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HomeCoffee2023 Espresso Evaluate Vacation Present Information

2023 Espresso Evaluate Vacation Present Information

An array of espresso brewers and grinders designed by working espresso professionals. Photograph courtesy of Howard Bryman.


For all the various stunning and intelligent items of kit that exist for brewing espresso, it’s exceptional simply how few of them are designed by “espresso individuals” — individuals whose main occupation is inside the espresso trade.

Houseware firms and different producers will generally seek the advice of with specialty espresso execs when creating merchandise for the quality-oriented viewers. And naturally, electrical and mechanical engineers are maybe finest suited to the duty of designing machines with transferring components and sophisticated electronics. It’s additionally true that working a espresso enterprise leaves little time and power for extra initiatives past the sourcing, roasting and promoting of espresso.

So, whereas it will not be stunning, it’s nonetheless somewhat ironic that the catalog of espresso gear made by roasters or baristas is remarkably small. But it surely does exist, and for the Espresso Evaluate Present Information this vacation procuring season, we’re shining a lightweight on this admirable area of interest.

Each entry on this 12 months’s listing of things to think about as a present (or as a deal with for oneself) this vacation procuring season is a novel piece of kit designed completely by skilled espresso individuals — passionate trade execs whose main occupation is espresso, and whose main goal in creating these merchandise is to assist specialty espresso shoppers get the perfect expertise doable from their coffees.

For every merchandise, we share the tales and/or bona fides of its designer, the coffee-related drawback it was designed to unravel, and what it’s about each that brings us pleasure.

There are not any affiliate hyperlinks right here. Espresso Evaluate takes no fee on any gross sales that will consequence from this listing. We goal purely to enlighten and attraction to seekers of high-quality espresso gear, in addition to to point out help for the trade professionals whose ardour retains the espresso world transferring ahead.

Blissful procuring and pleased holidays to all!

The April Brewer ($29 – $39)

A flat-bottom pour-over brewer that rewards a practiced method.

Comandante C40 Handbook Grinder ($325 – $360)

One of many highest-quality and most tasty guide espresso grinders in the marketplace.

Etkin 2-Cup Espresso Dripper ($45)

Similar to the beautiful Etkin 8-Cup, however for if you solely need a cup or two.

Native Design Expedition Brewer ($49)

The slimmest, lightest-imaginable brewer for refueling within the backcountry.

The Cupping Brewer ($40)

Scales up the normal cupping brew for one thing extra savorable and shareable.

Simplify the Brewer ($21)

A guide pour-over brewer optimized for a single central pour; no fuss, no muss.

NextLevel Pulsar ($65)

A zero-bypass brewer with a circulate management valve that’s as simple or as geeky as you need it to be.

VacOne Air Brewer ($149.95)

With a high-quality mesh display and powerful vacuum pump to pressure brews rapidly, this immersion brewer opens a world of potentialities.

Varia VS3 Grinder ($299.90)

Statuesque, compact and meticulously thought-out electrical espresso grinder for which quite a lot of totally different burr units can be found.

The Full Opinions

The April Brewer

($29 – $39)


Patrik Rolf actually wrote the guide on remodeling from a non-public espresso nerd right into a famend espresso skilled. (His memoir, From Nerd To Professional – A Espresso Journey, is printed on paper constituted of recycled espresso cups.)

Rolf based a roasting firm referred to as April Espresso in Copenhagen in 2016, though he had competed in professional-level espresso competitions earlier than he’d ever labored in espresso.


As a competitor and as a roaster, Rolf discovered that reaching consistency from one guide brew to the subsequent was tougher than it wanted to be. With the proper instrument, nice cups may very well be simple to repeat, whether or not for competitors judges, for patrons or for oneself.

In 2019, Rolf gained the silver medal within the World Brewers Cup competitors utilizing the brewer of his personal unique design — the April Brewer.


The important thing options Rolf baked into the April Brewer are its massive single drain gap, its exterior peripheral vents, and its pronounced inside backside ridges that forestall the paper of a Kalita-style basket filter from adhering to the bottom and sealing it off whereas brewing.

