There are plenty of portable coffee machines on the market that promise to make high-quality coffee quickly and easily. However, sometimes a product is so different that it demands closer attention.
The VacOne Air Brewer is one such device, as it claims to make a range of high-quality coffees quickly and easily and take it with you on the move. It does this using a unique technology, too – but is it up to the task or is its patented technology more of a gimmick?
This hands-on review will detail this unique machine so you can decide if it’s something you’d like to take a closer look at too. Let’s dive in.
What Is The VacOne Coffee Air Brewer?
The VacOne is a portable coffee brewer with a difference – it relies on patented technology to brew coffee using all-in-one immersion, filtration, and vacuum brewing. It’s also versatile as it can make both hot coffee, cold brew and iced coffee, all in the same device.
Regular cold brew takes between 12 and 24 hours, which is far too time-consuming for many people. Meanwhile, pour-over coffee can require too much expertise for domestic brewing novices. The VacOne promises to solve both those issues by making richer and smoother hot coffee and cold brew more quickly.
When it launched on Kickstarter, it was called the FrankOne, which is the same device.
VacOne Air Brewer Review
On unboxing the brewer, you’ll first notice how good the whole package looks. This immediately stands out as a device that would make an excellent coffee gift for a loved one.
The brewer has two parts – the brewer that sits on the top with a vacuum pump and a reusable metal filter inside and the thermal-resistant borosilicate glass carafe that sits beneath it.
The brewer also has a USB cable, and it’ll take only two hours to recharge it fully. Also, you can expect to make around 100 cups of coffee each charge, making it a great option for taking with you on the move or enjoying coffee in a RV.
It has a 12oz capacity, or around two cups of coffee. Meanwhile, the brewer has a compact footprint with dimensions of just 4.7″ x 4.7″ x 7.5″. It’s a great choice if you want to enjoy a quick coffee in your office. If you are looking for a portable coffee maker, this is worth considering.
The brewer also comes with a 16-month warranty, while you can get a replacement carafe or filter if necessary, meaning you’ll have all the reassurance you need in the event of an issue.
How Does VacOne Work?
The upper brewer attaches snugly to the glass carafe beneath it, creating an airtight seal. When you press the button, the vacuum pump begins to work, and the air pressure it creates pulls the water up through the grounds into the carafe.
The pump generates about 7psi, which helps increase the extraction rate enabling you to make a cup of coffee more quickly than with other brewers. It will also leave the coffee crema on top of the grounds, leading to a sweeter cup of coffee.
Ease Of Use
With the emphasis on convenience, it’s not surprising that the VacOne is also easy to use. The main things to take note of are ensuring that the brewer is properly attached to the carafe, using the correct grind size for your coffee, and adding the correct volume of water for either hot coffee or cold brew. Other than that, making coffee with this machine is extremely straightforward.
Once you’ve added the correct coffee-to-water ratio and allowed the necessary steeping time, brewing the coffee couldn’t be easier – you simply press the button, and it takes care of the rest, allowing you to enjoy delicious coffee in minutes from start to finish.
When it comes to cleaning the machine, it’s relatively straightforward. Once you’ve removed the leftover grounds and removed the brewer from the carafe (you’ll probably need to loosen the grounds with a stirring stick to do this), simply rinse each part under running water. You don’t need to remove the filter.
To recharge the machine, simply connect the machine to your computer via the USB cable that comes with the VacOne. You’ll know the machine is recharging as a red light will come on. When the brewer is fully recharged, the light will turn off. It’d be awesome if it supports Type-C port so that it can be recharged in newer laptops.
How To Brew Coffee With The VacOne Air Brewer
Brewing Hot Coffee With VacOne
Step 1: Measure 25 grams of medium-fine grounds (finer than you would use for pour-over).
Step 2: Add grounds to the upper chamber, and gently shake the brewer to level the coffee bed. Then snugly attach the top brewer to the glass.
Step 3: Slowly fill hot water to the second line (350ml). Let it steep for one minute. You can play around with the ratio, try the first line if you like a more robust flavor, and the third line for a milder flavor. You don’t really need a coffee scale for brewing a good cup of coffee with VacOne.
