The Bodum Bistro… Not So Hot.

The Bodum Bistro… Not So Hot.

Some months ago I expressed my deep covet of the very attractive Bodum Bistro manual drip brewer. What, after all, is not to like? It takes a page from the classic Chemex pour-over coffee brewer, offers a nod to the Eva Cafe Solo, and ups the ante by leveraging the twin-walled, heat-resistant borosilicate glass that’s proven extremely successful in Bodum’s revamped glassware line. Turns out, the Bistro’s not so hot. Literally. The Bistro’s dual-walled construction *is* a marked improvement over the Chemex, but its thermal qualities pale when compared to most any stainless thermos. And that other advance — the Bistro’s gold-plated permanent filter — while more eco-friendly than the Chemex’s fussy, folded, paper filters — don’t hold a candle to, say, SwissGold permanent filters. In the end, the Bodum Bistro is more style than substance. It *is* pretty. And it’s well made. (Which is not to say that it isn’t extremely fragile!) I appreciate that Bodum dares to take risks, and to keep pushing the envelope of brew tech. Not every product will enjoy the success of say, the electric Santos, but surely some will. This Bistro, however, just doesn’t add up. Meanwhile, if you’d like to try one of these for yourself — they do look elegant on the table after all — Amazon has them at fire sale prices, probably until they’re all...
Rocketing to the Top of My Wish List

Rocketing to the Top of My Wish List

Following in the footsteps of its eSantos brewer line, Bodum has, I suspect, a new instant classic on their hands. Their new manual drip Bistro model takes a page from the classic Chemex pour-over coffee brewer, and offers a nod to the Eva Cafe Solo. And then Bodum ups the ante by leveraging the twin-walled, heat-resistant borosilicate glass that’s proven extremely successful in their revamped glassware line. There’s two notable improvements over the Chemex here. The first — and long the Achilles’ heel of the Chemex — heat retention. The Bistro’s dual-walled construction solves that issue, and looks spectacular, too. Second, the Bistro forgoes the Chemex’s fussy, folded, paper filters — which were always a challenge to align just right — and uses a gold-plated stainless permanent filter, instead… and in so doing makes this an appropriately green design. Other design bits: a silicone and rubber grab handle at the neck of the brewer, likewise a lid to further retain heat when the glass filter assembly is set aside. I appreciate the fact that the whole kit can be chucked in the dishwasher. And did I mention the, “Hey, my coffee is hovering above the table!” effect? Tres cool. It remains to be seen whether the Bodum gold filter functions as well as, say, those made by SwissGold, but I’m hoping for the...
The Coolest Brewer You Never Heard Of?

The Coolest Brewer You Never Heard Of?

Bodum has done it again… in spite of themselves. The Bodum Mocca Brewer ups the ante on the traditional Italian stovetop espresso maker in much the same way that the eSantos Vac Pot raised the bar for the traditional vacuum coffee maker. At the same time they’ve made such a mess of marketing the new brewer it’s a wonder they’re actually selling any of them. (I’ll get to that in a bit…) You’re no doubt familiar with the Bialetti stovetop espresso maker — you may know it as a moka pot — long the staple of little Italian grandmothers, everywhere. Dead simple and robustly made, it’s not unusual for these little coffee makers to be handed down from one generation to the next. ‘Course, they’re cheap (read, inexpensive) enough it’s an altogether sentimental thing. You can buy one for your stovetop, buy another to use exclusively on camping trips (they make great camp coffee) and buy one for Nonna to have as a spare and you’ll *still* get change for a 50 dollar bill. That’s not to say there isn’t room for improving the traditional stovetop espresso maker. Firstly they’re a bit of a bugger to clean (all those corners in the octagonal base can prove tricky,) and over time — depending on just what kind of water you’ve got — the aluminum can oxidize. Still, it’s nothing some elbow grease and a pot or two to re-season things won’t fix. However… you do need a stove-top. Or a hot-plate, or — did I mention? — a campfire. Finally, if — like me — you don’t *have* a little...
Best of 2005: Coffee Brewers

Best of 2005: Coffee Brewers

So maybe that whole Cyber Monday thing was just a gimmick to get you online, but the bald facts remain: the holidays are upon us, the shopping season is short this year, and you’ve got coffee hounds on your list that have high hopes (and high expectations) for what they’ll find under the Christmas tree this year. (I’ll save the Holiday tree / Saturnalia / Feast of Lights / Winter Solstice debates for other folk… at Bloggle it’s Christmas. So there.) Every year I get lots of emails (for a given value of lots) packed with questions from harried shoppers — Which brewer should I buy? Which coffee? Got any ideas for stocking stuffers? — and every year I answer as honestly and completely as I can, ’cause you never know, they might be buying something for me. (Hasn’t happened yet.) And thus, the Best of Coffee 2005 is born. This is a compendium of coffee products I’ve tried this year, and liked. Everything on this list has seen a fair amount of hands-on scrutiny, some have seen lengthy reviews, and all have my personal thumbs-up. The List Best Auto-drip Coffee Brewer Long-time readers of these pages know that I’ve been a fan of the Bunn line of home auto-drip coffee brewers since way back. So it will likely turn their heads that my choice isn’t a Bunn, but the Zojirushi Fresh Brew. Sure… the Bunn’s always-on system and reservoir is still about as easy and convenient to use as ever (and one remains on the kitchen counter even now… herself uses it for the first pot of the...
Bodum eSantos: A Lovely Mess

Bodum eSantos: A Lovely Mess

A recent conversation in the kitchen of chez Cadmus… “It’s cool!”“It’s a mess.”“It’s caffeinated performance art!”“You’re cleaning it.”“It’s good coffee, though…”“Well… yes. But it’s a mess.” We are of two minds — my wife and I — over the relative merits of the Bodum Santos electric vacuum coffee pot. I see an evocative design that’s equal parts mad-scientist chemistry set and Frank Gehry angular assemblage. Herself sees… a mess.Granted, the eSantos doesn’t have the drop-dead convenience of one of those push-button pod machines. And it’s not the grinding, measuring and filling thing… we’re more than used to that. It’s the post-brew mess that herself frowns at. Like a great many vacuum pots, the eSantos has a permanent filter. [Okay… semi permanent. Bodum recommends replacing it every so often.] This filter is a very fine mesh screen; it allows dissolved coffee solids and oils through, making for an exceptionally flavorful cup with lots of body, and it does so without choking on coffee finings, a problem that I nearly always experienced with my Vintage Cory glass vacuum pot and its permanent glass filter rod. The net effect is — of course — a mess. No denying it. There’s no paper filter to toss in the trash bin [or compost heap, if you’re of the composty ilk]. Instead, after the brewer has cooled it’s necessary to rinse the coffee grounds out of the brew globe, and then to wash it. Yes, wash it. By hand, no less. Matter of fact, if you’ve brewed especially fresh coffee that wasn’t roasted to death [and you are, aren’t you?] you’ll find a lovely, oily...

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