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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 | $7.35 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  ⋅  May 30, 2018
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 13
  • Taste - 40% 7
  • Group Cooking - 20% 5
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • Portability - 10% 9
  • Weight - 10% 10

The Skinny

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 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 two Editors' Choice winners, the Hario V60, our favorite filtered option, and the Cafellissimo Paperless Pour Over, a stainless steel dripper that eliminates paper waste.


Compare to Similar Products

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 delivered a really decent cup of Joe.
The Primula Single Serve Coffee Brew Buddy is a great lightweight and packable option that delivered 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 only takes a few minutes to filter.
Your coffee only takes a few minutes to filter.

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

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.

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 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.
Holding the Primula disk can be hard while pouring your water, as the edges get quite hot.

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 our lightest brewer. Instant coffee packets are of course lighter, but won't ever give you as good a cup.


We did notice, however, that this filter usually required less coffee to get a bold flavor, so you may save some weight by having to bring a bit less coffee.

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. Its low profile and durability 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.
We loved the Primula for outings where space was at a minimum. It's highly durable and consistently delivered good flavor.


Penney Garrett