Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Handpresso - wilderness expresso maker review


Wanted one of these puppies for a while now. Here's for why



The punters have to trust us not to take pictures of their hideous taste in interior design and post them on the internet (heartily pasted in disparaging remarks), and we have to trust them to lay on an acceptable minimum standard of recuperative. Sadly even your pal the bushwacker AKA London's gentleman plumber is unable to consistently find customers worthy of the customer service they are treated to. 


Face facts: 
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS INSTANT COFFEE. 
You might drink that filth, but madam, we don't. End of.


I've often though that we should get an expresso machine and flight case it, so we could set up our own coffee bar where ever we are, train one of the apprentices as a barista and improve our working conditions. So I was intrigued when I saw the Handpresso wilderness expresso maker in a french hunting magazine. Once again the internet came to my rescue and I was able to buy one at an 'unwanted christmas gift' price.


Let the Un-Boxing commence

After the customary new product dismay - as is usual today the packaging had been designed almost thoroughly as as the product it's self - I finally wrestled it from its box[es] and got to work. 


It's quite a chunky beast  - you wouldn't really call it 'wilderness equipment', but I'm not sure how many they'd sell if they called it the 'Handpresso builders expresso maker'. 


It really couldn't be much easier to use, if fact its a lot more straitforward than a lot of the counter-top expresso makers i've used. You set the release valve to closed, give it 30 pumps pressurizing it to 16 BAR [or 240 psi], pour a little boiled water into the clear plastic dome, tamp coffee grounds into the little hopper, drop the hopper into place, click the lid shut and you're good-to-go. 


Out squirts a very convincing Expresso, just the kind of required recuperative that puts a spring in your step, widens the eye, fires the synapses, and lifts the human spirit. In summation a great bit of kit for picnics, beach casting, and car camping. Not really the kit of a backwoodsman. But as i've reported before if a little 'Glamping' is the price a purist such as myself must endure to have my sleeping bag warmed by the likes of the Ex Mrs SBW, well so be it.


Design, build, and the end product, defiantly put it in the category of 'things that don't suck'.


All the best
Your pal
The Bushwacker.


EDIT It's stopped working - Company declined to fix it - new review on the way

35 comments:

Josh said...

That video was hilarious! I love the comparisons and contrasts to my American life, too.

The espresso maker looks very cool - I may get that one for my cousin and my Dad.

Chad Love said...

I want one...

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Josh

Glad you like the Celebrity Plumber he's too funny I cant believe more people haven't heard of him. Yet.

It's pretty good so far, makes a very nice, but very small expresso. They also do a version where you fit a little paper packet that comes pre packaged with coffee. You can get quite a few brands and blends.

Tobermory and I were arguing about it the other morning he says it more practical for him as he will be using his in hotel rooms. I think it's a further example of 'packaging for packagings sake' which is a big part of the reason that i often find myself saying Modern Life is Rubbish.

SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Chad
I'll bring it along you can test drive it, either by the banks of the Thames ell fishing, squirrel hunting in the new forest or on some crazy redneck jaunt on your side of the pond
SBW

PS trying to sort out a Ptarmigan connection north of the border

Dave said...

Oh man that stuff's hilarious! I just watched 15 minutes worth on youtube! I love Brit humor. Ya'll are funny.
As for coffee in the woods, my personal preference is a french press. Make it as strong as you like and pass it on to the next guy to make it strong as he likes. And it's light enough I don't mind carrying it on my back.

Le Loup said...

I like the video. As for the wilderness coffee maker? Ah, well,um, no comment!
From the depths of the forest.
Le Loup.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

LL
The chap i bought it off was of a similar opinion.
I don't know if he liked the video though

SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Dave

In the woods a small bucket of coffee is usually what I'm after too. I have a filter from MSR which has to be the most over priced thing I have ever bought (and as you've probably guessed by now i've bought some crap over the years) But it's very light and unbreakable. If you like the french press have you seen the stainless steel vacuum flask one? A guy had one on the each one time, bulky but very practical.

