Published on October 14th, 2009 | by Greg0
Keurig’s Milk Frother and Brunton’s BrewFire Increase Your Coffee Range
We’ve seen a fair number of coffee gadgets here, and always appreciate anything that can get us our java fix in a new or interesting way. Today, we’re looking at one unique product that makes it easy to get your coffee far even when traveling in the wilderness, and another that can help you turn any coffee into a latte (just add milk).
The Keurig Milk Frother is an interesting but natural extension for the company. We’ve reviewed several of their special single-cup coffee makers, and continue to use them daily. Generally, the K-cup brewers aren’t known for their espresso though, so we were a little surprised that they would come out with a device best aimed at folks who like mochas. We did make some pretty good coffee drinks using coffee from our K-cup brewers, but found the drinks better when using an actual espresso machine. Of course, most espresso machines come with a steaming wand that does a great job, so this and other milk frothers fill the need for regular coffee drinkers who just like their milk whipped and warmed.
We’ve seen stand-alone milk frothers before, to mixed results. This one lies somewhere in the middle- it isn’t quite as elegant as the Nespresso solution, but is larger and still fairly attractive in stainless steel. It takes about 90 seconds to heat and froth milk, and the best results are definitely with skim milk. The unit can be a bit difficult to clean, unfortunately, but certainly makes great, dense foam at the press of a button. And at $80, it’s certainly cheaper than some other solutions. In the end, though, we often don’t love frothed milk quite enough to make it worth the effort. And when we do, are often satisfied with the inferior but decent foam from a hand-held foamer. Available primarily through Keurig.
The Brunton BrewFire Dual-Fuel Coffee Maker is another innovative and natural extension. this time for a brand best known for their wide array of camping gear. We’ve seen a whole lot of coffee makers, but this is the first one we’ve seen (and apparently the first of it’s kind) to use either butane or propane fuel. This makes it outdoors-friendly, as you can use the same canisters and bottles that you would use for your stoves. You can use any coffee, and just need to pick up some #4 size coffee filters (the really common kind).
That’s the theory- in practice, the unit is a bit too fragile to survive the hard knocks it is likely to face on serious trips. In addition, we found out unit a bit hard to put together. It was easy-to-use though, with a minimal of fuss and no complicated control schemes, great for when you are traveling on low caffeine. It’s also pretty large- much, much larger than many other coffee-making appliances are, though it does brew a very substantial 8 cups at a time. It takes about 10-12 minutes until ready though, a bit too long for us to enjoy in the cold- there is a pause feature allowing you to grab the first cup, but we didn’t find it so useful. Once finished, we really did like the coffee though- and the carafe is quite well-insulated and solid. They claim it can keep your joe warm for up to two and a half hours! We would’ve liked a water filtration system, a timer, better instructions, and a more sturdy unit. But it’s a neat idea, done pretty well, and takes easy-to-make drip coffee to whole new places. At over $100, we might suggest sticking with a French Press, but for larger groups or serious outdoor/coffee fiends, the BrewFire is worth a try.