How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine

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Are you a real coffee aficionado and want to have a real espresso machine to prepare that authentic espresso, cappuccino or latte right in your home? It’s good that you love to have good coffee and with our little guidance on how to choose the best home espresso machine would be icing on the cake. Having the right machine depends on an individual’s needs, desires and budget.

With a good machine, some good quality coffee, along with some patience and practice you’ll be able to make a perfect shot of espresso. And, one more advantage of having your own espresso machine is you can brew anytime and in any way you want.

So, we would be discussing some general types of espresso machines. The very first step in choosing the right machine is to find which type of machine is best for you and it depends on different factors.

1. Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

Semi-automatic espresso machines are the most common types of machines that have an electric brewing pump and the user has to turn it on and off on his own. They are very simple and you can easily operate them but they do require the most manual intervention.

How to use it: Typical brewing steps

• The first step to start with is, check if the reservoir has water in it. Now turn on the power and wait for few minutes till the machine is warmed up.
• Then remove the portafilter handle which is holding the metal filter basket.
• Take a right amount of ground espresso into the filter basket and press down.
• Install the portafilter again and keep the cup under it. Now press the brew switch.
• Once you get the desired brew volume, turn off the brew switch.
• Repeat the same process if you want more.

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

2. Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

This machine is a bit sophisticated as they go from bean to cup at the touch of a button. They use a built-in grinder that automatically grinds the coffee, fills and presses the filter basket. It makes a pre-determined volume of espresso that throws the used coffee grounds into the internal waste container. The machine is also able to froth milk using either a steam wand or automatic milk frothing system depending on the model.

How to use it: Typical brewing steps

• First of all, check that there is water in the reservoir and coffee beans in the grinder. Now turn on the power and wait for few minutes till it gets warmed up.
• Keep the brew pitcher or the cup under the brewing head.
• Press the pre-programmed brew button, the machine will then grind the beans. Then it will fill the filter basket with ground coffee and press it down. Brew espresso according to the volume you want and then throw away the used coffee grounds into an internal waste container.

Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

3. Manual Lever Espresso Machines

This machine is basically designed for those who can invest their time and can do experiments. Manual espresso machines offer old world style and craftsmanship to make authentic espresso but they also need the highest degree of skill to master.

How to use it: Typical brewing methods

• Again start with the same step, check if there is water in the reservoir and turn on the power. Wait until the machine is warmed up. This kind of machine heats all the water inside the boiler at once, so it may take 10-15 minutes.
• Remove the portafilter basket and add the desired amount of ground espresso in it and press down.
• Install the portafilter again and keep the brew pitcher under it.
• Raise the brew handle and now slowly press it down to allow hot water to run through the ground coffee.
• You can add fresh ground coffee in it and repeat the process till water is present in the boiler. But, once the water runs out, you first have to turn off the machine and let it cool down. Then open the boiler and refill it, we do so because it is pressurized when hot.

Manual Lever Espresso Machines

4. Capsule Espresso Machines

Capsule espresso machines are best suited for offices, restaurants and other foodservice operations and the best thing is they are very convenient. All you need to do is add a capsule with is already filled with coffee ground into the machine and press a button to brew rich and authentic espresso.

How to use it: Typical brewing steps

• Firstly, make sure that the reservoir has water in it and turn on the power. Now just wait for few minutes and the machine get warmed up.
• Keep the brew pitcher or the cup under the brewing head.
• Insert the espresso capsule into it and press the pre-programmed brew button. Most of the models stop automatically once you get the right espresso volume.
• You can repeat the same process if you want.

Capsule Espresso Machines

Barbeque Grilling Recipes- Peppers

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A good barbecue grilling recipe can be easily found at various barbecue cookbooks. For barbecue lovers out there, here are some of the most basic barbecue grilling recipes that you can do without even breaking a sweat. The ingredients used in the following recipes are basic enough that you can find them at the supermarket near you.

