Unlike most retailers, we will be closed Black Friday. We wanted to be sure our entire team had a chance to slow down and enjoy this time to gather with friends and family. Plus, we’re a little averse to all the games most stores play. If you’re like us, you get turned off with all the commercialization, forced hurriedness, and general tackiness surrounding holiday shopping.
For now, we’ve set up some flexible package deals on espresso machines that you can take advantage of whenever the time suits you. Over the coming weeks we’ll showcase some of our favorite gift bundles. As always, we’re here to help you discover and enjoy amazing coffee equipment. Let us know how we can help.
Here’s what we’re doing:
Mark is taking his 3 kids sledding on Mt. Hood…
What are your plans for the holiday? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!
First and foremost, we would like to say thank you to all of the coffee aficionados we have had the pleasure of meeting over the years. To celebrate these relationships, we would like to try something new.
Over the coming weeks, we will be answering common questions via short, informative videos on our website and Facebook. If you have a specific question you would like to see answered or would just like to say hello, let us know via Twitter at #askclive. We hope to hear from you soon!
And now for the first in the series: The Baratza Encore vs. Virtuoso
For the past 2 years here at Clive I’ve been helping to develop and teach a well regarded little 2 hour class on barista basics. We call it our Barista 101. This class has proven to be a wonderful ‘head’s up’ experience for those with zero espresso background, but also is a good resource for those who’ve been doing home espresso for years, but had never gotten a personal lesson. And we love teaching these classes! It’s so very rewarding to see folks’ eyes light up with the simple techniques and ideas we’re able to demonstrate, and then know that they can go home and immediately enjoy better espresso!
And yet, what about the rest of the ways people make coffee? It seems like there are more brewing options available to the home market than ever before. Some are old school, some are new…lots of how-to questions on each…so…
After much thought and preparation, we would like to announce a new educational endeavor here at Clive, our first ever Brewing Methods class! This class focuses exclusively on everything besides espresso, such as French Press, Aeropress, Chemex… Our goal is to de-mystify these brewing methods: to explain the how’s and why’s, during which we’ll discuss the importance of the grind and the different type’s of filters that are available. This class is participation heavy, so we are asking all the participants to be ready to talk, think, have fun, and drink a ton of coffee.
All participants in the class will receive a letterpress 12×17″ poster of our Brew Factors Infographic.
Also see the 2014 Chinook Book for a 50% off coupon for this class!
The Izzo Duetto 3.0 has been a very popular espresso machine. A few customers have asked if we could make wood panels for the Duetto, similar to our La Spaziale Vivaldi and La Marzocco GS/3 wood panels.
Our wood craftsman decided to give it a try, and the result is quite beautiful. By aligning the wood grain vertically instead of horizontally as in the Vivaldi and GS/3 panels, the Duetto retains its modern, angular aesthetic.
It’s hard to believe the new Izzo Alex Duetto V3 has been out since late November, but believe it! Since we’ve had about 6 months to use and evaluate this new version, we thought it was time to give you a quick update with respect to its build quality and performance out in the field.
No big surprises here, the V3 continues Izzo’s tradition of great Italian build (I know, sometimes an oxymoron), sturdiness, and curb appeal in a pro-sumer machine. After some heavy holiday sales and use, I took some time to listen to what a few of our early adopters had to say:
By and large everyone is saying the V3 is superb so far. Very few warranty issues, very stabile brew water temperature control, and very easy to use. So really, nothing has changed! Which jives with what we said 6 months ago, that this new version is mostly about cosmetic changes. Our showroom Duetto sees much use during our barista classes, where it pulls shot after shot for 2 hours straight without missing a beat. We have had zero problems with our unit, no adjustments to brew pressure, nothing.
But this isn’t just a fluff piece…
The most common comment that could be construed as a negative is that the Duetto V3 is just plain heavy. It has large boilers, and weighing in at about 92lbs with water, it can be hard to move around to add water, especially if the machine lives underneath your cabinets. The other comment is that the Duetto must be plumbed-in to get pre-infusion. These issues are connected of course, and have led me to advise folks to plumb this machine in, thus saving yourself from having to move it around to put water in the not-so-easy-to access internal water tank, and to reap the benefits of pre-infusion.
Something else I’ve heard (and experienced) is that with the steam boiler turned off, the coffee boiler has a hard time maintaining a steady temperature for your shots. This is because in the Duetto the steam boiler actually pre-heats the water for the coffee boiler. This saves a lot of recovery time when the machine sees heavy use, but is a bit of a bummer for those who want a shot brewer. I recommend simply that you don’t turn off the steam boiler. It is very well insulated, and really doesn’t take much power to keep it at the correct temperature. Your espresso will thank you.
If plumbing seems like a nightmare, well, you might be wrong, but you could be right. For your set up it might just not make sense. If you rent, or have a nice granite countertop that would rue holes being drilled, yet you want pre-infusion and an easy time of filling a machine with water, go ahead and look at the Quick Mill QM 67. It is essentially a smaller, non-plumbed version of the Duetto. You do get a limited pre-infusion which works well, and being much lighter, it is easier to move around. Plus it has the shiny Italian thing in spades. A little beast of a double boiler, it too will pull shots all day long.
The one thing we’d change on the V3 is the insulated steam wand. In my experience, the insulation in smaller non-commercial machines such as the Duetto slows down milk steaming and does not yield great micro-foam. So Ken (our service tech) and I just took the insulation out and added a rubber grip to the elbow of the wand. The result is a wonderful, easy to use and to control steam function that is more powerful without the insulation. We would definitely recommend this quick customization. Just unscrew the steam tip and pull the insulated hose out with a pair of needle-nose pliers. I think it took us slightly less than a minute, and is well worth the effort! (Note: This modification works on machines with large steam boilers like the Duetto and La Marzocco GS/3; in our tests the Rocket R58 and QM67 boilers do not work well without the steam wand insulation).
Clive is now extending customer support and classes to your home! We are providing at-home support via Skype or FaceTime to help set up your espresso machine, out of the box. Having issues figuring out how to plumb-in your GS/3 or Vivaldi? Not a problem. Our barista educator Chris Ryan will show you step-by-step how to set up your new machine and answer all of your questions. In Technicolor!
Want to learn how to pull shots and steam milk from the convenience of your home on your very own machine? We can help there too. Clive Cast will be offering an hour long version of our Basic Barista class through Skype or FaceTime. The team at Clive is excited to extend the benefits of our barista class beyond Portland to help out customers all over the nation.
The option to experience Clive Cast is available to all customers, local or national. Just make sure that you have the most updated version of Skype or FaceTime and the convenience of at home support is just a few clicks away.
For more information visit our Clive Classes section here!
Details and schedules will be posted soon.
We’ve upped the ante with some nice gift certificates on select espresso machines! These gift certificates are on top of the included gifts like Barista Starter Kits, extended warranties, and free shipping. Take advantage of this short term offer and get your order in by December 31st 2012.