January 29, 2008

First Impressions on the Handpresso - Still Cool

After an admittedly quick week, we've got to say that the Handpresso is still pretty cool. I cranked out a little more than a dozen shots this week and after a very short learning curve, I have to say that I like the espresso maker for a bunch of reasons. The unit is solid, I mean better built than my bike pumps. It is certainly precision made and I would expect it to last with proper care. Along the way I learned a few things that I think I'll share:

1) Pre-heat the Handpresso - If you can, add hot water to the reservoir to pre-heat, then dump it after about 10-20 seconds and add fresh hot water. Without a boiler upstream of the brewing, like an electric home brewer, you can get a cool espresso shot pretty quickly.

2) Pre-heat the cup - same reasoning here, I like hotter shots. The fact that things are chilly up here near Boston in the wintertime probably doesn't help.

3) Hold the end of the Handpresso with your "static" hand while pumping, not the stock (like they tell you in the instructions). I say this because it's easy to pinch yourself when pumping the handle.

4) It only takes about 25 - 30 pumps to get the full 16 bar on the pressure gauge. May seem like a lot but it goes fast.

Overall, I love the fact that I can take this with me. While I got a few weird looks at work, I loved having a fresh shot of my own espresso whenever I wanted.


1. Pump the Handpresso up to 16 Bar, then pre-heat with hot water.


2. Let it rip with 16 bars of pressure.


3. You even get a little foam/crema.

I have found that the crema is more like a bit of foam to top the shot and that shorter shots are better shots, as the unit doesn't hold the 16 bar of pressure through the whole brewing process; it goes down as the compressed air runs out. I found that a shot slightly on the short side was best, and pretty darn flavorful. The differences between a home brewed shot and the Handpresso wasn't as huge as I originally was thinking, and is very passable for a decent pick-me-up where ever you want.

See our Un-Boxing Post of the Handpresso.

For more information see the Handpresso Website

At Amazon - The Handpresso Wild
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January 22, 2008

Crap-Tastic Espresso Maker


Single Serve Espresso reader Adam sent this one in.... and we think that this could possibly be the most Crap-tastic espresso maker around. I'll admit that I haven't used it, but considering the $25 price, the fact that it's not a pump-driven machine, and the fact that you can get it at Wally's, which is not exactly the purveyor of the finest espresso machines, I'm pretty much guessing it's a dud. If I am wrong, let me know. For that price, I'd rather have a Moka Pot; they may be inexpensive but don’t be shy about using one of these.

At WalMart - The Kalorik Espresso Maker

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January 20, 2008

Unboxing Handpresso - The Coolest Espresso Gadget

Well, we are fortunate enough to have a Handpresso Wild in for review and I thought I would offer a few pictures of the coolest little espresso gadget I have ever seen. The Handpresso is a hand-pump espresso maker that allows you to pump up the handle to 16 bar, add hot water and an ESE Espresso pod to the brewing chamber flip the switch and go. The result is a freshly brewed authentic tasting espresso wherever you can access hot water.

Handpresso_WildBox.jpg The Handpresso in its box.


Four Easy Steps: 1) Pump the handle to get 16 bar, 2) Add Hot Water, 3) Add an ESE Pod, 4) Press the brew button to get your Espresso.

The unit comes well packed and secure from the maker in France. "Well Packed" in an understatement. I mean Apple could learn a thing or two from Handpresso. The Handpresso comes packed in a box that I would say is more like a presentation quality box that a fine Cognac would come in.


The Handpresso in a nice inner case. Slide the overbox off to find a textured, inner, heavy weight case.


Slide open the inner case that slides open to reveal its contents the foam packing.


Pull away the instruction manuals and the foam packing to see the Handpresso seated safely in its cocoon.


The water chamber unscrews where you insert the ESE pod and pour in the hot water.


On the top side you have 1) The water reservoir that holds 50mls, 2) The pressure gauge 16 bar (over 200PSI), and 3) The release or brew button.

With the pump handle extended; the Handpresso is only a little more than a foot long.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be brining the Handpresso along to a few places so that we bring espresso convenience to the masses. The first stop is going to be work, where the office coffee will be replaced with a nice shot of espresso every now and then.

At Amazon - The Handpresso Wild

More at the Handpresso website.

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January 12, 2008

First Impressions: Cuisinart EM-200 Espresso Machine


We've been cranking out shots of espresso for a while now and enjoying the Cuisinart EM200 Programmable Espresso Machine and I am impressed. What I like is that they have a pre-infusion set in the program so that the grounds get wetted, there's a brief pause and then the true pumping begins. I was blowing through some fresh Major Dickenson's from Peet's and it was giving me some incredible espresso and crema. The picture below shows off some of the crema that pours out of the machine. With all of this brewing I think I have only gone through a few reservoirs full of water - it's HUGE (69 ounces).

Also the Cuisinart EM-200 has two programmable buttons for pulling a single or a double shot. For me the single was a little tall, so I shortened it a bit down to about an ounce of espresso. Now I get my shot at the push of a button after I get all of the portafilter set. Nice convenience in the morning. I know, it only save about 30 seconds of your time standing there waiting to "shut off" the machine if you were using the manual button, but it's great.

So far so good; programmable push button simplicity, pre-infusion, great crema being driven by a huge reservoir.