All three of those options encourage a quick downward circulate, which shifts extra affect onto the opposite selections made by the barista such because the grind dimension and coffee-to-water ratio. As a baseline, Rolf suggests a simple two-pour method that he thinks strikes an excellent baseline steadiness between ease and precision to persistently coax the perfect from the coffees he roasts. Straightforward and intuitive to duplicate brew after brew, we discover ourselves gravitating again to that method with most coffees, and loving the articulate, well-defined cups that consequence.

Out there in plastic, glass or ceramic, the April Brewer rewards a exact method, making it a enjoyable and constant instrument within the fingers of anybody with a scale, a gooseneck kettle, a top quality grinder and a discerning palate.


Comandante C40 Handbook Grinder

($325 – $360)


Father-and-son roasters Bernd and Raphael Braune of the German espresso firm Supremo Espresso. From their house base exterior of Munich, the Braunes have continued to supply and roast top-tier coffees at Supremo whereas increasing into the grinder enterprise, which at this level has eclipsed Supremo each when it comes to income and world attain. The C40 has just lately been joined by the larger-capacity C60 and the ultraportable C25 Trailmaster.


It was just a few years after the 2004 founding of their quality-obsessed firm Supremo Espresso that Bernd and Raphael Braune began to really feel their quest to supply, roast and ship the best possible coffees was being scuttled at each ends of the availability chain by lackluster grinders. Poorly performing grinders had been too usually a disservice to the correct analysis of the stellar high quality inexperienced coffees they cupped on the farms of inventive and hardworking producers. The Braunes had been additionally involved that low-quality grinders of their clients’ properties had been pulling the rug out from underneath all their efforts to supply and roast par excellence.

They wanted a superb grinder they might pack with them on sourcing journeys, and so they wanted that very same professional-level piece of kit to be accessible to their clients. By 2013, manufacturing of the primary technology of Comandante guide grinders had begun, and within the decade since then their designs have continued to evolve and enhance. Now in its fourth (product) technology, the Comandante C40 MK4 Nitro Blade options the identical house-engineered conical burr set constituted of martensitic metal launched with the Mk3 mannequin in 2016, but within the lightest bundle up to now.


Many all through the trade contemplate the Comandante C40 to have set the gold normal for efficiency and construct high quality in a guide espresso grinder, and we are able to see why. It seems nice, it’s a pleasure to make use of, and it places out an exceptionally uniform grind that’s splendid for pour-over and AeroPress. It performs admirably within the espresso vary as nicely.

Its gentle weight is certainly a boon to its use on the street, however we additionally merely love the ergonomics and heat of its handmade wood knob and the textured, durably powder-coated physique. The beans crunch with a pleasing tenor and its winsome amber glass catch jar is price the additional weight and potential (however unlikely) breakability.

One can also’t assist however really feel like a member of the Comandante household when contemplating not solely the heartwarming father-son backstory, however the courteous diploma of consideration to element. The big selection of obtainable colours and hand-turned wood choices welcome all personalities. Apprehensive concerning the glass? The C40 additionally ships with a lighter and extra sturdy plastic various. Is the physique not grippy sufficient? For these keen to just accept the affect on aesthetics, it features a rubber ring that slides onto the physique for higher grip.

Etkin 2-Cup Espresso Dripper



The Etkin Brewer was invented by Michael Butterworth, an Licensed SCA Coach and guide primarily based in Istanbul, Turkey, who can be co-founder of specialty espresso weblog The Espresso Compass.


With the unique 8-cup Etkin Brewer, Butterworth sought to supply a substitute for the conical filter format upon which most multi-serving guide brewers are primarily based by designing a flat-bottom brewer large enough to serve everybody on the desk. Lately, Etkin rolled out a smaller two-cup model that permits Etkin lovers to take pleasure in the identical consumer expertise and beautiful cups even when house alone.


We sang the praises of the unique 8-cup Etkin Brewer in a earlier present information on Espresso Evaluate. Whereas the eight-cup capability stays a marquee characteristic of the unique, different creature comforts equivalent to its hefty and delightful white porcelain construct, easy inside partitions and heat-hoarding dual-wall development additionally contribute vastly to its pleasure and efficacy. All of those options switch completely to the smaller model.

