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Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > BRIPE Coffee Brew Pipe > Test Report by David Wilkes

Test series by David Wilkes

BRIPE
Coffee Brew Pipe

Initial Report - Aug 9 2017
Long Term Report - Dec 19 2017

Tester Information

Name: David Wilkes
E-Mail: amatbrewer@yahoo.com
Age: 51
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Gender: M
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 200 lb (90.7 kg)

Waist/inseam:

36"/32" 91cm / 81 cm

Biography:

I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions the Northwest has to offer.  I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not including consumables, to under 30 lb (14 kg).

Product Information

Manufacturer:

BRIPE

Year of Manufacture:

2017

Manufacturer’s Website:

www.briping.com

MSRP:

84.95 US$

Weight Listed/Measured:

12 oz (340 g) / 11.5 oz (326 g)
[Weighed with torch and coffee tube full]

Product

Product Description:

The BRIPE is an ingenious new portable single shot coffee maker constructed primarily of copper and intended to give coffee lovers the ability to brew and drink coffee just about anytime or place.


Initial Report

Aug 9 2017
First use
The BRIPE comes as a complete kit which includes the brew pipe, pipe stand, quad jet butane torch, reusable filter, thermometer, carrying case and a tube of coffee. The BRIPE itself looks very much like a tobacco (or other) pipe made out of copper with a curved handle / drink tube (would be called the stem or shank of a pipe). The drink tube (stem) has a plastic tip (bit) and cork insulator. Both are to protect the user from contacting the potentially quite hot copper. There is a reusable coffee filter made from a very thin piece of stainless steel. It has 3 circular groupings of photo etched holes that form the filter and a section that extends up to the top of the pipe with a bend and larger hole for securing the thermometer in place during use. The thermometer is a basic dial type, marked in deg F from 0 to 220 (-18 to 104 C). There is also a copper stand that serves double duty as a heat sink to assist in quickly cooling the pipe (and coffee) down to drinking temperature after brewing (more on that later). The included torch uses butane, is refillable (butane not included), and includes a piezoelectric (piezo) igniter and 4 jets. The kit also includes a tube of coffee which holds about 1/4 c (aka 4Tbs or about 59 ml). Finally the entire kit comes in a very sophisticated looking gray felt pouch with an elastic closure and leather patch embossed with "BRIPE".

Small bit of trivia: Believe it or not the tube of coffee is actually the plastic blank that plastic bottles (including the 2L size) are made from. I have seen these used as containers for other things such as brewing yeast.

Weight breakdown:
  • BRIPE 51 g (1.80 oz)
  • Stand 22 g (0.78 oz)
  • Thermometer 9 g (0.32 oz)
  • Torch 149 g [fuel full] (5.26 oz)
  • Coffee tube [empty] 24 g (0.85 oz) [holds about 13 g/ 0.46 oz of coffee]
The concept behind the BRIPE is rather simple. Insert the filter into the bowl of the pipe and then add ground coffee and water. Then holding the pipe by the cork (to avoid getting burned by the hot copper) use the torch to heat the water up to about 185F (85C). The indentation in the bottom of the BRIPE increases the surface area, which improves its efficiency in transferring the heat from the torch to the water, thereby speeding up the process. Then place the pipe on the stand. The center post of the stand matches the indentation of the BRIPE and thereby helps cool it down to drinking temperature (~140F/60C) quicker. The instructions say to blow some bubbles (blow into the drink tube) before drinking. I presume this helps clear the coffee grounds from the filter to prevent it from clogging. Now simply sip the coffee through the tube.

Cleaning seems to be just a matter of rinsing out the grounds, and maybe rubbing where/as necessary to remove any that stick to the BRIPE or thermometer.

I could not help but try it out almost as soon as I got my hands on it. I am glad it came with coffee, but obviously the torch was empty. I just happened to have a smaller torch of my own so added a little coffee (not enough) and water, applied heat per the instructions, and when it cooled down to 140F (60C) I tentatively took a sip. I was anticipating scalding my mouth with the hot drink but it turned out that temperature is just about ideal drinking temperature (for me at least). My first sip contained some coffee grounds and the coffee was weak (the instructions do not really say how much coffee to use) but not bad. I assume it is likely that I did not have the filter installed correctly. I would note here that the web site mentions that the filter is "variable" but does not elaborate. And while I can see there are 3 sets of filter holes, I can't really see any difference in them, so am not sure how it is variable.

I look forward to using this on the trail, in camp, in my home and office as well as maybe in hotel rooms when I travel. I might even find other locations as well.

NOTE: I am an admitted coffee snob. I grew up drinking Kona Coffee and have long said "life it too short for bad beer or coffee". Also my morning drink of choice is 2 shots of espresso (no water, sugar, flavor, ice, etc please, just the coffee). The coffee that came with the BRIPE is not bad, but not the sort I prefer. But "good" coffee is highly subjective and what may be good to me is often nasty to others. So I won't judge the product on the coffee that came with it, but do look forward to using the BRIPE with my own fresh ground coffee.

Long Term Report

Dec 19 2017
USE:Ski Patrol
  • 1 night backpack – Umtanum Creek central Washington
  • 3 day hikes Eastern Foothills of the Washington Cascades
  • 2 days Ski Patrol White Pass Washington
  • Various use at home/office/travel

I have used the BRIPE, in my home and yard. I have used it in my office and in conference rooms of remote offices. I used it in hotel rooms, and yes even on the trail. And thanks to some favorable weather had the opportunity to use it in the yurt while on ski patrol. I would conservatively estimate I have made at least 25 batches of coffee with it. During the testing I have made little effort to measure the amount of coffee I use. I just fill the bowl to just cover the center post which is about a table spoon (~ 15ml) of grounds, more or less depending on my mood.

