Recently I received an iCoffee to review. Since I’m a coffee lover I couldn’t pass the opportunity up to try this ‘revolutionary’ machine.
The iCoffee was developed with a unique brewing process that spins the coffee grinds in hot water called SteamBrew™. This is an attempt to capture more of the flavor and less bitterness from the coffee. Additionally, it claims to have a rich crema (light colored coffee foam) that signifies a well made cup of coffee.
The coffee brewer has typical drip coffee maker features such as being programmable, having an automatic shutoff, and pause and serve so you don’t have to wait for the carafe to fill. The iCoffee went through over a thousand prototypes in an attempt to make a better cup of coffee.
Brewing Coffee with the iCoffee
To start we unboxed the machine and I washed all the parts per the instructions. Next we ground beans in our coffee grinder and I got busy making coffee. This is where I ran into the first problem. Nowhere in the instructions does it share what the amount of grinds should be per cup. After a little research I found that it’s typically 1-2 heaping tablespoons of grinds per cup. Why grind my own? If you’re a coffee enthusiast you know that grinding beans fresh makes for a better coffee. (Freshly roasted beans make a difference too.)
The next issue–there was no information on what type of grind to use. Why does the grind size matter? Grind size is determined by the process you are using to make the coffee. For instance, finer grounds are used in drip coffee pots while a french press will use coarser (or larger) grounds. The iCoffee isn’t either, so once again I ran into an issue .
To give the iCoffee a fair test I made several pots starting with 2 tsps of fine grinds, and changing both the amount of coffee and the grind of the beans to see what worked best. After 5 tests (and lots of coffee) I found that none of them produced the results I expected.
Problems with the iCoffee
If you’re going to produce the BEST coffee there are three key ingredients:
- Freshly roasted and ground coffee beans
- Filtered water
- A means to combine the two to produce coffee with the proper temperature and brew time
Well made coffee will have ‘crema’ on top like the iCoffee advertised. But in every test I did there was no crema.
Let’s assume I’m not such a coffee geek, what would I use to make coffee? Must likely I would buy pre-ground coffee. So despite the ‘revolutionary’ process the iCoffee starts by not using the best ingredients. You can liken it to the difference between store bought bread and homemade bread right out of the oven. It’s just not the same thing-one pales in comparison to the other.
I tried again with pre-ground coffee, but the results were again disappointing. The best way to describe the flavor that it tasted like coffee-flavored water.
The one benefit I see? People who drink coffee, but don’t like the taste of coffee will appreciate how smooth and simple the flavors are when brewed in the iCoffee. If you’re a coffee drinker (that doesn’t care for the flavor of coffee) and you use creamer or milk and sweetener you will be able to enjoy the coffee black. That amounts to less sugar and calories, and may be reason for some folks to appreciate the machine.
For a coffee geek like me though, the iCoffee didn’t live up to my expectations. The main reason? I love strong coffee, and the ‘bitterness’ the iCoffee removes is the flavor I enjoy.
The verdict? Save your money, skip the iCoffee, and instead purchase a French Press. They produce strong coffee that’s flavorful without being overly bitter, and actually provide more caffeine per cup than drip coffee. Best of all they are available for around $20, like this Bodum French Press.
Update: It looks like the iCoffee changed production to single serve cups. This machine is no longer available.
Disclosure: I was sent the iCoffee to review.