SBW

Anonymous said...

The Handpresso is the silliest outdoor gadget I've ever seen. It's the epitome of 'poshcraft'.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Anon

Always delighted to hear comments from readers, how come you've commented without reading first?

SWB

Hubert Hubert said...

Great and funny review, mate.

Personally, I'm quite happy with 'coffee themed beverages'; I have one before me now - Tesco's own Arse Brand - & it's fine. (I'd sooner drink dishwater than use anything but a 'Yorkshire Gold' tea bag, though.)

HH

Anonymous said...

I read all your posts, SBW, and I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to them.
I just hate this bloody machine. Just looking at it, and its little disposable sachets, would ruin a day out for me. In fact, this 'portable Starbucks' sums up the kind of over-engineered, marketed lifestyle I go to the country to get away from.
A leather bag with some Yorkshire teabags, and a Crusader cup over a little fire in a UCO fire bowl gives me more satisfaction than this gadget ever could.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Anon

Thanks for getting back in touch.

I despise disposable sachets too, and told Tobermory that his justification just wouldn't cut it (see other comments), the only reason I would ever go into a star bucks is to take a dump - my own father a man who i will seldom acknowledge is right about anything was indeed correct when he said of star bucks 'mmm 12 kinds of burnt coffee no thanks'

Unlike every other plumber in london I never drink tea - however the northern Monkey assures me that the yorkshire brand are far superior to all others. - I'm also betting that once the client has stopped by for an expresso with us they'll talk about us at a dinner party, leading to more work.

I like to mock the whole Glamping phenomenon, but it seems to work for my Ex and the kids, and frankly she is way hot, and a wise man once told me 'never fall out with the mother of your children - even if she falls out with you'

Thanks for reading - it means a lot to me - let me know if there's anything you think i should me covering.

SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

HH
Thanks mate, seeing as you can really do it that means a lot.

Fight the power - Lidl has some coffee that while not Illy is certainly better than most of the high street brands.

SBW

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply SBW.

I stand by my comments about the aforementioned doodad, but in hindsight this was the wrong place to blurt them out.

I really appreciate what you do here, and I realize I seem ungrateful. This is far from the truth - you bring a lot of enjoyment to me and many others, and your affable good nature shines through the blog.

Keep up the good work mate, and in future I'll keep the negative comments to myself. The Handpresso can't be all bad if it gets the laydeez into the countryside, can it?

Chad Love said...

I know everyone's ripping it, and with good reason.

Don't care. Still want one...

BTW, you've got an issue of Sporting Classics starting its journey today.

Last month's issue, I'm afraid, as I'm not a subscriber and the nearest decent newsstand is some 90miles away.

Murphyfish said...

SBW, Great Video, the guy's a hero, as for the expresso well I've have admit that........ I WANT ONE.
Keep up the good work.
Regards,
John

Tobermory said...

SBW,

Carrying on our conversation from the previous morning, clearly, we travel through different jungles.

As Anonymous rightly points out, in my opinion, that for all the manly men and women of the great outdoors; this thing is poshcraft (great phrase). But in this life, some of us are pampered poodles and, come the apocalypse, we'll be road-kill for the survivors.

But, speaking for the poodles – your... whimsical defense of the "Dome" Handpresso model, with its grits and grounds handling, may be fine for home use and occasional over-nights but it is less than ideal for regular international air and train travel, going through customs and immigration, which is one of my requirements.

Dave's preference for the French Press is a great option, as well, which I used to use. Bodum used to make a one cup plastic model that was easy to throw into an overnight bag but it had the same problem for me that the Dome model has – carrying and dealing with the open coffee grounds.

The Handpresso E.S.E. model, with its tea-bag style coffee ground shots in sealed recyclable bags raises not an eyebrow when the luggage is opened for inspection. Try this with an unsealed container of coffee grounds on entry to Australia and then watch them dump your favorite blend into the nearest rubbish bin.

