If your travel brewing situation is all screwed up, Wacaco is hoping its latest product will help you unwind.
The Hong Kong-based company best known for its handheld pump-action espresso travel brewers has revealed a new twist on pressurized immersion brewing with the Pipamoka, a device that creates a vacuum by pulling a sealed and threaded column upwards, causing a coffee chamber fixed at the bottom of the column to travel up with it, through hot water.
The resulting brew dynamic is similar to that of the American Press, but rather than a plunger forcing a coffee chamber downward through the water, the motion is reversed in the Pipamoka. Wacaco Co-Founder Hugo Cailleton told Daily Coffee News he considers it as falling somewhere between V60 and Aeropress.
“It’s difficult to compare it to other brew methods,” said Cailleton. “Due to its functioning, the Pipamoka extraction method is related to drip brewing. With the addition of a low pressure, the coffee ground is ‘squeezed’ by the hot water flow, creating a richer, balanced, and non-bitter extraction in a shorter amount of time.”
To operate the Pipamoka, users add hot water to the vessel first, then place the enclosed chamber of ground coffee into the vessel. The brew chamber slides down to the bottom, allowing hot water and coffee to interact through metal screen filters on the top and bottom of the chamber. The vessel comprises two layers: An interior sleeve with threading on its outer side, which nests within an insulated stainless steel tumbler.
At the top of this assembly, a threaded orange ring acts like a nut. When twisted it engages the inner column’s threading to pull it upward, like removing a screw. As that travels upward it creates a vacuum and pulls the coffee up through it, extracting the brew under a pressure that builds up based primarily on the resistance of the coffee, which is a function of the fineness of the grind.
“The vacuum pressure is relatively constant,” Cailleton said. “Turning faster will not necessarily increase the suction force. However, turning too slowly will extend the infusion time. The most important parameter is the grind quality.”
The whole process takes about two minutes, according to Wacaco, and the result is an 8-ounce cup of full-bodied, pressurized-immersion-style joe. The exterior steel tumbler and an included lid has users on their way and will keep the coffee hot for several hours, according to the company.
All its bits and pieces can travel inside the steel tumbler, amounting to what Wacaco promotes as an all-in-one travel brewing solution. The exterior steel mug can also be used to hold up to 10-ounces of whatever drink the user wants, independently of its role as keeper of the Pipamoka.
Semi-rigid EVA foam cases are also available for purchase separately. Pre-orders for the Pipamoka are ongoing until January 15 at the price of $39.90. In February the product will become available for sales in the United States through Amazon with a retail price of $46.90. Pre-orders placed in December are currently shipping from Hong Kong to consumers worldwide.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.