Using the most basic materials (a porcelain pitcher, stainless steel micro-thin filter and hot water), the Sowden SoftBrew Coffee Maker takes a low tech approach to making coffee. A micro-thin filter with more than half a million microscopic holes gives this coffee maker the filtering ability to produce what Sowden refers to as SoftBrew Coffee. Measure out your preferred amount of coffee grounds in the filter, pour in boiled hot water, let it brew for four to eight minutes and your coffee is ready. The SoftBrew can also be used as a cold brew pitcher for your favorite refreshing ice tea and coffee drinks.
The Sowden SoftBrew Coffee Maker comes in 27, 44 and 61 ounce pitchers with handy scoop.
Easy to clean and all parts are dishwasher safe.
Submit a question directly to owners of this product and ask what they think about it!
Hope this info helps. Apr 29, 2013
If you are making a hot brew, the flavor will be similar to a French press. If you are making a cold brew, the flavor will be similar to other cold brewers.
Unfortunately we no longer carry the reusable filter for the Chemex. Jul 6, 2012
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Caring for the Sowden Penrose SoftBrew Coffee Maker
For detailed care instructions, please refer to the user manual. We recommend that you also incorporate the following into your cleaning routine:
- Clean the filter and pot after every use with a soft cloth or clean sponge, soap and water.
Great for the cube!Review by barkingburro
Quality Value Price
My preferred brewer is the Eva Solo CafeSolo. I've been able to achieve a smooth, flavorful, and quite strong result after refining my technique over the years. Like the CafeSolo, the Sowden SoftBrew is a full-immersion style brewer, with a fine metal filter. Also like the CafeSolo, the SoftBrew retains the grounds in contact with the water so you have to separate them when the brewing is done (some people claim you can leave the grounds in contact for quite a while because the temperature is so low it doesn't adversely affect the result--we'll deal with that misinformation later). Unlike the CafeSolo, which sports an effective neoprene jacket, the SoftBrew lacks any thermal insulation. But in its favor, the SoftBrew's presentation is irresistible, with the proper look of white porcelain, the delicate clink of the porcelain lid, and in this case, the perfect small proportions of the 4 cup model. I took one look, and I had to have it.
Step 1: Rationalizing why I should prefer this over the CafeSolo for my cubicle
I wanted to make coffee in the cube at work. But I always felt the CafeSolo would be a bit too much to clean, as it has a narrow neck and you have to use a brush to get inside. The SoftBrew, on the other hand, has a large opening that makes it quite easy to clean with soap and water. Also, for either apparatus, you have to preheat the brewer. I wanted to avoid having to buy an electric water kettle for my cube, so I decided I would use the office microwave. From my cube it's a long trip to the kitchen sink, so pouring out that first batch of water is not a convenient option. I elected to accomplish preheating the apparatus by simply nuking it with the right amount of water. But there's this little metal zipper on the CafeSolo's neoprene jacket, so...
Congratulations! You've just rationalized buying the Sowden SoftBrew for your cubicle! Take a break and have a scooby snack, you've worked hard to get to this point.
Actually, the nuking part is essential in order for the SoftBrew to perform well. Because it loses heat so quickly, you really do need to boil water in it to max out the temperature of the porcelain at the start. Otherwise, you'll find your coffee may taste a little sour. I used really excellent coffee from my local roaster and found this to be the case--not every time, but often enough to be a problem. It wasn't until I tried boiling the water in the brewer itself that I was able to overcome this effect. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Step 2: Overcoming bitterness and silt
Important: Remove the filter before pouring!
The first few times I made coffee in the SoftBrew, my results were very inconsistent. Typically, I would notice the first pour was the best, followed by rapidly increasing bitterness. I concluded that the grinds had to be separated from the brew as soon as the brewing cycle had ended. I've read elsewhere that some reviewers of this product claimed that the brew temperature after 4 minutes was so low they didn't perceive a big difference in bitterness if they left the grounds in contact with the liquid. But if you are able to produce a high quality result like I have, you will not be happy with how the brew behaves if the grounds are left in. So I took to removing the metal filter basket once the brew cycle was complete. If you read my review of the Eva Solo CafeSolo, you'll see that I praise that brewer for how it avoids flushing liquid through the grounds at the end of the brew cycle. The SoftBrew requires a bit of care so you don't agitate the grounds too much as you lift the filter basket out of the brewer. But it is necessary to remove the filter basket, otherwise you won't be able to stir the brew before the first pour without stirring up all the fines and bitterness in those grounds.
Important: Refine your grinding technique!
The other point I want to make here is that most people are pretty complacent or simply ignorant about the importance of getting the right grind. If you use a blade grinder, you need to upgrade to a decent burr grinder. No, not that one--I said decent. I see too many people complain from time to time about the presence of fines and the accompanying bitterness in their coffee. If you can't control the fines produced by your grinder, then you should switch to a coffee brewing technique that uses a paper filter. The SoftBrew, and the CafeSolo for that matter, are excellent only if you can manage to grind at the right size without too many fines. Or are completely oblivious to the difference. I learned about better grind quality as I tried to improve my results with the CafeSolo, and the SoftBrew is even more revealing of flaws in this area. Today, I use a Baratza Virtuoso Preciso set to a medium-coarse output and then I sift the results using a fine powder separator. You won't do as well, so trust me: pay attention to how you're grinding and try to refine your grind size and overall technique as best you can until you achieve the smoothest brew possible.
