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Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy Review

Top Pick Award
Price:   $10 List | $6.15 at Amazon
Pros:  No filter needed, tiny and light, easy to get consistent taste.
Cons:  Must lift filter out of most cups to avoid steeping, slow (poor for large groups), must have the right coarse grind
Bottom line:  The best option for light travel and backpacking.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Primula

Our Verdict

The Primula is the best option for backpacking, traveling light, or just wanting to save space. It wins out Top Pick award for lightweight travel. Tired of showing up at your relatives and drinking weak K-cups or Folgers? Bring a 1/2 pound of your favorite grind and this little disk and you're morning routine remains uninterrupted. It's tied with the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Press for being the lightest. That said, it usually requires less coffee to get a bold flavor that the GSI and therefore you save weight. It's also the just easier and faster to use than any of the other ultralight options.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Camping Coffee Makers of 2018


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
Friday
April 21, 2017

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Performance Comparison



Brew Features


The con to the small filter is that its hard to make more than 1-2 cups at time and there is just not enough room for the grounds. However, this is also the greatest advantage to the Primula: it pours very consistently and it's hard to make a weak cup.



Taste


The Primula not only scored well for taste, it was the easiest, out of the lightweight models, to consistently get a great cup from. By comparison, the GSI Ultralight Java Press was easy to pour too quickly and end up with weak coffee. We could get equal taste results by very carefully using a Hario Gooseneck Kettle. But most people won't have that kettle when camping and definitely not when traveling or backpacking. If you use a JetBoil or standard camping pot to pour water, it's much harder to pour precisely enough to get a consistent taste from the GSI. The Primula, requires little accuracy or flow management.

Left to right: Primula  GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Press and Hario V60
Left to right: Primula, GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Press and Hario V60


That said, in most coffee cups, the Primula hangs down into the coffee (see photo below). You either let the coffee steep like a tea bag and get a more acidic taste, or you have to lift up the plastic disk. Not a big deal, but it's not hands off like the GSI and most other models in this review. Also, when you lift up the disk, the heat can be a pit much on your hand. You may need to use gloves or hold the disk right at the edges.

Holding the Primula disk can be hard while pouring as steam rises. Gloves or a pot holder may be a good idea.
Holding the Primula disk can be hard while pouring as steam rises. Gloves or a pot holder may be a good idea.


Ease of Use


Of all the filterless options, this is the easiest to clean and requires the least amount of water. Just flip the filter inside out, pour a 1/4 cup of water and you are 95% clean. The other filterless options require much more water and can require you to flip the device around multiple times.

As mentioned above, the Primula requires the least precession when pouring to get a great taste. Options with filters are still a little easier to use, but not by much. Unlike the GSI, if you did want to use a filter, it would be hard to do and require some careful folding.

Cleaning is as easy as flipping the filter inside out and pouring water. Of all the filterless options  the Primula is the easiest to clean.
Cleaning is as easy as flipping the filter inside out and pouring water. Of all the filterless options, the Primula is the easiest to clean.


Weight


At 1.1 ounces, this is the tied with the GSI Ultralight Java Press for lightest option other than Starbucks Via. As mentioned above, the Primula requires less coffee to consistently get a bold flavor.

Portability


The GSI Ultralight Java Press is slightly more portable because it collapses small enough to fit under a fuel canister. That said, it is also much more delicate. The Primula is the most compact option that is very durable.

Group Cooking


This is not the best group cooking option. Make more than a cup or two, and the taste will be weak. That said, because this filter is so quick to empty and clean, it's relatively fast to transition from pour over to pour over.
Chris McNamara


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Most recent review: April 21, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
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4 star: 100%  (1)
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