My Gear: Staresso

Here’s one for my fellow coffee geeks.

Recently, my family spent two-and-a-half weeks visiting extended family in Texas and Mississippi.  If you know my wife and me at all, you know we are kind of coffee snobs (I figured I’d just own it).  At home, I roast my own beans in a Behmor 1600 roaster, grind ’em up in a Rancilio doserless burr grinder, and pull incredible espresso shots in a Rancilio Silvia Espresso machine that I’ve had now for almost 12 years.  See what I mean?

This is all great while we’re at home, but they don’t travel well!  So, before we left, I began searching for something that could serve as a portable stand-in for my espresso maker while not breaking the bank.  I have a french press as well as an italian stove-top pot.  These are great for what they do, but they make what is essentially brewed coffee, not espresso.  Technically, the stove-top makes espresso, but I’ve never been quite happy with it (personal pref, I guess).

I looked at the aeropress, which many people really like, but that still didn’t do quite what I wanted.  I really wanted quality espresso similar to what I could get out of a good machine.

That’s when I came across the Staresso espresso maker.  It sounded like it would do everything I wanted, wasn’t extremely expensive, and received excellent reviews.  It didn’t disappoint!

The Staresso has a small water chamber on top with a stow-away pump handle that, by pumping, builds up pressure in the chamber.  When the right amount of pressure is achieved, actual espresso begins to pour through the bottom into a real glass…uh, glass (that sounded weird…I’m trying to say it’s not plastic), in the bottom.  I was pretty amazed to see a thick espresso with good crema on top.  Though it’s not quite as strong as I get out of my Rancilio, it’s pretty darn close and really, really good!

Not only did we use it everyday on our trip (usually more than once!), I’ve used it throughout the day since we’ve been home.  It’s hard to go wrong making espresso within about 2 minutes with easy clean up.

So, if you want good espresso, but can’t afford (or don’t want to afford!) a big machine, check out the Staresso.  Also, for a little more, I would recommend a good frothing wand for foamy coffee drinks and, if you don’t have a burr grinder (stay away from blades) and want something portable, you can’t go wrong with a Javapresse manual grinder.  You can get all three through Amazon for right at $100.  One last thought: for this to be the best possible experience, make sure you use good quality, whole beans.  Ground beans begin losing their flavor after about 15 minutes, so only grind what you will use immediately.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.  Bottom’s up!