It looks like a retro toy robot – one with a round head, long limbs, and gripper claws for its hands. And while it will make for a fun display to show off on a shelf, the Cafelat Robot Espresso Maker will do its best work making its home on your kitchen counter.
Despite the automated underpinnings of its robot form factor, the appliance is actually a manual coffee maker, so you’ll have to do all the individual tasks separately (e.g. boiling, grinding), using it strictly for extracting freshly-brewed espresso shots. Whether you’re a coffee snob, an espresso addict, or just a dude who wants to level up his daily diet of drip coffee, maybe this is exactly what your kitchen needs to elevate the coffee experience inside your home.
The Cafelat Robot Espresso Maker is a rather simple machine. To use it, simply fill the basket with ground coffee, use the tamper to clear any lumps, and place the screen on top of the grinds before filling up with as much boiling water as you want (the more water, the more shots you will make, of course). After that, you raise up the robot’s arms (they’re actually levers), which causes the piston to rise up, making room for the basket, which you attach at the bottom. From there, you just start pulling down on the levers, which will force the hot water through the coffee, creating a thick syrupy espresso dripping from the bottom of the basket straight into a cup (or shot glass) you placed underneath it.
Can it make the best espresso in the world? Probably not, especially since there’s no built-in heating element to keep the water at a level temperature. Can you make good coffee using this thing, at least? Like other manual espresso makers, it will probably take some trial and error on your part, especially when it comes to finding the right mix of water, coffee grounds, and brewing pressure. Fortunately, the appliance won’t make that too hard.
The Cafelat Robot Espresso Maker has a pressure gauge in the body that you can use to keep track of your brewing in real time. Because it’s a manual machine, you can adjust the type of pressure you apply to the piston according to your liking, allowing you to experiment and change up your brew to hone up your amateur barista skills. The outfit recommends brewing the espresso in around six to seven bars of pressure, which is a tad lower than the seemingly-accepted standard of nine bars. According to the outfit, though, most traditional lever machines they tested extract at around that same range, which means most every manual espresso maker cooks it the same way. Plus, you can always adjust to the barista standard if you like those nine-bar brews much better.
When ordering the appliance, by the way, you can get it with either a “professional” or “pressurized” basket. The former is designed for fresh ground coffee (if you grind your own beans at home), while the latter is meant for pre-ground roasts, so make sure to order the right one, depending on the kind of coffee you plan to use.
The Cafelat Robot Espresso Maker comes in two variants: one with a pressure gauge and one without. Pricing starts at $310.