Coffee Gadgets - The Pascal Press

July 19, 2016

Coffee Gadgets - The Pascal Press

We're back after a long time away from the keyboard.

For this installment of Coffee Gadgets, we are publishing our very first review of a pre-production prototype. We're really excited about this one because the creators have been pushing me to get this review out before their Kickstarter Campaign ends. At the time of publishing this there are 42 Hours left. So let's hop to it...

The Pascal Press

Pascal Press     

Here is my very distilled description of the Pascal Press:
"A travel mug that makes coffee better."

Here's how it works: There is an outer part (mug) and an inner part (plunger). You push the inner part into the outer part. This action pushes the water through the wire mesh filter that is holding the coffee. So far there is nothing new here. We've seen this design in many coffee makers.

The twist to this design, is that the Pascal Press then physically separates the brewed coffee from the grounds. This means the coffee does not continue to brew, which in turn means you can control the strength of your brewed cup. So if your cup is sitting for a while before you get a chance to drink it, the coffee does not become an overly bitter and mouth-drying cup of Canadian Shield swamp water (...Ah, the memories).

  With the pascal press you are getting a coffee brewer and a travel mug in one convenient package. I see this gadget being useful for the coffee enthusiast on the go. If you travel a lot and dedicate a section of your already overfilled suitcase to your coffee obsession then you can appreciate the space savings ( Pro Tip: Packing a bag of freshly roasted Ethiopian Harrar will give your shirts a fragrance that says: I'm not an addict; I just enjoy smelling like coffee everywhere I go). The Pascal Press would also work well on hiking or camping trips where space and weight are a concern. The plastic body of the prototype we handled is built sturdy yet flexible enough to survive some heavy impacts. 

 Alan Kalbfleisch, the founder, told us that they are setting the retail price of the Pascal Press at $60 CDN. When you consider the cost of today's portable coffee brewers and travel mugs, $60 is a pretty fair price. Kickstarter supporters can get it for as low as $36 CDN if you get in early enough.

While Alan was in our shop, he graciously let us play around with his very expensive and only prototype. First we brewed our medium roast Cachoeira Da Grama, and afterwards we tried our dark roast blend La Madrugada. We played with various grind settings and steep times to get a feel for what the Pascal Press was capable of doing. Both coffees were represented well and we found that the press could accentuate either the fruity or chocolate notes of the coffees when we changed the grind coarseness. 

The Pascal Press is built around immersion brewing. When coffee is fully immersed in water, each little bit of coffee is fully surrounded by water and correspondingly the water becomes saturated by coffee. The result is a brew with a rich, full flavour.  The pascal press then uses pressure brewing to separate the brew from the grinds. By pressing the water through the grounds, the Pascal Press reduces the brew time needed for a rich cup of coffee.

Clean up of the Pascal Press is fairly simple, there are few places for stray coffee grinds to hide. You separate the outer mug from the inner plunger. Pull out the filter vertically, and the coffee grounds remain in a puck that is easily tossed in the compost bin. After that, you simply rinse the parts and you're done.

The Verdict

Pros

  • Coffee will not over-brew
  • Uses immersion brewing for full flavour
  • Uses pressure brewing for speed
  • Convenient brewer in a travel mug design
  • Easy to clean
  • Fairly priced ( $60 CDN, $36 on Kickstarter)
  • Spill-proof lid
  • Brewer parts can be removed and used as mug only
  • Canadian design

Cons

  • More heat loss than a vacuum-insulated mug
  • O-rings which separate the brewing chamber will wear and require replacement (Alan did say that this is fixed in their newest design)

Time is running out on the Kickstarter Campaign. If you want a travel mug/brewer that makes a good cup of coffee, won't let it over-brew, and is now going for around 50% off, then don't waste time and back this project now.






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