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Espro engineer the perfect cup of coffee

For two Canadians, their love of coffee led them to engineer a better way to make quality coffee at home. The Espro Press is now enjoyed by thousands of coffee lovers worldwide and is championed by professional baristas.
Chris McLean, lead designer at Espro

Award winning barista Jordan Barber and Chris MacLean, lead designer at Espro.

In 2002, engineer Chris Mclean sketched out a design for a coffee tamper, the tool baristas use to compress ground coffee for espresso, that would mechanically regulate the pressure a barista applied during the process of tamping. Throughout the coffee industry there was an agreed optimal force that baristas should apply for the best tasting espresso but in practise, many baristas struggled to replicate this routinely on a day to day basis. Mclean’s idea was to create a tamper that gave a mechanical click when the optimum pressure was reached. Teaming up with friend Bruce Constantine, Mclean founded a small business called Espro (a contraction of Espresso Professionals) to bring his idea to market and the Calibrated Tamper was launched, allowing baristas to perfect their tamping and achieve better tasting espresso, while also reducing the amount of pressure they put on their wrists. And so it was no surprise that Espro drew a loyal following among baristas in the speciality coffee community.

This initial success led Bruce and Chris to address a more mainstream coffee making problem: brewing great tasting coffee at home. As coffee experts, Bruce and Chris knew that a coffee’s flavour and body had a directly inverse relationship: the more body gained from the brewing process, the less flavour clarity the brew would have and vice versa. They experimented with a variety of brewing methods, using coffees from small-scale producers with distinctive and sophisticated flavours. They noted that the standard French Press coffee makers were easy to use, but the coarse mesh filter allowed too many particles into the brew, reducing the clarity of the flavour.

Cross section drawings of the Espro Press filter

Cross section drawings of the Espro Press filter

It fast became evident that simply using a finer grade of mesh in the filter didn’t solve the issue. The filter became very hard to press down and the ground coffee in the pot would build up before bursting around the edge of the filter and into the brew. Following multiple iterations, the solution became apparent in the form of a two stage filter. The first filter was nine times finer than a standard French Press and shaped like a woven basket. The second filter was 12 times finer than a standard French Press filter; broadly fine enough to mimic the clarity provided by the more fussy coffee-making methods using paper filters. The result of their experiments is the Espro Press, a coffee maker that combines the ease of the French Press with the clarity of paper-filtered coffee.

Espro Press Filter Components

The first basket-shaped filter is 9x finer than a standard French Press. The second filter is 12x finer.

The design of the Espro Press applies engineer’s thinking to tackle other common problems associated with the French Press, specifically that the glass beakers are fragile and offer no insulation. In response to these challenges, Chris developed a double-walled, stainless steel body. The body offers vacuum insulation between the two stainless steel layers, is incredibly robust, yet retains the elegance and form of the much loved French Press. The Espro Press quickly attracted interest, allowing them to achieve sufficient sales and build a broad network of fans to run two Kickstarter campaigns to raise funds to invest in production runs for two additional Espro Press sizes.

Espro Stainless Steel Coffee and Tea Travel Press White

Espro Travel Press is the first device you can make, store and drink coffee from. It’s ideal for making coffee or tea when away from home.

In late 2014, Espro returned to Kickstarter to crowdsource funds for their latest invention, the Espro Travel Press. Drawing on the popular strengths of the Espro Press, they miniaturised the design to create a one-cup coffee brewer that is also acts as a cup for drinking from and has a watertight cap, making it possible for the first time to make, brew and carry coffee in a single vessel while on the run. In a market increasingly crowded with coffee gadgetry, Espro’s engineering experience and pragmatism have led them to create beautiful and functional coffee makers that are easy to use, don’t require coffee-making expertise and which create coffee of a quality championed by baristas. It is with much anticipation that the professional coffee community and coffee enthusiasts alike look forward to seeing what Espro invent next.

Products by Espro

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