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An Ingenious Espresso Maker, Designed For Your Microwave

An Ingenious Espresso Maker, Designed For Your Microwave....


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Brewing world-class coffee is fairly inexpensive. All you need is a grinder and a kettle and some sort of combination of a funnel and filter. Good espresso ups the ante by about tenfold. You need pressure. Pressure is expensive, it’s counter-suckingly bulky and still requires a level of finesse to pull a perfect shot. Since the 1930s, the solution has been the moka pot, but a moka pot needs a stove.

The Piamo Espresso Maker, designed by Christoph and Hendrik Meyl, along with Lunar, is an elegant, microwaveable entry in the world of at-home espresso. It’s essentially a microwaveable moka pot, inverted. You pour water in a reservoir up top and fill grounds in the middle. Then you set the microwave for 30 seconds. Steam pressure builds in the reservoir, pushing water through the grounds into a cup. You’re done.

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"Any metal part in a microwave acts as an antenna. It needs to be designed in a way that its geometry is soft, rounded, and doesn’t have any pointy, sharp areas that create problems with the electrical fields that would result in the well-known sparks," Gebhard explains. "Furthermore, these metal parts need to be designed in a way that they are aligned with the standardized microwave wavelength and frequency."

Coupled with that espresso cup, which was actually built of ABS plastic to reinforce the metal’s shielding (better than ceramic would), the espresso grounds are kept safe from overheating. Ironically, moka pots are often chided for burning espresso before the water pressure mixes with the beans. Piamo’s design team may have solved this age-old problem despite the indiscriminate science of microwaves.

But before the snobs call me on this, it is worth noting that moka pots may not be the ultimate standard of espresso. Coffee consensus agrees that you need 8.8 bars (atmospheres) of pressure to pull an ideal shot. Moka pots, and the Piamo, both generate about 1.5 bars. So will the Piamo prove to be a replacement for your four-figure counter beast, brandishing a name that could be mistaken for an Italian sports car? Probably not. But could the Piamo be the all-around most convenient way ever to make a drinkable shot of super strong coffee at the inlaws’? Absolutely.

The Piamo is available for pre-order now. It’s $55 on the German equivalent of Kickstarter.

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