I'm a sucker for cool gear...
but who isn't? Every industry I've ever worked in comes with its gear, and specialty coffee has a plethora new gadgets and gear that I always love to get my hands on. Steaming pitchers are of course one of those pieces of kit. In my fridge at home I've got a collection of six pitchers that read like a timeline of my specialty coffee career and latte art progression.
The newest of the bunch are two Welhome Pro pitchers, one standard and one handleless. The handless I purchased because I was looking to try that out, but also I wanted to support Slow Pour Supply. They've generously sponsored the 2018 Thursday Night Throwdown season in San Diego where I live and work. I also work part-time for a company that sponsors the local throwdowns, and Slow Pour was even more generous in sending down a couple pitchers for us to play with, this is how I got ahold of the two handled versions.
With these beautiful new additions to my collection I decided to do a little head-to-head of the handleless and the handled to see which I feel reigned supreme. So last weekend I cranked out about twenty shots and did some pouring, took some notes, and came up with some food for thought on these two very similar, but very different pitchers
What I liked: It's extremely light, which makes it feel like more of an extension of your hand than of a tool you're holding. The taller front end does a good job at allowing you to get closer to the center of the cup for your initial pour without feeling like you're uncomfortably close. The fact that it has no handle also adds to the ease of this, which is for me one of the struggles I've had with my latte art bases. I've found that my base pour is usually further down with this pitcher, which allows more room to pour art, but also art that fills more of the surface area of the cup.
What I didn't like: There is definitely a learning curve for detecting steaming temperature in this pitcher without a thermometer. Using the bottom instead of the side does give you a bit of a different reading, but with some practice it comes pretty quick. Also, the pitcher wrap buttons fall right in the corner of my grip (between my thumb and pointer finger) which feels pretty awkward in the beginning, like you don't have that great of a hold on the pitcher. I'd love it if the buttons were just a bit further down the side towards the spout.
What I liked: This pitcher is also very light and nimble. Similarly to the handleless version this one (like all WPM pitchers) has the taller front end so once again the initial drop into the espresso and base layer of the latte art is very controllable and confidence inspiring. I also really like the stainless finish, its a but more resistant to fingerprints, and is more of a brushed opposed to a mirror-like finish.
What I didn't like: My only gripe about this pitcher is surprisingly enough the handle. Not so much that it has one, but that it feels a bit higher profile than I'd like. Maybe its all this handleless pouring I've been doing lately, but when holding it as I do with all handled pitchers I find myself feeling a lack of control up front (See the second photo for what I'm talking about).
In the end both of these pitchers are outstanding additions to your latte art arsenal, and everyone who I know thats picked one up and brought it to work have had issues trying to take it with them when they leave. Lastly, Slow Pour Supply is an outstanding company with stellar customer service, and they walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to supporting the specialty coffee community. That for me is worth the cost of at least one pitcher. Speaking of cost, they are much more affordable and pour just as amazing art as pitchers being sold for twice or double the price. Check them out if you're in the market for some new pouring gear!