Make Great Coffee Anywhere

We are serious about coffee. Not obsessively, but serious enough not to go back to a place that goes to the expense of buying a top notch espresso machine and won’t put 1 minute into training their people how to make coffee properly. We are serious enough to have owned at least 8 different espresso making contraptions.

In our search for a coffee machine, which we could take to the highways and back roads with, we dabbled with Turkish Coffee – simmering the perfect grind at the correct temperature until the grainy syrup was perfect. We scoured ebay for vintage Turkish Ibrik’s (coffee pots) and we haunted kebab shops and bakeries trying to get authentic Turks to teach us how to make authentic Turkish Coffee. So, perhaps we have been mildly obsessive.

The Brief
making camp coffee with a Presso

We spend most of our time outdoors, camping and exploring Australia’s more remote parts and the brief for an espresso machine was simple. It had to be light and it had to take up a minimum of space. It had to be strong. Google Earth provides us with a fantastic resource to research regions we are interested in exploring. However, sometimes what looks like a track on Google Earth is only an animal trail, so a lot of time is spent bashing through scrub and driving over creeks and rivers and picking over rocks and trees and holes etc. Everything on board, including us, gets an absolute belting. A machine that would stand up to this and didn’t use power was desirable. Even though we have inverters in the car that give us 240 volts, anything that simplifies our nomadic lifestyle is a welcome addition.

The most important, the number one requirement, for a coffee maker, however, was that it had to make flawless coffee.

What is Coffee?

So what is espresso? Espresso is the extraction of oils from coffee beans as opposed to brewed coffee where coffee is steeped in hot water. Espresso is a complex, lingering deep brown emulsion that results from hot (not boiling) water being driven through ground coffee beans while under pressure for 20-25 seconds.

A good shot of espresso is a thin syrup, not thick and bitter and not thin and watery. When you add frothy milk to espresso you get cappuccino, latte, macchiato etc. Frothing or steaming milk is easy. Making good espresso is harder.

So after much research, testing and deliberating we purchased a Presso. We sold the overpriced, electric, café style espresso machine that took up 2 square metres of bench space and replaced it with a gleaming little aluminium device that, without fail, produces cup after cup of quality coffee.

Now we drive right past cafes and coffee shops because we know that we can make better coffee, faster and cheaper straight from the back of the four wheel drive.

The Answer

We bought this machine because it does all the things we need it to do. If we ever decide to go and live in a regular house again we will still use this machine. A big fancy, expensive Italian café style machine will not give us quality coffee with the consistency of a Presso. The Presso doesn’t need half an hour to warm up and it doesn’t need a sacrificial shot put through it before it makes acceptable coffee. It doesn’t hiss and spit. It doesn’t take up an acre of space, it doesn’t use power, it doesn’t break and it doesn’t rust. The thing just works. Ours gets bashed and dropped and covered in red dust and left out in the bush all night and it just keeps making great coffee.

One night two lunatics camped near us. They were trying to ride motorbikes around Australia in eight weeks. Their rear ends were worn out, their arms were hanging off and they were eating 8 kilograms of red dirt an hour. They weren’t having a lot of fun. One guy owned 2 mobile barista vans in Melbourne (the little cappuccino vans that service the CBD). He knew about coffee and we talked about coffee and in the morning we made him a cup. He would have swapped his brand new twenty thousand dollar Paris-Dakar BMW motorbike for the Presso machine that morning.


Three years on and we took another look at the Presso - this time using freshly ground beans ► The Presso Coffee Maker Revisited

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