Grilled Peppers

Grilled Peppers


  • 4 pieces each of Green, Red, Yellow peppers
  • Dash of Steak Seasonings
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • A bit of lemon powder
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil

Instructions for Grilling:

If the peppers are small to medium-sized, you can instantly place all 12 peppers in a container with a tight lock. If the peppers are quite huge, make sure to cut them and a half and then de-seed them.

Put the remaining ingredients in the container and shake the veggies until each and every piece is coated with oil and seasonings.

Pre-heat the griller for a minute and carefully aligned the peppers on it. Make sure that the peppers have grill marks but never let them burn.

Understanding the Things you Need to Brew Good Coffee

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Coffee is one universally loved beverage that can brighten up even the worst of days. As per the study conducted by a leading coffee making company, the individual preferences of a customer play a major role in determining the kind of coffee maker he/she chooses.

However, there is some pour over coffee setups that are used all across the world. Coffee machines offer a smart solution for caffeine lovers who want to enjoy commercial quality coffee from the comforts of their homes.


The best home-coffee machine setup would comprise of a strong grinder, a kettle with a long gooseneck spout and an accurate scale.

Read on to know about the best coffee making tools and how to use them:

Kalita Wave 185 series glass, launched by Kalita is ideally suited for users looking for a competent coffee maker that brews the most delicious coffee. This 2013 Brewer Cup Champion offers both compatibility and easy functionality.

Also, the top quality framework ensures sturdiness. This coffee machine is equipped with features to allow you to create a mix of flavors, each of which is a treat to the taste buds! However, the proprietary filters are not easily available in the stores – both online and in reality.

Filtering is a cheap way of improving the taste and quality of bad coffee and Wave is a leading brand in the market delivering the best filters to customers. Other than that you can also try out the Bee House or other brands as well such as Kalita, Bonmac, or Melitta.

These filters can be used for both commercial and personal purposes, brewing flavourful and cups of coffee that have a rich consistency. But these brands are only second best to Wave, however, there are benefits that make Bee House special, for instance, the cone filters are easily available.

Both Bee House and Wave Filters are extremely competent but require constant inspection the entire time the coffee is being brewed. For users who are looking for something simpler go for a Clever Dipper, the four filter cones can brew coffee quicker than any other brand, all you have to do is add grind coffee beans, add water and let it rest for some time before straining it into a cup. And although it may not be as competent as a pour over, the filter sure saves a lot of time and effort.

For consumers who want a cheaper alternative, there’s always the AeroPress coffee making products that can effectively reduce the bitterness and acidity levels of coffee thereby improving the taste considerably. But the complex operation and slow process make it a less favorable choice when compared to the above-mentioned brands.

Why is pour over coffee the best?

Want to brew professional quality coffee at home? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Pour over coffee makers are among the most wanted machines.

There are many factors that determine the quality of the coffee prepared, the primary points being the quality of the beans used and the types of machine you use to grind them. Often a cheap and low-grade coffee machine can ruin the flavor of the beans.

Also, pre-ground beans lose their taste over time so much so that even the single origin coffee from Guatemala would taste the same as some low-grade coffee beans. Therefore it is best that you use freshly ground coffee and use proper quantities of it. Brewing the coffee for a few extra minutes using a pour dipper only enhances its flavors and textures.

A good coffee maker can extract about 20% of the beans soluble material, the consistency of the coffee powder, temperature, quantity of the water and its distribution determines how well the machine can extract the flavors.

Using an automatic dripper gives you control over the consistency of the ground beans and proportion in which coffee and water are used. But most automated drippers don’t support higher temperatures and often lead to uneven distribution of water thereby reducing the extraction. A pour-over helps you solve this problem.

Users can control almost every aspect here; from the temperature to the flow and location of water you can decide everything. A pour-over allows you to prepare a cup of coffee as per your individual tastes.

The ideal conditions for brewing include a bean powder consistency same as salt, water heated to about 202 degrees F and an even distribution around the dripper.

Visit the Gravy Booth at Mad. Sq. Eats!!

