The Bodum Kona

After the Midlands UKBC heat Anette and I drove over to Steve Leighton’s to spend the afternoon at Hasbean. After chatting about brewing kit for a little while Steve very kindly gave me a Bodum Kona to play with.

Now I love my Chemex – it is my comfort brewer at the moment, though the vacpot is getting tempting (I just worry about committing to the technique to raise myself to the level of the barismo vac brewer kung fu). However I can’t stop worrying about the paper. I rinse religiously, and often wonder what it is keeping out of my cup (for good or bad).

Bodum Kona

Brewing some fine coffee this morning

What threw me is something I hadn’t considered up until this point – the way that the paper affects the flow of water through the coffee. I haven’t brewed much in the past with gold/titanium filters so I put my hands up as inexperienced. As I’ve said previously I have been using a much coarser grind with the Chemex, but the Kona has taken me a fairly long time to dial in the grind as the metal doesn’t provide the same resistance to the water that paper does. To get a decent brew time I had to grind finer than seemed right, and the cup was indeed a bit ropey. I am still not entirely convinced I’ve got it but I did get a very sweet cup from the Collective’s Daterra Sweet Collection.

I am brewing at 60g/l at the moment and would appreciate any input from people a bit more comfortable/experienced with them than me. Also I’d be curious if people have any particular techniques for pouring the water.

12 Comments The Bodum Kona

  1. Lukas

    I have no experience with the Kona, only with a SwissGold one cup. Getting acceptable brew times is helped by just using very little water in the beginning so the grounds can swell a bit, and pour very gently afterwards.
    And yes, you have to grind pretty fine, compared to normal filter, to get good results. I’d go with a slightly smaller dose – that could help a bit, but it may just be that I’m more of a 55g/l person!

  2. David Pier

    With the Chemex vs. a gold filter, it isn’t just the filtering medium, is it? With the way the filter rests tight to the glass in the Chemex, the vast majority of the flow is through the little bit of the cone that hangs down into the neck, and probably just the half of that cone that is single layer. In the gold filter, and any Melitta style filter, the brew can flow out anywhere.

  3. Jimmy

    The main thing I found with the kona is you need to do a good sized pot for it to work properly; a 350mL mug size won’t offer enough resistance/dwell time. Getting rid of paper is the main thing, but I’ve been using cilio 1 hole ceramic with swissgold no4 filters for my filter coffee on bar…

  4. Ian Callahan

    “In the gold filter, and any Melitta style filter, the brew can flow out anywhere.” While this is true, i think you’ll find that the vast majority of brew DOES flow from the base of the cone.
    Still early days testing for me, however i’m using a ratio of around 10g coffee per 100ml h20 (1:10 approx). I pour to the center then spiral outwards to allow for maximum soaking and allow for upto 40sec ‘bloom’ (i wait till the water just stops to ‘shine’ off of the coffee and the coffee begins to look like it’s dying). Then i continue a steady, slow pour until i’ve reached the desired limit of liquid. At the moment i’m testing using indian monsooned malabar robusta as i’m trying to find a positive tasting and cost effective way to provide customers who order their coffee ‘strong’ without wanting an extra shot at my cafe. So far by adding 30mls of the kona brew to their (say) latte, i’ve been getting very positive results. I should also mention that for the grind i’m currently grinding as fine as posible without allowing the coffee to slip or sludge through the gold filter when water is added.

  5. Ian Callahan

    Just had a fantastic cup this morning of 66%PNG Sigri 33%Harrar with a water temp of around 94degreesC. Deep barky/nuttiness on the nose, good body, enriched bitter-sweet liqourich with slight berry-cocoa tones, finishes with a lingering earthy terrior flavour.
    Can’t wait to start the day!

  6. James Hoffmann

    I needed a fair amount of coffee this afternoon to speed me through the accounting. Made a Kona of the Daterra first, and then later made a Chemex of it – same ratio, slightly coarser grind. The Chemex was a much better, sweeter and cleaner cup. I will conquer this Bodum eventually! (changing my water pouring has improved the cup – much more gentle as per Lukas’ recommendation…)

  7. Wilson Hines

    Saw a Kona yesterday at Coffee & Crema in Greenville, SC. Via your other post the other day I was studying that thing.

    Sure would make a nice Christmas gift!

  8. James Hoffmann

    Jaime – I’ve been using more of the second method with my Chemex, though I had been hesitant to soak/bloom for that long. I tried the first method this morning, but found it really hard to control the water the way he does. I need one of those pouring thingymajigs. It felt weird to pour so centrally though. Plus I need at least 2-3oz to evenly soak my 30g of coffee. Great video though, and yes – it is about time I got into syphon brewing.

  9. Jaime

    I am working the second method and yes, you need a good pitcher. The fancy one he has will only set you back about $150USD.

    Unless you are brewing darker roasts, try imitating his method and see how it comes out. Don’t break the edge!

  10. Simon

    Just a note for those in the UK – the Bodum factory outlet in Bicester Village, Oxfordshire has the Kona for £11 at the moment.

    They’ve also got a more complex model with a double-walled flask which is supposedly down from something like £80 to £20 – though it uses the same filter as the Kona. For those interested in experimenting, they’ve got a stack of the filters on their own for £5

  11. Jonathan

    If I can find the time, I would love to design a metal filter for the chemex that would fit as snug as the paper filter does. It would at least be a fun experiment.

    On the flip side has anyone tried using a chemex paper filter on a Kona and cupped the results side by side a chemex brew? It would be interesting to see if there is that much of a difference.

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