Kuju Pocket Pour-Over Review
Cons: Spendy, more trash than other options, fickle to perfect the flavor
Manufacturer: Kuju Coffee
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This rad single-use approach to coffee is simple, quick, and lightweight. The Kuju Pocket Pour-Over yields a tasty cup of coffee with minimal clean-up and minimal effort. It does result in more trash than other options and weighs more than a packet of instant, but for a delicious and ultralight option, Kuju gets it done.
Each packet of Kuju takes up less space than most food bars and weighs less than a pencil. The packet includes a pouch of coffee with a single-use filter that attaches to your cup via paper wings. Once you affix the wings to your cup, you add hot water, steep the coffee, and you're done. Save the wrapper to stash the spent pouch and coffee grounds after you have brewed your cup of coffee.
In side-by-side blind taste-tests, the Pocket Pour-Over fared surprisingly well for an almost-instant coffee. In fact, it was rated consistently better than the other instant coffee options in our review. While it's not the most delicious option in our test suite by a mile, it is utterly drinkable, as long as you let it steep for a few minutes. The first few times we tested this product, it tasted too much like bean tea to satisfy our fickle reviewers.
Kuju offers the Pocket Pour-Over with single-origin coffees from Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia, as well as blends ranging from dark to light roast. We only tested the Ethiopia in this review, and it fared pretty dang well for a nearly-instant coffee.
Ease of Use
If you need to go fast and light, the Kuju delivers a relatively easy to use option for rapid caffeination. Each packet contains a pour-over filter filled with enough coffee for a single cup. Simply open the packet, extend the wings and carefully tear open the top of the pouch, before perching it inside your mug.
One of the reasons the Kuju didn't score higher for ease of use, is we found that the pour-over packets were not compatible with all cups. For the best flavor, you will want a fairly short cup so the packet can be fully submerged in hot water. This is because the coffee needs a few minutes to steep to produce the best flavor. Additionally, if you are not careful, it's easy to spill the contents of the pour-over pouch on the ground, making for a sad and undercaffeinated morning.
Each packet is ideal for one single cup of coffee, making the Kuju a poor choice for group cooking. That said, making this coffee is super easy and painless (aside from the cost), so as long as your pot can handle more water, it is easy to boil enough water for multiple packets.
The Kuju is one of the most highly portable options in our review. Each tiny packet is compact and featherweight, making it an excellent companion on a backpacking trip or any adventure where space is a concern.
Each packet of Kuju weighs 0.65 ounces, a number that shocked and slightly dismayed our reviewers. This is three times as much as a packet of instant coffee or a comparable weight to one of the lightest brewers in our test-suite. That being said, each packet weighs about as much as three pieces of paper, so you are hardly likely to notice it's presence in your pack. And, for the weight, you do get a better-tasting cup of coffee than even the best instant options.
While nothing can beat the value of a reusable filter with freshly-brewed coffee, the Kuju is reasonably priced for what you get. Each of their blended pour-over packets is fairly inexpensive, and they have an option to purchase in bulk as well. If you prefer one of their premium single-origins, it will set you back a little bit more. If you are only planning to be out for a couple of nights, and are looking for ways to shave a few grams off the weight of your over-loaded pack, Kuju is a reasonably priced option. That said, two packets of Kuju costs as much as some of our other brewing methods, and a box of Kuju is more spendy than most of the brewers in our review. However, with these other brewing methods, you will have to buy coffee and/or filters, which makes the Kuju a reasonable value, in our estimation.
The Kuju is a lightweight, no fuss, fast, and fairly tasty method for getting a cup of coffee in the backcountry. Our taste-testers were impressed by the flavor of this nearly-instant coffee. It's slim profile and featherweight make it a reasonable option for backpacking if you don't mind the price or the extra trash.
— Mary Witlacil