It’s no surprise that a new coffee gadget around the Newegg offices attracts attention. After all, there are plenty of us coffee geeks with a penchant for trying new beans, roasters, or brewing methods. It comes with the territory I suppose, obsessing over the details and constantly searching for the perfect cup.
The latest gem on my mission to the caffeinated holy grail is a little device from BeanPlus, which makes some deliciously potent cold brewed coffee right at your desk, in half the time of its competitors.
By “cold coffee” I don’t mean your leftover coffee from yesterday morning. Before getting too far into why we love the BeanPlus, it would help to have a little background about why you’d want to trade in your morning hot cup of Joe for a cold one. Basically, cold brewed coffee uses cold or room-temperature water and extended periods of time to extract the caffeine and flavor from beans, while hot coffee uses heated water to do a similar job in a much shorter period of time. So both methods do the same job, but that doesn’t mean the two are the same.
Cold brewed coffee vs iced coffee
When you heat coffee grounds, a chemical reaction occurs that extracts the caffeine, flavor, and oils from the beans, but can also bring some astringency or bitterness along with it. The level of bitterness really varies based on brew method, the roast level of the bean, water temperature, and more. Normal iced coffee is brewed hot then poured over ice to cool it down, which still retains the same characteristics of the hot coffee, just watered down a bit (and more so as time goes on and the ice melts).
Cold brewed coffee never touches hot water, so it doesn’t have any extra bitterness from the brew process. Instead of a quick brew time cold brew generally takes 12 to 24 hours, which allows all the nuanced flavors, richness, and caffeine to make their way out of the bean and into your cup. The cold brew product comes out in a concentrated form, so it’s common to mix it with water, milk, or over ice to balance the flavor and take the edge off (though sometimes straight-up is the way to go!). The flavor is bolder, and the caffeine content is significantly higher than hot or iced coffee.
Where BeanPlus fits in
Remember the 12 to 24 hours it takes for most cold brew methods to get you that delicious go-juice? BeanPlus changes the game and cuts that in half and then some by managing to satisfy your caffeine fix in only five hours. That means that if you get those after-lunch food comas you can set up when you get to work and have a freshly-brewed batch standing by in the middle of the day.
The form factor of the BeanPlus is compact, and it’s small enough to have a home on even the most cluttered of desks or countertops. It features a combination of materials which give it a blend of practical utility and style.
The basket where the coffee grounds are held is stainless steel, and circular paper filters are used to sandwich the grounds to keep the flavors clean and smooth. The water passes through a dime-sized disposable filter before getting to the first filter in contact with the grounds, which is a nice touch to ensure great-tasting coffee.
The water chamber and beaker are broken up by a matte black plastic accent, which holds the two in place securely during the brew process. This accent and the stainless steel cap break up the two clear housing sections, making for an overall product that is easy on the eyes.
The taste test
The cold brew produced is rich, clean, well-rounded, and smooth. The subtle nuances of the beans come through with all the flavor, but none of the bitterness. While the concentrate is still potent enough to give you the boost of energy, it isn’t nearly as dense as the concentrate from other immersion cold brew methods.
As expected, the brew is robust in flavor, with room to cut it down at your own preference without sacrificing the unique characteristics of the bean. The yield from one full batch is 15.5oz, which should be more than enough for your daily caffeine needs without over-producing.
The instructions don’t specify to pre-wet the grounds and stir before dripping, but I would suggest doing so. Jumping straight into the dripping seems to not make full use of the grounds as sometimes by the end of the brewing process there are patches that didn’t get wet.
While nice to have a glass container that doesn’t leech any plastic flavors, I feel that this is more for style than anything. Since the brew time is only 5 hours and you aren’t using any heated water, the likelihood that you will get these off flavors is minimal, which makes the glass beaker more of a liability for breakage (although it does look cool).
The cleanup is super easy, since the contact with coffee or grounds is restricted to a small basket and the beaker – makes for quick cleanup possible at the office without making a mess.
I had the BeanPlus parked on my desk for a couple weeks. It drew plenty of attention from those passing by, and everyone wanted to snag a taste. It’s practical, compact. and relatively quick to get what you want, without producing a huge batch at a time. The BeanPlus cold drip brewer makes it easy to get access to fresh cold brew made your way.