Espro Toroid Latte Art Pitchers
by Randy Glass 12/22/09- 2009 - All rights reserved

     Anyone with a calendar can see that it has been sometime since I have posted a review here. It hasn't been for a lack of effort on my part. I have contacted a number of representatives over the last 18 months, and while I have received promises of cooperation, that has been all that I have received. It can be quite frustrating, to say the least. Enough whining- let's get on with it....

     When I saw a post on a popular coffee discussion forum relating the success one consumer had with the new Toroid pitcher I sent off an E-mail to Espro in Canada and was thrilled to get a response (see above). Even more thrilling, in less than two weeks I had in my possession the two Toroid pitchers pictured above.

A Tor-What?
     The most simple explanation of a toroid is the shape formed by the surface of a donut. The Espro Toroid pitcher gets its name by the movement of the milk inside the pitcher when it is being influenced by the force of the steam. The lower section of the pitcher is specially shaped to work with the contour of the base to move the milk in a toroidial flow:

The base of the Espro Toroid is designed to circulate the milk easily and effectively.

Image is from the Espro website Color indications have been added by me.

      Instead of a whirlpool, circular flow as would be seen when a bath tub drains, the toroid is designed to flow the milk in a toroid, or donut shaped flow. The red arrows indicate the toroidal flow of the milk in the pitcher. The blue arrow indicates the dimple in the center of the Toroid's base that directs the flow outwards. The shape of the bottom as indicated by the green arrows, moves the flow upwards and back towards the center.

Pitcher in Hand
     Upon first removing the pitchers from their boxes one will notice that they are quite substantial. I compared them to my old "economy" pitcher which if I recall correctly was originally "rated" at 20 ounces:

Pitcher Stated

Milk Volume
Old Pitcher 20 ounces 17 ounces 166 grams [unknown]
Espro Toroid 12 ounce 12 ounces 204 grams 3 to 5
Espro Toroid 20 ounces 20 ounces 277 grams 6 to 10

The handles are attached to the pitcher with three spot welds at each end.

     The Final design feature worth mentioning is the spout. Espro states that it is the "..perfect spout for pouring latte art."

Perfect Spout? We Shall See.

     Before I poured milk into either of the Espro pitchers I was confronted by two thoughts. All the Espro advertisements and illustrations show a single-hole tip in use. My Vibiemme is a two-hole tip. Additionally, This old dog is going to have to learn some new tricks. I have been using the same pitcher since I received my Silvia back at the end of 2000, nine years ago, and so there were, indeed, going to be some new tricks to learn.

     In actual use I was able to get excellent circulation of the milk with virtually no critical position adjustments like I had to execute with the standard pitcher. Even with my two-hole tip the milk circulated in the toroidal motion as described by Espro. After I had used the Espro Torioid pitcher for about a month I went back to my original pitcher for one use- that was all it took. I found myself struggling a bit to find the exact angle to get good circulation. I had not realized just how easy this task had become with the Toroid. It really does make a difference.

     And while I am no master of the art, here's a pour I accomplished the morning I completed this review, using Kirkland (Costco) soymilk . The shape of the spout does indeed assist with getting better latte art, particularly compared to the VERY basic pitcher I had been using.

     Check your favorite online reseller to find a Toroid pitcher, or use the Espro Ordering and Dealers page to find a source of these excellent pitchers.