We love our coffee and for years we struggled to find the best way to have espresso quality coffee in the bush. With our new Handpressos we’ve found it.
Over many years of bush travel we’ve tried every available coffee creation machine and all of them have fallen short of ideal. Obviously, instant coffee just doesn’t do it for us. We tried several different coffee makers; percolators, dripolators and plungers, but still not quite the real thing.
Even if one of these coffee solutions had worked there was the downside of the water quantity needed for washing up. On desert trips we didn’t want to waste water rinsing coffee grounds out of containers. It almost got to the point where we thought we’d have to take a 240V pod-type espresso machine and a generator with us, to replicate our morning coffee ritual in the scrub. That’s when we came across the manual Handpresso.
Hand action espresso
The publicity blurb looked convincing, so we bought one on-line: not cheap, but it
proved to be an instant success. The coffee tastes just like it does at home and there’s no washing up issue: the used pods go into the campfire and the water chamber lid needs only a quick rinse.
When we unpacked the Handpresso we both cracked up, because it did look like what we imagined an enhanced dildo would. However, we delved further.
The design is French and high manufacturing quality is evident, proving once more that not everything made in China is rubbish.
Pressure for the espresso function comes from the integrated hand pump that’s similar in action to a bicycle pump.
A small pressure gauge on the pump barrel is marked in increments and the target pressure is 16 bar, illustrated by a green mark on the gauge face. A few seconds of spirited pumping is enough to achieve the green band.
With pressure built up, the unit is flipped over and the water chamber is filled with hot water from a kettle or billy. On top goes a fresh ESE seven-gram pod and the lid is then clicked into place.
The unit is flipped over once more and the pressure release button is depressed. Hot, rich coffee flows from the lid into the cup. The machine can take ground coffee or seven-gram ESE pods, but we find pods much easier to use in the bush.
We dispense the coffee stream into a cup that’s part filled with heated milk or coffee whitener and then repeat the process for a second cup; or double shot! It’s that easy.
Check out the process in our video:
We thought the manual unit would be hard to improve on, but there’s also a Handpresso coffee maker that plugs into a 12-volt vehicle accessory outlet.
It has an internal water heater and electric compressor, so there’s no pumping necessary; nor is there the need to heat the water before pouring it into the coffee maker.
Unlike the manual unit the electric model takes pods only, not ground coffee, but we’re more than happy with the variety and quality of the coffee in the ESE pods.
The only downside of the electric unit is the time it takes to heat the water, but boiling water from a thermos can be used to speed up the process.
The 12-volt unit is ideal for those who want to have a cuppa while on the road. If the unit is preloaded with cold water and a pod it’s easy to flick it on while you’re driving and then pull up when the beeper indicates that pressure and heat are ideal.
We found that the Handpresso 12-volt unit won’t operate in most vehicles unless the engine is running, supplying alternator current to the power outlet. Pricing at the time of publishing for the manual unit is $154.95 for the unit alone and $274.95 for a unit in a carry case that contains a 300ml thermos flask, four unbreakable cups and a napkin. The electric version is $198.95 for the machine only and $289.95 for the Premium Set, with a carry case, two unbreakable cups and a napkin.