Tips & Tricks
The presso is designed to produce a great shot of espresso. You can easily turn that into a Flat White with the handy milk frother or add hot water for and Americano.
I like to keep things simple. Too many things clutter our lives already, yes? So when I noticed I had both a Porlex grinder and a Reg Barber tamper on my counter, I set about to find a way to make them work together!
Well, that certainly made things easier – now all I had to do was find a way to connect everything!
I needed to make a hole in the bottom of my Porlex grinder base. For things to turn out even, I had to establish the center of the base. Here’s how I did that.
First, I traced the outline of the Porlex grinder base on a sheet of paper and cut it out. Then I folded the tracing into quarters. Where the folds intersected was the center of the circle!
Next, I held the tracing on the overturned Porlex grinder base and positioned a center punch at the center of the tracing. (You can use a nail if you don’t have a center punch.) A sharp whack with a hammer created a small indentation in the Porlex grinder base, and now I knew my drill bit wouldn’t wander as I created the hole!
Using a 3/8 inch bit (to match the size of the setscrew) and my trusty old drill, I made a hole in the Porlex grinder base.
Because the metal of the Porlex grinder base is so thin, I had some trouble with this step, and I would recommend using a smaller bit to create a pilot hole. Then that hole can be expanded, and if the pilot hole is a bit off center, the final hole can be widened in whatever direction is necessary to keep the hole in the center of the Porlex grinder base.
As it turns out, if the hole is a little larger than 3/8 inch, it won’t really matter – all the components will self-center by themselves. Also, an oversize hole will be covered by the parts inside the Porlex grinder base, and if the hole is really large, a washer can be added to keep things sealed.
Now I could begin assembly of my components. For this step, I decided not to use the plain steel setscrew in the Reg Barber tamper handle. Instead, I chose a stainless steel locknut, setscrew, and washers in order to keep similar metals in contact with each other. Also, stainless steel is much more resistant to the acids in coffee grounds, and if I ever need to wash this assembly, I wouldn’t have to worry about rust.
As I put the parts together, I realized the setscrew could collect coffee grounds in the hex key hole unless I oriented it a certain way. For this reason, I kept the hex key hole away from the nylon locking collar in the stainless steel locknut. I also noticed the stainless steel nut could collect coffee grounds around its nylon locking collar unless I inserted the stainless steel setscrew far enough to prevent this. Thus, I installed the stainless steel setscrew into stainless steel locknut until it just stood proud of the nylon locking collar. This kept any threads on the stainless steel setscrew from being exposed at the same time as it kept a pocket from being formed at the top of the stainless steel locknut.
After a bit of experimentation, I settled on two (2) stainless steel washers to use in the base of the Reg Barber tamper. I had to fill in the space previously occupied by the handle, but I also wanted the Reg Barber tamper base to stay tight against the Porlex grinder base. Three (3) stainless steel washers were too many, and they allowed a gap between the Reg Barber tamper base and the Porlex grinder base. Using 2 washers, I found the Porlex grinder base deflected slightly when everything was tightened, but this didn’t cause a problem; actually, it helped keep everything in good alignment!
When it came to the stainless steel setscrew, I tried using a 3/8 x 1 inch setscrew, but it turned out to be too long. I settled on the same size setscrew as originally came in the Reg Barber tamper handle, which was 3/8 x 3/4 inch.
Inserting the preassembled stainless steel setscrew and locknut required the use of a 9/16 inch socket on an extension. I suppose I could have just dropped them in the Porlex grinder base and tossed them around until the setscrew protruded, but I knew I would need the socket for tightening everything next.
Now I could complete the final assembly. Holding the stainless steel setscrew/locknut assembly in place with the 9/16 inch socket and extension, I placed the two (2) stainless steel setscrews on the protruding setscrew. Then it was just a matter of tightening the Reg Barber tamper base onto the Porlex grinder base.
And I was done! Here’s what it looks like, completed. Now I have a Porlex grinder I can truly use as a tamper. Because of the American curve to the Reg Barber base, I can get an excellent tamp without having to set down the grinder base while I’m filling the portafilter. Not only does the Porlex grinder base fit nicely to my hand, I also end up saving room on my counter!
The whole project took me about an hour. If you decide to try it yourself, here’s what you’ll need:
3/8 inch bit
1/4 inch pilot hole bit (optional)
9/16 inch socket
1 3/8 x 3/4 inch stainless steel setscrew
1 3/8 inch stainless steel locknut
3 3/8 inch stainless steel washers (in case you need 1 on the inside)
Produced by the makers of the Aerobie flying disks and rings (I know; unexpected, right?), the AeroPress has wowed critics and aficionados around the world with its exceptional tasting coffee! Employing a quasi-French Press method of brewing, the AeroPress combines a superfine filtration system with a unique plunger to produce grit-free coffee – right in your cup! Let's take a closer look.
