We've seen a lot of creative ways to brew coffee on the move, from the Oomph coffee-brewing mug to Handpresso portable espresso makers. Many require an external heat source for bringing the water up to temperature, limiting how portable the actual brewing process is. The Bripe Coffee Brew Pipe makes brewing truly pocket-size, putting a shot of coffee in a pipe that looks like it could also be used for more potent, less-legal forms of buzz. All it takes is a few minutes and a little heat from the included jet flame lighter.
Imagine this: You ditch the 9-to-5 corporate rat race to explore the gorgeous jungles and beaches of Costa Rica. You spend days trekking and paddling into postcard-perfect scenery and crave just one thing to make the experience complete – a great cup of coffee. Frustratingly, the lush mountains that support Costa Rica's coffee-growing industry aren't as helpful when it comes to brewing coffee on the spot.
A Handpresso Auto coffee mug would be great ... if you were auto touring, not trekking by foot. Other solutions require the water heated outside the brewer, so those are out, unless you want to carry a stove or start a fire. Something like the battery-powered Mojoe might work, but if you're trekking for days, you have to worry about off-grid charging. Plus, it's kind of a big, goofy mug if backpack space is at a premium.
Tim Panek, the man who found himself in the dilemma above, wanted something smaller and simpler. So he teamed up with his friend Craig Hall, founder of Canada's Equator Coffee Roasters, to create a fast, dirt-simple coffee brewing solution that takes up minimal space in a backpack, saddle bag or kayak.
The Bripe is as simple a coffee brewer as we've seen and it's also a super-compact, portable all-in-one system – no external fire or stove required. The copper-and-silver pipe holds the coffee (or tea) grounds and water in its bowl. The included refillable butane jet torch heats the coffee up from the bottom of the pipe, while a drop-in thermometer tracks temperature, 185° F (85° C) for brewing, 140° F (60° C) for drinking. The bowl is even big enough for adding cream and sugar, and the thermometer doubles as a stir stick.
When we first saw the Bripe, we weren't sure if you'd be smoking coffee essence (sounds weird but not entirely impossible in a world in which you can inhale caffeine and snort chocolate) but the Bripe is made for sipping, not inhaling. You sip through the stem, relying on the multi-size stainless steel filter to keep the grounds out.
The entire Bripe process takes just a few minutes – about two to three minutes to heat up the coffee and then time to cool it down to proper drinking temperature. We're thinking espresso would be the natural coffee of choice, since you drink it by the shot anyway, but we're sure Bripe users will experiment with different roasts to find a favorite.
In addition to the pipe, torch, filter and thermometer, the Bripe kit includes a small stand for resting the Bripe on while it cools, a tube for holding coffee grounds, and a carry case. The kit weighs in at 11.8 oz (337 g), and the only other requirements are the coffee grounds and water.
There are other light, portable coffee systems designed for backpackers and other fast-and-light adventurers, but few to none simple enough to use while sitting on a rock in the middle of a creek, or maybe even while actively hiking.
Bripe talks mostly about warm-weather activities like hiking, paddling and cycling, but the Bripe seems like it could be even better for cold-weather sports like skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. We can imagine packing this in a jacket pocket and brewing a shot on the ski lift as a warming pick-me-up – not something we'd be inclined to try with a JetBoil backpacking stove/coffee press, as great a piece of gear as it is in its own right.
After raising funds on Indiegogo back in December, Bripe is currently getting product out to coffee and outdoor sports shops around the country in a "Bripe Across America" tour. The kit retails for US$84.95. Bripe's tour will be stopping at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City this month, and New Atlas hopes to give the pipe a try (or get one for later testing) to see if its ease of use and coffee flavor live up to company hype.
Watch Panek put the Bripe to use in the video below.