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
France 1; Belgium nil
Bodum Filtre Belgique
Member Name: ImVeryNice
Bodum Filtre Belgique
Advantages: No filter papers needed, easy to use and clean, handy if you only need coffee for one.
Disadvantages: Does not get best flavour from the coffee, coffee not always hot enough, glass can break
I was originally inspired to buy this product by another review on dooyoo, which just goes to show that dooyoo does work as intended! Initially I tried to buy from Amazon but although they apparently had it in stock for pre-order for a reasonable £7 or so, the site wouldn't allow me to add it to my basket for some unknown reason, and next time I checked the price had gone over £10. This seemed too much in my opinion. All was not lost though as a trawl through Google Product Search revealed Sainsburys online had it in stock for just £5.25, good enough for me I thought especially as I could avoid a delivery charge by picking it up from my nearest Sainsbury Local, which I drive past quite regularly.
Picking up the "Filtre Bélgique" was a bit of a chore as it turned out: I had to provide proof of name and address - fortunately I had this on me - even though the email confirmation from Sainsburys online simply stated I would need to have the same card with me that I used to pay online. There then followed a very long wait while the member of staff went to look for my order (just how many online orders do they get!). All told, I had the feeling that I was bothering 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 try it out as soon as possible. The main packaging is a printed cardboard box that is both illustrated with the product and displays the instructions for using it in pictorial form. There are no written instructions inside the box so it is just as well it is quite easy to use. Opening up revealed a glass beaker held in a dark brown plastic holder and the three-part filter itself. The three parts are the main filter body with its integrated metal gauze filter, an inner plastic section with small perforations in the base and a clip-on plastic lid. The correct way to use is to place the filter body on top of the beaker, add the coffee (around two dessert spoons) place the inner section inside then add the water (presumably just off the boil but you can't tell this from just pictures) and put the lid on. Gravity will see that the water goes down through the coffee so no power supply or moving parts involved!
After a precautionary wash in the kitchen sink (of the Filtre Bélgique that is, not me!) I was ready to go following the instructions on the box. Or rather not following them as my first attempt went wrong - I really do prefer to read instructions rather than try to follow pictures, but that could just be me. So at the second attempt I was able to make myself a fresh cup of coffee. I would like to report it was a great success but unfortunately I found the result weak and lacking in depth of flavour, and also slightly cold. An initial difficulty is that there is no level marking on the inside of the filter and it is possible to overfill and make a mess. It is important to get the lid on quickly as this serves to make a seal slowing down the rate of filtration - which could otherwise be too fast - and reduces heat loss by convection.
Refining my technique over the next couple of weeks I found I could get an acceptable cup of coffee only if used around 2½ dessert spoons of ground coffee and preheated the beaker first with boiling water and added hot rather than cold milk. Less coffee and the result was insipid while adding more seemed to block the filter and it could take a very long time to filter through. Even so the results were not great and I almost threw out a bag of coffee beans given to me by a friend who had been to Costa Rica thinking they had lost their flavour.
By the time I had had the filter about three weeks the beaker had become a loose fit in the holder and the inevitable happened: it slipped out while being washed and ended up with a crack on the edge. All was not lost however since the plastic filter also fitted in my usual coffee mug. The only downside was that not being glass I couldn't see when the filter process had completed. Neither could I tell if I had overfilled it and this led to some mess at times.
By now other family members had impressed on me that a one-cup coffee maker is a bit antisocial and I was persuaded to buy an eight-cup Cafetière from Marks and Spencer for a very reasonable £7.50. Using this I immediately found my coffee has much better flavour and depth - including those beans from Costa Rica - stays hotter and does not require as much coffee to be used. I am also in charge of the brewing time rather than leaving it to the slightly uncertain effects of gravity. On the other hand it is more of a fuss to use for just one person and a bit more difficult to clean generally. It is telling though that since getting the Cafetière I have not used the Filtre Bélgique again.
Really I could only recommend this if you like your coffee very mild as even using a full strength roast produces a light coffee flavour. A benefit is that you get no no bitterness or after-taste though.
Summary: A bit disappointing, particularly if you pay the full price.
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