Impress Coffee Brewer – An Innovation
Impress is a well designed, and easy to use coffee maker, that combines features from espresso machines and French press, and it reminds of the famous noe Aeropress. It is a hybrid between a coffee brewer and a travel mug, making brewing a great cup of joe a pleasure.
Impressa has started as a project on Kickstarter, initiated by Aly and Beth Khalifa, the founders of Impress. After three years of development, they published their project on Kickstarter, and they had no problem reaching their goal to get 50000$ to start the production. In fact they they got almost three times the money they needed, being backed by almost 2500 people. This, right of the bat showed that the brewer was going to be a great success, and indeed it was.
Watch Impress' video presentation for Kickstarter below.
Impress coffee brewer is a reliable device, it can take a few serious drops without any dents. The special design of the brewing chamber makes the Impress a coffee maker that never misses.
You can buy one of these portable brewers on Amazon, it has great reviews, click on the picture to buy it, or only to read the reviews.
Impress vs Aeropress vs French Press
Impress is designed as a portable brewer, and mug. So you can brew your morning cup, leave it in the brewer, and drink from it in your way to work, and then make another cup at work with it.
It works similarly to a French press and Aeropress, but it is different than both of them. What the three devices have in common is the steeping method. You put your ground coffee on the bottom of the beaker, pour hot water, let it steep, and then separate the grinds from the liquid. While the process of making coffee is very similar, there are considerable differences in the taste, the convenience, and functionality. It is often looked at as just another stainless steel French press.
In terms of functionality, the Impress coffee brewer makes a really good impression, because it's very portable, and it can be used both as a brewer and as a mug. None of the other two are portable, nor you can drink from them.
Convenience and Reliability
Speaking of convenience and reliability, again Impress is the clear winner, because it is the easiest to use. French pots are flimsy, and you have to press very gently. The glass ones break very often, although there are metallic versions which are very durable. Aeropress is better than a French press, but still a class under Impress. Aeropress is much smaller than the other two, competing to espresso, however, it is not an espresso device, since the pressure is too low.
The taste of coffee is obviously a subjective factor, but if you need a bold coffee, with body, and a lot of the aromatic oils preserved, Impress is certainly the winner again.
At the first glance French press seems to compete very well with Impress, but when you taste the two, you realize that it's not the case. The reason is in the special design of Impress' filter, which looks exactly like an espresso filter-basket. The very fine holes in the metal filter makes it possible to grind finer than for French press, thus a better extraction, and more body. The screen of press pots is quite large, so you need to grind coarse.
Aeropress uses paper filters by default, but there are third party metallic disk-filters that will improve your brew dramatically. The fact that Aeropress' piston is fit so tight makes it possible to generate pressure at the extraction time, and this will help with a better extraction of the flavors. However, Aeropress makes coffee more concentrated, using less water per spoon of ground beans. You could probably fix it with adding some more hot water, however, for me that doesn't quite work.
French pots will invariably allow some grinds to escape in your coffee, because the filter-plunger is flimsy. On the other hand, Impress has a rubber gasket attached to the cylindrical filter. The cylindrical shape of the filter, makes it a tight piston/cylinder mechanism, and this doesn't allow any grind in the upper chamber. Aeropress has also a great design that separates perfectly the grinds from the coffee.
The double wall, stainless steel cup of the Impress will improve the brewing, and keep coffee hot for a long time.
Impress just looks awesome, period. There is no need to compare it to the other two, it is a beautiful kitchen tool, and you just love to look at it. Now if you compare it to a press pot or the Aeropress the difference is huge. The competitors are just useful coffee making devices and the is no doubt about it, but they look just average, and when you finish brewing, you just want to put them back in the cupboard.
Other Thoughts about the Brewing Process
There were some concerns that with the coffee grounds remaining in the cup after brewing, there will be an over-extraction, causing the coffee to be bitter. However, this is not the case, because the very fine filter completely separates the grinds from the brew, once pushed all the way in. There will be no more liquid for the grinds, hence the extraction stops. For more tips on immersion brewing check this page that we wrote.
How To Brew with Impress
Brewing with Impress is very simple, clean and fast.
- To make a generous cup, put 4 TBS of ground coffee in the cup.
- Pour 10 oz of hot water, and stir in to make sure all the grounds are immersed.
- Do not fill with water all the way to the top. The right volume is up to 13 oz, not a drop more.
- Make sure the filter has the lid on, and then insert the filter in the cup, and gently press down, just enough to touch the water.
- Wait three minutes to complete the brewing.
- Gently press the filter all the way down, to separate the grounds from the water.
- Coffee is ready to serve now. I pour my coffee in a real cup, if I am inside, this way I avoid burning myself; and I like drinking from porcelain cups better.
Brewing Variations and Tips
Because of the double wall outer cup, the water temperature does not drop almost at all during the 3 minutes of brewing, this means a more complete and uniform extraction, with more caffeine. If you want less caffeine, and more body, grind finer, lower the water temperature, and increase the brewing time.
You can prepare a cold brew very easily with Impress, here is how. add 8 TBS of ground quality coffee. The coffee should be finer than usual to improve the extraction. Add 5 oz of warm water, (about 100 - 125 °F), and press the filter just enough to touch the water, and make sure the filter cup has the lid on. Leave to brew for 10-12 hours minimum. With slightly warmer water the brewing time should be shorter, however, do not rise the temperature too much, or it won't be a cold brew anymore.
What Can Be Improved
Is it perfect? No it isn't perfect, but I think it's pretty close. Here is a couple of things that I didn't like about it.
It is supposed to be a travel mug but unfortunately it doesn't fit in the cup holders of my car. I have to remove the whole plastic piece with the three cup holders to accommodate the Impress. By doing this, my cup doesn't have stability in the larger space, and it might drop. This shouldn't be a huge problem, but combined with the poor design of the lid, it can cause spillages. The lid is not a screw on lid, and if you tip it off coffee spills. I would have liked a screw on lid. The other bad thing about the lid, is the material. The material is a silicone that has a strong odor, almost covering the coffee taste. This is one of the reasons I pour my coffee in a porcelain cup after brewing.