Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Impress Coffee Brewer
Recently, I had some old friends over for a small Christmas soiree and they commented on the number of gadgets on my coffee shelf (about 8 I keep displayed). The funny thing I told them is that there are quite a bit more and that these days, there's more variations on coffee brewing than there are things you would do for a Klondike Bar.
One of the latest incarnations in coffee preperation is the immersion brewer dubbed Impress. A contraption birthed from the loins of the Gamila Company, with some help from Kickstarter, the Impress was designed to have a similar workflow as a french press, with coffee brewed in a large, double-walled metal cylinder and when three or so minutes have concluded, a smaller metal cylinder outfitted with a rubber seal and removable metal filter fits snugly in the larger container, pressing down and trapping the grinds securely at the bottom of the cup. Then, you can drink straight from the Impress with the aid of the rubber lid or you can transfer to another cup.
Thanks to the laborers behind the Impress, I was able to try it out first had. First impression showed a solidly-constructed device, with everything made of either stainless steel or rubber. The thickly insulated outer shell that, despite holding boiling water, passes little heat onto one’s hands. The mesh cup also fits snugly into the larger insulated receptacle, with a rubber fitting at the base to ensure no grinds sneak past.
In playing around with the Impress, I found that there were really two ways to brew: the recommended way of pushing the grinds to the bottom (pictured above), and the more adventurous manner of pulling the grinds out. The endorsed method of pushing the grinds to the bottom worked great, unless you wanted to use the Impress as your mug as well, in which case you must resign your coffee to a slow over-extraction with the grinds working their magic trapped beneath the filter.
The other method of pulling the grinds out and using the outer cylinder as a mug was much more attractive. Basically, one just needs to invert the mesh filter, brew the coffee in the inner cylinder (which of course is sitting in the outer cylinder) and when ready, pull the inner cylinder up to leave the coffee behind. All in all this proved effective but I would only recommend it only to those with a steady hand and patience, as the potential for burns is very real. The thin outer rim of the inner cylinder had little to grab and the rubber seal made the pulling a bit of a tricep workout, ending with spilled coffee if you were too quick/forceful. But for all the adventure and hazard the pull method offers, it does allow for one to extract the grinds from the outer cylinder, allowing for it to be used as an insulated mug, which comes in handy especially when out of town. Also, if you're looking to filter your coffee through a paper filter, the pull method allows for use of an Aeropress paper filter on top of the Impress metal filter, so you can have sediment-free coffee if ye wish it.
Speaking of sediment, both the pull and push method (no paper filter of course) produced the usual silt I would find in french press, so I can't say there was much improvement to the metal-filtered style of immersion brewing. Also, cleaning up was a fairly simple process of just pounding the grinds into the trash, much like you would knock a portafilter, though rinsing was necessary to clean it thoroughly.
In totality, the Impress definitely improves on a few aspects of immersion brewing, mainly with its versatility, efficiency and ease in transport. And while I (along with the designers) would not extol it as a travel mug, it's a great device to bring on trips (especially if you check your bag) for simple immersion brewing. Thus, if you're looking for a sturdy device with a lot of potential uses, get yourself an Impress.
note: Impress was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.