Initial impressions: Great eye candy; display worthy. Stainless steel chrome buffed to the max. Solid — weighty for its size. Great cup. It’s designed to make you feel pampered.
Two years ago, I waded into the water with an Espro and haven’t looked back. I own both the small (9 oz) and the large (32 oz). Love them both.
Where did I get my start? Ten of us bought into lottery chances and put the Espro on a traveling road show. While I didn’t win, it didn’t take me more than my first cup from it to decide to grab one from Orphan Espresso and the rest is history. I now have both the small (9 oz) and the large (32 oz) versions.
How good is the Espro? Well, I ordered one for myself after the very first pot — even before I had shipped the press pot on to the next gent in line. It’s that good. I have been itching to do a review on it but wanted to make sure I had sufficient cups under the belt before offering the review. Well, what is so great about it?
- Out of the box. Shiny. Makes you want to grab it. So go ahead — hefty. Solid in your hand. Substantive. The pot “sings” quality. Made in China and Canada.
- The cup. Mercy, this is as fine a presentation of coffee as I know. The nuances and flavors are so clear compared to a conventional press pot. It remains a heavy bodied cup like a press pot but the mouthfeel is cleaner, the body a bit more buttery on the the Espro Press. Less silt, more butter. Oils without the grit. I have done a variety of coffees with the Espro and find myself paying more attention to the cup when I use it. All of its cups leave me with a sense of a heavy, buttery silk type of mouthfeel. I love it.
Preparation : French press grind. 22 grams to 12 ounces of water. So as to minimize the pot’s “heat sink” factor, I preheat the pot with hot tap water. The manufacturer states that there is a vacuum between the inner and outer walls of the pot, though no seam is apparent (very well crafted). When doing press pots, I take my water to boil and then wait 45 seconds. (When I empty the Espro of the pre-heat water, I notice that the outer wall isn’t even warm to the touch. The insulation effort of the double walls work).
I cover the coffee with 2 oz > of water, permitting the coffee to bloom. After a 20-30 second bloom, I pour in the remaining water. Cap it and then patiently wait for a total of 3:40 (bloom included). I use a 15-20 second plunge. As I note in my 1st look, the silicone > rings (there are two of them on the outer edge of the plunger) beautifully seal the plunger apparatus and the plunger glides down the sides fluidly.
These tight rings are the first of three factors that produce such a clean cup from a press pot. No sludge will slide by it. The second factor is the first screen mesh that filters the coffee as it is poured. This part of the plunger looks like a basket, though it doesn’t serve to hold any grounds. It merely is the first level of filtering. The 3rd and final part of the Espro that ensures a clean cup is the mess at the top of the plunger apparatus that has an even finer screen mess than does the ‘basket’ appearing portion of the filter. In comparison, Bodums and other press pots I have used only employ the mesh screen that is part of the plunger as a filtering element. Also noted is that the gauge of the Bodum screen is much heavier than that of the Espro. Accordingly, the Espro delivers the cleaner cup than your conventional press pots. Absolutely no comparison. Night and day.
Cup? Call it a sparkling clean French press cup, yet heavy. Ladened with oils and flavors but without the particulates that occlude nuances and serve as a detractor for me in French press. The coffee comes out of the pot too hot to drink. At the end of the cup (12 minutes), I find the slightest trace of silt, minor enough that I wash it down with the last sip.
Press pots are always a bit messy to clean up and this one is just a tad easier. It is part of the experience with this kind of presentation.
^ Unscrew the plunger wand. The basket filter separates from the top portion at an “o” ring. Unsnap the parts, use your fingers or paper towel as friction to rinse under hot water. Once a week I go after the screens with a coconut based dish detergent (Dishmate: http://www.ecos.com/Dishmate_Almond.html). It is the only soap I will use on coffee makers of any kind.
^ Couple of ounces of water in the pot, swish it a bit and bless the garden with the slurry of grounds and water. Done.
^ Presents a clean, heavy cup. Brings out the best in a coffee.
^ Superb prep for a single cup. Yields 9 oz.
^ I haven’t found a coffee yet that didn’t present well in the Espro.
^ Great eye-candy that holds it own.
Price. $80. The initial price took me back a bit. Once I got past that, I could evaluate its *value* based on its ability to present a coffee. I understand start-up costs, margins on limited production runs, etc. Further, I always support a small manufacturer that is trying to enter the game. This is a Vancouver company who also makes the new Toroid bell shaped frothing pitching that Santa put on me. That too says, “quality.” Visit them today: Espro Canada.
P.S. Do yourself a favor a grab one from Chris Coffee, one of our favorite online vendors. Prompt, courteous, and attention to detail.