Testing the Sowden SoftBrew – Brew it and leave it

We’re back! It’s time to review the coffee brew pot for the lazy.

The SoftBrew was an interesting addition to our brewing equipment. We first stumbled upon the pot at the Cambridge Food Festival in May. With the super-fine mesh filter inside the pot, it is great for both brewing coffee and tea. With coffee you get a decent amount of fines on the bottom of your cup, and we love this.

Sowden SoftBrew
Sowden SoftBrew, on a reindeer. It doesn’t look too distressed.

The pot itself feels nice to your hand and sturdy to handle. The lid is smartly designed to lock itself in position, so you don’t have to worry about it sliding off when pouring your cuppa.

The instructions are a bit funny. They basically say “use any grind you want, any amount of water you want, any temperature water you want and adjust to taste”, so that doesn’t help much if you’re looking for an ultimate brew guide!

SoftBrew brewing "instructions"
SoftBrew brewing “instructions”

It’s a bit like saying: “Push button, receive bacon.”

But they said to try experimenting with four or five scoops and by filling water up to the “MAX” label inside. We used a grind we normally use for our AeroPress (few notches coarser from espresso), just to try things out. Scooped in 5 SoftBrew spoonfuls (came with the pot), water temperature between 85 and 87 degrees Celsius. Left for four minutes (Simon prefers eight to ten minutes). We also tried out a new Cambridgeshire coffee roastery, Silver Oak, in these experiments. They are definitely something to check out more in detail later.

The first cup has always been the worst, I think. The more you sip your way towards the bottom, the better the coffee gets as you start getting more and more of coffee fines in your cup. The pot also gets very warm, so you need to be careful when handling it. The final cup does remind me a bit of the AeroPress, but you get more fines and it’s not quite as intensive as an AeroPress I normally make. The mid-size pot we got holds 0.7L (23.5 oz for some of you), which makes four normal coffee cups and two proper (read: Finnish) coffee mugs.

"Normal" 2dl coffee cups (B&W Iittala Taika series)
“Normal” 2dl coffee cups (B&W Iittala Taika series)

You won’t like it if you want to get a truly intensive coffee experience. It’s great for a morning coffee or setting up brunch or an afternoon chit-chat. It’s easy to dip your coffee in, toss water on top, stir it a few times and leave it. They say your coffee is superb up until to 20 minutes after the initial brew, but we can’t really verify this. I’d suggest to drink it within the first 15 minutes, unless you’re using almost boiling water. Which I wouldn’t recommend, either.

All in all, it’s quite nifty for those lazy Sunday mornings when you don’t want to concentrate too much on how you’re going to make your coffee. The pot is quite nice and you can also use it for brewing tea. Being a ceramic pot it can get a bit heavy, so make sure you feel it out before buying. If you can get a deal on it, even better – £42,5 for a 0,7L pot can feel a bit expensive.

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