Is the iCoffee Brewer Better than French Press?

For many years I started every morning with french press coffee. I loved the ritual of getting up early, heating the water, grinding the coffee, pouring in the hot water, waiting 3-4 minutes, plunging and then serving. But, I’m also a morning person. Some coffee drinkers don’t have the energy or patience to make a french press in the morning. So they often opt for a automatic drip coffee maker.

The problem is that as great as a drip coffee maker is for ease, it lacks the richness of the french press. In recent years, a few companies have tried to come up with ways to make the automated drip machine better. One of those companies is Remington. They developed a new drip machine called the iCoffee. Their design uses what they call “rotational steam brewing”. Instead of the water coming at the beans from the top, they use a gold filter and the water is circulated towards the ground coffee from the side.

I don’t have much experience with drip coffee makers, but I did find the iCoffee made a cup of coffee that came close to the french press. I still prefer the slightly smoother taste of the french press, but if I were a person that wanted the convenience of drip, it would do a fine job.

iCoffee

Running water through the machine prior to first brew.

iCoffee open
This is the inside top of the iCoffee.

iCoffee Tips

The documentation does not specify a recommended grind size. We found that using a regular drip grind was too fine and resulted in a bitter taste. Go a little coarser. Not quite french press coarse though. Look at the Coffee Grind Chart and try to get your grind between Medium and Coarse.

The iCoffee website states you can save money by using 15% less coffee. The claim was skeptical, but our tests showed a 19 to 1 ratio (grams of water to grams of coffee) tasted just as good as the standard 17 to 1 ratio. This might change with different coffees, different roast levels and of course personal tastes.

iCoffee brewer
The iCoffee has a window to observe the brewing.

iCoffee temperature
The iCoffee coffee temperature at the end of a full pot was 180 F.

Messy Cleanup

The iCoffee isn’t the easiest brewing method when it comes to cleanup. Because of the steam, the inside can get messy. Getting in there and cleaning is not as easy and straightforward as rinsing the french press. One risk you could potentially have with the iCoffee is if you don’t do a good enough job cleaning it, mold could form and grow. Meanwhile, most french press brewers are dishwasher safe.

Other Options

For a more detailed write up of the iCoffee, check the favorable review by KitchenBoy in the resources below. KitchenBoy prefers the iCoffee to the french press, whereas I give the edge to the french press. KitchenBoy uses a 4-6 minute French press steep, which he states produces bitterness. I advise using 3-4 minute steep with a slow 30 second plunge. I found this results in less bitterness.

The iCoffee brewer is being sold for approximately $120 on Amazon USA. Initially, I recommended this brewer as a good alternative to those who love French Press, but want the convenience of a drip machine, but once you factor in the effort you need to properly clean the brewer, is it worth the price? That is your call. Personally, I prefer the classic french press.

This article was first released in October 2013 and updated in September 2014.

Disclaimer: INeedCoffee received an iCoffee brewer to test for this article.

iCoffee vs French Press
Comparing the iCoffee head to head with a French Press.

iCoffee on/off
User interface for the iCoffee brewer.

iCoffee Black & Chrome Coffeemaker RCB100 BC12
iCoffee Black & Chrome Coffeemaker RCB100 BC12 (AMAZON USA)

Resources

iCoffee – Official site

iCoffee Black and Chrome Coffeemaker – Product page on Amazon USA.

iCoffee Machine Review – Detailed iCoffee review from KitchenBoy.

French Press Tutorial – Article with tips on improving the quality of french press coffee.

Brazen 8 Cup Brewer – Amazon USA page for the Brazen coffee brewer.

Technivorm 1 Liter Brewer – Amazon USA page for the Technivorm Moccamaster coffee brewer.

Photos for this article are by Joseph Robertson of Coffee Lovers Magazine.

Michael Allen Smith

Michael Allen Smith fell in love with coffee while attending college. Shortly after graduating college, he found himself in the Tampa Bay area far away from the good coffee he had at The Ohio State University. That is when he starting home roasting coffee. Less than a year later in April 1999, he launched the coffee website INeedCoffee.com. INeedCoffee.com has been going strong ever since with hundreds of articles and tutorials submitted by over one hundred contributors.

In 2007, Michael moved to America's coffee capitol Seattle, Washington. He has visited close to two hundred different coffee places in Seattle, Portland and Vancouver and met many of the top roasters and baristas in the country. Since 2009, Michael has been the Organizer of the Coffee Club of Seattle, which is a Meetup group of over 600 coffee enthusiants. Besides the social aspect of the group, the Coffee Club of Seattle partners with local coffee professionals for educational events such as coffee cuppings, brewing demonstrations and roasting tours.

Unrelated to coffee, Michael has a personal blog at CriticalMAS.com which covers several topics including fitness, cooking and finance.

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