The Espro Press
Since I’m caffeinated, I’ll get right to it: The Espro Press makes an amazing cup of french press coffee.
These things are finally starting to show up for sale, so it’s time to review the one I got from Kickstarter back in April.
The original Espro Press is an 8-ounce single-serving press pot. I’d never even heard of it before I saw their project on Kickstarter, where their aim was to build a 32-ounce version. Since I am genetically predisposed to back any coffee-related project on Kickstarter, I pitched in my $85 and “pre-ordered” one of the large Espro Presses.
Their project was funded (more than five times over), and in early April of this year I received my 32-ounce (1,000 ml) press.
Seven days a week I brew a cup of coffee. Most days it’s with my AeroPress, but once or twice a week I like to make french press. People often ask me what makes a better cup of coffee — AeroPress or french press? Well, they both make fantastic coffee with their advantages and disadvantages. I enjoy both for different reasons; they’re both favorites, really.
So what is it about the Espro Press that makes it so much nicer than my Bodum french press? Two things:
1. Double-walled Steel Vessel
The pot is durable and rugged. And it’s heavy. Since it’s stainless steel, the best way to keep it clean is to hand wash it. But I’ve been putting it in the dishwasher since I got it and there are no rust spots.
The double-walled steel construction helps keep the coffee hotter for longer. Normally after brewing a pot of french press I would pour it into a vacuum thermos. Now I just bring the press downstairs to my office with me. Though the Espro Press doesn’t keep the coffee piping for 3-4 hours like my vacuum thermos does, it does keep it hot enough for over an hour (about how long it takes me to finish a pot) and it means one less vessel to clean.
|Time (min.)||Temp (F)|
Since the press rod and lid are metal, they conduct a good amount of heat. Which means some heat is lost through the rod and lid, as well as the fact that the lid gets very hot to the touch. But it also means they are built to last — a tradeoff I’m willing to accept.
Double-walled stainless steel french presses are not a new thing. For example: the $100 Frieling french press has a high-quality double-walled stainless steel carafe, not unlike the Espro Press. But the Frieling has the same basic steel mesh filter that you’ll find in a common Bodum french press.
What makes the Espro Press the Espro Press is the filter.
2. Double-Layered Micro Filter Basket With Rubber Seal
It’s a double-layered micro filter basket with a rubber lip seal. It’s unlike any other press pot filter I’ve seen, and it makes a great cup of coffee.
The filter basket is designed to keep as much of the grit out of the brewed coffee as possible. Here’s a comparison of the grit left at the bottom of a cup of coffee by an AeroPress, an Espro Press, and a classic french press:
Obviously the AeroPress wins the “keep as much grit out as possible” competition because I used a paper filter.2 The Espro Press, however, has far less grit than the classic french press. And since the Espro uses a micro filter, you don’t lose any oils to a paper filter. (Though I don’t know that I’d even be able to tell the difference.)
I drank all three of the now empty cups of coffee you see above. Comparing the Espro Press to the French Press side by side like that I realized just how superior the Espro Press is. The classic french press coffee was noticeably more acidic and bitter (not horribly so) than the Espro Press coffee.
I’ve always loved the rich and bold coffee that a french press makes, and the Espro seems to make the best version of it.
The Espro Press, despite having a much more complex filter than your average french press, is still just as easy to clean.
Removing the filter basket from the pot, I simply rinse off the grounds from the sides of the basket, rinse out the pot itself, and then put the whole thing into the dishwasher.
The basket can be easily separated so as to clean out the middle zone of the double walls. Until today, I had yet to do this. Here’s a is a shot of the grit that accumulated inside the middle filter wall after 30 or so uses of the Espro Press (and, for the record, I intentionally didn’t clean the inside wall of the basket, because I wanted to see how dirty it would get over an extended period of time):
There’s no reason to let even that much grit accumulate. Taking apart the filter basket is quite simple (it easily twists apart), allowing you to easily separate the outer and inner baskets every time you put it in the dishwasher.
The Best Recipe
The Espro Press carafe can hold 1,500 ml of water. But that leaves no room for any coffee grounds or the filter basket. You can brew up to 1,000 ml of coffee, but I’ve found that the best recipe is when you brew 750 ml.3
The reason I shy away from brewing the full 1,000 ml capacity is that large filter basket gets in the way when you are brewing that much liquid. About 230 ml of liquid are displaced into the basket and thus don’t fully brew with the rest of the water.
Therefore, when brewing 1,000 ml of coffee I do 70 grams of grinds instead of the recommended 60. This causes the water below the basket to brew stronger, and then be diluted a bit once the basket is pressed down and the previously displaced water rejoins the brewed coffee.
The recipe I prefer is the one that Espro recommends for a 3/4 pot:
- 45 grams of coarsely ground coffee
- 750 ml of hot water
- Pour most, stir, pour the rest, wait 4 minutes, press
Now, if you’re looking for an iPhone coffee app, I can recommend one of those as well.
- For comparison: I brewed a Bodum glass french press alongside the Espro Press. At the 4 minute mark, just after pressing the grounds, the Bodum coffee temperature was 158° — a temperature it took the Espro nearly 30 minutes to reach. ↵
- This is one reason I love the inverted AeroPress method with a coarse grind. It’s not unlike brewing a pot of french press, but thanks to the paper filter you keep all of the grit out of the brewed cup. ↵
- For reference: the classic Bodum french press has a maximum brewing capacity of 750 ml. ↵