The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Kuju Pocket Pour-Over Review

Ultralight and fairly tasty, this option bridges the gap between freshly brewed and instant coffee
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $30 List | $29.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, quick, easy, decently tasty
Cons:  Spendy, more trash than other options, fickle to perfect the flavor
Manufacturer:   Kuju Coffee
By Mary Witlacil ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 29, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#19 of 19
  • Taste - 40% 5
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7
  • Group Cooking - 15% 2
  • Portability - 10% 10
  • Weight - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Kuju Pocket Pour-Over delivers a fairly delicious cup without the fuss or weight required to carry a brewing device and coffee into the backcountry. This simple approach to backcountry coffee is lightweight and better-tasting than even the best instant coffee, though it requires some finesse to dial-in the flavor, tasting best when it is left to steep for a few minutes. One of the major downsides to the Pocket Pour-Over is that it produces more trash than other brewing methods, as you are left with the wrapper, the pour-over pouch, and spent grounds. Additionally, the Pocket Pour-Over weighs three times as much as a packet of instant and nearly as much as one of our backpacking brewers. That being said, it's is a great option for anyone who needs an ultra-light, ultra-simple, and ultra-quick caffeine fix, whether you are miles deep in the woods or on the road.

Compare to Similar Products

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.

Performance Comparison


Kuju pocket pour-over packets are tiny  lightweight  and fun. What's not to love?
Kuju pocket pour-over packets are tiny, lightweight, and fun. What's not to love?

Brew Features


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.

Kuju packets demand a short/low-profile mug to sufficiently steep the coffee and avoid undrinkable bean-tea.
Kuju packets demand a short/low-profile mug to sufficiently steep the coffee and avoid undrinkable bean-tea.

Taste


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.

Kuju coffee is quick to make and enjoy. Getting caffeinated quickly  means you get more time to explore the desert!
Kuju coffee is quick to make and enjoy. Getting caffeinated quickly, means you get more time to explore the desert!

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.

Once you affix the pocket-pour-over to your mug  add water  steep  and you'll be ready to go.
Once you affix the pocket-pour-over to your mug, add water, steep, and you'll be ready to go.

Group Cooking


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.

Water never boils slower than when you're waiting for your first cup of coffee  except when you're brewing coffee for the whole crew.
Water never boils slower than when you're waiting for your first cup of coffee, except when you're brewing coffee for the whole crew.

Portability


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.

The tiny Kuju pouch is featherweight.
The tiny Kuju pouch is featherweight.

Weight


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.

Tearing into the pour-over pouch.
Tearing into the pour-over pouch.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Our lead reviewer gets ready to add a Kuju pour-over to her mug before a desert romp.
Our lead reviewer gets ready to add a Kuju pour-over to her mug before a desert romp.

Mary Witlacil