This is our Fellow Prismo review.
The Fellow Prismo is one of the most affordable and versatile devices available to get a strong cup of coffee, similar to espresso.
One of the most common concerns of Aeropress lovers is to find ways to get a stronger and bolder cup of coffee. And for this, the Fellow Prismo is an excellent solution. Moreover, this Aeropress attachment makes it easy to get a thick, creamy, and intense cup of coffee.
Yet, it doesn’t produce espresso like other portable espresso makers. Arguably, Fellow doesn’t offer that either. After a couple of years of using the Fellow Prismo, I found it a practical and easy-to-use device to prepare espresso-like coffee, which is excellent as a base for home cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos.
So, if you want to find out if the Fellow Prismo is for you, keep reading and learn more about its features, pros, and cons.
Table of Contents
Fellow Prismo Review: Is It For You?
If you’re looking to enhance your Aeropress versatility and obtain stronger espresso-style drinks with it, the Fellow Prismo might be a good option. However, I’ll be honest with you. You won’t be able to dial in espresso with it, just a similar coffee drink. The latter isn’t entirely wrong. The Fellow Prismo doesn’t only allow you to prepare faux espresso but a wider range of coffee drinks, like cold brew and even tea drinks, if you feel like it.
The Fellow Prismo isn’t for you if you’re looking for an easy way to obtain espresso from your Aeropress. If you wish to obtain a faux espresso through a Fellow Prismo, you’ll need to overcome a learning curve. The worst coffee I’ve brewed so far; I made it using the Fellow Prismo because it isn’t as forgiving as the regular Aeropress experience.
An espresso machine will deliver a very different coffee cup with similar recipes. Fellow has been very transparent about it, so it has promoted Prismo as a way to pull espresso-style drinks, not authentic espresso.
Still, I love my Fellow Prismo. It has allowed me to pull lovely, strong coffee cups for my late coffee after lunch or even later during the afternoon. The richness, complexity, and body I obtain with the Fellow Prismo are very different from my regular Aeropress brewing. Moreover, the Fellow Prismo is an affordable and interesting device to enrich your coffee brewing experience.
In short, if you love the Aeropress and want to enhance its versatility and pull some intense espresso-like shots, you should take the Fellow Prismo seriously.
What’s this Prismo thingy?
The Fellow Prismo is an Aeropress attachment that enhances the already impressive Aeropress features.
Moreover, the Prismo combines a special valve and a reusable etched metal filter to increase the pressure inside the Aeropress and through the puck. The Fellow Prismo increases the pressure significantly so that the resulting cup can be radically different.
The first thing you’ll notice is that you can obtain crema with it, something that’s impossible with the Aeropress alone. Additionally, the Fellow Prismo metal filter is very fine but lets oils pass-through it, so the resulting cup has more body and a more espresso-ish mouthfeel. Finally, the flavor is a lot stronger. As I said before, I’ve prepared my worst Aeropress brew while I was learning to use the Fellow Prismo. It’s not a dummy-proof device, but the resulting cup after some practice is worth it.
I would say that the Fellow Prismo is going to be a lot more enjoyable and interesting for the curious and nerdy coffee lovers. I can’t imagine more convenience-oriented people trying to pull a shot with a Prismo-ed Aeropress.
- The quality of the reusable metal filter is the best you can find. It looks great and works even better. Most users claim that it’s quite durable and sturdy. If you’ve tried reusable metal filters for the Aeropress, you know that top quality isn’t that easy to find.
- You won’t need to use the inverted Aeropress technique to avoid an under extracted shot. After a few days with my Aeropress, I learned the inverted technique, and since then, I have never used the “conventional” method until I acquired the Fellow Prismo. Its pressure-actuated valve is sensitive but safe. It doesn’t let any fluids pass through until you press the plunger.
- It requires more effort to pull a shot with the Fellow Prismo. I’m not a muscular guy, so I’m not saying this is going to be a problem for someone in good shape. Still, it can be annoying. Several users claim that it can be challenging to manage the extra pressure necessary, so get ready for it.
- The Fellow Prismo is less forgiving than the Aeropress alone. It’s better to try proven recipes at the start. I know, if you’re thinking about the Fellow Prismo, you’re more on the curious spectrum of coffee people. Yet, I learned that it’s better to understand first how the Fellow Prismo works, with “safe” recipes. Experimenting can wait, believe me!
Does the Fellow Prismo deserve a try?
The first time I tried the Aeropress I fell in love with it. I can’t say the same with the Fellow Prismo, but as I improved my brewing technique with it, I have liked it a lot more every day.
