A while back I heard about this interesting sounding portable coffee maker called The Oomph, via a kickstarter campaign. I was one of the early backers, I put my name down early for two units, one for me and one which was given away to a competition winner. (Join my mailing list ‘Brew Time’ on the right-hand side of the page to be notified of competitions, offers and discount codes etc., in the future).
I was particularly interested in the Oomph because it seemed to work on a similar principle to my beloved Aeropress, and because of what one of the world Barista championship judges said about it after trying the prototype.
As you’ll know if you’ve read some of my other posts, I use various brewing methods at home including Espresso machine, pourover & Aeropress, but my favourite brewer for making coffee in the day in the office has been Aeopress for a while now thanks to taste and convenience.
Anyway, along with the thousands of other early backers, I’ve been patiently waiting for The Oomph to arrive since the end of last year. It’s arrived, yay, and I’ve been using it for a few days now, I wanted to be sure that I was right about what I was about to say before I said it, which is….
Move Aside Aeropress – I Have a New Favourite Coffee Maker!
The Oomph isn’t a copy of Aeropress, it’s different, it’s a coffee maker and travel mug in one so it’s not the exact same thing and it doesn’t work exactly the same. I’m comparing it to Aeropress simply because it was my favourite brewing method up until now, and because it works on a similar premise in that it’s a full immersion process with a fine filter and hand generated pressure.
By the way, if you were thinking as I did initially that The Oomph was inspired by Aeropress, it wasn’t. The inventor of The Oomph was a commercial coffee machine engineer, and he had been working on his portable coffee maker idea for some time before Aeropress was released.
So why is The Oomph my new favourite coffee maker?
The first time I tasted coffee from the Oomph, I was hugely impressed with the taste and the mouth feel. It just seemed a bigger, and more well rounded taste and also a bigger mouthfeel to what I’m used to tasting. But this was a new coffee too, so it could have just been the coffee. So I did a blind taste test. I brewed via my beloved Aeropress, and via The Oomph at the same time, decanted both into an identical cup, one of which had an O written in marker pen on the bottom (still does, permanent marker 😉 ), and then to confuse myself (which isn’t hard) I closed my eyes, shuffled the cups around, then spun around a couple of times, and then just grabbed the first cup my hand came into contact with, and then the second one.
Both cups gave the same flavour notes, but one of them gave fuller, amplified flavours in comparison to the other, and a fuller mouthfeel. I went from one to the next over and over again, and it wasn’t in my head it was definitely different, one tasted bigger and better to me, than the other. When I looked at the bottom of the cups, the one that I picked as the winner, was from The Oomph! That surprised me, obviously, given that the Aeropress is so amazing – could it be that the Oomph is even more amazing??
Actually, since this first taste test I’ve been getting even better tasting coffee from the Oomph! I think I rushed the first time (I was trying to multitask…) and I think I plunged too early, before it had properly extracted. If you do that with The Oomph its no big deal – you can re-brew.
With the oomph, I don’t need to plunge into a cup – I plunge it, then go – as The Oomph doubles as a travel mug. I can just open the lid and drink directly from the coffee maker if I wish, or decant it into a cup, whatever floats my boat. This is very convenient in the morning as I just plunge and go!
3: Not fussy with grind.
For whatever reason, The Oomph seems to be able to handle a wide range of grind sizes. I’ve tried it from just a bit more coarse than espresso, all the way to filter and approaching cafetiere, and it doesn’t appear to have much of an impact on the taste. This is a big deal if you’re wanting to use pre-ground coffee, not that I think you should, as I think everyone should be grinding their own, as it’s much better freshly ground – but I know many people do use pre-ground, and while this may cause issues with some coffee makers, it doesn’t seem to be an issue this.
4: Re-Brew until you’re happy.
I think I’m correct in saying that The Oomph is the first brewer which enables re-brewing. If you taste the coffee and you’re not happy with the extraction, you can twist to open the catch, and pull up the plunger (depending on how much away from perfect you find it to be) and give it another plunge, to extract more. I don’t find that I often have to re-brew, as its usually spot on first time, but its great to know you can re-brew if needs be.
5: Hot coffee.
I’ve been plunging, then taking it to my desk, and either drinking it directly or pouring into a ceramic cup, and it’s been hot or warm enough to enjoy for around an hour (depending on how much coffee is left in the device when you leave it).
This isn’t a lightweight flimsy coffee maker, this is a rugged, chunky, substantial piece of coffee making gear! It’s clear that a lot of materials go into making this, and that it is made to perform and to last, rather than being made with cost in mind. I’m sure it could be made lighter, and cheaper, and less substantial, but I’m glad it isn’t, as this is a coffee maker I think I’ll be leaving in my will! OK I may be going a bit far, but you’ll see what I mean if you get one, they’re made properly. The majority of the material used is something called Tritan, a food grade BPA free heavy grade plastic that I’m sure doesn’t come cheap!
