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Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy Review

The best option for light travel and backpacking, this savvy brewer will keep you caffeinated without taking up space in your bag.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $10 List | $6.94 at Amazon
Pros:  No filter needed, tiny and light, consistently good taste
Cons:  Must lift filter out of most cups to avoid steeping, poor for large group
Manufacturer:   Primula
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 20, 2018
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 17
  • Taste - 40% 7
  • Ease of Use - 25% 8
  • Group Cooking - 15% 5
  • Portability - 10% 9
  • Weight - 10% 9

Our Verdict

We found the Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy to be the best option in our test suite for backpacking, traveling light, or just wanting to save space. We awarded it a Top Pick for being the best backpacking coffee maker, but it's also an outstanding option for any scenario where you have limited room in your bag or any kind of weight restrictions. If you're tired of showing up at your relatives and drinking disposable K-cups or burnt-tasting Folgers, bring a 1/2 pound of your favorite grind and this little disk, and your morning routine can remain uninterrupted. Easy to clean, easy to use, and barely weighing over an ounce, this brewer might just make your day.

If you have some extra room in your luggage or pack and want superior flavor, check out our Editors' Choice winner, the Hario V60 for a fantastic filtered option. The Cafellissimo Paperless Pour Over was a close runner up and was our favorite filterless option.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $6.94 at Amazon$8.16 at Amazon$15.94 at Amazon$6 List$12.54 at Amazon
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Pros No filter needed, tiny and light, consistently good tasteGourmet flavor, well-conceived design, ceramic version available for home useNo filter needed, great taste, stylishLight, simple, affordable, design allows you to see level of coffee while brewingLightweight, easy to use and clean, durable, no waste, can use for tea
Cons Must lift filter out of most cups to avoid steeping, poor for large groupSpecial shaped filters are harder to find, expensive for a plastic dripper, heavier than other brandsExpensive, requires water and more time to fully cleanNot as refined of a flavor as a V60, bulkyDidn't produce the best flavor, difficult to control extraction
Bottom Line The best option for light travel and backpacking, this savvy brewer will keep you caffeinated without taking up space in your bag.The iconic pour over model in a light plastic package, delivering a consistently great flavor.The best model that does not require filters and one of the few that does not involve hot water on plastic.The Melitta Ready Set Joe is a very light and inexpensive pour over option that provides solid taste and stellar value.This simple and durable filter is easy to use, produces a decent cup of Joe, and can also be used for tea.
Rating Categories Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy Hario V60 Plastic Dripper Paperless Pour Over Melitta Ready Set Joe Cone MSR MugMate
Taste (40%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Ease Of Use (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Group Cooking (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
5
Portability (10%)
10
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9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Weight (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Specs Single Serve... Hario V60 Plastic... Paperless Pour Over Melitta Ready Set... MSR MugMate
Weight 1.1 oz dripper alone: 2.95 oz, dripper + scoop: 3.37 oz 3.3 oz 2.01 oz 1.0 oz with lid/coaster, 0.7 oz for just filter portion
Brew Type Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over Pour Over Filter
Main Material Nylon filter Hard plastic Stainless steel Hard plastic Nylon/Stainless steel
Filter needed? No Yes No Yes No
Notable Features Rests on any mug Cone shape, large hole, ribs along side No filter pour over Can see cup without lifting dripper Can be used for coffee or tea, compact
Notes Filter hangs in coffee for most cups Makes strong, smooth coffee Requires some water to clean between uses Coffee is weaker than with the Hario dripper Super simple and versatile but need to have the right-sized vessel for it to rest on

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.

Performance Comparison


The Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy is a great lightweight and packable option that delivers a really decent cup of Joe.
The Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy is a great lightweight and packable option that delivers a really decent cup of Joe.

Brew Features


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 will only take a few minutes to brew.
Your coffee will only take a few minutes to brew.

Taste


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
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.

The edges of the Primula disk can get quite hot  so be mindful when removing it from your cup.
The edges of the Primula disk can get quite hot, so be mindful when removing it from your cup.

Group Cooking


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.
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.

Portability


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.


Weight


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.
Light, compact, and easy to use - a perfect combo for ultralight adventurers that still want a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

Conclusion


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 love the Primula for outings where space is at a minimum. It's highly durable and consistently delivers good flavor.
We love the Primula for outings where space is at a minimum. It's highly durable and consistently delivers good flavor.


Penney Garrett