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How to Use a Pasta Maker
Complete Guide to Staresso Espresso Mini Coffee Maker
While there are plenty of things to see and lots of eye candy at the exhibitions, when walking the floor I am on the hunt for consumer goods that are useful, unique, and would exhibit some level of appeal to my readers.
I did not have the large periods to talk to representatives of some of the more complicated equipment (grinders, espresso machines, etc.), so I concentrate on smaller, dare I say, more affordable, items. This year the problem was that there were fewer items that would meet those criteria. Lots and lots of commercial booths (label printing, custom branded items, large roasters, etc.) but I found fewer new or unique consumer items than in the past. Here I present a review of the first of two items I found very interesting this year:
The Staresso manual espresso maker booth was so well attended (translation: crowded) on Friday I could not get close. Fortunately I mentally filed the booth's location and returned during a slower time on Saturday, and had a nice visit with their representatives. I picked up my review sample on Sunday after tasting a sample of the espresso It has made. I had just enough room left in my backpack to carry it home as a carry-on item. Let's start from the beginning.
As seen a the top of this review, the Staresso is elegantly packaged. And while some of the English translations are grammatically interesting, picking the device up invokes an air of quality.
When assembling the Staresso it is clear that the device was well thought out for the most part. All the threaded components can only be assembled in one way. The thread pitch is different for each section so It cannot be confused. Additionally, the body has external threads for the pump at one end and internal threads for the filter basket holder at the other making it impossible to put the major components together incorrectly.
The various smaller pieces are a bit of a challenge in comparison to the main body. I did not get a parts diagram or cleaning and assembly instructions and had to figure out that the O-ring in the filter basket goes on top of the plastic insert to hold it in place, and I had to figure out which direction to face the radiused side of the silicone gasket that holds the shower screen. Careful examination, trial and error, and common sense solved those problems.
The pump works without having the use of any great force and the shaft feels more than strong enough showing no signs of flexing or bending. It draws in water through a small opening on the side of the pump's body near the tip and forces the water out through the end of the body. The valve that controls the flow direction is in the assembly held in the tip of the pump's boy which is peened in place and not removable. The documentation states that the pump's "working pressure" is 15 to 20 BAR of pressure (218 to 290 psi!). While in some situations the pumps maximum possible pressure may be that, and possibly on paper by mathematic formula, there is a valve at the bottom of the "portafilter" which would preclude that amount of pressure from building up.
With an espresso machine you merely remove the portafilter assembly from the group, knock out the spent puck, rinse and wipe the basket, and you are ready for the next extraction. About two extractions per minute should be no problem. With the Staresso, like all other such portable, hand-powered devices, it takes more time to set up an extraction and to clean in preparation for the next.
To pull a shot you fill the basket with finely-ground coffee, tamp, assemble, fill the water chamber with hot water, attach the pump, and extract by pumping. The Staresso also works with Nespresso mini pods which might be a viable choice when on the road, making it faster and easier to clean up.
On the first day of use I had no instructions. I pulled two singles- one with about 9.5 grams and one with 8.5 grams, into separate cups. I later found the instructions online, and they recommend about 8 to 10 grams of coffee, putting my 8.5-gram extraction square in the middle of the range.