I’m really happy with the amount of coffee this makes. It can hold 13 fluid ounces apparently, and although I’ve not measured, I have used it to make a couple of cups of very enjoyable coffee without having to make a second brew, so that’s probably about right.
Now for the negatives….
Oh wait, there aren’t any!!
If I were comparing it to the Aeropress then I think it’s fair to say that clean up is slightly easier and quicker with AP, but there’s not much in it, it’s just that you can’t push out the puck of coffee with a press as you can with AP, you have to knock it out at the end and then give it a rinse, but there’s very little to it.
The first time you use it, you might find the very last part of it slightly tough which is twisting it to set the catch in place at the end, but once you’ve done it a couple of times you’ll have the knack, and you can loosen this up by just opening it and closing it several times without coffee in, to just loosen the fit ever so slightly.
I’ve been using it for a few days now, and it’s just brilliant, there’s very little I can say about it that isn’t positive, I love it.
I woke up late this morning, Monday morning (mainly because I was up late last night, blogging about coffee ;-)), and didn’t have the time to make a coffee, there would have been no point, by the time I’d have made the coffee in my Aeropress or V60, I wouldn’t have had time to drink it anyway, so I left the house with a bit too much blood in my coffee stream. I’m very lucky, in that after driving the kids to school which is only minutes from home, I only have another few minutes drive from there to work, so it’s not like I have an hour commute or something, but even so, I would have preferred to not leave the house on a Monday morning without having had a coffee.
Skip back a few years to when I did have an hours drive every morning to the office, and this would have been much more of a problem. In fact I do recall on a couple of occasions ending up being late to work because even though I was already running late, I pulled in at a McDonald’s or a service station that had a Costa, as I needed coffee more than I didn’t need a bollocking from my boss for being late.
For a few years, I was a TV extra (corrie, Hollyoaks, etc.,) and for these things you just can’t be late, I was never late turning up to a shoot, if you’ve worked in TV you’ll understand what I mean. So if I was ever running late on the way to filming, I just had to do without coffee, which is bad news. For Hollyoaks it wasn’t too bad as they have a mega canteen and a cafe, so I could usually get my coffee fix when I got there, and for corrie usually I could get to the kitchen and make myself a coffee, there were times though when I didn’t end up having my first coffee until half way through the day, nightmare!!
This is the kind of situation that I assume the Oomph was made for, and I can imagine that if I was still doing the TV stuff, or if I had the commute to work every morning, the oomph would be a god send! To be able to make a coffee at the speed I can with the Aeropress, and then just pick it up and go, that is such a perfect scenario for someone who loves coffee, who at times before the oomph was invented would have to compromise either with instant coffee or, crappy coffee in a horrible polystyrene cup from a burger van, or leave without coffee.
Update: 25th of June 2017.
I’ve been using the Aeropress for over 6 months now, and its still my favourite brewer! I still use all my the other brew processes too, but my favourite coffee is Oomph coffee. I can always count on getting the most magnified taste and the biggest mouthfeel via the Oomph.
There is a new version of the Oomph now, with modifications based on the feedback from crowd funding backers – so just keep in mind that if you see negative Amazon reviews, about the coffee maker which say that it drips when not tightened enough etc., these are actually reviews of the first version that was sent out to kickstarter backers, and not the current version that is now available on Amazon.
Update: 27th of December 2017.
I’ve been using the newest model of The Oomph for a few months now, and it’s perfect! The first model had a couple of small quirks, it needed to be fastened tightly to stop it dripping slightly while pouring, and the catch was a bit stiff. While these slight niggles didn’t bother me, the new version is void of any quirks, and I’ve been using it very happily around four or five times per day for the past few months.
It’s not just me who is rating The Oomph so highly, it has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon from over 200 reviews, with 81% of the reviews being 5 stars. Click here to read the reviews.
Here’s my original post on The Oomph, before I actually had it in my hands.
The Oomph, a new portable coffee maker with a twist!
This isn’t a review, so I can’t give it the title Oomph coffee maker review, as it’s not available at the time of writing. Maybe I should call this post, “A review of what The Oomph might be”, or “what coffee experts who may or may not lead a double life as clumsy secret agents, think of the Oomph coffee maker”, but then that would be a bit of a mouthful.
I’m waiting for one of the first units to arrive which are currently being produced, so what this post is, is really me sharing what I think about what I’ve seen so far, and the review that world Barista judge Jonny England (no, not Jonny English 😉 ) gave at cup North in Manchester not so long ago.
