About the Barista Cup
The Barista Cup is a new brew method from the UK company, Barista Cup. They offer both a single-use, disposable option, as well as a reusable option of the same brew method. It uses an immersion-style brew where the coffee sinks to the bottom while brewing and gets trapped through the coffee channel to stop the brewing process. The lids have a ultra-fine mesh, so even if coffee grounds do escape, they are mostly caught by the filter when drinking.
Some highlights about the Barista Cup include:
- Great option when traveling or on-the-go
- Lower coffee to water ratio than a normal brew method (in other words it uses less coffee)
- No additional equipment is needed
- Comes in both a single-use (reviewed below) and reusable option
- The single-use option comes in both a 12oz and 14oz size (for the same price)
The single-use cups are £15 ($19.77 currently) for 10 cups, filtered lids and pre-packaged coffees. This comes to nearly $2.00 a piece, which seems a bit high in my opinion. If you use their coffee, that price for a coffee isn’t too bad, but I preferred to use my own coffee, which makes the $2.00 price per cup a bit more expensive.
The single-use double-wall cups, while disposable, seem well constructed given their use case. They feel sturdy and the double-wall construction helps provide a bit of insulation from the heat of the coffee (though the cups still get very hot). They absolutely withstand their one-time use case.
Ease of Use
More than anything else, the Barista Cup is easy to use. If you are using their pre-packaged bags, it is as simple as pouring hot water to the fill line, dumping in the coffee and waiting two minutes. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Durability for this product is a bit trickier. Because they are intended to only be used once, they don’t need to be incredibly durable. For their use case, they hold up great and are plenty durable.
As a graphic designer, I have pretty high standards when it comes to both the graphics and overall product design of a product.
The single use cups have a minimal design and the matte black and white looks quite nice. The logo/overall graphics could definitely be improved, but they aren’t awful.
At nearly $2.00 per use, the Barista Cup single-use cup definitely isn’t less expensive than brewing your own coffee at home. With the Barista Cup though, you are paying for convenience, ease of use and portability more than anything, I think. Given its flexibility and the ability you have to supplement your own coffee if you want a higher quality brew, I think it is a decent value.
Brewing with the Barista Cup
The next four areas focus on the actual brewing process with the Barista Cup and the quality of the final result—the coffee that you drink. Below is an overview of how to brew with the Barista Cup (per Barista Cup’s recommendations):
- Fill hot water to fill line on cup.
- Add 8 grams of finely ground coffee to the cup (they recommend 8 grams for both sizes)
- Wait ~2 minutes for the coffee to brew.
A few additional comments:
- I found the 8 grams to be a bit weak. I found 10-12 grams to create a better cup of coffee.
- They don’t mention stirring the coffee and just allowing it to sink to the bottom. I found a quick stir to emerge the coffee grounds completely to work a bit better.
Here’s a little video from BaristaCup walking through the brew process:
The brew speed for the Barista Cup takes around 2:00 minutes. The prep time to get to the brew though is minimal and is one of the fastest brew methods available.
The product currently comes with pre-ground, Guatemalan coffee, though they may offer additional coffee options in the future. As I mentioned above, I didn’t think the coffee included with the cups was the highest quality (though it is on par with other similar pre-ground, “better than instant” coffee options that are becoming more popular nowadays). Even with my own, high-quality coffee, I didn’t think the final result was on the same level of quality as pour over (v60, Chemex, etc.) or other immersion-style brew methods (French Press, etc.). That said, given the convenience and ease of use which are both on par with that of instant coffee, the final quality was much better than equivalent options.
While there are a lot of great immersion brew methods and a lot of emerging “instant” brew options available, this is the only product I am aware of that bridges the gap. It tries to take the quality and brew technique from the higher end brew options and pair it with the convenience and speed of the instant choices. It’s not perfect, but it definitely is a unique approach.
I’ve tried the Barista Cup with a variety of different coffee styles (different roasts, origins, flavor profiles, etc.). I think it tends to do better with the earthier, richer coffee styles, but it held up with each of the coffees I tried.
At nearly $2.00 a cup and the quality not at the same level as some other brew options, I don’t think this would replace my daily coffee ritual. That said, I think it will find a place in my brew method arsenal. I’ll probably reserve it for travel or days I want coffee, but don’t have time to go through the entire pour over process.
In general, I think the Barista Cup is worth adding to your coffee collection if:
- You travel frequently. The Barista Cup is a great option to take when traveling. It beats anything you’d get in the airport and is disposable, so you don’t have to worry about carrying the empty cup around. It’s also a much better option than any coffee you’d get in a hotel.
- The pour over process or other specialty brew methods are just too much time to add to your morning routine. The Barista Cup is nothing if not convenient. If you are frequently trying to make your coffee as you run out the door in the morning, the Barista Cup is a great option to have for those crazy mornings.
- Quality alone isn’t the most important consideration when making coffee. Convenience, speed, and ease of use are all considerations beyond quality. If any of these outweigh quality when it comes to importance, the Barista Cup is a great option.