Product Type: Bodum coffee machines
Newest Review: ... them with my custom and they would rather have done without it. Getting home with my purchase - securely packed by the way - I was keen to... more
Makes a single cup to perk you up
Bodum Filtre Belgique
Member Name: ladybracknell
Bodum Filtre Belgique
Advantages: Makes a delicious cup of fresh coffee in little more time than it takes to make instant
Disadvantages: Getting rid of those coffee grounds!
Although Bodum have played around slightly with the design over the years, at one stage swapping the plastic for stainless steel and giving the glass 'cup' a lip for pouring, the Bodum Filtre Belgique in its present incarnation is a simple yet stylish combination of glass and matt black plastic. It's comprised of a plastic double filter topped off with a lid all of which sits on top of a glass mug set inside a plastic mug holder. The double filter has one filter with a fine mesh base and a second plastic filter sits inside that. This ensures the coffee is allowed to filter through slowly enough to get every drop of flavour out of the coffee grounds.
This is an easy way to produce a decent cup of real coffee and it takes only a fraction more time than it would to make a cup of instant but it tastes so much better. If you prefer real coffee, the Filter Belgique system is a much cheaper alternative to using coffee bags or pre-packed filters such as Rombouts. This saves on electricity, too, because you only boil enough water to fill the cup and there aren't any electrical or electronic parts of go wrong.
Making a great cup of delicious fresh coffee is simple with this little set. Firstly the larger filter is set on top of the glass cup and the coffee grounds are spooned in (usually about a good dessertspoonful is sufficient to produce a flavoursome drink). The inner filter is then placed on top and water just off the boil is poured into the inner filter and the lid fitted onto the top. It's quite important to add the lid during the filtering process because it creates a slight vacuum which allows the water to percolate through the coffee more slowly and to extract all the flavour. If you wanted a weaker strength, leaving the lid off would allow the water to filter through more quickly and thus produce a less strong drink. Once the water has filtered through, the coffee is ready. Just add milk and sugar, if required, and enjoy a very satisfying cuppa.
Although this is a great gadget, ideal for using at work or if you simply want a single cup of coffee, to my mind there are almost as many cons as there are pros. The main problem is cleaning. Although the inner filter and cup parts are easy to clean, the main filter where the coffee grounds are held is not quite as simple to clean. Most of the grounds, of course, can be tipped out but there will inevitably be a residue of damp and sticky grounds to remove. I've found that turning the filter upside down under running water, helps to get rid of these but the whole process of cleaning is time consuming and possibly difficult to do if using at work. Although the entire contents could be sluiced down the sink, it's not the best idea to do this as coffee grounds are notorious for accumulating in the U bend and blocking sinks! For this reason, I no longer use my Bodum at work but only at home where it's easier to dispose of the grounds which I put into my compost bin.
Even with the double filter, the filtering process is much faster than with a normal coffee machine which means that possibly not just the coffee is being filtered through but other 'nasties' as well. I've frequently noticed that the filtered coffee has an oily sheen on the surface, especially if it's been allowed to stand for any length of time. Although I don't for a minute think this is harmful, it's not very attractive to look at. However, I take my coffee with milk and once milk has been stirred in, this sheen disappears.
The other problem I have with this device is the glass mug. It's made from heat resistant glass which is also dishwasher safe and sits inside the plastic holder but for me, drinking from a glass mug somehow spoils the experience of drinking a good cup of coffee, apart from which the glass retains the heat making it uncomfortable to drink from immediately. The mug also has a fairly small capacity, 0.3 litres, which really isn't enough to provide a coffee addict with a decent caffeine fix! My solution to this is to place the filter over a decent sized coffee mug and add slightly more coffee into the filter.
Since I bought my Bodum Filtre Belgique several years ago, the price seems to have sky-rocketed and these now cost in the region of £12 which personally I think is rather a lot of money for something which is essentially just a glass mug with a plastic filter system and lid. However, having said that, it will more than pay for itself over time, certainly with regard to saving on electricity or on buying pre-manufactured filters. As long as you treat the glass mug with care because although strong, it isn't totally unbreakable, this coffee filter system will stay looking good as well as give you years of excellent service. It's not quite a 5 star item because of the cost and other little niggles but it's certainly well worth 4 stars.
Summary: A useful addition in the kitchen if you only want a single cup of coffee
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