As you may have noticed, the Aeropress is the most versatile brewing device in the market. Yet, it doesn’t mean it’s the best, just that it enables you to obtain a wide range of different coffee cups. Still, one limitation of the Aeropress is that it doesn’t create any crema when brewing coffee with an espresso recipe.
Additionally, unless you use a reusable metal filter, the coffee’s body is a bit dull. It doesn’t have any of the mellow viscosity of the espresso.
On the other hand, cheap Espresso Machines tend to be unreliable. It’s impossible to compare the quality of a coffee cup obtained through a Prismo-ed Aeropress with the coffee prepared with a cheap Espresso Machine. Incredibly, some of the most affordable brewing devices like the Prismoed Aeropress is overwhelmingly superior to the cheapest Espresso Machines. Even as these Espresso Machines can have prices below the 100$!
In short, we think that the Fellow Prismo deserves a try. I’ll tell you why, so you can make your own decision.
- Affordable. If you’re thinking about the Fellow Prismo you might have a French Press, a V60, or a Moka Pot already. The Fellow Prismo can be more affordable than any of them, and in general, its price is below most brewing devices.
- Versatile. The Aeropress has created a coffee brewing subculture around it and we could say that versatility is one of the main reasons behind its fame and influence. The Fellow Prismo enhances the Aeropress versatility as it enables brewing espresso-style drinks and improves its cold brewing capabilities.
- Durable. It’s hard to find a reusable filter as good as the Fellow Prismo’s. It works very well, and it’s very resistant. Most users claim that the whole thing is pretty sturdy and properly built, including the special valve.
Does it make crema?
The package shows a tiny espresso cup with crema on top, yet the first drinks I brew using the Fellow Prismo didn’t create any crema. Yet, I must tell you that it isn’t entirely the device’s fault. You’ll need an appropriate recipe to obtain crema, and most of it depends on your coffee bean selection.
If you want more crema, I found that you’ll need very freshly roasted beans to obtain crema with a Fellow Prismo.
Most users claim they can obtain a foamy layer on top of their coffee with the Fellow Prismo. In this regard, they acknowledge that it doesn’t feel nor taste like a real espresso.
Yet, it isn’t just a cup of strong coffee. It has a particular body and mouthfeel, similar to an espresso shot. I know it can be confusing, but we are coffee people and don’t want to overstate anything.
In short, don’t expect a proper espresso, with crema and everything, every single time. You’ll need to find the best coffee to achieve it, grind it to order, and test your recipe for a while. Still, in every case, you’ll obtain a very characteristic shot, not your regular Aeropress coffee – which I love.
What are the alternatives?
As geeky as it may appear, the Fellow Prismo does have some competition. Yet, it’s relatively pricier. We didn’t find any other Aeropress attachment that could offer something similar, but brewing devices were designed to obtain espresso drinks without a proper espresso machine.
- Wacaco Minipresso: most users claim this is an affordable and portable alternative for espresso machines. It has the technology to pull a single shot of espresso on the move, yet it won’t do anything else. If you’re looking for a manual brewing device capable of creating an espresso drink, this is it. Moreover, its price seems right. On the downside, some users claim it isn’t for daily use. It might be a useful travel add-on, more than a daily brewing device.
- Cafflano Kompresso: the Cafflano Kompresso is a coffee brewing device, unlike the Fellow Prismo, which is only an attachment for the Aeropress. If you’re like me, you’ll notice that its price is considerably higher than the Fellow Prismo and the Aeropress, summed up. Aeropress lovers would find it hard to appreciate the Cafflano Kompresso as it’s very focused on espresso brewing. Moreover, it offers to emulate the 9 bar pressure required to pull an espresso. However, several users complain about not obtaining a proper espresso or the famous and desired crema.
- Staresso: it’s a very nice alternative, but in the higher price range like the Cafflano Kompresso. Most users claim it allows them to pull a great espresso with crema on top, and they like the way it looks. Among the alternatives to the Fellow Prismo, I must admit this is the one that looks better to me. Of course, that’s pretty subjective. In terms of the resulting cup of coffee, most users are pretty satisfied. The downside to this brewing device is that it’s not as durable as the others in this review. Something unique about the Staresso is that it’s compatible with most coffee capsules. So, if you like them, this feature might be a winner for you.
Should you buy the Fellow Prismo?
I already bought the Fellow Prismo, and I love it. Yet, as I said before, if you’re a crema lover, you’ll struggle a bit too much to get it. Other devices can deliver that foamy layer on top of your coffee more consistently.
On the other hand, if you already have an Aeropress and want to enhance its capabilities, you might enjoy brewing with a Fellow Prismo. The body and flavors of a shot pulled with it are good enough for me.
If you go for it, I experimented several times with different recipes to obtain a good espresso-like cup of coffee.