Product Features of the Cuisinart EM-200

15 bars of pressure

69-ounce removable reservoir

Pre-programmed cup size set at 1.5 ounces and 3.0 ounces – with the option to select the serving size you desire

Brews one or two cups – ground espresso or pods

Professional stainless steel housing with embossed Cuisinart® logo

Steam button is a separate function for easy use

Stainless steel steam nozzle for cappuccino and latte

Portafilter holder with locking mechanism that makes it easy to dispose of wet grounds after use

Removable drip tray and cover for easy cleanup

Warming tray on top

Tamping tool with measuring spoon and stainless frothing cup included

Limited 3-year warranty

Also see our Unboxing of the Cuisinart EM-200 Espresso Machine

At Cooking.com - Cuisinart EM200 Programmable Espresso Machine

At Amazon - Cuisinart EM200 Programmable Espresso Machine

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January 10, 2008

Handpresso - Coolest Espresso Maker?

Well, fresh off the SingleServeCoffee.com forums, comes this story, the Handpresso a portable espresso maker. Tired of lame coffee away from home? This portable espresso maker gives you 16 bar in your back pocket for a quick and easy shot of espresso. Of course you need hot water out on the trail, so bring the thermos or another heat source.

I already wrote the company, to see if they are available in the US. The price isn't cheap as 99 Euros is around $140 each.

Here's the video

More at the Handpresso website

At Amazon - The Handpresso Wild
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January 9, 2008

Ultimate Single Serve Machine?

Have you seen one of these around your favorite Espresso cafes? If you are hanging around some of the best coffee shops around the country, like Intelligentsia or Stumptown, then you might have seen one of these Clover machines in the corner as a way to sample some of the best brewed coffees in their shop. Let's face it filter coffee hanging around in a big urn can be bad stuff. Well this wonder of engineering is a commercial grade machine that is ready to go with a tweak-eriffic number of settings to dial in the perfect brew. The unit also based around a 4500 watt boiler that can run on 240 volt service! This thing is serious business.

The idea is that an espresso cafe can set these up to run fresh grounds through whenever a customer orders up a coffee, much like how the espresso machine runs. I recently had the pleasure of having a Cup of Excellence coffee at Gimme! Coffee in Ithaca NY, where it really was a great experience to have it in a french press. With such a high quality coffee at these shops, you want to have a fresh cup.


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December 17, 2007

Cuisinart EM-100 Stainless Steel Espresso Machine


The little brother of the Cuisinart EM200 that I have in for review these days, is the Cuisinart EM-100, which is no slouch of a machine either. The Cuisinart EM-100 is a pump-driven stainless clad espresso machine with some nice characteristics and features. The 15-bar pump delivers enough pressure to get some pretty good crèma on those espresso shots, and it comes with three portafilter adapters: Single, double and a special ESE Pod adapter. The versatility is worth it, and on the EM-200 I have been flipping back and forth between ground and pods.

The Cuisinart EM-100 has a 53-ounce reservoir so you can get a pretty long time in between fill ups. The large knob on the front of the machine is the control center for unit, allowing you to dial in steam/hot water from the steam nozzle, as well as brew a shot of espresso. The smaller knob on the left directs the unit to heat to steaming temperature.

To brew, preheat the machine, load your coffee and tamp, or coffee pod, and attach the portafilter to the housing. Turn the knob to brew and let the wonderful espresso come out of the portafilter into you glass, when you have enough, rotate the knob to the off position.

The Cuisinart comes with a tamp/scoop and a removable drip tray that is easy to clean and easy to slide in and out.

At Amazon The Cuisinart EM-100 Espresso Machine

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December 9, 2007

Cuisinart EM200 Espresso Machine Unboxing

We are pretty excited to have another programmable espresso machine in the house to try out for a while. The unit is a beautiful Cuisinart EM200 programmable espresso machine that has two pre-set sizes to choose from at the push of a button. The unit is a very sturdy stainless steel unit that looks pretty sharp sitting on the counter. It boasts a 15-bar pump-driven extraction system, has a swing out foaming/frothing arm, and a pretty respectable 64 ounce reservoir.


More after the jump...

ArrowContinue reading: "Cuisinart EM200 Espresso Machine Unboxing"

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December 3, 2007

Holiday Gift Guide Highlight: Nespresso Essenza C100


The Nespresso Essenza C100 is a great little, and I do mean little espresso machine. The tightly designed unit has a compact footprint and may just be one of the best little espresso machines out there. I rotate through a lot of espresso machines and I am always happy to come back the my Nespresso C100. The unit makes excellent espresso, with a crema that is hard to beat. The delicious concoction is always a treat.

The Nespresso Essenza C100 comes with a selection of Nespresso capsules, so you can judge what you like, and order up some more. The capsules can only be ordered through Nespresso, but they are very fast about turning orders around, and I have mine two days later.

At Nespresso Essenza C100

See my Holiday Espresso Gift Guide for more information on gifts.

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December 2, 2007

Holiday Buying Guide Highlight: DeLonghi EC155


A lot of people have been emailing about my Holiday Gift Guide, and what espresso maker is right or them. Lots of people want to keep that price under $100, and while there are a lot of options, there are only a few pump-driven espresso machine choices under $100, and one of them is the DeLonghi EC155.

I reviewed the DeLonghi EC155 and thought the unit did a pretty good job. This isn't some professional machine, but it's a heck of a value at today's price.

Pump-driven machines are superior to those steam driven ones at extracting fuller flavor and creating that crema layer on top of your espresso. I was impressed with the quality and amount of the crema coming from the DeLonghi EC155 when I used it.

The unit is plenty strong to steam the milk and then flip the switch and crank out a few shots of espresso for your lattes.

Read More at my Review of the DeLonghi EC 155

At Amazon - The DeLonghi EC155 Pump Driven Espresso Machine

Don't forget to check out the Bodum Pavina espresso glasses. The laboratory glass in a double wall cup keeps your fingers cool while your espresso stays hot. They are fantastic gifts for others, or yourself.

See my Holiday Espresso Gift Guide for more information on gifts.

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