Staresso 3 Mirage Plus & Discovery Grinder Review

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Staresso 3 Mirage Plus portable espresso maker is an interesting choice for coffee lovers who want their coffee while they're out and about. In this review, we look at how it works in real life, how well it performs, and how easy it is to use.

The Staresso 3 Mirage Plus, the latest 2023 version (4th generation), is a hand pump coffee maker primarily designed for crafting espresso. It achieves impressive pressure levels using a manual pump that pressurizes the hot water chamber before sending it into the coffee grounds in the filter basket. This innovation centers on a small piston within a compact cylinder, ensuring that managing the force needed to move the piston remains feasible as the chamber's pressure rises. Achieving the desired high pressure requires around 30 to 40 strokes, aided by a rhythm of 1 to 2 seconds per stroke.

The clever valve system of the Staresso 3 Mirage Plus holds back the pressurized water from reaching the coffee grounds until it reaches the perfect pressure downstream. This inventive method keeps the pressure steady by focusing on how the valve works, rather than relying heavily on the coffee bed's resistance to water flow. This design allows for adaptable grind coarseness, although for the best outcome, a fine grind is still recommended.

The Staresso 3 Mirage Plus is built using sturdy BPA-free plastic for the external body, which features a rubbery texture. The device also includes a stainless steel coffee filter and an integrated coffee cup, elevating its durability and overall appearance. With dimensions of 11 x 9 x 27 cm, the Staresso 3 Mirage Plus strikes a compact balance between being portable and practical. Its maximum coffee dispenser accommodates 18 to 22 grams. The pressure generated ranges between 15 to 20 bars. Additionally, the spoon has an approximate capacity of 8 grams.

Using the vertical pump press mechanism, the Staresso 3 Mirage Plus becomes effortlessly user-friendly, demanding minimal strength. With just a minute of pumping, you can prepare a coffee shot. Remarkably, the Mirage Plus produces an authentic espresso-like experience without electricity. Its pump system achieves pressure levels between 15 to 20 bars, comparable to traditional espresso machines. On average, about 10 pumps push the entire hot water (up to 180ml) through the coffee grounds into an 80ml cup. The coffee dispenser accommodates up to 22 grams of coffee.

Attaining uniform espresso shots with a satisfactory crema layer is achievable. As for maintenance, disassembly and reassembly are quite straightforward. However, one drawback is the complexity of the Mirage Plus disassembly due to numerous components, potentially leading to misplacement or loss.

The Mirage Plus boasts exceptional portability, a key highlight of its features. Equipped with a foldable and height-adjustable stand resembling a space shuttle, it maintains an upright position. The complete weight, comprising the stand (175 grams) and coffee cup (61 grams), amounts to 716 grams. Without the stand, the combined weight of the Staresso 3 Mirage Plus and coffee cup totals 480 grams.

The stand is primarily composed of plastic, featuring rubberized feet and spring-loaded plastic latches that securely attach the stand in place. Additionally, the Staresso 3 Mirage Plus includes an integrated coffee cup constructed from aluminum and featuring an external rubberized texture, akin to the rest of the body. With an 80ml capacity, the coffee cup measures 6.5cm in diameter and 3.5cm in depth. The rubberized finish contributes to its durability. However, a drawback is the type of rubber used, which tends to attract dirt and lint, resulting in the Mirage Plus appearing unclean.

The Staresso 3 Mirage Plus conveniently disassembles into multiple components, which facilitates simple cleaning and the replacement of parts like the pump mechanism. However, the reassembly process can be intricate. For coffee preparation, just unscrew the coffee cup and the inner ring retainer to access the stainless steel coffee filter. At the opposite end, unscrew to reveal the aluminum hot water reservoir with volume markings, where you pour in the hot water. The pump press is integrated into the underside. Releasing the pump is as simple as pressing and turning the center disc counterclockwise, causing the pump to extend automatically. To retract the pump, just push it in and turn clockwise.