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Gravy’s setting up shop at the Mad. Sq. Eats Food Festival in Madison Square Park’s Worth Square from May 4th – June 1!

Drop by our booth (located right to the west of Madison Square Park between Fifth Avenue and Broadway) to sample Gravy staples like Crawfish Fritters and Shrimp and Cabbage Rolls, and stay for chef Reagan Angelle’s festival-specials, Crab Bread (a play on the New Orleans-famous crawfish bread), and Homemade Andouille Dogs. You’ll be able to wash it all down with cold Abita Beer.

Located right around the corner from Gravy, Madison Square Park is a perfect place to enjoy the New York springtime and sample amazing food from around the city. The Gravy booth is open daily from 11 am to 9 pm – perfect for lunch, dinner and everything in between!

More details about the Mad. Sq. Eats Festival can be found here:



Kentucky Derby Viewing Party & Open Bar – May 5th!

Derby Day is May 5!!

Join us in the Gravy Lounge to view America’s Race in style!

From 3-7pm on May 5th, we’re hosting an Open Bar featuring our signature Mint Juleps, select cocktails and complimentary hor ‘d oeuvres for just $40. We’ll have the Kentucky Derby on the big screen, and a prize for the best hat!


Gravy Gumbo Throw Down May 11-12

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Jazz at Lincoln Center Gumbo Cook-Off

Gravy executive chef Reagan Angelle is leading Team Gravy in a Gumbo Cook-off at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater on Friday, May 11th and Saturday, May 12.

As part of the pre-concert festivities for “New Orleans Celebration: The Music of Jelly Roll Morton,” a few select New York City restaurants will showcase their best gumbos under the backdrop of live music and album art displays. While we can’t reveal chef’s gumbo plans in detail, we can say it will not disappoint! As the cook-off wraps up, Marcus Roberts’ jazz octet will take the stage at 8 pm.

Tickets are available at the Jazz at Lincoln Center website here:


NYC’s Best New Restaurants

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Do you like Michael Jordan? Do you enjoy Southern food? If you’ve answered yes to both of these questions, we’d like to direct you to Gravy, the new restaurant from Michael Vignola, the executive chef behind Michael Jordan’s The Steakhouse NYC. His latest endeavor seeks to gather up all the divergent cultural strands that make up the South—French, Spanish, Caribbean, and Mexican—and make the flavors pop in all their complexity.

A quick stroll through the menu’s pages reveals Blackened King Crab Legs, three varieties of grits, Spice Rubbed Venison, and Black-Eyed Pea Hummus, just to name a few.

At Gravy, they make it a point to source local products from the regions their recipes draw on, ensuring that the ingredients will be just as fresh as the riffs and variations on the Southern classics Vignola and crew cook up…

Complex: NYC’s 10 Best New Restaurants



New York Times – Introducing Chef Reagan Angelle

New York Times – Off the Menu

Head chef Reagan Angelle was recently highlighted in the New York Times feature, “Chefs on the Move.”

Reagan Angelle, who is from New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is the new chef at Gravy in the Flatiron District, where the feeling is definitely Southern.

Stop by Gravy to check out his recently revamped Spring menu!


NY Post – It’s All Gravy!

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The New York Post recently sent readers Mark and Risa on a blind date to Gravy! Sounds like dessert may have sealed the deal!

When the dessert menu came out we decided to be adventurous and ask about the daily ice cream flavor. We had just finished saying blackberry was our favorite flavor, when against all odds, it was the special. After sharing dessert, we rode the train uptown together. I said goodbye and we exchanged numbers. We already have plans for a second date.

Read more about their date and experience at Gravy –




Chef Michael J. Vignola: It’s all Gravy, baby

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Michael J. Vignola, the former executive chef of Michael Jordan’s: The Steakhouse N.Y.C, decided to devote the next phase of his career to devising and implementing the menu at Gravy, the recently opened fine Southern dining restaurant in the Flatiron. Here’s how he knew his version of the South would rise again….