Plus, the Sibarist paper filters we really useful for the eight-cup mannequin are even higher suited to the 2-Cup, with no “inventive folding” required; the prefold traces on the Sibarist Quick Flat are suitable with the Etkin 2-Cup, leading to a sublime, fast-flowing zero-bypass platform.


The Expedition Brewer



Brian Franklin was an athlete and private coach previous to his first experimentation with roasting espresso at house within the late Nineteen Nineties. He based the skilled roasting firm DoubleShot Espresso in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2004, and has had an adventurous profession in specialty espresso ever since (adventures he has documented in an upcoming guide referred to as The Espresso Purist, slated to start out delivery this December.)

At the moment, DoubleShot’s operations embrace not solely a roastery and cafe, but additionally a just lately planted espresso farm in Nicaragua referred to as Dos Manzanas. The enterprise expanded once more earlier this 12 months when Franklin and different DoubleShot staff members rolled out a line of brewing gear and instruments underneath the model title Native Design.


The Expedition Brewer is a really flat, very gentle brewing package for backpackers and vacationers. Franklin tinkered with the design for over 12 years, aiming for simplicity and portability in addition to a product that’s simple to fabricate, sturdy over time and delightful to behold.


The package entails a good-looking duck canvas pouch that shops a wood help ring and a skinny sliver of laminated copper that, when unfold out and balanced on a mug or journey tumbler, helps a conical paper filter. The pouch may retailer just a few additional paper filters in addition to an American Weigh Pocket Scale, all of that are additionally on the market on the Native Design web site.

In our expertise, this package does every part it must do. It holds a filter whereas brewing. It packs flatter and weighs lower than a pair of socks. It has the rugged beauty of a brewer Indiana Jones may’ve used. And it’s made in Oklahoma by a passionate crew of deeply entrenched espresso individuals with many a narrative to inform.


The Cupping Brewer



Josh Taves, a specialty espresso professional since 2006, is the previous director of the Rocky Mountain Craft Espresso Alliance and former head of enterprise improvement at Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Stovetop Roasters. Taves initially launched the Cupping Brewer in 2015 and immediately runs his personal skilled gear distribution service and consulting enterprise referred to as Dialed Espresso Companies.


Cupping is the method utilized by espresso professionals to guage the flavour and high quality of espresso. Inexperienced espresso consumers cup coffees to be able to make buying choices; roasters cup whereas creating roast profiles and for high quality management functions. The process entails mixing floor espresso with sizzling water in somewhat bowl for a exact immersion brew in accordance with strict protocols for consistency. The cupper then coats their palate with vigorous slurps from a spoon repeatedly over time because the bowl cools.

Taves, in the midst of his duties as a specialty espresso skilled, usually finds his sips on the cupping desk to be the tastiest he will get from a selected espresso — higher than another brewing technique. He needs he might have extra of that brew to savor and share with others. The Cupping Brewer is his resolution.

Bigger than a normal cupping bowl, the Cupping Brewer is a good-looking glass piece made particularly to scale up a cupping-style brew and pour it into one or two common mugs for a extra acquainted and longer-lasting enjoyment.


Whereas pleasure is the principle objective, the Cupping Brewer will also be used for analytical functions. It’s significantly useful for house roasters who’re excited by a extra standardized tasting course of however are reluctant to have interaction with conventional cupping as a result of restricted portions they will roast at one time. The Cupping Brewer presents a pro-style tasting platform in addition to a satisfying brew — one which does nicely at highlighting sweetness whereas clarifying the distinct notes an awesome espresso can yield.

Simplify the Brewer




Ryo John Ito, founder and head roaster of Japanese roasting firm Bathtub Espresso.


Ito wished extra individuals to really feel snug with guide espresso brewing. He wished to simplify the brewing course of, and figured a single pour straight down the center can be about so simple as it will get. But this tends to not work very nicely on most brewers, as so many are designed with staggered pours, spiral patterns and different methods in thoughts. To help his simplified technique, he wanted to simplify a brewer.

