We know the summer’s end is just around the corner, but, curious and eager as we are, we couldn’t pass on the offer from our friends at Madison when they asked us if we want to test a cold dripper. Therefore, we’ve thoroughly tested the Essence Ice Cold Brrrewer these past couple of days.
To put it a bit into perspective, there are 2 general methods of preparing cold brew: drip and immersion. These 2 principles can be applied to any kind of methods, some of them more complicated than others. We’ve written a whole article on why we like cold brew and another one which describes around 6 methods on how to prepare cold coffee. I personally have a special interest in cold brew drippers, because generally, the home use versions have functional limitations. This makes the immersion the most used method for home use, meaning… the jar, or other more or less elaborate alternatives.
Brrrewer is a dripper, this means the water falls into the coffee and flows further into the decanter, as opposed to immersion method, where the coffee stays in contact with the water throughout the extraction process. The coffee obtained through immersion is thus very clear, residue free, even somewhat creamy. We’ve done cold brew with the Brrrewer and with a french press through immersion, using the same coffee, and as with any of the alternative coffee brewing methods, results vary and are a matter or taste. Subjectively speaking, we liked the drip version more, as it was clearer, had a gentle mouth-feel, and there was no sediment at the bottom of the decanter.
- A metallic stand with a rubber sole that supports the whole kit.
- A plastic recipient with a lid, in which you add the water (with or without ice), which is placed on the top of the stand.
- In the middle of it there is a metallic rod which turns left and right to regulate the water flow.
- On the lower side of the kit there is a double walled glass carafe which has
- A small basket with filters placed on top.
Using it is easy. You add water on top, coarsely grounded coffee in the basket in the middle, and the result drops in the carafe at the bottom. Nothing complicated and very intuitive.
The cold drip managed to bring out the slightly sweet, floral, velvety taste of the natural processed ethiopian coffee roasted by Madison. The name suites the coffee well, “Another Love“, and we don’t want to get emotional, but the coffee + method = love, for real!
In the instructions booklet, Essence recommend a 1:18 ratio, meaning 1 gram of coffee to 18 grams of water. We tried several ratios and stopped at 1:10, the coffee thus obtained was not very concentrated, and you could drink it as is, or with a splash of tonic water.
The booklet has recipes and preparation steps:
- You put the water in the plastic recipient on the top of the stand. The recipient holds about 450ml to the mark. You can add some ice cubes if you want to lower the water temperature.
- Coarse grounded coffee is placed in the basket, depending on the desired ratio, starting with 25 grams.
- You screw/ unscrew the metal rod until you get 1 water drop every 2-3 seconds.
- It should take around 4 hours for the water to get to the coffee and then further in the decanter.
- You can choose to dilute the coffee, based on concentration and preferences, with hot or cold water, tonic water or cold milk, but it can also be the base of some interesting cocktails.
Depending on the grind size, coffee can retain more or less water. Starting with 450ml of water, you can expect to get 380-420ml of coffee in the carafe.
There is a lot of room to experiment with here. You can use a quicker or slower water flow, a coarser or finer grind, cold or iced water or you can leave the whole device in the fridge. So you can have very different results in your search for the perfect taste.
An important mention, just like with other home use drippers, noted by essence as well, is that you need to pay a bit of attention during the extraction. Because the water flow is influenced by gravity… and that’s about it. So the more water you have in the plastic recipient, the quicker the flow will be. There is a recommendation in the booklet about a settings that would permit extraction even without supervision, but I think this would leave place for surprises, and might extract too quickly, too slowly or never. So we chose to have a look at it from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spend entire hours watching the Brrrewer, I just gave it a quick look every time I passed by it. And this rewarded us with delicious results.
We see ourselves using the Brrrewer during the cold months as well, not just the hot summer ones. This is because last weekend we were on a camping trip in the mountains, and due to space and context limitations, we couldn’t take any brewer with us, not even an Aeropress Go. So we brewed around 500ml of less concentrated coffee to have without ice or tonic water. It was so good we drank it all on the first morning, and the conclusion that summed up the experience is that you don’t need to carry a whole ensemble to enjoy good coffee.
How do you find cold coffee? Have you used a cold dripper before? Have you prepared immersion coffee before? Tell us by leaving a comment below!