It's no secret we're coffee fanatics here at CH HQ. When we're not in Portland coveting a cup of Heart or visiting LA for a pristine espresso by Handsome Coffee Roasters we're always on the lookout for some accessible coffee to accompany our all time favorites. So when we recently got our hands on an Espro Press we saw an opportunity to get to know a new roaster. After a brief chat with our neighborhood experts at Joe we were introduced to George Howell Coffee.
Funded through Kickstarter in early 2012, the sleek Espro Press is essentially a more sophisticated version of the basic French press. The unique basket-style filter features a double-sealed gasket and a filter that's roughly 10 times finer than those on conventional plungers. In addition the stainless walls are double thick, allowing the press to keep your coffee warm for a long time after brewing—although most purists recommend you remove the coffee from the press once it's ready to avoid overextending the brewing period.
As for our experience, we found the Espro to deliver a non-gritty cup without most the muddiness that tends to plague French press coffee. However the Espro is big and as we quickly found out, the 32oz press was a bit difficult to gauge. Unlike clear glass French presses one can only measure the amount of water they're pouring into the press from the top. Now we know proper water-to-coffee ratios should be carefully measured prior to brewing, but let's be honest, most of the time the process rarely strays from throwing a few spoon fulls of coarsely grounded coffee into the press and eye-balling the water amount. Overall Espro delivers an elegant, effective brewing method, and the brand is currently on Kickstarter once again to fund a smaller, 18oz press.
George Howell Coffee
Formerly known as Terroir Coffee, George Howell has been delivering a closely selected offering of the world's best coffees to finer shops since 2004. For our first foray into the brand we went with the seasonally specific La Bendición from Guatemala. The coffee itself is nice and mellow, perhaps not exactly what we're looking for first thing in the morning but the well-balanced, smooth brew made for an ideal afternoon refresher. While the La Bendición boasts tasting notes of lime, tangerine and green apple we found it difficult to pinpoint one over the other, which isn't a bad thing. Rather, the notes come together for a pleasantly singular citrus flavor that comes on quick and lasts through the entire taste. We also found the mellow La Bendición to be low in acidity, making it an ideal match for pour overs or the Espro Press.
Find a list of Espro Press retailers online and the Medium 18oz Espro Press on Kickstarter now. The La Bendición is available from Joe Pro in NYC and a range of other roasts from Afica, Central America, South America, Asia and the Pacific from George Howell Coffee online for around $16 per 12oz bag.
Images by Graham Hiemstra