CoffeeGeek Podcast
CG Podcast 028 - Holiday Top Espresso and Coffee Picks It's something I get asked for all the time - so I finally did it - Mark's top picks in espresso, coffee maker, grinder and accessories categories!

A HUGE thanks to Cindy for doing the excellent show notes!

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Show Notes

This is the first of two pre-Christmas shows. In this podcast, Mark lists his top recommendations in all things coffee and espresso for the folks on your gift-giving list!

Information on the following products and more can be found in the Coffeegeek review and consumer review sections of the web site. If you’d like to support the Coffeegeek web site, please use Coffeegeek’s affiliate link.

Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby, Alexkid Remix - from the Merry Mixmas - Christmas Classics Remixed CD (0:13)

Coffee Makers (3:53)
- Krups Moka Brew: A hybrid between a drip coffee maker and a moka pot. Unfortunately discontinued, but that means it can be found at a good price. Available at:, ~$60; and, $50. (4:12)
- Capresso Drip Coffee Machines: The best series out there. (5:26)
- The Capresso MT500 is beautiful. Nice filtration system, efficient thermal carafe. Brews at the proper temperature. $170-180. (6:04) The Capresso CoffeeTEC is essentially the MT500 with an auto-frothing system. $200. (6:43) The Capresso CoffeeTEAM is the only grind and brew system Mark recommends due to its conical burr grinder. All available at (7:09)

Grinders - The Central Core of Good Coffee (8:11)
- Bodum Antigua: Decent grinder, the lowest priced one that Mark recommends. Available at:;; $50-$70. (9:22)
- Solis Maestro Classic/Solis Maestro Plus: Well designed; the Plus has better features. Grinds into a bin or portafilter. Classic, $100-$110; Plus, $150. (9:59)
- Baratza Virtuoso: Just released 12/15. Beefy burr group design; no float in burrs. Powerful DC motor. $200. (10:32)
- KitchenAid Proline: Extremely even grind; perfect as cupping grinder for this price range. Looks great, although Beata thinks it’s a bit industrial. $150 (on sale) to $200 at (12:03)
- Rancilio Rocky: Fantastic grinder. Well built, very quiet, doserless model also available. $270 (black or white) to $300 (stainless steel). (12:59)
- Mazzer Mini: Full-blown (albeit slow) commercial grinder, fantastic build quality, infinite adjustable grind, the ultimate grinder for the home espresso enthusiast. $400. (13:27)

Home Espresso Machines (14:09)
- White Gaggia Carezza: All-brass portafilter, nice grouphead design, same internal parts as more expensive Gaggias. Sure, it has a cheap plastic exterior, froth aider and no cup warmer, but combined with a good quality grinder makes a great intro setup. Available at, $180.(14:19)
- Krups XP4000 Series: Quite capable for espresso, for brewing pod coffee on par with Solis SL70. Down side is no hot water ability, pressurized filter baskets, and Krups autofroth system. Looks good, heats up properly. Available at, $200. (15:58)
- Saeco Gran Crema: Heats up fast to steam mode. Compatible with Panarello frothing system.  Visible water reservoir level; holds a lot of water. Good starter machine. $250. (19:06)
- Espressione Retro: Insider tip – If you’d like to own the famous retro-looking Francis Francis! X1 seen on “Will and Grace? and “Sex and the City? but don’t want to pay $650-$700, buy the Espressione Retro. Same cool retro look and 70-80% of the internal parts are identical to the FF!. Available at, $379. (19:59)
- Solis SL70 Crema: Amazing steaming, brews great espresso. Does pod and standard coffee; good hot water ability. Recommend an unpressurized  basket for the portafilter. $380-$400. (22:42)
- Rancilio Silvia: A perennial favorite. ~$500. (24:31)
- Pasquini Livia 90 Semiautomatic: Mark’s first uber-serious machine. Not E61-based. Take off the froth aider, put on a standard froth tip,  and it’s a great machine. $1250. (25:02)
- Expobar Brewtus II: Mark has never used it, but there’s a lot of positive talk about this impressive dual-boiler E61 machine. Available at, $1700. (26:11)
- Innova (Ascaso) Arc: Specifically for Canadians - the Ascaso Arc sells for $500-$600 in the US, but is substantially less in Canada. Contact, and ask for Hamid to get the price. (27:21)
- La Pavoni Professional: A manual, direct piston machine. $750. (28:34)
- Elektra Microcasa a Leva: Beautiful spring piston lever machine. Some temp surfing is necessary to achieve the right water temperature for brewing, but if you can master it, you may be blown away by the quality of the coffee. $900 (29:12)

Coffee-Related Things
- Bodum Pavina Line: Double walled glass cups. So good at thermal insulation, they don’t need preheating. 2 oz espresso cups, 2 per box, $11 at; 8 oz. cappuccino cups, $14 at (30:50)
- Caffeine molecule t-shirt: This t-shirt and other caffeine molecule merchandise will definitely make you out to be a coffeegeek. Available at T-shirt, $15. (31:52)
- Ghirardelli sweet chocolate powder: Mark’s recommendation for chocolate lovers, available in bulk at, $5/lb. (32:22)
- Cupping wheel mousepad: For those who want to learn more about cupping. Available at the Specialty Coffee Association of America,, $10 for non-members. (32:38)
- Aerobie Aeropress: Not quite an espresso machine, not quite an inverse press pot. Fun for the experimental espresso fanatic. $30. (33:01)
- Illy cups: Limited edition collector cups decorated by famous artists, a fantastic gift. Available in espresso and cappuccino sizes at (34:08)
- Capresso H2O glass kettle: Mark and Beata’s favorite kettle. Made from Schott glass. Plastic base, cordless, 48oz. Efficient, fast, looks gorgeous. Available at, $60-$70. (35:23)

Outro (36:19)
The second pre-Christmas show should be recorded on the 23rd or 24th (featuring Mark and Beata sending out their holiday messages and reflecting on the past year), but in case you don’t tune in, a very merry Christmas, very happy holidays, and a prosperous and fun-filled new year to all of you!

Reprise: Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby, Alexkid Remix - from the Merry Mixmas - Christmas Classics Remixed CD.
Direct download: cgpodcast_028.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:21pm PST