Saturday, October 24, 2020

Staresso review

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Staresso released a mini version of their manual espresso maker. I backed their Indiegogo project and have been using this for a few months. Disclosure: I have no affiliation with Staresso and purchased the item with my own funds.

Prior to a Staresso, I used an Aeropress for my daily and travel coffee needs. I switched to an Aeropress Go for travel because the parts are designed to nest together for compactness.

The retail box

All the parts

Parts description, top row, L-R: pressure chamber, stand, pump, carrying case with cleaning cloth. Bottom row L-R: cleaning brush, brew basket cap, brew basket, measuring scoop, cup. All the parts except the scoop fit together and inside the carrying case. The carrying case is hard sided and zippers closed.

The parts list may seem complex at first, but once used a few times, are pretty straightforward.

Size comparison

L-R: Staresso case, Aeropress Go, full size Aeropress with funnel, Staresso.

The Staresso in action
Link to video

According to the maker, the Staresso brew basket holds 10 g of ground coffee. The chamber has marks at 50 mL and 80 mL. When filled to 80 mL, the output almost fills the steel cup, so I expect the cup to be around 80 mL as well. This is a bit more than 2 shots, where 1 shot = 1 oz ~ 30 mL

For comparison, I used 2 Aeropress scoops of coffee to 100 mL water. Each Aeropress scoop is about 2x the Staresso scoop. The Staresso uses half to a quarter of the coffee as the Aeropress, and less water, to produce comparably tasting output.

Fine granularity

Brew basket holds about 10 g. Scoop can be used to tamp the basket.

Alternatively, can use the pump plunger to tamp. It fits exactly in the brew basket.

The maker also claims the pump can produce 20 bars of pressure in the chamber and 15 bar at output. This is plenty for a proper espresso, and produces a nice crema.

About 80 mL. Crema!

Drank half

All gone!

I found too tight a tamp causes water to back up in the pump, so I settled with a medium tamp. This still produces a much richer yield with a nice crema, compared to the Aeropress.

In terms of time spent, the Staresso is faster than the Aeropress. Process breakdown: While the water is boiling, I hand grind the beans. The water is usually done by the time the grind is done. The time difference to boil 80 mL vs 100 mL is negligible, but grinding 10 g coffee for the Staresso vs 20-30 g coffee for the Aeropress is noticeable. I steep the Aeropress for 3 minutes, versus pumping the Staresso takes less than 1 minute. End-to-end time, from setting foot in my kitchen to sitting at my desk with coffee, including cleanup: Staresso 10 minutes versus Aeropress 15 minutes. For the time saved, less coffee and water used, and more robust tasting output, the Staresso is now my daily driver for making coffee.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Cheap solutions for 2nd p2p phone

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Now that Uber released their driver app for Android and Iphone, some drivers have commented that they still prefer two phones and were looking for a cost effective way to provide service to both phones.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Cheap / free mobile calls over voip

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Previously, I had used Talkatone to make free outgoing calls over Google Voice via xmpp. On May 15, 2014, Google is dropping support for third party xmpp access. After some research and experimentation, I found this workaround. Perhaps it's cumbersome, but it's a one time setup for ongoing free calls.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hotmail custom From addresses, unknown mobile workaround

For completeness, I researched how to configure Hotmail to use custom From addresses. Hotmail's implementation has gaps that make it the least desirable of the three email services I reviewed so far (Gmail and Yahoo Mail being the other two).

Mobile Yahoo mail custom "From" addresses

Previously, I posted a workaround for using Gmail's custom "From" feature in nonstandard views. Here I discuss setting up and using Yahoo Mail's custom "From" feature.