I saw the unit at Sexie Coffie and thought the idea had a lot of potential, when I noticed that it was only AUD $140 I couldnít resist putting it to the test.
What the machine came with:
1 portafilter with 1 size filter, seems like a double or a triple...
A clip on attatchment for spliting the pull to two cups
A manual milk frother
A coffee measure / Plastic tamper. The basket is not a standard size, so I've not found a 'real' tamper that fits yet.
I spend my weekends at the beach. So I donít really have the funds to buy a proper espresso machine just to be used 2 days a week. Iíve been playing with French press and mocha pots, but lets just face it, anything thatís not espresso is just not espresso.
When I first got the machine home, I noticed that there was no manual. This wasnít that much of a problem, because itís a very simple design, and the box has limited instructions printed on it along with a web address with a usage clip, but I wanted to know the manufacturers guides to cleaning. On phoning the supplier, I found out that none of the machines heís received come with a manual, very disappointingÖ
Not to worry, I started up the kettle, did a flush to heat everything up, I just filled the little reservoir and let the water slowly seep through the portafilter. Ground my beans, freshly roasted, and pulled the shot.
I was very impressed. It had crema! I must note that I didnít quite follow the recommendations printed on the box. I decided that with a semi automatic machine, you decide when to stop the pull, this gives you the ability to stop a shot early if it starts to blonde, or to keep it going if it is just a slow shot and is looking good. On these grounds, I filled the reservoir to the brim, as high as it could, ignoring the pre marked measures in the ďpistonĒ, and giving me the ability to take the shot further if I wanted to. I think this change to the normal operation of the machine got me real crema, and not the foam Iíve read others talk about. I must admit, its not a thick blanket of crema like my sunbeam makes, but still its crema and does lastÖ
It was a great espresso, but I think this was mostly due to the fact I hadnít had coffee for 4 days, and the beans were fresh out the roaster. Over the next few days, none of the shots compared. Thatís when I came online and read what other Geekers had to say. I noticed there was a suggestion to improve the piston.
On the under side of the piston, the part that pushes the water through the coffee, there are little stiffeners, these fill up with air, which compresses as you send the plunger down. The problem is this reduces your pressure.
Iíve seen a post with an almost complex mod, that fills these veins, and while I agree that they arenít good for the cup, I didnít like the idea of drastically modifying my new machine just yet.
To fix the problem with out modding the machine I lifted the arms, and all the water drained into the piston, essentially in the pre-infusion stage, I added more boiling water, until all the air had been removed. This answers the problem with a much simpler solution. Now my presso is making great shots time and time again. Iíve very happy with it, although I would like to see stronger looking gears at the top, they seem just too flimsy for the job they are doing, but Iíve heard great things about the manufacturer, and Iím sure if they go, they will be replaced.
The one big negative, is that the aluminium that the whole machine is made from doesnít seem to be treated for corrosion. And mine has, on the base, and between the plastic piston and the unit. This doesnít affect the operation of the Presso, but it really detracts from what I think is a great looking pieces of engineering.