Simple manual espresso

The Presso is a minimalist espresso maker that requires no electricity or CO2 canisters (like the portable MyPressi). All you do is pack the grinds into the filter, screw in the filter under the business end, pour in hot water, pull up on the levers, and then crank ‘em down. The amount of pressure on the grinds depends on how much force you apply. Therefore, if you’re an aspiring coffee scientist trying to master precision extraction, this $150 device is probably not for you. The reviews on CoffeeGeek range from ecstatic to “eh” with an overall score of 8/10. My take: If you live off-grid, enjoy car-camping, or simply want a no-frills espresso maker, it’s solid.

I’m not a scientist, but I dabble. I own a Chemex, as well as the previously-reviewed Yama Vac Pot. I grind my beans with an antique Zassenhaus. For almost a year, I’ve turned to the Presso nine times out of ten for churning out a single-serve espresso or Americano almost every morning. The Presso still performs like a champ. Clean-up is a breeze: Dump the grinds, rinse the filter. 

Working from home, I find the process of grinding my beans, heating the water, then cranking out a cup to be a relaxing indulgence. The Presso doesn’t require much muscle, but the physicality is a nice bonus. 

-- Steven Leckart 06/13/11