Even traveling within Europe, anything that cuts down on prep in the hotel room, and volume in the luggage, while maintaining the quality and immediate ingestion of this poodle's drug-of-choice is welcome.

Although I would ordinarily defer to your wisdom in all matters relating to the great outdoors, and especially if I wanted to kill and eat something furry or fuzzy; I stand by the E.S.E. model, with its little packets, as a more practical and useful choice for poodles who must travel the plastic wildernesses of hotel-land.

T.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Anon
Blurt away mate.

You've brought colour to the game and are always welcome to do so.

Sadly the next post is far less contentious, but I hope slightly more interesting. It's continued excavation of the hole Im digging for myself on the media's portrayal of, well everything really

SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Chad

Couldn't have put it better myself mate, I tried not to want one, then I tried not to buy one. Ahh the delicious taste of expresso with all that annoyingly gritty moral fibre taken out. Hmmmmm

SBW
Cheers for the mag dude - I've got some to mail back to you.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Murphy john Fish
Top init? His blog is good to, I linked to it once but he doesn't post often enough to get it to catch fire.

Cheers
SBW

NorCal Cazadora said...

Harumph. Having purged coffee from my life (made my shooting unsteady!), I'm feeling lost in this post. Great vid, tho.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Tobermory

First up thanks for reading and taking the trouble to comment.

When I lived in the hotel in Leeds last year I was making filter coffee most mornings and yeah it did make a right mess of the basin.

While you are right that the little tea bag thingys are compost-able they are a further example of the evil that stalks our world. They take something that already has a ludicrous impact on the world and turn it up to eleven. Simplify dude simplify.

Do you really take coffee with you to Oz? Really? After all you wrote about the quality of the coffee there?

I guess I've never really forgiven you for buying that Nespresso machine, which I'll give you does make great coffee. But maaaan all those little aluminium containers - they took a lot to make, ship, and'll take a lot to recycle. After any espresso machine has worked its magic on the grinds they are in a semi dried form, and pretty easy to dispose of.

Love you man
SBW

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

NorCal

After all the magic that Hank whisks up, ya gotta have a coffee then No?

SBW

NorCal Cazadora said...

Oh lord, no! Bourbon or scotch, my friend!

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Nor Cal
Really? I always imagined you as an armagnac family.
SBW

NorCal Cazadora said...

That too. I'm an equal opportunity drinker.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

You might know
What the Napa Valley grappa like?
SBW

NorCal Cazadora said...

You know, I'm not sure I've had that. We're big fans of Amador County wines (closer, and good without being ridiculously expensive). The last one we got was from Vino Noceto - we liked it.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Norcal

Californian wines are way expensive here, well nice ones anyway.
SBW

Le Loup said...

Never liked wine in coffee! Rum is okay though. Now I know why I don't take coffee with me on historical treks!

CORK GRAHAM said...

Hey, SBW --
I guess I'm waiting for more reports...I went back to the old Italian style espresso pot after attempting everthing else. Nothing as tasty as coffee made in $20 pot made in Italia!

Makes the 0230 duck hunt trips that much more bearable...

BTW what are you getting in FPS out of your Air Arms?

Ciao,
Cork
http://corksoutdoors.tv

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Cork

more to come - had an adventure yesterday
Just waiting for the other protagonist's pix before I write it up.

SBW

Anonymous said...

Have got a Dome and grind with a De Pene trukish grinder. Set with a fine expresso grind and a heavy press I can get a 18 second shot. With a turkish powder grind I can choke the machine using a heavy press. Lighten up on the press with the powder grind and have gotten a 22 second shot.
Using the Dome is quite different than reading reviews and offering comments. Does it make the greatest espresso in the world? I do not know or could care less. It makes ME a good cup and that is all I care about.
From the Giant Side of Texas Shooting a modded Crossman 1322

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Anon
Thanks for stopping by
any chance of some pix of your modded Crossman 1322?

SBW