampunk's ability to brew in 4 crucibles at any given time might earn the it a steadfast position on your local coffee bar's counter. posted this discussion with Khristian Bombeck of Alpha Dominche from the SCAA Portland show floor.



    Word on the street is that the Steampunk will appear in Seattle and Portland cafes later this Summer.


    Hey Cafe Coffee Grinders

    Hey Cafe has been producing a coffee grinder, the HC-600, which seems un-ashamedly a Mazzer Super Jolly knock-off.  While in the Hey Cafe booth, the representative seemed to proudly make note of this.  While until the past few years most coffee grinders have been very close in design from a functional standpoint (and most patents have surely expired), the HC-600 treads dangerously close to the intellectual line.

    I was, however, pleased to see Hey Cafe's diversion from the knock-off market and their experimention with new grinder designs.  Most notably is the grind adjustment design on the new Titan Dispensing Grinder (not pleased on the aesthetics, however)

    Most grinders on the market adjust grind size by moving a stationary upper burr up and down by means of a rotating threaded collar.  The new approach here is to keep the upper burr fixed and use an adjustable bearing to raise and lower the motor shaft, thus changing grind adjustment (note the grind adjustment knob on the lower left of the body in the above pick, as apposed to the usual rotating collar design).


    Above is a photo of the motor, note the adjustment knob on the bottom (black knob on black background, sorry for the poor photo).

    Hey Cafe is also building a new home grinder that may hold some promise.  It looks to be a belt driven unit that dosing is controlled by digital key pad.  We will see if this hits the US market in the next year and if it is a worthy product for our lineup.

    The unit is still in the design & prototype phase and only the on/off function was currently programmed.  Here, the design is a bit nicer than some of their other products, but hope the production model is a bit more refined.


    Slayer Espresso

    While not new to the market, this was my first hands on experience with the Slayer Espresso Machine.  Let me say I was not in any way disappointed.

    Two Group Slayer Espresso Machine

    Speak about innovation in a market that seems to be filled with a race to re-create what the other guy is doing.  While the paddle handles may seem similar to a Synesso or La Marzocco MP Strada, the comparison ends there.  Instead of pursuing the pressure profiling market, the Slayer maintains constant pressure throughout the espresso Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Uncategorized, Review, Espresso Machine Review, Accessory Review, News and was tagged with New Product, #SCAA2012, Slayer Espress, Steampunk, Alpha Dominche, Hey Cafe, First Look

  • New Coffee & Espresso Gear | SCAA Event Portland 2012 | Crossland Pourover

    Posted on April 27, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith


    Last year at SCAA Houston, I had the opportunity to see an early version of the Crossland Pourover Brewer (I actually don't know the name, or even if it yet has a name...).  The designer and engineer of this the device is none other than Bill Crossland, the Seattle based coffee visionary who played a major role in designing the ESI / La Marzocco GS/3, and now the Crossland CC1 Espresso Machine.  He brought a couple examples of the next iteration his automated pourover brewer to this year's SCAA show in Portland.

    Bill Crossland Pourover Brewer

    Manual pourover brewing is more and more becoming the preferred method of brewing single origin coffees in quality focused specialty coffee bars around the world, and for good reason; the individual attention given to each coffee can  bring focus to an artfully roasted bean and transform it into a surreal sensory experience.  Some of the most memorable cups of coffee I have had the joy of drinking were done using a pourover technique and a Chemex brewer.

    Some major problems with this approach are the cost of the labor involved to brew a few cups at a time, and the tired barista who looses focus at the end of a long busy day at the bar.  Enter Bill Crossland's vision for an automated pour-over Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Review, Accessory Review, News and was tagged with New Product, SCAA PORTLAND, #SCAA2012, Crossland Brewer, Crossland CC1, Bill Crossland

  • New Coffee & Espresso Gear | SCAA Event Portland 2012 | Unic Viper

    Posted on April 24, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith


    Stopped by the UNIC booth at SCAA Event Portland 2012 to check out the newest machine to be released into the pressure profiling market, the Stella di Caffé Viper.  As with the other Stella di Caffé models I have seen, they remind me of a Juke Box in a Route 66 soda shop.  Their computer/operating system offers intelligent boiler temperature management and a workflow similar to a smartphone.  But what sets the VIPER apart are the large handles on the top of the machine, reminiscent of a hot-rodded old La Pavoni lever.



    First Look:

    The Unic Viper uses air (which is compressible) in a chamber above the brew group and the handle to to control brew pressure.  Pulling the handle forward (to mid position) opens a valve and activates the pump.  Water flows into the brew-group compressing the air.  Pulling the handle all the way forward closes the valve and pressure slowly falls as water is forced through coffee in the portafilter.  The barista Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Review, Espresso Machine Review, News and was tagged with New Product, UNIC, Unic Viper, SCAA PORTLAND, #SCAA2012, Stella di Caffé, Pressure Profiling

  • Coffee Fest New York Latte Art Champ Kim Yeung Video

    Posted on March 23, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    We just wanted to give a shout out to Coffee Fest New York Latte Art Champion Kim Yeung for some of the greatest pours we have seen.  We just found this video of him showing off some of his pours.  Not only is it fun to watch, but it is inspiring for anyone wanting to up their game.



    Notice how wet his micro-foam is, this allows for a him continue building his work from the beginning of the pour to the end.  Wet foam can be challenging to work with later in the pour and Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Review, Accessory Review, Random Thought, News and was tagged with Milk Frothing, Latte Art, Coffee Fest, Latte Cups

  • Quick Mill Silvano Steam Capacity

    Posted on March 20, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    We have taken quite a few questions about the steaming capability of the Quick Mill Silvano.  The Silvano uses a Thermoblock to produce steam as apposed to a dual purpose boiler (like the Rancilio Silvia) or a dedicated steam boiler (like the Izzo Alex Duetto or Vibiemme Double Domobar).  The below video demonstrates the continuous steam capability of the thermoblock.

    An espresso machine like the Silvano that is equipped with a thermoblock is able to immediately switch between brewing espresso to steaming milk.  A thermoblock also uses less energy than a dedicated steam boiler as steam is made on demand (as opposed to continually keeping a steam boiler hot, even when not in use and the machine is powered on). Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Review, Espresso Machine Review and was tagged with Quickmill, Silvia, Quick Mill, Silvano, Thermoblock, Thermoblock Espresso Machine, Milk Frothing, Steaming Milk

  • Mazzer Grinders Burr Comparison

    Posted on March 13, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    We have fielded lots of questions about the difference between the many different Mazzer coffee and espresso grinders we offer.  The Mazzer grinder line can roughly be divided into two different groups based on the style of burr sets used: Flat and Conical.

    The goal for a good extraction (espresso or coffee) is a grind that has a very small range of particle sizes.  As a very basic generalization, conical burrs are better at making a consistently narrow range of particle sizes and are the choice of most quality focused coffee bars. Conical burr grinders can be quite expensive, however, as the process of manufacturing the burr sets is extremely labor intensive and time consuming.

    But do not think that flat burr grinders are not capable of producing an exceptional grind as they make up a majority of what you will see behind Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Review, News and was tagged with Mazzer, Mazzer Grinders, Espresso Grinders, Coffee Grinders, Flat Burr, Conical Burr, Flat Vs. Conical Burrs, Burr Size, Mazzer Grinder Review, Commercial Espresso Grinder, Home Espresso Grinder

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