Oomph is a new portable coffee maker, that has recently gone into production thanks to a hugely successful kickstarter campaign, and the first units will soon be ready for dispatch.
I was intrigued by The Oomph as soon as I heard about it, due to the twist I mentioned in the post title, and that twist is that the coffee maker is also the cup – you make the coffee, pick up the maker and go. So when it comes to practicality, I think it’s obviously a winner there, and this is what Jonny English, sorry, Jonny England, has to say:
(By the way, Jonny knows his stuff, he’s a qualified Q grader, certified WBC (world British Championships) judge, and also a certified SCAE trainer).
“Very practical in terms of the fact that you can take it all over the place, and the fact you can just brew it straight into the brewer and then walk away, very impressed. I love the fact you can make your coffee in the device, and just go straight out, you don’t need to put it into a second cup or decant it in any way, you can just brew your coffee, and away you go.”
The other thing which really excited me about the oomph is that, as I’ve mentioned quite a few times recently, my current favourite machine/device when it comes to brewing coffee, is Aeropress – and oomph works in a similar way to Aeropress, by brewing under pressure that is created within the coffee maker. If the result is that I can make a large cup (up to 13 oz) of Aeropress style coffee, in a portable coffee maker which I can then simply pick up and walk out of the house with, then I’m in!
But don’t listen to me, this is what the expert, Jonny England has to say about the taste of the coffee the oomph produces:
“With testing, looking at more of an extraction point of view, it’s scoring very, very highly. We’re achieving really good extraction from the coffees. It brews very easily, and it works very well with a huge range of different grind sizes as well, so from a practical point of view, you can use a lot of different coffees there.
It seems to suit all kinds of coffees, not specific ones; sometimes some brewers seem to work well with just certain types of coffees, whereas this seems to be a lot more across the board really. In terms of the taste of the coffee that it produces, I’ve noticed it gives it a very heavy body; so a lot of mouthfeel, a lot of texture, which is really important with coffee. It also tends to give you a very clean cup, and there’s a lot of clarity in the cup as well so you can really pick out the individual flavour notes in the coffee, genuinely a really good cup. “
The oomph is also being produced in various colours, and clear too!
So, this is a portable coffee maker (I’ve seen some refer to it as a machine, but I’m not sure we can class it as a machine since it is completely hand-operated, no electrics etc.) which brews coffee under pressure, and doubles up as the drinking implement too. It’s insulated, so that the coffee stays hot for longer, and you can carry it comfortably without it being too hot to handle. If you’re wondering, as I did, whether it will stew over time – the answer to this is no, as the brewed coffee is pushed into a different chamber during the brewing process, separating it from the beans.
During Jonny England’s review, he notes that it does a good job of keeping the temp of the coffee, and mentions that it will be fine half an hour later.
I was previously under the impression that the oomph forces people to drink coffee the best way, which in my opinion is black and without sugar or other crap added ;-), however I’ve since been informed that you can unscrew the lid after brewing in order to add milk and sugar, or whatever you like I assume, even syrup flavouring if you’re one of those weird people who like that ;-), or a nip of whiskey perhaps (as long as you’re not driving or operating machinery, or anything else that shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol!).
When it comes to cleanup, which I think is really important (it’s no good if it takes away the time it saves later on when it comes to spending ages trying to get it clean) Johnny England gave the oomph another thumbs up by saying “In terms of the practicality of the device, I love how easy it is to clean up, it’s really really simple, just add some water, give it a wash through and away you go, a lot of other devices on the market can be a bit of a hassle for clean up & wash up.”
Oomph vs aeropress
So which is best? Only one way to find out… FIGHT! ;-). Actually, I don’t believe it’s a case of one vs the other, I think it’s horses for courses. If the Oomph turns out to be any where near as good as it looks, then I hope that in terms of the resulting coffee it should be as good in terms of taste, but the Oomph would be my weapon of choice if I was on the move, and I’d reach for the Aeropress if I wasn’t on the move, or if I wanted to make an espresso style coffee to make latte or cappuccino etc., I’m guessing at this stage of course as I’m not yet talking from experience, but as soon as mine arrives, I’ll start trying it out, and then I’ll update this post.
If you want to buy an oomph right now, you can pre-order one here, but at the time of writing, you can’t just buy one, as the first wave of units are in the process of being manufactured.
Obviously as soon as it comes, I will try it and write a proper review. Also, watch this space as I may have a little surprise for a lucky reader, i.e. potentially the chance to win one of the first units! Follow me on Twitter, and I’ll keep you updated.
The review Jonny England gave can be watched below:
Life is like a box of chocolates, so follow me on Twitter, and that’s all I have to say about that.