Step 4: Stir the mixture with the stirrer or a spoon, and the foam will float on top.
Step 5: Press the button, allow the coffee to brew and drip into the carafe, then serve.
Coffee Quality – Hot Coffee
In espresso, crema – made from CO2 and oils – is an important element. If you take a little crema from espresso and taste it, you will notice it is quite bitter and ashy. Some believe the crema enhances the coffee flavor, while others prefer espresso without it. If you fall into the latter category, you’ll like the coffee made by the brewer.
The vacuum technology leaves the bitter coffee oil on top of the grounds, meaning the coffee will be brighter and sweeter. This will be particularly satisfying if you prefer to avoid the full-bodied, strong flavor made by French press. Also, the metal mesh filter blocks most fine grounds to brew a cleaner beverage.
Making Cold Brew With VacOne
The brewing process for a cold brew with the VacOne is similar to brewing hot coffee. First, let’s look at the steps.
- Measure 32 grams of finely ground coffee, slightly coarser than espresso grounds. This is because of the low temperature and rapid extraction time.
- Fill room temperature water to the lower level of the brewer (300ml).
- Steep for 4-6 minutes, then stir and press the button.
Coffee Quality – Cold Brew
Cold water reduces the bitter taste and acidity in the coffee, but takes much longer to extract the coffee.
With VacOne, you’ll use the finer grind and more agitation instead of coarse grinds for traditional cold brew. The vacuum technology creates extra pressure, which also increases the extraction. For these reasons, the VacOne can brew good cold brew coffee within a few minutes rather than the 12 to 24 hours you’d normally have to wait.
However, following the original recipe was still a bit under-extracted for our tastes. Nevertheless, you can experiment with elements like the dosage, grind size, and steeping time until you find your sweet spot, which adds to the enjoyment of using the VacOne. Considering the much shorter brew time, a bit of trade-off in strength is quite acceptable.
Brewing Iced Coffee With VacOne
Making iced coffee is also similar to the other two methods, but the recipes differ slightly. Let’s take a look.
- Grind 25 grams of coffee into a finer grind size for hot coffee but coarser than the grind size you’d use for making cold brew with the VacOne.
- Add 100 grams of ice cubes into the glass carafe.
- Slowly add 175ml of hot water to the coffee grounds, stir and let it steep for two minutes.
- Stir and press the button and let the hot coffee pour directly into the ice cubes.
Coffee Quality – Iced Coffee
The iced coffee is our favorite. Using a 1:15 ratio, you can make Japanese-style iced coffee. This gives you a more flavorful and more intense glass of iced coffee. It also keeps the original flavor profile of the beans, so you can use VacOne to brew your favorite single-origin coffee beans but enjoy it in a refreshing iced drink.
The VacOne makes the brewing process much easier without the need for advanced pour-over skills.
Value For Money
The VacOne costs as much as a regular drip coffee maker, but it’s more versatile and will appeal to anyone who likes robust hot coffee. That’s because it makes a more intense cup of hot coffee, while you can also enjoy a smoother cold brew with less bitterness in a far shorter amount of time.
The machine is also easy to use, so you won’t need to follow a long learning curve to make high-quality coffee quickly and effortlessly.
Therefore, if you have a tight schedule in the morning, it is well worth the money. The machine is portable, too, so it is an affordable device for anyone who wants to make good coffee on the move.
The VacOne air brewer is not only a unique coffee maker but also has lots to recommend it.
It is versatile and portable, while cleaning and maintaining the device is as straightforward. Most importantly, it will make good-quality coffee without the user requiring significant expertise.
On the downside, we found the cold brew a little weaker than we’d have liked, although this is nothing that can’t be rectified with some tweaks, including grind size.
Overall, we were impressed with the build quality, ease of use, portability, and versatility of the VacOne. Meanwhile, it also offers excellent value, costing no more than a regular drip coffee device.
While other options are available for brewing good coffee on the move – such as the AeroPress and Wacaco’s range of portable coffee makers – the VacOne is a worthy addition to an increasingly crowded field. We think it’s worth further investigation if you want a range of coffee quickly and easily that you can enjoy on the move.