Monday, November 18, 2013

Espro Toroid Steam Pitcher - Review

At Coffee Channel we came across this pitcher. It seems to good to be true. Luckily ├śristeriet has supplied us with one, we can test.
Basically Espro claims that your able to produce flawless microfoam with very little effort.

First off is the official presentation

Following this link, you can see a full presentation and a video
For some reason I can't insert the video directly
Only our pitcher is a version one !

As shown in the video, the steamwand could be placed right in center, and the bump in the bottom of the pitcher should do the work.

What made me wonder, is that the pitcher isn't used in the video. There's only animated illustrations of the functionality. Also, there's no actual latte art pouring. Only pictures, of latte art drawn with chocolate ?

I have tried approaching the steaming in different ways, and also filmed the attempts.
It can be rather difficult filming and steaming simultaneously, but you should be able to get the bigger picture.

First off I tried like the presentation, right in the center. No movement at all.

The result is actually pretty good. It's hard to capture all the details in the video. But the foam is pretty shiny, there's a bit of hard top foam - and some bubbles. 
The foam is descent, and any one should be able to do that. With months of practice I can only imagine improvement.

Of corse I have done several attempts before shooting the videos.

To get the above result, you have to fill up at least till the spout. Any less, results in to much power at the bump in the bottom. And this

Way to much air in the milk, no way to control it either.

Next off I steamed with the same technique  as I do in my standard pitcher. A small angle, wand resting on the side, introducing a small amount of air all the time.

The result are defiantly better. Much more smooth and less bubbles.
I believe this shows, that the technique the pitcher is sold upon isn't the best one available.

Now a video of my standard pitcher and routine

No bubbles, very shiny and wet foam. I believe this is much better than with the Toroid.
That said, keep in mind I am very used to this pitcher, and I know exactly how to hold and rotate it to get the effect I want.

Well... I don't think the pitcher lives up to its promise.
I doesn't produce perfect microfoam with the technique shown in the presentation video. But, it does make descent foam with no effort what so ever.
Also because of the bend walls, it's tricky to pour from. You have to tilt the pitcher quite a bit to get anything out. I couldn't make any kind of art. But then again, if I gave it two months -  I'm sure I would be use to handling it.
If you are an ambitious upcoming barista, I would recommend buying a standard pitcher recommended by known baristas. Then work towards the correct technique and nice microfoam. Flawless foam requires practice and many tries. Maybe you would be able to get flawless results in the Toroid, but as a novice it doesn't make it for you.

If you would like a latte without being a geek about it, this is defiantly an option. Also my wife is fond of it already. She couldn't get the hang of my technique, so she has always done mediocre foam with a very hard top. With the Toroid she can make foam exactly like the first video. Time after time.
And honestly I have to agree with the misses. It is a prettier pitcher than the standard ones !

It can be bought from ├śristeriet following This Link