The result’s the clear Tritan plastic gadget referred to as Simplify the Brewer. Boosted by funds raised with a Kickstarter marketing campaign in 2019, Simplify the Brewer is a single clear piece into which Ito really put a deceptively great amount of thought. Structurally, the Simplify takes among the rules of the April Brewer to their logical conclusion: An excellent larger 40-millimeter backside gap, even much less contact between the paper and the gadget, and even higher airflow between the cup and the brewer to permit strain and vapor to freely escape.


The Simplify circulate is quick sufficient that Ito suggests pouring 230 milliliters of sizzling water proper down the center of 15 grams of finely floor espresso unexpectedly over the course of about 30 seconds. A grind dialed in for the brew to empty inside a complete of 60 to 90 seconds will supposedly end in a fast and attractive cup.

In our expertise, that is true, and useless easy. When time is tight and we’d like a no brainer brew, the Simplify is the gadget we seize. Its featherweight sturdiness makes it nice for journey, and significantly when paired with a Melodrip accent, any outdated kettle will do — no gooseneck required.

The NextLevel Pulsar



In a story of true web espresso geekery come to life, the NextLevel brewer is the invention of two geographically distant roasters who met in an internet discussion board and bonded by means of dialogue of a weblog publish by a coffee-loving astrophysicist.

It was 2019 when Richard Unruh, the founding father of roasting firm Free House Espresso in Galva, Kansas, met Darren Schmidt, who on the time was roasting and promoting espresso in Kentucky underneath the corporate title Again Porch Espresso. The article they’d each learn was a deep dive by scientist and creator Jonathan Gagné that zeroed in on the espresso brewing phenomenon often known as “bypass,” which refers to water that circumvents the mattress of floor espresso as a substitute of flowing by means of it.


Water that doesn’t circulate by means of espresso doesn’t contribute to the extraction; if it winds up within the cup, it’s simply watering down the cup. The unaccounted absence of that water within the brew mattress barely throws off the supposed coffee-to-water ratio and should end in a internet under-extraction, whereas a channel of over-extracted grounds may very well be left behind within the path water takes because it flees. Both approach, the center of the issue with bypass is that it’s usually uncontrolled. When precision is a objective, something that occurs accidentally is dangerous.

Schmidt and Unruh put their minds collectively to design a brewer that makes it merely unimaginable for bypass to happen. That is the NextLevel LVL-10 Brewer, a “zero-bypass” brewer whose flat, round filter traces the underside of an in any other case impermeable Tritan cylinder. Not like typical brewers with paper filters that stand up alongside the partitions, liquid within the LVL-10 has nowhere to circulate however straight down by means of the espresso. On the prime is a showerhead lid that disperses any untrained pour of sizzling water from any kind of kettle into a fair array of exact droplets for a constant and thorough saturation of the espresso mattress.

The speed at which water flows by means of the espresso mattress in an LVL-10 is dictated completely by the grind, the dose and the pour. But as a percolation brewer, the one factor past the LVL-10’s management is the power to cease the water fully. Schmidt and Unruh, geeks to the tip, wished to have the ability to play with phases of full immersion, in addition to the power to extract extra from coarser grinds that drain quick. This time, in direct collaboration with Gagné himself, the staff created the NextLevel Pulsar: an LVL-10 brewer with a circulate management valve on the backside for the consumer to open and shut as they please.


In our opinion, the Pulsar is well one of the vital versatile guide brewers in the marketplace. It’s as useful for a slapdash steep-and-release brew as it’s for a studied recipe executed with lab-grade surgical precision, only for kicks. It’s additionally large enough for multi-cup brews, sturdy and simple sufficient to make use of whereas touring, and works nicely for an in a single day chilly brew.

The VacOne Air Brewer



The VacOne is the results of a collaboration between Colombian engineer and product designer Eduardo Umaña and Luis Fernando Vélez, head of the Colombian espresso roasting firm Amor Perfecto. Lately, Umaña offered the rights to his design to a Minnesota-based kitchen equipment producer, permitting him to focus completely on Origin Roasted, an organization that ships roasted coffees to U.S. clients from roasteries working at or close to the Central and South American farms the place coffees are grown.