To start, I still have not figured out the “variable” part of the variable filter. I used the e-mail address from the “Contact Bripe” section of the manufacturer’s web page to ask about it but never received a reply. I have tried using the Bripe with the filter positioned to use each of the three sets of holes but have not seen any difference. To be fair I have used a few different grinds of coffee from coarse to fine and found the filter seems to work fine regardless of grind or position of the filter. So I am curious, but it does not seem to be relevant to its operation.

The instructions say to blow bubbles before drinking. I presume this is to help clear the filter and avoid clogging. I have a couple of times forgotten this step but experienced no problems.

As mentioned in the initial report, the first few times I used the Bripe I would get some grounds with the first sip (even after blowing bubbles as instructed). However with further use I have experienced this less often and assume that with use the filter is conforming to the shape of the bowl and thereby doing its job better.

The tube supplied for holding the coffee grounds seemed excessive and unnecessarily heavy, so I tried using a small “snack” size re-closable plastic bag. This allowed me to carry more coffee with less weight than the tube. However I also found it to be difficult to get the coffee from the bag to the Bripe without making a mess unless I used a small spoon to scoop it. So I have since gone back to using the tube. So much for me trying to out think the manufacturer.

Along the idea of reducing weight, I tried using the Bripe with my own much smaller torch (one that converts a commonly available lighter into a torch). But again I was unable to out think the manufacturer. While the smaller torch worked, it took about 3-4 times longer to heat the water and used about a half to a third of the fuel of the lighter. So now I understand why the manufacturer includes the torch that they do. It may be heavy, but it is effective and refillable. I just need to remember to refill it. I had one business trip where I went to make coffee and realized I forgot to refill the torch. I was forced to choose between drinking the really bad office coffee or nothing at all (a real crisis for me). I am finding I can make about 3-4 batches of coffee before having to refill the torch. This torch, like any other that uses butane does not perform well when cold (near freezing) and may not work at all below freezing. On one hike I forgot to carry the torch in an inside pocket so by the time I used it, it was kind of cold (I estimate around 45 F /  7 C) with light gusty winds. I had too turn the flame to its maximum setting and shield it from the wind with my body. The flame went out a few times but I still managed to get the coffee up to temperature.
In snow3
A small side note. On one personal trip I was in a hotel room with my Bripe but forgot to refill the torch. The room did have a kitchen. I know this is not the intent but I placed the Bripe on its stand directly on the electric burner and heated it that way. Getting the Bripe and the very hot stand off of the burner without burning myself or melting anything was tricky but I accomplished it, and in the end had succeeded in making coffee. In hind sight I probably could have just heated the water in a separate pot and poured it into the Bripe, but as I had not had my coffee yet, I was not thinking clearly.

I could see it as feasible to use virtually any one of my camp stoves to heat the Bripe. I suspect the small relative size of the Bripe to the stove would be an inefficient use of stove fuel. It could eliminate the need to carry the torch so should result in a net reduction in pack weight.

As mentioned in the initial report cleaning the Bripe is a rather simple matter. At least that is in urban settings. On the trail however, cleaning out the Bripe and disposing of used grounds can be more problematic. It is one of the reasons I moved away from using a french press and now normally carry instant coffee. Getting the grounds out of the Bripe and into a container for packing out is difficult on the trail (it requires rinsing the bowl) so the alternative is to rinse the pipe into a cat hole, which I tried and is effective (where possible and allowed), but not always convenient, especially for day hikes.

At the officeMy overall conclusion is that the Bripe is a great little gadget. It makes very good coffee and is a real attention getter, not to mention conversation starter. I have yet to use the Bripe in public without virtually everyone who sees it wanting to know what it is and how it works. I see it as an awesome gift for that coffee drinker who has everything (if I did not already have one I would have it on my wish list). I found it really good for travel (hotel rooms and offices), and even for day hikes in cool weather. I would note that the filled torch (and/or fuel) are not allowed on commercial aircraft. What I look forward to is using it while skiing this winter. I envision being the envy of everyone who sees me sitting trailside sipping fresh hot coffee. Cleaning in that setting should be a matter of just rubbing it out with some snow. The grounds should dissipate with the melting of the snow and not be a problem. This is not exactly LNT (Leave No Trace) so I know some will disagree.

At the beginning of the test I envisioned the Bripe becoming part of my standard overnight backpacking kit, but now doubt this will be the case. Despite its convenience and the quality of coffee it produces, the low volume it produces and its weight and bulk combined with the issues of removing and disposing of the spent grounds makes it less desirable for overnight trips than I had anticipated. So at the conclusion of this test, while I doubt I will take this on many overnight backpacking trips, I do fully intend to continue to use it for day hikes in cool/cold weather and look forward to using it during the upcoming ski season. I also fully intend to continue using this for travel (personal and business).

Likes/Dislikes

Likes:
  • Comes as a complete kit
  • Totally cool looking product (sure to get attention)
  • Innovative design
  • Makes coffee (what is not to like about that?)
Dislikes:
  • Kind of heavy for backpacking
  • The torch seems to be overkill but I have been unable to find a better alternative 

This concludes my report. I would like to thank the folks at BRIPE and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.

 



Read more reviews of Bripe Inc. gear
Read more gear reviews by David Wilkes

Reviews > Cook Gear > Cooking Accessories > BRIPE Coffee Brew Pipe > Test Report by David Wilkes



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