Published on April 24th, 2006 | by Greg0
Froth and Grind with Capresso
We’ll be looking at the first step in the coffee-making process later this week with our first look at a home roaster! But today we wanted to explore the second and fourth steps, skipping over the actual brewing since we figure you can handle that part just fine.
We’ll take the second step, um, first- grinding. We’ve reviewed a grinder before, but we have to confess: we tossed the other one out after a few tries with the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder. Not only does it grind much finer and much more consistently than any other grinder we’ve tried, it also has a wide range of settings. It looks nice, doesn’t take up too much room, and doesn’t heat up the beans during grinding (which would take away some of the flavor). There are a couple of small issues though: it can be a pain to clean, and even removing the beans from the upper holding chamber is quite difficult. But the solid construction and excellent results are worth the price and lack of portability- $139 for the chrome, $90 for the plastic models.
Onto the last step in making a decent latte, right before drinking it- frothing the milk. Most home users skip this step, because they don’t want to shell out $400 for an espresso machine simply to stream some milk. And until recently, we couldn’t find an alternate solution- the handheld milk “frothers” are pitiful, honestly. Enter… the frothXpess, which aside from its cutting edge name and capitalization, does one thing and does it well. It. Froths. Milk. That’s it, and we understand if $70 seems steep- you can continue shelling out $4 a pop at Starbucks for your lattes or ignore the best part of the whole coffee deal. Because there isn’t another consumer stand alone steamer out there that we could find.
Which isn’t to say we like it a whole lot. It’s hard to clean, and is finicky about how you position your milk. It’s fairly large, and pretty loud, and can’t even steam a full latte without needing to pause to heat up some more steam. The controls are fairly intuitive and we generally liked the design and the optional (included) milk container, but there were about 8 pieces! Not to mention the difficulty in getting it to work in the first place- we discovered that our unit required us to press firmly on the main valve each time before pressing the button, or it wouldn’t work at all. Finally, it can’t get the milk as hot or as frothy as any professional espresso machine steamer. But, and we can’t stress this enough, it works and it’s the only option out there. So we love it- because coffee without frothed milk is like pizza without cheese- it’s kind of OK, but it just isn’t the same.