REVIEW – I’m not sure if you can find a more subjective beverage than coffee. All the different brands and blends, not to mention milks, alternative milks, creams, sugars and other add-ins. And none of that even accounts for different brewing processes. You’ve likely heard the term “cold brew” and it’s a bit of a misnomer as it doesn’t have to be a cold process, but for certain, it doesn’t use heat. Typically it takes about 12-24 hours to brew this way, but sometimes you haven’t thought ahead and well, that’s where Vinci’s Express Cold Brew comes to the rescue. You can have your own homemade cold brew in minutes. What’s all this about? How’s it work? I’m glad you asked; follow me past the jump!
What is it?
The Vinci Express Cold Brew is a self-contained brewing solution that accelerates the process of making cold brew coffee to just minutes instead of 12-24 hours.
What’s in the box?
- Vinci Express Brewer
- Power cord
- Storage/Serving Lid
- Cleaning cup
There’s actually quite a few more parts as it further disassembles for cleaning, so here’s the chart from the instructions which does a better job of calling them all out than I would be able to.
Capacity: 1.1-Liter (37 Oz) capacity
Carafe: Made from long-lasting borosilicate glass
Brew Settings: Light (5min), Medium (10min), Bold (15min), X-Bold (25min)
Cleaning: Built-in Clean Function for hygienic brewing
Technology: Circle Flow Brewing
Multipurpose: Brew, store, and serve in one container
Power: AC power cord
Design and features
The Vinci Express Cold Brew is a small brewing device that perches atop a glass serving carafe.
The brewing lid houses a quiet pump that cycles the water through the grounds to dramatically reduces the brewing times associated with making cold brew.
The Filter Basket Assembly holds your coffee grounds and disassembles for easy grounds disposal and cleaning.
A separate lid allows you to move from brewing to storage in the same carafe. The handle is removable to facilitate cleaning and the silicone base on the glass carafe helps to insulate from vibration while brewing and general glass protection.
Ready to make some cold brew? The process is pretty straight forward. Aside from the brewer, you will also need ground coffee. Vinci recommends medium to course grounds as anything too fine can clog the filters.
Add the grounds into the Filter Basket Assembly. Make sure the bottom is screwed on tight before starting and then fill it with grounds using Vinci’s measuring scoop. It’s 2 tbsp per scoop and they recommend 7 or 8 at most.
Make sure however you’re measuring that you leave 1/2″ of space to the top of the Basket.
Clean off any grounds on the top ring and seat the top filter.
Turn the Filter Basket Assembly into the brewing lid clockwise.
Make sure that the red O-Ring is seated properly making a good seal all the way around.
Use room temperature water to fill the carafe up to the max fill line, but not beyond.
Place the whole assembly into the water in the carafe until fully seated and aligned on the spout. You’ll notice how much water is displaced by the volume of the filter from the photo above to this one. Plug the power cable into the right side of the brewing lid and to a wall outlet.
Dial in the desired brew setting up top, press the glowing blue BREW button and let it do its thing.
When it’s done, it’ll beep a couple of times. You’ll then need to lift the brew assembly up above the water line and press BREW again to push all remaining water/brew out of the system. When that slows to a drip (~10 sec) press BREW one last time.
You can now remove the whole assembly and set it in the cleaning cup for a moment assuming you want to get straight to drinking your brew.
Quick cleanup is easy. Unscrew the Filter Basket Assembly from the brew lid, lift the top filter and dump grounds into your compost. It’s helpful to unscrew the bottom as well and push the grounds through to minimize what might get rinsed into the sink. You can now rinse all three parts easily.
To clean the brewing lid, fill the cleaning cup 2/3 full, make sure the small tube on the end of the lid does not have grounds on it, turn the dial to clean, set the brewing lid into the cup and hit BREW. It stops by itself in about 5 seconds. To finish, lift up and press BREW again to remove any excess water and then press again to stop.
So why would you want cold brew anyway? There’s plenty to read out on the interwebs, but the general gist is that the extraction process changes when heat is not used, resulting in coffee that has less acidity and as a result is less bitter. Depending on your tongue and the ability to tell between blends, you may or may not notice major differences.
I like a good iced coffee and it’s always seemed strange to brew coffee hot, just to pour over ice and dilute the coffee. It’s not bad by any means but has always just felt wrong. I’ve made traditional cold brew a couple of times and it’s come out just fine, but never seem to have some when I really want it, or I don’t finish all of what I make.
The Vinci Express Cold Brew (really feel like there should end in Brewer) solves a lot of that. Add the grounds and the water and hit a button. 15 minutes later (Bold setting) I’ve got a cold brew that I can adjust with my levels of additives. Yum.
It’s also really simple and quick to clean. Definitely easiest if you do so right after brewing.
Brewing does feel a bit like a science experiment as each batch comes out similar, but different. You can adjust the bean type, and the strength setting (which adjusts brew time) and then how you flavor it after. Here’s a quick video of the first 30 seconds, and the final seconds before ending, all sped up to 2X.
And here’s that final brewing step of flushing the brew lid.
The process feels like it uses a lot of beans. I use about 12 tbsp of grounds when making 10 cups of hot coffee in the morning. This cold brew process uses 14 tbsp to make about 4.5 cups. Granted that’s for stronger coffee that you’ll typically dilute a bit before drinking, but something you should be aware of.
I’m also not sure I’d ever use it below the bold setting. You can always add additional water after the fact to dilute it, but you can’t make it stronger after brewing. Just saying.
The device itself is sturdy and should hold up pretty well over time. I appreciate that the power cord doesn’t have a big wall wart on the end of it, helping to keep the whole device pretty slim for storage.
The only real gripe I have is that I wish the carafe didn’t have a handle on it to take up less room in the fridge. The carafe is easy enough to hold by the glass and it’s not hot, so the handle feels unnecessary.
What I like
- Quick to brew, quick to clean
- Tasty cold brew in minutes
- Small enough to store easily
What I’d change
- Would remove the handle to make it smaller in the fridge.
Vinci’s got a good little product here without many drawbacks. If you find yourself buying cold brew at the store, the Vinci Express Cold Brew(er) would pay for itself before too long, and let you experiment to dial in exactly what you like. That’s the fun part anyway right?