In one of my recent posts, I mentioned I would be traveling to an area not conducive to my normal ways of making coffee. Ironically, I found myself in Jamaica, the home of Blue Mountain coffees. Trust me, the irony was not lost on me.
I was volunteering alongside a team of people at a children’s home that serves the orphaned and abandoned near Montego Bay. A combination of living arrangements and the need to pack and live lightly meant I couldn’t take my pour over or Aeropress. Mostly, I didn’t want to mess with the filters, grinding, and clean up.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I found on Amazon single serve pour overs (hand drippers) from Opal Coffee and bought three different varieties. I promised a review, so here it comes.
The short review: they worked fantastically.
Need more details? Here’s the basics, from my previous post:
The ground coffee is packaged in a disposable filter and then sealed inside an air-proof packet. But it’s not a pod that you drop into a drip machine. It’s certainly not instant coffee.
Here’s how it works: you tear off the top of the filter, extend two handles across the top of your coffee cup, and add hot water similar to how you would for a pour over. You can even let it bloom for the first 15-30 seconds! When you’re finished adding water, simply throw the disposable filter and grounds away.
Alright, so here’s how it worked in real-life.
The handles worked exactly as the product description described on Amazon. The fit snugly over two different cups and held up when the water was poured in. When I was finished, it was easy to just pick up the two handles (which effectively re-closed the filter) and throw it away.
About the bloom … I made about six cups in all and never got a good bloom. In fact, I never got a bloom at all. Fortunately, there was enough coffee in the filter to keep it from running straight through. Opal puts a good amount of ground coffee in every filter.
Since there is a good amount of coffee in the filter, it does work more like a true pour over as you add water … wait … and then add more water. The same principles of making a good pour over apply: start in the middle and work your way to the outside, pouring in circles. The filter opening isn’t all that big so you must have a steady hand.
And speaking about the filter: it sits deep in the cup. On the one hand, I can see where it needs to be a deep filter because of the amount of coffee included. On the other hand, I noticed that a normal cup of coffee often filled up to the bottom of the filter at about the half-way point. In technical terms, this affects extraction. In practical terms, it doesn’t much matter if you are using it in a pinch. I just kept pouring in water until I had the amount of brewed coffee I wanted.
Opal Coffee offers different varieties of Sumatra, all seemingly dark roasted (the packaging doesn’t say, but it sure tastes that way). As I prefer light roasts, I would love to see them expand to other areas and different roast levels.
Bottom line: it makes a decent cup of coffee. It’s definitely better than plain drip coffee, certainly better than instant coffee. Not surprisingly, it’s not as good as grinding the beans on the spot and using a regular pour over like a Kalita Wave or Chemex or using an Aeropress.
While it won’t replace my everyday, normal way of making coffee — it will likely become my preferred travel coffee (including to hotels that have in-room coffee makers). As long as you can boil water, you can use the Opal Coffee single serves anywhere and make a good… Click To Tweet