Have you ever been packing for a trip with your bag bursting at the seams and you realize you still don't have all the essentials? For those of you that cannot leave home without a reliable way to make your coffee — no matter how limited you may be by weight or space — the lightweight and low profile Primula Single Serve may be just the ticket.
The Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy is a great lightweight and packable option that delivered a really decent cup of Joe.
Slim enough to fit almost anywhere, this single cup brewer is made up of a simple plastic disc that provides a nice wide rim to rest on top of your favorite cup and a flexible fine mesh filter. Simply place a scoop of coffee in the filter, add hot water, and you're ready to go!
Your coffee only takes a few minutes to filter.
Out of all our lightweight models, the Primula was consistently the easiest to deliver a great cup. Hence it's high marks in this category.
One of the major issues with making a good cup of camp coffee is the fact that pouring hot water uniformly and accurately from a pot or JetBoil is difficult. If your camp kitchen includes a gooseneck kettle, then no worries — but this isn't something most people bring into the great outdoors, particularly if backpacking. We appreciated the fact that, even with an imprecise and messy pour, the Primula still gave us a consistently good-tasting brew.
However, the design of the Primula means the filter hangs down into the coffee (see photo below). This means you either let the coffee steep like a tea bag which extracts more bitterness, or you have to lift the plastic disk and hold it above your cup. Not a big deal, but it's not a hands-free process like other pour-over drippers in our review.
Left to right: Primula Single Serve, GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip, and the Hario V60
Ease of Use
Of all our filterless options, the Primula was the easiest to clean with the least amount of water. Cleaning is as simple as flipping the mesh filter inside out and pouring a bit of water through. A mere 1/4 cup will get you 95% clean and ready to re-brew. The other filterless options in our review required much more water and manipulation to get clean.
Additionally, brewing with this filter required the least precision when pouring to achieve a good flavor. Options with filters like our Editors' Choice V60 are still a little easier to use, but not by much. Our one issue was that the edges of the Primula disk can get pretty hot, so you may need to use gloves or a potholder of some sort.
Holding the Primula disk can be hard while pouring your water, as the edges get quite hot.
The Primula is not the best group option. The mesh filter is small, and if you try to load it up to make more at once, you'll end up with multiple weak cups.
On the flip side, this brewer is fast and easy to clean, so the transition from pour-over to pour-over will be quick, allowing your group to get caffeinated efficiently even with just the one filter.
Cleaning is as easy as flipping the filter inside out and pouring water. Of all the filterless options, the Primula is the quickest to clean.
While the Primula is extremely portable, we found the GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip to be slightly better because it collapses small enough to fit under a fuel canister. That said, it is also much more delicate. The Primula is the most durable compact option in our review, so if you tend to be rough on your gear, choose this one.
At 1.1 ounces, the Primula tied with the GSI Ultralight Java Drip as some of our lightest brewers. The lightest was the MSR MugMate, weighing in at a mere 0.7 ounces without the optional lid/coaster and an even 1.0 ounce with it. Instant coffee packets are of course lighter, but won't ever give you as good a cup. However, our newest addition, First Ascent Instant, was surprisingly impressive and we awarded it a Top Pick award for being the best brand we've tried so far.
We did notice, however, that the Primula filter usually required less coffee to get a bold flavor, so you may save some weight by having to bring a bit less coffee, a nice perk.
Light, compact, and easy to use - a perfect combo for ultralight adventurers that still want a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
The Primula Single Serve is for anyone that refuses to give up their morning coffee ritual but has space and weight limitations. It's low profile and durable design make it perfect for packing into cramped spaces without worry of damage. This simple device was our pick for Best Backpacking Coffee Maker for a reason — it will keep you caffeinated and happy without completely sacrificing flavor, no matter where you happen to wake up.
We loved the Primula for outings where space was at a minimum. It's highly durable and consistently delivered good flavor.