As always thank you for for your ongoing support and here is an update as we continue to progress with The Porta Presso journey.
On a side note, over the past couple of months we have made great progress in sourcing our own beans. As you may or may not be already aware, the process from soil to palate of the coffee bean is vital and can have an important influence on the coffee flavour. Thus we have done everything we can to ensure that you love our coffee as much as we do. We have sampled beans from every variety, farming practice, terroir, roast profile, blend, to ensure we have the highest quality of beans. For those of you who aren’t familiar of the process of a coffee bean and how each of these stages influences the taste here is some insight:
- Even before the plant that bears the coffee fruit has begun to grow, there's a very important factor that will influence the crop - the variety. It's not merely Arabica vs Robusta. Within the species Arabica, there are dozens of known varieties and more being discovered and created with time.
- Then there is Terroir. Terroir is one of those lofty terms that can alienate some people, but really, terroir is just influence of where the coffee is grown. We all know that coffees from Kenya generally taste pretty different to coffees from Brazil. We also know that coffees from nearby areas can have similarities. These are the results of the influences of terroir.
- The practices of the farm where the coffee is grown will have a huge impact on the taste of the coffee you drink. Everything from the use of chemicals to planting patterns & pruning regimen are ultimately going to affect the nature of the crop.
- One particularly important farming practice is picking. Much as with other agricultural crops, coffee is best when it is picked at optimal ripeness, but of course, coffee cherries don't ripen at a uniform rate. This means that for the best results, cherries must be picked by hand, by labourers who are trained to pay attention to the ripeness of the fruit they are harvesting.
- Once a coffee cherry is picked, the coffee seed has to be dried before being transported and eventually roasted by a roaster. The ways that this is done can vary widely and can have a huge influence on what the coffee finally tastes like.
- The roaster helps to realise the full potential of the coffee by carefully crafting a roast profile that will suit that set of beans. This isn't as simple as light or dark. The roaster has to fine tune variables like roast time, temperature change, rate of rise, drum speed, air flow & cooling speed.
- Last but certainly not least, brewing is the final stage in the process from soil to palate, which does certainly play an important influence on coffee flavour.
Taking all of the above into consideration we feel we have narrowed it down to a few different blends which we think are among the best coffee beans in the world. We will be offering a variety of different blends with The Porta Presso to suit peoples’ different tastes.
The last couple of months of The Porta Presso machine development have been both rewarding and incredibly challenging. During our testing phases we have encountered challenges around the quality of the coffee not being up-to the standards we have set ourselves.
We have been able to single out the main contributing factor to this being that the C02 being used to generate pressure, although it does its job, it tarnishes the overall flavour of the coffee produced which was a concern as quality coffee is our primary objective.
This is an unfortunate result in the development of The Porta Presso and we have since had to have some of the primary compartments re-designed and manufactured for further testing.
Although this is going to put a delay on us going into production with us now estimating to begin the shipment of orders in December 2018, the team has finalised a solution which we have proved to be feasible and are now underway with further testing. We feel that the decision to move forward without the C02 concept will ultimately be for the best, and will produce a better end result. This will mean that users will not need to continue to replace C02 canisters and instead will only need to simply recharge The Porta Presso which is a huge cost saving to the end-user of the product. We are mindful of the fact that many people have already ordered their Porta Presso with C02 canisters and we simply plan to refund all orders where the C02 was purchased individually and where bundles were purchased, we plan to compensate in an extended bean subscription. If you feel unsatisfied with this resolution, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can look at an alternate solution. Since revising the initial design, we have made quick progress and are currently running the heating chamber until we reach 9 bars of pressure (this is the commercial optimum pressure). Once the desired pressure is achieved we open the valve to the portafilter basket, extracting the shot. We then run the shot from 9 bar down to 3 bar which takes around 20-30 seconds. Once the shot is extracted, the remaining 3 bar of pressure is used to aerate the milk. The resulting temperature we are receiving from both the frothed milk and the extracted shot falls between 40 - 50 degrees This is extremely positive as the milk is reaching 60 degrees initially and once cooled slightly and mixed with the shot, this falls to a drinkable temperature. We are now integrating customisability into this process.
Constant 9 bar of pressure is common in most coffee machines. The way The Porta Presso is currently designed means that the hot water being fed through the coffee grinds begins the pour at 9 bar of pressure, then drops off to 3 bar. A leading espresso machine brand uses the same pressure system as a positive feature. This curve in pressure results in a fuller flavour extraction by being less harsh in the final stages. This variance in pressure we believe will become a sought after feature of The Porta Presso.