Added to that, for our office's Christmas tradition of Dirty Santa (here's a link for those of you who need that defined) I snaffled a bag of fresh roasted beans supplied by one of our Melbourne colleagues, so my brother bought me a lovely Porlex Mini grinder for Christmas so that I could actually use them. It’s not the first time we’ve won something in a competition and bought something more expensive in order to make use of it. Back in the early 90’s we once won a computer game in a raffle and eventually bought our first PC computer in order to be able to play it. Nowadays that’d be the equivalent of winning a $20 iTunes gift card and then buying an iPhone X in order to use it.
Anyways, this review isn’t about that, it’s about the first of the new coffee gadgets I bought, the Fellow Prismo.
So does it deliver?
To be fair, I really wanted this to work. I like my Aeropress, especially with my existing setup using a (sadly now discontinued) Coava etched filter, but it’s always delivered something different to the espresso experience. Good, but different. So I had high hopes when trying out the Prismo that I would get espresso out of an Aeropress. But I had issues from the first attempt.
Spoiler, it doesn’t.
But does it make an espresso with crema? I could overlook the first two faults if it made a good espresso.
I tried, I really tried. But I couldn’t get the rich crema from the photos. Just a brownish foam on top that dissipated quickly. After reading up on this I adjusted the grind settings to see if that changed things. Nope. A coarser grind made it watery, a finer grind made it gunky at the bottom. And neither made the magic crema. I changed the water amounts to see if that fixed it. Nope.
It could be the beans (stupidly I forgot to take note of the coffee I was using, it was a small batch roaster from the Victorian Alps region, which amazingly does not narrow things down at all). So I’ll give it a try with some different roasters and blends but I’m not optimistic.
And frankly, when you follow their instructions for making the coffee it’s far too fiddly. Lots of weighing and temperature control. You have to remember that coffee machines have to be operated by people who may not have had coffee yet.
They need to be simple.
Thankfully I did get another gadget which against all odds delivers on their promise of a quality espresso shot, in fact it does it so well that it’s now my default espresso method at the office. But that’s for another review.
Okay, we’re not done with the review just yet. The marketing for the Prismo also went so far to say that the valve system enables easy cold brewing in the Aeropress that keeps the coffee from oxidising and stops dripping. I’ve previously made cold brew in the Aeropress, and it’s quite good but it is a somewhat messy process involving cling wrap and inverting the machine.
By contrast, the Prismo delivers on the promise of an easier cold brew experience. The valve stays sealed during the brewing process, no cling wrap required, you can keep it right way up, and pressing the coffee at the end of the brewing process is easy. Best of all, the resulting cold brew concentrate is very good quality.
So there’s that.
In short the Fellow Prismo failed on its promise of an espresso-like shot, but redeems itself in being a decent and easy cold brew accessory for the Aeropress. So I’m keeping it for now.