When it comes to goods and services, it’s commonly assumed you can expect cheap, fast, or good – perhaps two is a reasonable expectation, but expecting all three can be a fool’s notion. Yet, the Bruvi brewer is designed to deliver all three – to a varying subjective degree which we’ll go further into detail below – brewing beverages conveniently quick, for a relatively affordable price per cup, and from a selection of acclaimed roasters. It also might have solved pod-based coffee’s biggest dilemma: plastic waste.
Bruvi is a pod-based beverage brewing appliance, but was obviously designed with additional forethought compared to its competition about how it might look once occupying a kitchen counter. With a soft cream exterior embellished with light wood accents around its base, handle, and covering of its 70 oz water tank, the Bruvi could be deemed the equivalent of a Tesla Model 3: a tech-optimized vehicle of convenience wrapped in a benignly modern design that blends in easily with everything around it.
Beyond the aforementioned wood accents, Bruvi’s construction is primarily limited to plastic; some parts like its removable tray and top handle feel a little lighter than we’d prefer, and we worry the veneer of wood might eventually stain during overzealous preparation. But overall the sum of Bruvi’s components piece together satisfyingly and clean up easily.
Like every other pod-based coffee machine, Bruvi is engineered to simplify preparing everything from a regular cup of coffee, espresso, Americano, cold brew, iced coffee, tea, infused coffee, and even a matcha latte. Operating the Bruvi out of the box is extremely simple: you pull open the top cover lever, drop in a B-Pod, pull down the lever to puncture the pod, select from a variety of options on its icon-based touchscreen menu, and in a minute you’re enjoying a cup. The machine automatically optimizes 7 different parameters – brewing temperature, brew time, pre-infusion, water bypass, water bypass temperature, contact time – making these adjustments by scanning each pod and also adapting to your preferences.
If you’re someone who just wants coffee fast and now, Bruvi does that with aplomb requiring a scant 5 seconds to heat up. You’ll quickly gain the muscle memory to drop-and-pop B-Pods with frightening efficiency if you’re a multi-cup drinker.
But for those who tend to sip their morning drink rather than kick back cups in rapid fire, there are a myriad of additional options Bruvi opens up via its choose your own adventure menu system. These additional options illuminate specific to your choice in beverage, with Bruvi automatically identifying whether you’ve dropped in an espresso pod, medium roast coffee, or an infused roast. During my few weeks testing the Bruvi I came to most enjoy LAMILL’s signature Black Onyx pods – a roast I’m already well acquainted with, as I used to live just around the corner from the roaster’s Silver Lake location and have had their barista prepared pour-overs on numerous occasions.
Because of the warm late summer, early autumn weather here in Los Angeles, I was inclined to choose the iced coffee or cold brew option. Bruvi did a commendably consistent job of preparing cups revealing a nuanced spectrum of flavors that would differ according to roast choice, strength, and brew preparation. The LAMILL roast didn’t exhibit the burnt nor bitter flavors many capsule machines tend to churn out, reflective of the quality of Bruvi’s partner alongside the brewing adjustments the machine uses to fine tune each cup. It’s no surprise to taste dark chocolate notes from a South American dark roast, but subtler toffee notes aren’t always there to discern, and Bruvi coaxed the aroma and flavors to a surprising degree.
When it comes to pod-based single serving brewing systems, there’s always the elephant in the room about plastic waste. This issue led Bruvi to collaborate with material engineers to develop a plastic-degrading, enzyme-infused pod technology. Formulated to accelerate plastic degradation, these enzymes jumpstart an organic fermentation process optimized to operate within the anaerobic – oxygen deficient – environment of landfills. The microorganisms eat away the plastic, preventing the creation of microplastics already shown to be leaching into every corner of the globe. Bruvi claims the entire B-Pod (outer cup, inner filter, cap, and lid) shows 84% biodegradation within an anaerobic environment in 534 days; compare that to untreated polypropylene plastic’s 2% rate and multiply that to scale, and you get the picture.
If true, bio-enzyme should improve the environmental footprint of single-serving plastics and metals associated with preparing pod-based coffee. The global $12 billion dollar coffee capsule market reveals the growing popularity of capsules fueled by caffeine and convenience is only going to grow, so it will become increasingly essential for the coffee capsule market – and food and beverage companies as a whole – to integrate similar innovations.
So do I think the Bruvi will replace my Chemex or Aeropress, alongside my burr grinder, and a carefully measured dose of my favorite beans ground fresh to my preference? I don’t think so, as the ritual of preparation is baked into my appreciation of the drink, and it’s still more environmentally friendly to prepare coffee yourself from whole beans, regardless of how efficient those enzymes may be. But it must be said, in the span of sampling a box of Black Onyx Bruvi B-Pods, I found myself reaching toward the Bruvi surprisingly more often than expected, recognizing the machine does a fine job of making some surprisingly damn good coffee.
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