Cafelat Robot » CoffeeGeek

I need to preface this is a First Look, and based on very preliminary testing of the Robot. I have not run temperature tests, repeated tests, or anything more serious that we reserve for our full product reviews. I basically just used this machine as any consumer would, and my notes below reflect that.

How Much Coffee to Use
To be honest, you can play with as much or as little ground coffee in this machine as you want. Want a 9g single shot? Go for it. Want a 25g triple shot? Again, the world is your oyster, just adjust the grind to make it happen. The filter basket is so huge, you could even use the machine to brew a heavily concentrated coffee “syrup” of sorts with it, by using something like 30+g of more coarsely ground coffee, and letting the brew water steep for a few minutes before using the lever arms to complete the extraction. I’ll definitely be playing with these aspects for the full product review.

How Much Pressure to Apply
It’s hard to describe how much pressure to put on the arms of this machine; I’m sure there’s a point where you could possibly damage it (or send everything flying); I tend to go with a more “does this still feel safe” pressure push down on the arms. It’s okay to lean over the machine a bit to get a nice, even and hard pressure pushing the arms; but if you’re starting to feel the arms flexing under your strain, you’re definitely pushing too hard.

How Much Water to Use
Again, you’re pretty free with how much water to put into the portafilter; you can just put enough for a short double (around 50ml, some of which will be absorbed by the coffee puck), or as much as 90ml or more. The bonus here is this – you don’t have to use all the water when brewing your shot! You can load up the water inside, and pull (push) out enough brewed espresso to fill a 45ml cup, and… stop.

Clean Up and Pulling Multiple Shots
I mentioned this above, and in my preliminary use of the machine it’s confirmed: this machine is a lot easier to use, overall, than the beautiful and functional Flair Espresso Machine. You can’t go wrong with either, but if you want to be able to pull multiple shots with these unpowered, manual machines, the clear choice is the Cafelat Robot. It has to do with the piston. On the Flair, the piston i not part of the main machine; it’s a tamper-looking thing that ends up deep inside the Flair’s “portafilter” chamber. You have to remove that, which, when hot and toasty with spent coffee, isn’t the easiest thing.

On the Cafelat Robot, the piston is part of the main machine, and lifting the lever arms removes the piston entirely from the portafilter and filter basket. At this point, those parts are more or less a traditional portafilter and basket, meaning you can hold it, invert it, and knock out the spent puck of coffee. Give everything a quick rinse, and it’s ready to set up to pull the next shot.

Temperatures and Cup Quality
Here’s how I am getting really good temperatures and finished cup quality on the Cafelat Robot, even this early on in evaluating the machine.

First, I put the main portafilter (with spouts attached for extra heat retention) into a bath of hot water (usually from the kettle I’m using for my brew water. Just a few seconds does it. Next, coffee is ground, and put in the removed filter basket. Tamped down, and then the dispersion screen is placed on top of the tamped, ground coffee.

Next, I put the filter back in the (now drained) portafilter assembly. And I do something that may be considered sacrilegious: I pour some boiling water into the portafilter to heat things up. Just for a few seconds, then I carefully pour it out. Next, pour in my dose of brewing water, off the kettle, and insert the entire portafilter assembly into the machine (with the Robot arms raised). Then I pull the shot, giving a short preinfusion time, into a preheated cup.

Here’s a few of the steps:

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