The Impress and the result

Many moons ago, I Kickstarted a project for a coffee brewer. Folks who know me well know that I’m a sucker for brew methods. I’m not a stickler for all the rules like some of the ubergeeks, but I do like to try everything (reviews of some of my other methods coming soon… I’ve been working on that bit of writing slowly).

So I backed, and waited, and waited, and just yesterday my Impress arrived on the doorstep. I took it to work the next day and began my trials. Unboxing reveals a well-designed piece of equipment. It won’t “wow” too many folks, but there was clearly better than average attention to detail with tight fitting pieces and a nice overall feel. I’m not a huge fan of the anodized polka dot flair, but if it makes good coffee, I’ll be happy.

Brew #1 – Pre-ground Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend (I know, preground? Terrible. It’s old too… I should throw it out, but it does a decent enough job on days in which I don’t feel like manually grinding). Used my electric kettle to bring the water to a boil, cleaned the Impress for first use, filled the outer liner with grounds (it says to use 4-5tsp and the filter is 4tsp so you can use it to measure), let the water sit a few seconds after boiling (it needs to drop a few degrees), and wait for three minutes. As with a French Press, press the sucker down and there’s your coffee. It made a neat squishing sound and I was left with a nice head, which was lost when I poured into my mug. Of note, the Impress can be used as a travel mug as it comes with a silicone top with a sipping hole. The coffee appears to be similar to that from a French Press, but without the oil. I had thought that they said there’d be no sediment too, but I see some… Could be my mistake on that. Anyway, I then added a single creamer (yes, I use those in the office), and four cubes of sugar. I haven’t made a good cup with these grounds in a few weeks, but the Impress seems to have breathed some life back into them. I’m pleased so far.

Brew #2 – The last of the pre-ground DD and some freshly blade-ground S’bucks Tribute Blend. Yes, I mixed coffees. Yes, the one was stale and the other sucks, and I used a blade “grinder.” The result? Another pretty good cup of coffee. Unfortunately, I’m stuck with this Tribute Blend stuff for a bit (S’bucks was having a killer deal on coffee a few weeks back… so killer that the fact I don’t like them didn’t stop me from buying), but the next review will at least be 100% those beans so I can give them an actual fair review too.

Brew #3 – Starbucks Tribute Blend, blade-ground. Finally a brew that isn’t setup for failure. Well, aside from the fact that it’s using SB beans. Anyway, as this was a first, I went ahead and took care in my brewing. I allowed the grounds to bloom for about 30 seconds, was more purposeful in my water pouring (to evenly saturate all grounds), and I planned to pay closer attention to total brew time, but got sidetracked and let it sit way too long. The result? Looking past the flavor, I can tell I’ve produced a nicely rounded cup of coffee.

Parting thoughts
I’d really like to get a few more brews out of this with some of the beans I love, but I’m about to head off to some travel so it really isn’t in the cards. I do hate using the word “impressed” with this thing, but it’s exactly what I’m feeling.

Was it worth the price I paid? No, but that’s not what Kickstarter is about; it’s about seeing an idea you like and helping it come to market. Is it worth $20 or so? Absolutely.

I’d really like to take this with me on my trip (with a ziplock of grounds), but there’s a fundamental problem with using it as a travel brew and mug system… There’s no way to get the spent grounds out while the liquid is still in it. Your coffee will continue to brew. That’s not good. I didn’t buy it as a portable brewer so I’m able to look past this severe flaw in one of its advertised features, but if you were looking to do so, look elsewhere. That said, it will work in an absolute pinch (camping and such, but then I’d worry about denting it).

Overall, I’m very pleased with this little guy. If you’re addicted to brew methods, this one may be worth a try, but if you’re already happy with your press method, this doesn’t offer you anything really new.