The Kone Brewing System is a custom fabricated coffee pot, built specifically for the Kone coffee filter.
The Kone filter is a reusable stainless steel filter originally designed for the Chemex pour over pot. The newest and best incarnation of the Kone filter (I think this is the third version Able has made), as well as its accompanying custom fabricated brewing system, were Kickstarted thirty times over last June.
I backed at the $125 level, which got me the whole brewing system with filter as a reward. And it all arrived about two weeks ago. I’ve since brewed 4 pots of coffee with my Kone Brewing System and they’ve all been quite delicious.
The Brewing System
The first thing I noticed after opening the box is how big the Kone Brewing System is. I was expecting the Brewing System would hold around 500ml of coffee, but it actually can hold twice that amount.
The Brewing System is made up of four components: the pot, the filter, the filter casing, and the lid.
When brewing, the filter rests inside the casing which rests on top of the pot. When done, you remove the top casing (using the rubber heat shield grip), and place the lid on top of the pot.
It’s an extremely handsome rig, and I’m very impressed with the design. It looks great on the breakfast or dinner table, and it looks great sitting on the shelf in our kitchen.
There is no doubt that the guys at Able put a lot of thought and attention into the entire Kone Brewing System. Everything — from the packaging to the included card of instructions to the filter and ceramic pot themselves — exudes attention to detail, care, and thoughtfulness.
Alas, the Kone Brewing System can only be used with the Kone filter. The ceramic top-piece which holds the filter is, as I mentioned, custom fabricated specifically for the Kone filter. There is no internal “V” shape which could accommodate a paper filter if you wanted — you must use the Kone metal filter.
The Kone Filter
They say the advantages of using a metal filter rather than paper are: (1) reusable; (2) you never have to pay for paper filters again; and (3) metal filters allow more oils from the coffee bean to pass through when brewing, thus making a fuller cup of coffee
You can’t argue with 1 and 2. And if you are making a big pot of pour over every single day, in the long run a metal filter will pay for itself.
As for the taste. Well, I personally haven’t been able to tell any significant difference between a cup of coffee brewed with a paper filter and one brewed with a metal filter. In fact, if I had to chose, I’d pick paper filters.
The AeroPress is certainly my favorite brewing contraption, and I use paper filters with it. I even have a metal disk filter that fits my AeroPress and I haven’t noticed any difference when using it rather than the paper filters.
One of the disadvantages to using a metal filter is that some of the “coffee dust” gets through the filter and into the bottom of your cup of coffee. Such as the grit you get when brewing with a normal french press.
When it comes to the day-to-day practicality of using the Kone Brewing System, it is not going to be my new daily driver.
For one: compared to the AeroPress or v60, cleanup of the Kone is more involved and tedious because I have to rinse and scrub the filter to get the coffee grinds out of it. Secondly, the Kone Brewing System is intended for making several servings of coffee — it’s a lot of coffee gear to use and clean for the 10-ounce cup I usually brew each morning.
I see the Kone Brewing System as being akin to my Siphon vacuum pot. The Siphon is quite impractical for day-to-day use, but it’s great for when company is over because it’s so fun to use. The Kone is in a similar category (making table-side pourover is always fun), and it can make almost 3 times as much coffee as my siphon.
If however, I was regularly brewing a larger pot of coffee instead of just my single cup, then a big pour over pot like this is just what I would use each day.
If you already own the Kone filter, the Brewing System is $120 by itself. Otherwise it’s $160 with the filter.
Being one of the Kickstarter backers I was privy to much of the behind-the-scenes of what goes in to the molding, firing, and packaging of the Kone Brewing System. And without significant economies of scale, $160 is probably as affordable as Able could get it. Which is unfortunate because as much as I like the Kone Brewing System, $160 is a hard price to swallow.
As cool and attractive as it is, it’s incredibly hard to justify the extra cost of the Kone Brewing System over a Chemex. The Chemex is just as capable of a coffee maker, but it’s one-third the price, holds 10-percent more liquid, works great with the Kone filter, and also works with paper filters.