Until I tried the Cold Breur, I thought I was a coffee geek. But the inventors of this cold brew device take coffee-making to a whole new level of detail. They consider things I never thought of — like how tiny, random bubbles in water can affect the flow rate, and how ice prevents these bubbles from forming in the first place.
Does all that thought and consideration result in the perfect cup of coffee? I tried the Cold Breur to find out.
What the Heck Is a Cold Breur?
The Cold Breur is a non-electric, three-chamber cold brew coffeemaker made of glass and silicone. It's so attractively designed, it caught the attention of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), which now sells it in its shops.
To brew coffee, you put a filter in a "tower" set over a carafe, fill it with a precise amount of medium ground coffee, top it with a plug containing a valve, and then fill the very top chamber with ice and water. Over hours, the ice melts and the water drips down into the grounds and drips out into the carafe as cold brew, a caffeinated beverage known for its smooth, sweet, low acid taste.
Buy: Cold Breur, $80 at MoMA
The first few times I used it, I found the instructions confusing and the setup quite tedious. After watching the video on the company's website and giving the Breur several trials, I got the hang of getting the drip process going. I realized that there are fill markings on the coffeemaker that make it quicker and easier than following the directions to weigh out the ground coffee and the water and ice.
Once the water starts dripping over the coffee grounds, though, you have to fiddle with a valve for the entire process to maintain the flow rate at one drip per second. Yes, you read that right — one drip per second. I found it hard to gauge the drip rate and control it with the valve. Even with the valve opened fully, the water didn't drip steadily at that frequency and it took me between three hours and 17 minutes and close to six hours to brew about three cups of coffee.
By the time the coffee was fully brewed it was cool but not icy-cold. When I tasted it immediately after brewing, it was undoubtedly smooth and not at all bitter, but I found it flat and stale, like coffee that had been sitting around, which of course it had been. It was also weak for my taste; I prefer a full-bodied brew. My palate missed the acidic notes that give a hot cup of java a more dynamic profile.
However, when I poured myself a cup of cold brew after it had an overnight rest in the fridge, I found the taste had intensified. It had a rich, chocolatey flavor and didn't seem weak at all.
Is the Cold Breur for You?
If you already know you like cold brew and want to make it at home, the Breur is worth trying. And if you want to geek out over coffee-making enough to babysit a three-cup brewer for hours in search of your ideal cup, you'll be intrigued by this science experiment. However, if you want a more hands-off approach (with still-delicious results!), try Kitchn's cold brew method at home — no fancy equipment required.
DIY Caffeine Fix
Make it yourself: How To Make Starbucks-Style Cold Brew Coffee at Home