Mark Prince – more commonly known as the “Coffee Geek” – invited me over to the CoffeeLab to check out this new little contraption he was loaned for demos and reviews. The little guy is called the “MyPressi”. Its slogan on the side of the box says it all, “this hand-held espresso maker will change how, and where, you enjoy delicious coffee and espresso-based beverages”. I added my own important questions to this slogan – why. Why would Mark introduce this product to me? Why would someone like me use it when I already have an espresso machine, as well as a large portion of disposable income set aside for my “on the go” espresso addiction? The answer was quite simple. As this hand-held machine has many important uses, like the assistance in espresso machine calibration in cafes and home brewing, it has successfully brewed a high-intensity shot of espresso, by replacing the hot water with ice-cold alcohol. That’s where I come in. My business is in creating interesting infusions. So, once I went through an intense product demo with Mark, I had to develop a new program for its usage. I’d have to say, this experimental program was really interesting.
This blog post may just turn right into a lab report.
Around the World in 24 hours:
In each of the major coffee growing regions around the world, the beans change in flavour profile. As a general rule through research, I used the tasting notes from each of the three major regions, Indonesia, Africa and Central America, infused them into an alcoholic liquid, and used the liquid as the base in my espresso shot. Plus, I did just a straight-up vodka/espresso shot just to see how it’d stand on it’s own in something neutral.
Regional tasting notes:
1) Indonesia, but specifically tastings notes from Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Papa New Guinea coffee beans: the rich, powerful, spicy and earthy notes of Sumatra and Sulawesi, and the light, aired acidity, fruit and citrus of Papa New Guinea (experimental spirits include grand marnier, orange juniper lemongrass bitters, grapefruit szechuan peppercorn fennel bitters)
2) Africa, but specifically the tasting notes from high-altitude Ethiopian and Kenyan coffee beans: floral, roses, honey, lemon, lime, super creamy texture – the ‘texture’ is quite a sought after characteristic for this type of coffee (experimental spirits include floral bitters, ricard, lime green tea bitters)
3) Central America, but specifically beans from Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvidor and Panama: cocoa, cherry, lavender, almonds, star anise, orange, high caramel and butterscotch-like sweetness (experimental spirits include chocolate vermouth, sweet vermouth, port, cointreau)
1) Cold attempt – I thought the easiest way to use the MyPressi for infusions was by using cold product in a cold MyPressi unit. The problem I encountered was not a surprise – similarly to pulling an espresso shot, there are several factors that affect the way the shot is pulled, and what the end result becomes. The grind on the espresso I used was a little finer than I would normally use in a standard machine for this reason: scientifically the act of pulling a shot for full extraction ability has obvious requirements: heat and pressure. I only had one, pressure.
2) Cold experiment – While using regular room temperature Vodka, Van Gogh Espresso Vodka, and Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur, one by one I sanitized the MyPressi between shots, and always made sure that the No2 cartridges gave just as much gusto as the previous shot. Cold, fresh, clean, filtered water was the other factor.
3) Cold observation – although the temperature of the end result was pleasant, I found the cold spirits in the cold unit not terribly “coffee” tasting.
1) Warm attempt – I figured the best way to solve my extraction issue was to use cold spirits in a scalding hot MyPressi unit.
2) Warm experiment – All of the removable components of the MyPressi were submerged in scalding hot water, dried and quickly reassembled. Ground espresso was added rapidly, tamped, and the unit was put back together. Without heating the spirits themselves, the heat from the unit helped extract sweet espresso flavour, without bitterness, plus a lovely layer of crema, which did not exist during the cold experiment.
3) Warm observation – the infusions were not hot per se in the end, but they were slightly warmer than body temp which helped flourish the nose and palate of the spirit chosen for each shot. Our most successful infusions were Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Navan, Housemade Chocolate Vermouth, Ricard, and Housemade Plum Bitters. All of the shots were used in different variations of our Coffee Old Fashioned, which is now a popular “dry” staple on our dessert cocktail list at the Refinery.
Compared to the long infused Coffee Bitters I have made at the Refinery in the past, the MyPressi alleviated the bitterness that I have often found with straight-up coffee bean infusions. But alas they are BITTERS in the end. Science rules when you can just constantly deduct from reasoning.
Enjoy the pictures.