Expobar Pulser - 6 Months On

Expobar Pulser - 6 Months On

Ok so we often get people asking for advice on what kind of kit to get and then after they've purchased, we either never hear from them again or don't really find out how they're coping with the kit or more importantly for me - whether they're happy with it.

My initial purchase was quite a big decision because of the huge cost outlay. Was it worth it? Was I happy with the kit? How does it compare to others? What's my technique like? Knowing what I know now, would I change a thing?.

So, I've written this article to give me thoughts on my purchase half a year onwards. First off a recap. On some very good advice, I'd decided to expand my original budget and shell out £650 for an Expobar Pulser and a Macap MC4. Within about a week of recieving my kit, I was quite happy with the shots that I'd been pulling from this machine.

The first big change that I made was to get a 58mm Reg Barber tamper to replace the plastic one that comes with the machine. WOW, what a big difference this makes. The taste is MUCH improved and definately justifies the £30 or so for it.

Since then I've been modifying my technique to try out different grind / tamp adjustments to see what difference this made. I've also changed from a double basket to a single basket and gone with a bottomless filter. The difference? Well first off, i'm not wasting as much coffee to dial my grinder in… BIG bonus. Are there any noticable differences in taste? Well, the single basket is harder to get right, but once you've got your technique sorted out fine, there doesn't seem to be much of a problem here. I tried grinding finer and tamping lighter but this seemed to just result in more spritzing and not as good a taste in the cup. I've gone back to a similar technique that I first used and this just seems to give me a more reproducable and decent result.

So 6 months on …
Was it worth it? absolutely - without a doubt
Was I happy with the kit? big big YES - its still rock solid and i'm amazed
How goes it compare with others? Having seen other people's more gear, I'm confident that the Pulser / Macap combo can certainly produce as decent a shot as the more expensive machines.
What's my technique like? Well, experimenting a bit, i'm now happy with my technique which to be honest, is very similar to when I started. I've made a few minor changes, but my coffee now seems to be a million times better!
Knowing what I know now, would I change a thing? Well, I love my machines. After 6 months of use, I can honestly say that I wouldn't change the Pulser but given a bit more leeway on the cash, I would potentially upgrade to a Mazzer. Does the Mazzer give a better result in the cup? I dont believe so, but I just like the look and feel of them :)

Ok so what were the big milestones that affected the output in a cup? I'd have to say they came in this chronological order for me:
1. Attending an intro Barista course
2. Getting a decent tamper (Reg Barber or Coffeelabs)
3. Using a single
4. Meeting up with other enthusiasts so you can get more hands on experience and reinforce anything else you've learnt.