Consider the Eva Solo. Part chemistry set, part little black dress (in neoprene, no less) this Danish design is a pretty sexy number. And it’s perfect for brewing darker coffees that have needs. You know the type… coffees that want to cuddle a little. Coffees that want to steep. Coffees that just won’t reveal everything they’ve got without a little extra intimacy.
I’ve used this brewer for some weeks now, and I am increasingly impressed. The Cafe Solo has thoroughly outperformed and now replaced my coffee press and my Chemex brewer… and I suspect the vac pot is in peril of getting put on the shelf, too. Coffees brewed in the Cafe Solo consistently offer better aromatics, brighter and clearer acidity and deeper body. The clincher, though, is the flavor, which — no matter the coffee’s origin or roast style — is sweeter, more nuanced, more complex and more revealing of the coffee, itself.
Okay… so the Cafe Solo is shiny. But why? I’m not sure. I suspect — and this is nothing more than conjecture, really — but I suspect it has something to do with how gentle a method of brewing it is.
Like the coffee press and the vac pot the Cafe solo offers lots of dwell time… where the coffee is in full contact with the water. But there’s no plunging as with a coffee press — a maneuver that can compress the coffee grounds and squeeze out bitter compounds best left where they are. Nor is there the somewhat violent kick-down of a vac pot, where pressure differentials suddenly and tumultuously force all of the brewed coffee once more through the grounds. Both of these methods can result in over-extraction right at the tail end of the brewing process… arguably, just when the coffee grounds are most vulnerable to such extraction.
With the Cafe Solo, when brewing is done you simply pour the coffee into your cup… it’s filtered at the neck of the carafe; there’s no plunging, there’s no pressure. Finis.
I’d imagine it’d be possible to experiment with a coffee press — essentially to not plunge the coffee, or to plunge in only a limited manner — to see if something like the Cafe Solo’s brewing process could be imitated. And, if this were done with a thermal press, it should have much of the same heat-insulating qualities of the Cafe Solo’s neoprene sleeve.
I’ll add that to my to-do list. Meanwhile… I’m gonna have another sip of coffee.