Right off the bat, our experience demonstrated the instructions that came in the box were not the best way to make coffee. Instead, we inverted this clever gadget to retain all the good flavor that had previously leaked out during the initial stirring phase. As soon as the initial steeping was done, we screwed on the filter and cap while the AeroPress was still upsidedown. Turning it over onto a cup kept everything we love about coffee right where it should be and ready to drink!
Coffee lovers have long known that lower temperatures release less of the acids that make coffee bitter, so adhering to the recommended water temperatures is crucial. This is the secret of this fantastic machine, and the proof is in the result!
Traditional French Press brewers have suffered from producing a gritty finish, but that problem's solved with the AeroPress! Using the included paper filters keeps the grounds away from the cup so you can drink your coffee to the last drop. If you choose your beans for the flavor of their oils, you should try our Stainless Steel Coffee Filter Disk, created especially for the AeroPress. Reusable and easily cleaned, it allows your beans to give you everything they've got!
It's unfortunate to see the AeroPress marketed as an espresso maker – clearly, it's not – but don't let that stop you from experiencing the magnificent coffee it produces!
Making a flat white (latte) with the Presso is pretty darn easy. It's a bit upside down compared to how a barista would do it with a conventional espresso machine but you get a very similar result. With the presso you heat up your milk first and to get a nice frothy head you simply use the hand milk frother that comes with the presso. Once you have your cup filled and frothed place it under your presso and pull your desired shot into the cup. Voila you are ready to go. One handy tip if you like to use a microwave is to heat up you milk for about one minute and then froth. If you are making more then one simply add 1 minute for each cup you have in the microwave.
We Presso folk tend to be pretty simple, but there are certain things that we think are really important in making a great cup of coffee.
Ask any coffee lover and they will tell you, the fresher the grind the better the coffee. If you really want to take your coffee making seriously you must invest in a grinder so that you can grind your own coffee at home. Do you need the most expensive one on the market? Probably not. But it's a great idea to invest in a conical burr style grinder. This kind of grinder won't heat the beans up while it grinds the coffee, which means the flavour of the coffee isn't compromised. You can get manual or electric burr grinders (manual grinders are great for those times when you are off the grid with your Presso).
Grinding your own coffee is all about experimentation. Try altering the coarseness of your grind. Traditionally, you want a finer grind for espresso but you want to make sure that it's not too fine. If when you begin to press the Presso arms down you feel a tremendous amount of pressure and no liquid is coming through the portafilter, then you know you have gone too fine. If the coffee starts pouring through the filter at warp speed, you've probably ground your coffee a bit too course.
At Presso headquarters, after a little bit of playing around, we have found the perfect grind from our machine. Our grinder produces that perfect consistency when it is set on a fairly course setting. Who woulda thunk?
Another important aspect of your grind, is how you tamp. Fill your portafilter with your desired amount of coffee, and then using the tamper press down on the coffee (once again, you will have to experiment with your tamp- you need to find a level of strength somewhere between dainty and He-Man). It's important to keep the portafilter level when you tamp-resting it on a counter top usually helps. Some people go as far as tamping on a scale to make sure they are applying the correct amount of pressure (usually around 30 lbs), but after some experimentation you will know what works best for you and your Presso.
Grind at home, play around with your technique, and start drinking some really delicious coffee!
A great little how to video from Koh & Co in New York. Makes you want to tap your toes and do some Presso Cleaning
Morning Coffee Ritual
When I wake up in the morning I have a one track mind. Coffee.
Our routine is has pretty much been perfected with the Presso and in less then 10 minutes
I have made two flat whites and sitting in front of my computer checking emails--the second track on my mind in the morning.
Here is my procedure.
Step 1: fill kettle quarter full (no point boiling too much water)
Step 2: turn on kettle.
Step 3: fill two mugs half full of milk (in our case farm fresh milk from our own cows)
Step 4: put mugs in microwave (1 minute per mug works for us) so 2 minutes for 2
Step 5: rinse presso and portafilter with hot water: this cleans it from the last use and warms it up for its pending morning press
Step 6: grind Green Cauldron coffee and tamp
Step 7: insert portafilter into the presso
Step 8: take mug and milk out of microwave and froth
Step 9: put mug under presso and press arms down (I do it twice-nice and slow on the first press and then one more to finish off with some crema)
Step 10: repeat step 9 for second flat white