July 4, 2007 Making a well-extracted espresso coffee should be a simple process and the Presso espresso machine is certainly elegant in its simplicity. Despite the many variables that go into a good brew such as water pressure, temperature and the grind of the beans, the ideal machine should be reliable and robust, with moving parts kept to a minimum. The Presso meets these criteria by using an entirely mechanical design based on leverage that by-passes the reliability problems often associated with the use of electric pumps in smaller consumer oriented espresso machines.
The key to a good espresso is for water, not harsh steam, to be forced through the coffee to preserve the delicate flavor without burning it. The result is not excessively bitter and features the desired fine ‘crema’ layer on the top. Typically this is done via an electric pump - all very well for a large commercial machine but for a home unit, moved frequently and built to be light, the number of moving parts can present reliability problems. This is what makes the manually operated Presso mechanism a very sensible option.
The mechanism can be compared to the ‘coffee plunger’ or ‘French press’ (designs that have also undergone innovative revamps in recent years) with the difference being that instead of moving the grounds down through the water, Presso is similar in function to a commercial espresso machine. Heated water for this unit is drawn from an exterior source meaning no internal boiler is required – this increases the longevity of the machine as such boilers are prone to tainting over time but on the downside, you still need to get the hot water from somewhere.
Looking at Presso, it is difficult to see what could fail or malfunction, but such elegant simplicity does have its price - Presso is available in Australia as a single unit for AUD$240 or in a gift pack that includes a grinder and accessories for AUD$600. More info on availability can be found at Presso UK site or Osingulier.com.