Finely floor espresso can yield a full and sophisticated extraction in a short time. However in Umaña’s opinion, the prevailing strategies of brewing with finely floor espresso extract an excessive amount of and are simply too inconvenient. Crema generated by way of espresso, moka and Turkish strategies usually imparts bitterness, regardless of its magnificence. All these strategies will also be finicky to carry out if not pricey to equip.

In collaboration with Vélez, Umaña created the VacOne to supply a versatile platform for quick brews utilizing finely floor espresso that additionally mitigates the bitterness of crema. The consumer provides sizzling (or chilly) water to floor espresso within the prime half for what is actually an immersion brew, then presses one button to activate a powerful vacuum pressure that quickly attracts the liquid down from under. Crema that will kind on the floor of the slurry stays on the floor of the grounds after draining, and a high-quality mesh display on the base of the brewer filters out the grounds.


Whereas its genesis centered on a high-quality grind, grounds of nearly any dimension might be brewed in any variety of cycles within the VacOne, leading to a variety of doable cup kinds. This makes it a easy and versatile day by day driver shareable by individuals of differing preferences and talent ranges. We’ve had nice outcomes with easy full-cup immersion brews in addition to with concentrated chilly brew.

Its flexibility additionally extensively opens a door to inventive experimentation. For instance, the VacOne can be utilized to carry out a sequence of fast immersions/agitations/filtrations that mimic the strategy of a cutting-edge new skilled espresso system referred to as the Floor Management that’s at the moment making waves on the industrial specialty espresso scene.


Varia Brewing VS3 Grinder



Previous to launching Varia Brewing, founder Ramsey Gyde roasted espresso professionally in Wellington, New Zealand, and was at one level a gross sales affiliate for 25-year-old Australian specialty espresso firm Toby’s Property. Toby’s Property founder Toby Smith can be a co-founder of Varia Brewing. Robin Lin, who based the corporate Final Espresso Roaster in Shanghai in 2013 and at the moment roasts and sells espresso underneath the model AOKKA, is a associate in Varia Brewing.


Gyde and firm are obsessed with taking basic strategies and upgrading them with higher supplies, enhanced options and significant design tweaks. Within the discipline of electrical house espresso grinders, they noticed many flimsy poor performers taking over an excessive amount of counter house with their less-than-sexy matches and finishes. The VS3 addresses all of those considerations with highly effective efficiency, head-turning beauty, a surprisingly small dimension and sturdy development.

Varia additionally makes 4 totally different burr units customers can swap into the VS3 for various brew strategies and different advantages. Having just lately launched the mannequin’s second technology, the VS3 is now constructed to tighter tolerances, with larger precision alignment and an upgraded motor and stainless-steel gearbox, amongst different refined enhancements.


The gestalt of the VS3’s options punches nicely above this tiny grinder’s weight when it comes to the standard of its grind and the sheer pleasure of utilizing it. The intentionally gradual RPM at which its 38-millimeter conical burrs spin encourages a extra evenly sized output, generates much less mess- and retention-inducing static electrical energy, and retains the grounds cool and flavorful. Whereas downright petite in comparison with different countertop electrical espresso grinders for house use, the VS3’s all-metal development nonetheless provides it a heft and a presence whereas minimizing vibration and instilling confidence in its longevity.

Its appreciably stiff adjustment collar has but to allow us to down whereas making tiny tweaks within the dialing-in course of for pour-over or espresso, and we additionally merely can’t recover from what a beautiful little monolith it’s, saving treasured inches in our crowded espresso nook with a minimalistic profile that seduces like practical sculpture.


Howard Bryman is a Portland, Oregon-based freelance journalist and photographer who focuses on the specialty espresso trade, which he has both labored in or written about for the previous 10+ years. He’s the affiliate editor of Roast Journal’s Each day Espresso Information web site, and an occasional contributor to the print journal as nicely. With expertise as a barista, supervisor, roaster’s apprentice, origin vacationer and gear tinkerer, Bryman’s fascination with specialty espresso’s instruments, tendencies and challenges is matched solely by his enthusiasm for the beverage itself.



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