Best known for the coffee Smart Scale, Brewista offers some brewing equipment as well. An American company accustomed us to devices based on the popular solutions. There’s a very “chemexy-like” Hourglass brewer, and the whole Smart Dripper series: the Flat V (a counterpart of the legendary Melitta), the Full Cone (a response to the Hario V60) and, speaking of which today, the Flat Bottom looking like Kalita’s fraternal twin. Let’s test it!
The first thing I’m asking myself just after the unboxing is: “Hey, where’s the handle?!”. Gotten used to the presence of handles amongst all the popular devices, I consider the Flat Bottom as weird and kinda incomplete at the beginning. But that’s just a matter of a habit I guess. The dripper is built with a strengthened, double-glass wall. The producer ensures this feature is about decreasing the temperature loss while brewing. The second and obvious advantage of this solution is that you can grab the device anytime. The external wall just does not conduct heat. You don’t need the handle anymore.
The next thing about the design is the silicone coaster that makes the Flat Bottom stable and prevents it from sliding. A good idea. What’s more, the material is completely devoid of Bispfenol A as the producer claims.
What about the bottom? We have also three holes there, but diameters are clearly larger than in the famous Japanese device. That probably signifies an increased flow, therefore allows for finer grinding theoretically.
Okay, let’s finally brew some coffee.
The manual recommends the brewing time of around 3:30 while using 300 grams of water. I choose a classic ratio 6/100, so my dose is 18 grams. I pick two different coffees – a Burundi Gahahe Kayanza roasted by Nomad Coffee and a Kenyan Kamwangi Nyeri AB from Audun Sorbotten.
The first infusions are longer than 4 minutes. I use the multiple pour method of 50/150/250/300. The first thing I notice after brewing is a very even and flat puck. It seems the flat bottom, like in Kalita, favors even extractions while handling properly. The coffees would smell nicely and fruity, but the flavor would be a little muted, dull and harsh with relatively high extractions of 22%.
So I decide to grind a little coarser and repeat the brewing technique. This time I meet the target of 3:30 minutes. Extractions around 21.5%. Still not what I’d like to achieve. The coffees taste better, they are too flat and boring though. That’s weird since concentrations are pretty high, above 1.5% TDS. A little water dilution doesn’t help.
Let’s change the ratio then. I take 20-gram dose. 3:30 minutes again. Finally, the results are interesting but also surprising. I can’t remember a coffee brewed to such high concentration tasted so nice, sweet and not bitter at all. The coffees present a chewy, lingering texture and huge levels of sweetness. They’re not as complex and distinctive as they were on the cupping table, but still their characteristics make me wanna drink the whole cup. TDSes: 1.75% and 1.78% (!). Extractions about 21.5%.
Eventually, I want to check out a different technique. After the pre-infusion I make a one, long, constant pour till 300 grams. Times are 15-20 seconds shorter giving a slightly lower extraction, still above 21%. The flavor remains very similar, coffees are just slightly lighter and lively, very sweet at the same time. It was the first time when I honestly had a yummy specialty coffee drip infusion with this crazy level of concentration.
The Brewista Flat Bottom Smart doesn’t change the paradigm of filter brewing. Still the results in the cup can throw you off your trail. It’s hard to compare those characteristics to V60 or Kalita ones since they’re completely different. Honestly, they resemble me oily and potent Aeropress more. Huge sweetness, huge body, less transparency and distinctiveness. The effect is most likely provided by the synergy of variables: the design, the material of which the dripper is made, a double-glass wall, a slightly convex bottom and probably some more.
Smart Bottom would be a perfect choice for those who appreciate sweetness, thickness and strength more than complexity and subtlety of the filter brew. Also, the design for sure helps with the evenness of extraction making the device not irrationally difficult in terms of a brewing technique.
I always encourage to experiment and suggest taking all the ways of hustling! Toys like this allow the Geeks to enter the paradise.