Coleman QuikPot Propane Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Coleman QuikPot might seem fun and useful, but the more we used it, the less we enjoyed it. No matter what your needs are, there are better ways of making coffee while camping.
The QuikPot functions much as a home countertop brewer does: put water in the reservoir, add a filter and ground coffee to the basket, place the pot underneath, and press start. Except, "pressing start" on this device entails hooking up a propane adaptor and canister and then lighting the burner with the "Instastart" push-button ignition — if it works, that is. Ours did not, so getting the burner going meant sticking a long-reach lighter through a hole in the body to light the burner. Don't have a long-reach lighter, you say? Neither did we our first time out which meant we had to hunt down a stick to light the burner. Then brewing time takes over 15 minutes for a full pot. Needless to say, we missed the simplicity and speed of a French press while waiting for this machine.
If you were to look into brewing methods that coffee professionals use for work, competition, or home use, a standard "Mr. Coffee" type of brewer would not be on anyone's list. It simply does not produce as nuanced or flavorful a cup as other methods. The drip brewers that people in-the-know DO tend to use are high-functioning and rich with features like pre-infusion and double boilers. The small burner on the QuikPot is not powerful enough to brew efficiently or consistently and it was obvious in our cup. You can expect a mediocre start to the morning with this brewer, despite the hefty price tag.
Ease of Use
Again we were not impressed with the QuikPot. There's so much going on and potential for problems. As mentioned above, our ignition system did not work, and getting the burner lit was a bit of an ordeal. Make sure you have a long-reach lighter with you for this scenario. Next, the water reservoir, shockingly, does not hold as much water as the carafe. So if you want to brew the full 10-cups, you will need to add more water partway through. You probably will have to do this anyway, because during the very long (15+ minute) brewing process water evaporates. If there's a breeze the brew time will take even longer (reviews from consumers online report up to 30 minutes or more). Many parts are cheap plastic and ill-functioning, and the metal parts of the body get wickedly hot — customers in online reviews spoke of melted plastic and scorched wood tables. Keep your kiddos away! The measurement lines on the carafe are highly obscure (5.5 ounces per "cup"?), and the included instructions leave out any discussion of what the extra settings on the fuel gauge are for or how grind size will affect your brew. We could go on, but you get the idea. When you have expertly-designed devices like most of the models in our review, why fuss with something as finicky — and expensive — as this?
This is the only one of our rating metrics where we could award a decent score, though it comes with some caveats. While this is a large brewer, the process takes a long time (in the time it takes the QuikPot to brew you could make at least three French presses), and you need to babysit the water reservoir so it doesn't go dry and overheat the components. You will also need to add extra water if you want to fill your carafe to its maximum capacity.
There is, however, a "Pause 'n' Serve" feature that allows you to remove the carafe, fill a cup without making a mess, and then return the carafe to the burner while brewing finishes. This is generally considered a no-no by coffee experts though because the water extracts differently depending on where you are in the brew cycle. At the very least, we recommend not doing this at the very beginning because you will get an overly strong cup and leave the rest of the pot a bit weak.
This is a portable brewer in the sense that, yes, it can be transported wherever you want and it doesn't need electricity. But it's heavy, has lots of parts including a breakable glass carafe and, with the propane canister attached, it takes up a lot of space. In regards to options available while camping, we consider this to be the least truly portable option in our review.
The QuikPot is, by far, the heaviest brewer in our review at 8 pounds 10.9 ounces.
This is — by a long shot — the most expensive brewer in our review. We'd love to be able to say it's so awesome it's worth it, but sadly that is not the case. For the QuikPot to earn its hefty price tag it would need to be really impressive. It's not. This oversized device left us frustrated more of the time than not and we didn't even get rewarded with a decent cup of coffee.
We were curious to investigate this kitschy propane drip machine, but it turned out to mostly be a disappointment. We're honestly not sure who this device is meant for. Online reviews seem to point to people who are hunting and fishing, which does make sense. Once brewing has commenced this is a mostly hands-off option, and the burner knob has a "keep warm" setting. But it's far more expensive than all the other brewers in our review, complicated to use, finicky, poorly designed, heavy, and the body gets dangerously hot. All of that and it doesn't even give very good flavor? We say no thank you, try again Coleman.
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