Potential deal breakers

  • Assembly might take some time
  • Crema not be as pronounced
  • Doesn't support Nespresso pods
  • Multiple pieces and rubber seals can be cumbersome
  • Attracts dirt due to sticky-type rubber
  • Spare black o-rings aren't included

Selling points

  • Coffee grinder optional add on
  • can be adjusted 15-20 bar pressure
  • can make professional espresso
  • can make up to 75ml of espresso
  • User-friendly vertical pressing mechanism
  • Well-constructed
  • Wide range of coffee-water ratios
  • Sturdy functional stand
  • Pump can be repaired & replaced
  • Compact and portable design
  • Compatibility with various ground coffee blends
  • Built-in coffee cup
  • Great for camping or office use
  • Effective pressurized filter basket
  • Can produce both hot and cold coffee beverages

As an additional choice, you can also opt for the Staresso Discovery manual coffee bean grinder, resembling a salt or pepper grinder in appearance. The Discovery coffee grinder features a textured metal body with a polished metal top section that attaches to the body by screwing. By unscrewing the top part, you can access the stainless steel basket filter and the adjustment knob for grinding (also made of stainless steel). This knob lets you regulate the coarseness of the coffee grind. Connected to a hexagonal drive shaft, the grinding knob operates two rotating burrs that grind the coffee beans.

The underside of the Staresso grinder can also be unscrewed, revealing the gear mechanism of the drive shaft and burrs on the opposite end. This is where you load the coffee beans. The hexagonal drive shaft extends from the bottom side, where you can securely attach the crank handle (measuring 16cm in length), much like attaching a hex bit socket. The grinding burr mechanism on the drive shaft operates silently—producing only the sound of grinding coffee beans. The dimensions of the Staresso Discovery grinder are 15.5cm in height and 5cm in body diameter. It weighs 447 grams without the handle and 546 grams with the handle.

Sold separately, the Staresso Discovery operates similarly to the Mirage Plus coffee maker in that it doesn't require electricity. Instead, it features a removable elongated handle that offers convenient leverage for manually grinding coffee beans to achieve both fine and coarse textures. To modify the coarseness of the coffee, you only need to turn the adjustment knob that includes distinct levels for various grind sizes. This versatility caters to the Mirage Plus, steam espresso machines, and French press pots. By loosening the knob, you achieve a coarser grind. This is the essence of the Staresso Discovery grinder.

The weight of the Staresso Discovery grinder is 750 grams, and its dimensions are 15cm in height, 5cm in depth, and 5cm in diameter. Its construction entails a sturdy aluminum body, much like the crank handle, which incorporates a wooden knob. The burr grinder mechanism and the coffee basket filter are both crafted from stainless steel. The basket filter has the capacity to hold around 20 grams of coffee grounds, sufficient for a double shot of espresso. When you register the warranty with Staresso, you're eligible for up to 2 years of coverage.

The Staresso Discovery coffee grinder excels at finely tuning the granularity of ground particles. This precision is achieved through its 12 gear options spanning from 0 to 11, accommodating various coffee extraction techniques. The coarseness adjuster, marked with distinct graduations, guarantees accuracy in grinding sizes. Each grind setting harmonizes perfectly with the needs of professional coffee brewing machines.

Operating the Staresso Discovery grinder is both straightforward and convenient. Simply lift the upper cover to add coffee beans. To adjust the grind size, unscrew the bottom powder bucket in a counterclockwise direction, revealing a knob at the base of the main grinder body. Once you've chosen your preferred scale, rotate the handle until you encounter minimal resistance, signifying the successful completion of the grinding process.

While the Staresso Discovery grinder might be pricier in comparison to electric alternatives, its value is evident. Crafted entirely from metal and operated manually, concerns about motor malfunctions are eliminated. Cleaning is effortless with minimal residue, ensuring the burrs hold onto only a small amount of coffee grounds. Consequently, the grinder prevents clogging and guarantees nearly precise coffee quantity as input. Additionally, it boasts exceptional control over granularity, resulting in consistent coffee grounds with each use. The knurled body further enhances grip and handling.

The Mirage Plus arrives with a scoop, a cleaning brush, two rubber o-rings, and a foldable stand. On the other hand, the Discovery coffee grinder package consists of two plastic cleaning brushes, a detachable crank handle, and a suedette drawstring pouch featuring an internal waterproof sleeve pocket. You can buy the Staresso 3 Mirage Plus and buy the Staresso Discovery grinder from amazon. Use promo GADGETE10 for $10 off your order.

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