Test Drive: PuckPuck

We try out the PuckPuck, a cold dripper designed as an AeroPress attachment.

BY TANYA NANETTI
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Photos courtesy of Tanya Nanetti

As a great fan of the AeroPress, I’m always curious to try every possible device invented to be compatible with it. This isn’t limited to only filters and attachments to brew something similar to an espresso, but also stylish organizers, accessories, and the like.

That’s why I was thrilled when I finally got the chance to try the PuckPuck, a cold coffee maker attachment designed to brew a delicious cold drip with the help of an AeroPress and a simple empty water bottle.

The PuckPuck is a cold dripper attachment to the AeroPress.

What is the PuckPuck?

Created by Two at Six, an award-winning team of designers based in London, the PuckPuck was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2018, and in recent years it has become a viable alternative to a traditional cold drip tower, which is way bigger and often much more expensive. Now be aware that this is a cold drip maker and not a cold brew maker, which I’ll explain a bit later.

What It Comes With

The complete kit comes in a small box, which contains the “real” PuckPuck. It consists of two screw-on blue plastic halves, a splash filter (a small plastic disc pierced by multiple tiny holes), and a compatible vessel, perfect to hold the correct amount of water needed to brew the coffee. It also comes with a short instruction manual and a light suggestion to download the corresponding app.

The PuckPuck has a downloadable app to help you gauge how many drips per second are happening.

The Brewing Process

After a quick reading of the instructions and gathering everything needed, it was time to brew.

Following a quick rinse and dry of the PuckPuck body, the second step was the assembly of the AeroPress. And then, it was finally time for the coffee. The suggested ratio is 38g of coffee per 400g of water and 100g of ice, with a medium grind. I picked a Costa Rican coffee from Volcan Azul, ground at 23 clicks on the Comandante grinder. Once ground, I placed it in the AeroPress above the filter, and shook to level the coffee. This is when you drop the splash filter on top of the grounds, and that’s where things started to get interesting.

After screwing the compatible vessel (or a previously prepared mineral water bottle, cut according to the instructions in the small booklet) into the PuckPuck, I placed it on top of the AeroPress, added 100g of ice and filled up the rest with 400ml of water.

The brew could properly start now. I slowly turned the PuckPuck until the drops started flowing out of the valve, adjusting the flow rate to approximately 50 drops per minute. This is where the app comes in. Having a simple and intuitive button to touch makes it easy for the user to understand if the drops are coming down at the right speed. If this is the case, it will take you a total brewing time of two and a half to three hours, which can of course be adjusted according to your favorite recipe.

Although PuckPuck has an optional water vessel attachment, you can also shape an empty water bottle in placement of it.

What It Tasted Like

I prepared it in the late morning, so the coffee was ready to be enjoyed after lunch, just a little bit over three hours later. The coffee had a nice body and a rich flavor, where the acidic fruity notes appeared delicately, blending perfectly with the predominant aromas of chocolate and toffee.

The (Light) Cons of the PuckPuck

The list of cons is really short, and it has more to do with the AeroPress. That is, if your device is old and a little opaque like mine, it tends to make it a little more difficult to check the drops. There is also a slightly longer preparation required to brew the cold coffee, especially when compared to the classic filter-in cold-brew bottles that are so easy to use.

But, though often confusing, it’s always good to remember that cold brew and cold drip are two different types of coffee, and that’s why the choice of the vessel to brew our cold coffee should be decided according to our preference.

Cold brew, obtained by immersion, produces a generally sweeter and more floral brew, with a lighter body and a delicate taste since water gets added. On the other hand, cold drip—a percolation method—is generally fuller-bodied and way richer in flavor.

That’s why, in the end, it probably doesn’t make much sense to compare the PuckPuck to a traditional cold-brew bottle that, as we’ve already seen, will brew a different final cup.

Each brew makes about two servings worth of cold-drip coffee.

The Biggest Pros of PuckPuck

The biggest pro is that it’s affordable enough—around $40 for the complete kit, in contrast to some higher-end cold drip towers that can cost up to $300! It’s relatively easy to use, and after the first brew, the following ones run smoothly. It’s also quite durable and not too “serious” of a brewer, exactly like the AeroPress. It brews an average of two cups of an enjoyable cold drink in a relatively short time on the spectrum of cold drippers, and can be the perfect travel companion to brew a delicious cold drip anytime, anywhere.

All in all, the PuckPuck is the perfect starting point for brewing a delicious cold drip, without the hassle of buying more complicated and expensive drippers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tanya Nanetti (she/her) is a specialty-coffee barista, a traveler, and a dreamer. When she’s not behind the coffee machine (or visiting some hidden corner of the world), she’s busy writing for Coffee Insurrection, a website about specialty coffee that she’s creating along with her boyfriend.

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