Back on the topic of pick you up brews of coffee for that mug in your drink holder:
Want to make your own espresso but can’t hack the hundreds of dollars needed for a good espresso machine? There might be a solution in sight if you don’t just want to be limited to cheap home solutions for coffee, like moka pots and cafetières.
I first heard of the Presso in a glowing review from a fairly seriously foodie friend (a trend setter when it comes to food and beverages), and subsequently picked one up when I was looking for an espresso machine. They’re a great idea – a super-green and super-cheap espresso machine that uses muscle power and gears rather than mechanical pressure to force the water through the coffee grounds. They’re also very pretty, in brushed aluminum, although with their upstanding handles on either side they do look a bit like a corkscrew.
How do you use the thing? Well, start by getting the water boiling – it’ll really help if you’re in the EU and can use a powerful electric kettle – then run a shot of hot water through the Presso, pouring it in at the top then pressing down to squirt it out of the bottom of the machine. Once you’ve done that, boil some fresh water and grind your beans fine whilst you’re doing it, then pour them into the Presso’s portafilter and tamp them as you would for a normal espresso machine (tamping just means pressing them down hard and evenly to ensure the water goes through them at pressure).
Then, you just fill water up at the top of the machine, raise the arms on either side, place a cup at the bottom, and press down firmly. The Presso produces the same level of pressure as a mechanical espresso machine, meaning that you get a drink very much like a true espresso – various coffee conneseuirs have been impressed.
Problems? Well, the splitter for the portafilter is a rubbish piece of plastic, so if you want to do single shots you’ll have to come up with an innovative solution. And no, the espresso isn’t quite up there with a commercial machine. But for home espresso? We’re very impressed and glad to have it in our cup holder.