I like my hot coffee. OK, I have to HAVE TO have it in the morning. However, recently my buddy Brian suggested I try cold drip coffee. He’d rigged up some brewing method with some type of brewer designed for camping, but he swore it worked well for creating cold-drip brews. So when Julie provided an opportunity to try out the BeanPlus Cold Drip Coffee Brewer, I was curious enough to volunteer. How well did BeanPlus work? Let’s check it out! Gadget on!
The BeanPlus arrived in some very non-descript packaging. A basic cardboard box…
…with two smaller basic cardboard boxes inside it. Since this was a review sample, I don’t know if the packaging was indicative of the actual product’s packaging, but I do appreciate that it is recyclable and simple.
The BeanPlus came with all of the items shown above.
Above is a close-up of the small bags and their contents, which were the smaller white Water Purifier Filters on the left, and the larger tan Coffee Filters on the right.
How it Works
Although no instructions were included with the BeanPlus (they have just finished a very successfully crowdfunded Indigogo campaign), they have placed a very simple instructional video on YouTube that I followed to set up and use their cold drip coffee brewer. It started with the stainless steel coffee basket shown above.
First, I placed one of the coffee filter disk in the bottom of the coffee basket, over the holes in the basket’s bottom.
Next, I filled the coffee basket to the fill marking level. It took about two cups of coffee to get to the fill marking level. One thing to note here is that the fill marking is only on the outside of the basket; if it were on the inside, it would be much easier to tell if it had been filled to the correct level. A minor point I suppose, but it could be a usability improvement in a future version.
Atop the coffee grounds, I placed a second of the filter discs. This second filter is intended to help spread and distribute the water across the grounds, rather than having them concentrated in one spot as they drip.
Above is the water/ice container. It is plastic and has milliliter (mL) graduation indicators along the side. The container holds 550 mL or 18.6 fluid ounces of ice and water.
I filled the water/ice container with—you guessed it—water and ice!
I then placed the stainless steel lid atop the plastic water/ice container.
The stainless steel lid as well as the stainless steel container that holds the coffee grounds, are both of exceptional quality. Well marked and with a very nice finish.
Above, you can see the patented drip valve underneath the water/ice container. The valve is super easy to use, as it follows the “lefty loosy, righty tighty” principle—turn to the right and the valve closes, producing a slower flow; turn to the left and the valve opens, producing a faster flow. This design is not only simple to use, it is very easy to adjust and also allows for a constant drip rate. Plus, the slower the drip, the darker, richer and stronger your brew. You can also see the small white disc that filters the water as it passes through the valve. This filter disc helps regulate the flow rate as well as preventing clogging of the water through the valve. The valve can be fully unscrewed and removed for cleaning and for replacing the filter disc.
Above is a close-up in which you can see a drip of water that has just passed through the value and is above to drip down onto the top coffee filter disc before passing into the coffee grounds. The cold brewing method employed by the BeanPlus is also called “dutch” or “kyoto” brewing process and because of the BeanPlus’s simple design, the process really is just this simple.
Above is a photo of the completed BeanPlus set up with the brewing process underway. Note that when I snapped this photo, the water hadn’t yet had time to fully drip down through the coffee grounds, so no coffee had yet collected in the glass carafe at the bottom. I’d also add that once set up and running, the entire system is more or less air tight, which helps limit dust or other contaminants from infiltrating the brewing process.
The above photo shows the results after about four hours of brewing, which is the minimum brew time recommended by the BeanPlus folks.
The result was a very dark, rich, bold, strong brew of coffee. And it was delicious! The first few brews that I had were cold over ice, which was great, but I also heated one up in the microwave after brewing in order to drink it hot, which was good also. I also took the recommendation on the BeanPlus site and poured a portion of a brew over a glass of Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout. The Dragon’s Milk has strong coffee undertones, so the cold-drip brew from the BeanPlus just made it even better, and a combination I’m certain I’ll have again.
BeanPlus looks pretty darn nice, too. I didn’t mind having it set on my kitchen counter while brewing, as seen above.
BeanPlus is also quite portable. I’d put it in my backpack and take it to work on Monday, get a brew started in the morning right from my desk, then have a cup in the afternoon. I’d keep it at work all week, then bring it home on Friday and use it at home for the weekend. In fact, I am literally watching it drip brew as I type this. Easy peasy.
The BeanPlus is easy to fully disassemble for cleaning. Above, a photo of the components that are dishwasher safe—the glass carafe and the stainless steel coffee grounds container as well as the lid to the water/ice container. The other BeanPlus components, which are all plastic, are not recommended for dishwasher cleaning, but I found were easy and quick to clean with dish washing soap and water.
I really like the BeanPlus Cold Drip Coffee Brewer. It’s very simple to use and quick to set up (no electricity required!), which I find refreshing in this world of complicated gadgets. The BeanPlus’ components are easy to disassemble and wash and whole system has a very clean, sophisticated look. And, most importantly, the coffee it brews is delicious. I’m not sure how well my buddy Brian’s cold-brew setup works, but BeanPlus is dead simple and brews great-tasting coffee. If you want to try cold drip coffee brewed at home or just about anywhere you want, I’d highly recommend you check out BeanPlus.
Right now, anyone can pre-order the BeanPlus through Indiegogo (the project has been fully funded). It will be available end of October. There are different prices based on what package the customer wants. The basic package (brewer + water filters +coffee filters) is $59 + shipping. The premium package (brewer + coffee filters + water filters + stainless steel coffee filter + tamper + carafe + breathable lid).is $84 + shipping. This is a special pre-order pricing. Once the brewer becomes available for retail, the basic price will start at $79.99.
I don’t use this as often as I had expected, probably because it does take a long time to fully brew a cup, but I do still use it from time to time. I’ve found that I have to use quite a bit of coffee grounds to give the cold-drip coffee the type of bold flavor that I like, but I’ve resigned myself to this fact. Generally speaking, the BeanPlus works well, but I do wish I had one of their stainless steel filters rather than the paper filters, but the SS ones are currently out of stock.