Nurahk
3
Oct 28, 2017
bookmark_border
What is the best, budget oriented, entry level way to brew espresso? I hear moka pots are one way, but apparently they don't actually brew 'real espresso'. Is there a significant quality difference between a moka pot and an espresso maker that would warrant the difference in expense from a beginner's perspective? What specific model is the best investment in my scenario for making espresso?
Oct 28, 2017
Quist
2
Oct 28, 2017
bookmark_border
You are right, it is not the same. However for your scenario and for budget or entry level espresso brewers, it is perfect. I use one myself on regular basis.
Oct 28, 2017
Hammerfix
6
Oct 28, 2017
bookmark_border
It's also not espresso, but the Aeropress makes a concentrated coffee extraction that's damn close, tastes great, and doesn't require too much work.
Oct 28, 2017
Caffeino13
1
Oct 28, 2017
bookmark_border
No, it isn't espresso, but you should remember that the moka is what you're going to find in every Italian household. Of course, they can just go to the bar to get a proper espresso. You can do the same, as long as Starbucks hasn't forced all of the real espresso bars out of your area.
Oct 28, 2017
IFTTTEXAS
0
Oct 28, 2017
bookmark_border
I got my moka at a thrift store. Most folks don’t know what they’re looking at when they see one. They had about four of them there so I just Frankensteined one from the best parts on each. A new rubber seal was the most expensive part. I think I spent $8.00 altogether. Might be worth a shot for you to try it out.
Oct 28, 2017
Caffeino13
1
Oct 29, 2017
bookmark_border
You could also try a Bialetti Brikka. It has an additional valve relative to the classic moka that builds up steam pressure to supposedly produce a type of crema. I've been curious to try one, but I have quite enough coffee/espresso making devices around (including my wonderful Olympia cremina) , so haven't quite made it there. My worry though is burning the coffee grounds with the additional heat of the steam. When you use a moka, the water is just at boiling. The Brikka should produce a coffee that harks back to 19th century espresso bars.
Oct 29, 2017
Doomedq
2
Oct 29, 2017
bookmark_border
I love my aeropress, it makes a single cup of expresso that tastes amazing
Oct 29, 2017
dvorcol
4817
Oct 29, 2017
bookmark_border
The Aeropress seals are not nearly good enough to handle the pressure needed to generate a real espresso - by definition a minimum of about 9 bar. And even if the seals could take it, you would need the full body weight of at least two adults sitting on the plunger to generate that pressure.
Don't get me wrong, I use an Aeropress daily to brew my home-roasted, freshly ground coffee beans. I love the strong coffee it can produce, but it is not making true espresso. And I am not just being a stickler about definitions, the taste of the strong coffee is not even close to the taste of true espresso.
Oct 29, 2017
Tadami
6
Oct 30, 2017
bookmark_border
Fellow Products is launching Prismo, which is meant to more closely replicate espresso out of the Aeropress. Haven't gotten my hands on mine yet, but it's supposed to be available within the next month. Don't ask me how it works. Probably sorcery.
Oct 30, 2017
dvorcol
4817
Oct 30, 2017
bookmark_border
Unless the $20 Prismo can amplify the user-generated pressure somehow - I cannot imagine how, especially at that price - the problems to get to the required espresso pressure are still 1) the amount of force you would need to apply to the plunger & 2) the lack of capability of the Aeropress's plunger seal to hold at that high pressure.
What pressure am I referring to? The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) defines espresso as “a 25-35ml (0.85-1.18 fl oz) beverage prepared from 7-9 grams (0.25-0.32 oz) of coffee through which clean water of 195°-205°F (92°-95°C) has been forced at 9-10 atmospheres (128-142 psi) of pressure, and where the grind of the coffee is such that the brewing ‘flow’ time is approximately 20-30 seconds.”
1) Minimum brewing chamber pressure = 128 pounds per square inch. The Aeropress's cylinder is 2.25 inches in diameter, so the surface area of the flat plunger is 4 square inches (pi*R^2). Which means we have to sustain at least 4*128 = 512 pounds of force on the plunger for 20 - 30 seconds of fluid flow to make espresso.
2) Assuming: a) we can apply this amount of force (hire a sumo wrestler to balance on top of the plunger, or put the Aeropress under one side of a teeter totter near the middle while we sit on the the tip of that same side, or something) b) 128 psi is the minimum pressure needed to open the Prismo's valve for steady flow c) the Prismo's seal to the Aeropress holds at least 128 psi without leaking d) the Aeropress's plastic cylinder wall can handle at least 128 psi without bursting Then the Aeropress's sliding rubber plunger seal needs to handle at least 128 psi without leaking.
I know from personal experience - my own as well as others - that this plunger seal leaks during normal use (Maybe up to 40 pounds of plunger force? So 10 psi.) after a few years. So I am certain even a brand new plunger seal cannot handle 128 psi.
But with its unique higher-pressure valve and fine metal filter, the Prismo just might make a higher-pressure coffee beverage that differs positively from that made using a standard Aeropress.
Oct 30, 2017
Tadami
6
Oct 31, 2017
bookmark_border
Thanks for the detailed response. I agree with you on replicating 9 bar pressure being pretty much impossible outside of a proper espresso machine, including with a lot of machines marketed for home use. Assuming the amount of force on the plunger remains at whatever my puny frame can produce, would an additional rubber seal on the plunger contribute to more PSI? Also, this sounds like an excellent new video idea for the Hydraulic Press Channel on youtube.
Oct 31, 2017
dvorcol
4817
Oct 31, 2017
bookmark_border
A more robust seal design would function under higher cylinder pressure, but just doubling up the current seal would be difficult and not very beneficial. And the same amount of force would still be needed.
Do you know of anyone making videos on the hydraulic press channel that is looking for more things to try? It would be an interesting way to find out how much pressure the current seal can hold. I mean, if they want to do it, I'd watch the video.
Oct 31, 2017
Dr.McCoy
344
Nov 1, 2017
bookmark_border
What's your budget?
Nov 1, 2017
dvorcol
4817
Nov 1, 2017
bookmark_border
There are two manual press espresso makers selling for about $150 on Amazon at the moment: the ROK (4 stars from 215 reviews) and the Flair (4.5 stars from 89 reviews). I have seen various discussions saying that each is superior to the other. I'm not sure which is better.
Amazon also list three others for $60 or less, but I'm skeptical any of them reach the required pressure (9 atmospheres/128 psi minimum by SCAA definition).
Nov 1, 2017
Nurahk
3
Nov 6, 2017
bookmark_border
probably below $50 if I can, seeing as I'm just got started with coffee.
Nov 6, 2017
Dr.McCoy
344
Nov 6, 2017
bookmark_border
That's nowhere near enough to get into true espresso. Definitely could get a hand grinder like a Kuissential Even grind and a moka or brikka pot for that money. I guess I'd start there.
Nov 6, 2017
Nurahk
3
Nov 6, 2017
bookmark_border
I likely won't be able to discern much difference now anyway, and it gives me a point to upgrade from later. Are there any specific moka pots you recommend? The brikka looks promising but it is aluminum instead of stainless steel, which I hear stains.
Nov 6, 2017
Dr.McCoy
344
Nov 15, 2017
bookmark_border
Most people swear by the original Bialetti Moka pot but I think they should all work the same. Stainless is better IMO but again that's probably a point that boils down to 'whatever'.
Nov 15, 2017
View Full Discussion