Attractive, heat retaining, major addition to my espresso making routine
Positive Product Points
Cool to the touch, attractive, heat retaining, good volume
Negative Product Points
Will shatter when broken
I'm posting this short review because I am surprised to see none here for these cups. Bodum has really given us a treat with their recent lines of extraordinary double-walled, vacuum glassware: the Pavina, Assam, and Canteen lines. Like Nissan's patented technology, Bodum surprises us with the fact that superb heat retention can be attained with a thin vacuum layer when done correctly. Unlike the very thick shot glasses I was using before, these cups never got hot to the touch, and yet the contents are hotter than anything I've encountered. I love the fact that they are clear so one can view the shot progress. Since they are attractive and cool to the touch -- unlike shot glasses-- they can go from machine to serving.
Many of us have been used to finding the thickest espresso cups possible. There's an irony here, of course, in that such cups will suck the heat from the espresso unless they are very much preheated. The Bodums provide better heat retention than anything normal cups can manage, even though they are feather light and require no preheating whatsoever. Tests done by various espresso folks on alt.coffee and here support these rather stunning findings.
The cups are very attractive, as you can see in the pictures at Amazon or Wholelattelove.
You can also buy matching larger ones for cappucinos or lattes. I have just begun using these. I am a bad boy and cut corners by foaming my milk directly in my cups, and the 2nd smallest Pavinas are perfect: the milk swirls but never topples over the sides, and the thermometer tells me the temp (clamping on just fine) while the sides stay cool to my touch. They look beautiful when served, or at least my girlfriend swooned. Also, the heat retention blew away my Lavazza cappa cups. And the curves and lack of any condensation meant that I did not need coasters. Yeah, I like 'em.
Many reviews will say they are delicate. They are reasonably delicate. If you drop one onto a tile floor, it will shatter, as happened to me once. But then again, they're not that expensive to replace. I have never broken one under normal use, whether in the dishwasher, sink, or during use. So they are fragile, but they will not break under normal operation. I'm pretty sure that part of the judgment that they are fragile is based on an emotion that is connected to how feather-light they are. It's eerie and takes time to get used to, handing cups that are so very light. I think our bodies/minds have habituated themselves to handling thick and heavy cups with a certain care ("Be careful, it's heavy!") and these cups require some reprogramming ("Be careful, it's light!") I would not have them in the reach of children.
We get excited about new variations of tampers and thermocouples and portafilters, but I think the Bodum double-walled espresso glass lines are strong candidates for the most important technological improvement in espresso making in the past ten years.