Step 3: Office dry run
I bring the Sowden SoftBrew into the office, along with a digital scale, a grinds jar, some stirring implements, a pastry brush, a little plastic tray to hold the wet filter after I remove it when brewing, a sugar container, some half and half in a small cooler packed with ice, a bottle of Fiji water, and a brand new Intelligentsia/Notneutral Black Cat Project small latte sized porcelain cup and saucer. Time to get busy! I have some coffee that I ground at home and wrapped tightly in a plastic bag before taking it to work, so hopefully the grounds are still out-gassing CO2 and staying fresh in the bag. I put water in the porcelain pot, leaving out the filter, place it in the microwave, and try nuking it for 2 1/2 minutes. Hmmm... didn't boil. Try another minute. Nope. Another 1 1/2 minutes. Uh uh. Ok, another frikkin' 2 minutes. Come on, this thing's gotta boil sometime-- oh wait, was that a bubble? Yeah, it's gotta be ready by now. I think I saw a few bubbles. I take the pot--jeez it's hot!--back to my desk, and I count to 30 and place the stainless steel filter with the pre-measured grinds into the pot.
I didn't think it was possible with a porcelain surface, but apparently the water was superheated. It started gushing out the top and foaming at the same time as it hit the beans, emptying approx. half its contents all over my desk. Lesson learned: don't overnuke your water. I needed to practice more.
Step 4: Perfection
It's Tuesday, my day for trying out a new batch of beans from Brazil. I measure out 54 grams of beans and grind them in the Preciso, then shake out the fines in my fine powder separator. This removes approx. 10% of the grounds and I place the remainder in a plastic bag and roll it up tightly. I leave for work.
At work, two of my coworkers ask if I'm making coffee and is this the "chocolate bomb"? The Brazil has flavor highlights of orange zest and almond, but mostly rich milk chocolate, and I answer in the affirmative. Last week it was a coffee with a distinct peach nectar taste. My coworkers queue-up for coffee each week, taking turns each day as I only make it once a day and can share with two other people. Last week, one of them told me it was the best cup of coffee she'd ever tasted.
I remove the SoftBrew's metal filter and set it aside. I place the porcelain pot on my digital scale and zero-out the display. Then I pour 200 ml. of bottled water and another 400 ml. of purified (zero ppm.) water from my desktop water filter jug (ZeroWater--good for coffee, but you need to add some minerals back in). I nuke the 600 ml. of water for 4 1/2 minutes. Meanwhile, I place the glass grounds container on my scale and add exactly 42 grams of grounds, then pour that into the stainless steel filter. The filter has zillions of laser-etched holes so tiny they don't leak any grounds. The microwave chimes, and I carefully take the pot by its porcelain handle to my desk, counting to 30 seconds for the water to cool after boiling. I slowly insert the metal filter, and the grounds start to foam. I take my coffee paddle and stir the grounds, which will still float and foam after stirring. I place the lid on the pot and start my timer for 4 minutes. After only 30 seconds have passed, I give the grounds another stir. They're done foaming now and will submerge into the water. After 4 minutes, I slowly lift the metal filter out of the pot and set it on my plastic tray. I take a spoon and stir the coffee to mix it evenly. It's ready for serving.
My coworkers like the Brazil even better than last week's selection. At $18.50 per 12 oz., this coffee's not cheap. But they gladly donate the cost so we can all enjoy a truly extraordinary cup once a day.
Great Taste, Easy To Clean, Easy To Use, Quiet
Poor Heat Retention
(Posted on 2/11/12)
A charming little brewerReview by ob1jeep
Quality Value Price
The Sowden is the Romance and the Coffee is the Passion. Where they meet, how sweet it is.
Great Taste, Easy To Use, Easy To Clean, Nice Quality
(Posted on 12/30/11)
Wonderful little coffee pot!Review by lablanche
Quality Value Price
Great coffee, easy to make, and now I can drink it black again!
I love this little pot. I have been using it for almost a month and it makes great coffee. I find I use about seven of the little scoops (included with the pot) of whole bean coffee. I didn't measure after I ground it, but I imagine it does compress to about 6 measures. The instructions say use 3-5, but I like my coffee really strong, and usually I am too impatient to wait for a full 8 minutes.
I waited until the 4 cup was in stock. I did fall in love with the compact design, especially in that size. I am the only coffee drinker in my house, so it is more than enough for my daily brew. In the afternoon, I switch to tea, and the pot is wonderful for that, too. When I use bags, obviously I don't need the filter, but the filter does great with loose tea even though the holes are microscopic in comparison to the Sowden teapot.
I do try to preheat the pot before I brew the coffee. And just rinsing the filter as suggested is not enough, I wash mine with a soft, soapy sponge and rinse thoroughly. I used to use a press pot, but no matter what I did, including adding a paper filter, the acidity was killing me and I needed some milk to cut it. Now I am back to my preferred black brew.
It is lovely, simple design that is very easy to use. What could be better?
Easy To Use, Easy To Clean, Great Taste
(Posted on 3/7/11)