We’re a well-caffeinated bunch here at Food52. Rarely does a morning go by where pour over from the communal Chemex isn’t announced for sharing; and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone starting their day without a warm mug of coffee, or (more likely during these hot summer days) a cold brew on ice.
Good coffee options are never far, especially with exceptional cafes within a few blocks’ radius of our offices, and I’ll be the first to admit that the daily routine of popping in for a morning to-go cup is both a comfort and convenience. I try to limit these occasions to just a few times a week, but with the recent stretch of heat, the pop-ins have become more frequent.
It’s a habit that adds up quickly when both pour over and cold brew go for about $4 to $5 a serving (and yet, I’m fully aware of reports about just how much we’re spending on coffee). So when I had the opportunity to take a pour over cold brew coffee travel mug out for a spin, I jumped at it.
The Brumi Pour Over & Cold Brew To-Go Bottle is a handsome one: a double-walled glass bottle with a flip-top plastic lid, removable cork sleeve, and a small stainless steel filter inside.
I tested both cold brew and pour over methods over the course of several days. It became a post-dinner routine to prepare the cold brew. First, I would fill the bottle up about three-quarters of the way with fresh, cool water. I then added three to four heaping tablespoons of coarsely ground beans to the stainless filter (watch the video below to see the process) before dropping it into the nearly filled container, topping it off with a bit more water and giving the blooming grounds a quick stir. I then screwed on the top and stuck the bottle in the fridge for a minimum of 12 hours.
In the mornings, I removed the bottle from the refrigerator, took the filter out (letting it drain on a plate before emptying it of the spent beans and giving it a rinse in the sink), closed it back up with the lid, and
threw gently placed it in my work bag. (On the first day of commuting with the bottle, I put the bottle in a plastic bag for fear of a leaky lid; luckily, I had no reason to worry.)
After a fairly active 30-minute commute, I opened the bottle and took a sip directly from it before pouring the coffee into a glass filled with ice. Smooth, with low to no acidity—just what I love about cold brew. Strong, but not overly so where you immediately feel your heart palpitating (I often find myself topping coffee shop cold brews off with more water because of their sheer strength). What a promising start to the day! I didn’t add any additional water (just a bit of milk), but I could have if I had brewed it longer than the 12 hours. This was the perfect buzz to get my morning started and the nearly 12 ounces of coffee was just the right amount for me.
I got an equally smooth cup of joe when I tried the pour over function. This time, I filled the filter with about two to three tablespoons of coarsely ground coffee before hoisting it atop the plastic lid where the filter’s grooves were able to sit stationary while I poured near-boiling water over the ground coffee. The entire pouring and filtering process took about three minutes. I removed the filter, placed it on a plate, and gave the coffee an immediate sip. The smooth characteristics of the cold brewed coffee were still present, thanks to the brief steep. Still no bitterness, and I enjoyed about half of it black before deciding to pour the (still hot) coffee into a mug with a splash of milk.
Washing the bottle in both scenarios couldn’t be simpler. After removing the cork sleeve, simply hand wash the individual components or throw them in the dishwasher.
Will I continue using the bottle? For cold brew, absolutely. By starting the process the night before, there was barely any effort on my part in the mornings, other than remembering to take the bottle out of the fridge.
As for pour over coffee, the process of manually pouring the water isn’t eliminated, so the time outlay is still the same. However, the portability is a great feature for a longer commute, and the insulated bottle ensures that a warm drink will be at the ready. In my case, with a well-loved Chemex in the office, I probably won’t be utilizing the pour over function of the bottle much.
In either case, you don't have to be a numbers whiz to recognize the significant savings in brewing your own coffee versus picking up the same versions at your local cafe. At $37, the Brumi bottle will easily pay for itself in about a week’s time (faster, if you're an avid coffee drinker!). Personally, there’s nothing sweeter than a good deal, so I’ll continue to use my Brumi bottle as long as the weather necessitates a cold jump start to the day.
Alright, cold brew and pour over fans: Is this a travel mug you'd try for yourself? Let us know in the comments.