Making Death Wish Espresso: Our Experience with the Minipresso
By Teah Teriele — / The Archive
While you may use any coffee to make good espresso, many shops use a combination of arabica and robusta beans, darkly roasted. For this reason, along with a few properties unique to our blend, Death Wish Coffee makes a beautiful espresso with rich crema.
It's really tough to make good espresso at home without spending $1000+ on a machine. Espresso requires 8-9 bars* of pressure, and machines sold under that price range typically only put out up to four or five bars.
*One bar of pressure=~14.5 pounds per square inch
Typically called a "stovetop espresso maker", the Moka Pot can make damn strong coffee, but only puts out 1-2 bars of pressure. A Moka Pot will not make what is technically called espresso, despite it's commonly used nickname.
When we heard that the Minipresso clocks in around 8 bars of pressure at only $65 on Amazon, we decided to stand it up to the test.
When condensed, the gadget is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. While seemingly convenient, I'll admit that this made me a little nervous. Most espresso machines are so incredibly large and complicated, that I was puzzled as to how this non-mechanical gadget would put out the full eight bars of pressure.
I used an espresso grind through our commercial grinder. If you use regular ground coffee, this machine will not work. Your grind size should be about the consistency of beach sand.
The Minipresso comes with a measuring scoop, also to be used as a tamper after filling the basket with coffee. I didn't tamp it very hard, just enough to completely smooth it out.
You'll need to heat up your own water for this mechanism. I used our BonaVita Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle set to 210F, hoping that the temperature will be around 200F when it hits the grinds. I filled it a little less than a centimeter below the divot in the water basket.
Assembling the Minipresso is surprisingly easier than I initially thought it would be. Everything fits snugly into place and feels very sturdy in the hand, which is a treat when dealing with near-boiling water temperatures.
After turning it upside down, I carefully turned the cap to begin pumping. Despite a couple of reviews complaining about the pump, I found it pretty easy to pump the lever. The resistance that came from the machine was actually a bit relieving to me, as it made it feel like pressure, and therefore espresso was actually being made.
It took about 10 pumps before the espresso started to come out. When it did, it was a beautiful shade of pale tan--CREMA! While crema isn't always a tell of good espresso, it certainly is an indication that the espresso certainly isn't bad. Most importantly, it's an indication that the machine being used is at least up to par.
The true test is a taste test, and after spending nearly seven years working in coffee shops, I'd say this espresso is the real deal. Bravo, Minipresso.