I did some head to head shots with a $40.00 lever (All Clad Presso)
and a $900+ semi-auto espresso machine (Expobar). Espresso blend was
50% Brazil Yellow Bourbon, 25% Aussie Mt Top, and 25% Sumatra Lintong
roasted to a Full City plus. Rested 7 days. My first experiences with
the All Clad was the grind wasn't fine enough. So this time I went
with the same grind as the Expobar. So we had same grind, same
coffee. I ran full hot water over the All-clad in the sink to heat
everything up as best I could. Gave it a quick dry. I ran a boiling
water clear shot through the PF after heating the PF in boiling water.
I quickly dried the PF, load and lock and pulled a timed 25 sec.
shot. The color was good, the crema was passable. The shot was just
about right 1.5 oz in 25 seconds. There is no pressure relief valve
so I made a bit of a mess when I took the PF off! I took a couple of
sips before pulling on the Expobar. Good, very good shot of espresso!
Sweet and smooth complex flavor. Pulled a shot on the Expobar. Much
more crema. The first sips. Same taste, but thicker shot. After
cooling a couple of minutes a head to head comparison. Both shots had
the same really good flavor. The Expobar had more body. I would say
the Presso is 85% as good as the Expobar. I will have to declare this
little machine a winner! Some of the keys to getting good shots from
the All Clad Presso is you have to get it as hot as you can. Grind is
very very important. The tamp made a big difference. My All-Clad
takes a 49mm tamper. I have been debating with another owner as he
thinks his takes a 53mm. Tamp made a huge difference in providing the
proper resistance for the shot. Second shot had more crema and better
mouth feel. So the dilemma of the $40.00 All Clad. You need a $40.00
tamper and you need at least a Rocky ($300.00) or a Zass if you can
find one ($70-$90). So the little machine gets a bit expensive.
That said, the experience of pulling a shot with this little machine
is just plain fun!
Lifting those twin levers and watching the water go into the reservoir
and then applying the pressure by hand is a delightful quiet hands-on
experience. Watching the flow is fun too (This baby is going
crotchless some time today!). It is going to be great for camping
aka Dr. Crema