Illy iperEspresso Francis Francis X7
Many business travelers are continuously in search of the perfect cup of coffee or espresso, both at home and on the road. Caffè espresso, typically served in 25 ml shots, is brewed by forcing pressurized hot water through seven grams of ground coffee in about 25 seconds (hence the term “espresso”) . When correctly made it features a crema, a caramel-colored foam, covering its surface, and its taste should be rich and lingering.
Making good caffè espresso, however, requires good beans, good water, good grinding, and a good technique. Machines that automate the process typically require regular adjustment, cleaning, and calibration. There is, however, a high-tech alternative that delivers a perfect shot of espresso every time – and requires no work or skill on the part of the preparer.
The illy iperEspresso system uses pre-measured, ground, and tamped beans that are sealed in a patented pod. Illy offers two home espresso machines, both branded Francis Francis (after illy founder Francesco Illy, who invented the modern espresso machine in 1935), the X7 and the X8.
As a coffee lover, I had tried multiple home espresso machines in the past with mixed results so I was eager to see if the X7 would live up to the hype. The resultant cups provided the answer. The iperEspresso capsule, which encloses a two-stage extraction process that first infuses hot water under ultra-high pressure and then forces the coffee through a patented valve that, using emulsification, creates a rich, long-lasting crema, produced a superb shot of caffè espresso every time I used it.
The system does have two minor downsides: 1.) each shot is relatively expensive at 75 cents, perhaps double what a traditional system would cost albeit far less than the price in a café, and 2.) the pods themselves are not recyclable.
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.