The Cafflano Klassic is an all-in-one pour over coffee brewer. The only additional items needed to brew coffee are hot water and whole coffee beans. The parent company of the Cafflano products is Beancorp, which has been making coffee-related products since 2013. Shown here is the red version. It is also available in black with a red lid.|
I was introduced to the Cafflano a the 2016 Specialty Coffee Association of America's exhibition in Atlanta earlier this year. I do enjoying coffee-related items which are affordable, offer something different or unique, and are at a price point that makes reading my reviews worthwhile to the masses. OK – so my ego appreciates big audiences. But when I saw the Cafflano Klassic it went a bit further than that.
The overall design of the Cafflano Klassic reflects a lot of attention to detail and function which caught my eye right away. All the parts screw together into a solid, compact unit 7 ½ inches tall and 3 ½ inches in diameter as seen above. Separated, the individual components are seen below:
In the foreground, left to right, are the grinder, the removable lid, and the tumbler
In the background are the drip kettle and the filter dripper.
You can plainly see the "coarse" threads which allow secure assembly of the parts. They all screw together easily and quickly, and I think you would have to really work at it to cross-thread any of the parts above.
The heart of the Cafflano Klassic is the grinder. The handle is quite sturdy and is easily held and controlled when grinding. It folds out easily when you are ready to grind coffee.
The diameter of the tumbler might make it difficult for those with small hands to hold firmly while grinding. Using a more coarse grind setting would make it easier.
All the metal parts are stainless steel, the burrs are ceramic, and all the plastic parts are polypropylene throughout the Cafflano.
The adjustment mechanism is simple and is easily adjusted. Loosen the "locker" nut on top until the handle can be tipped down to clear the adjustment wheel. Turn the adjustment wheel to set the desired grind, lower the handle so that tang at the tip locks into one of the slots, then tighten the locker nut.
The ceramic burrs of the Cafflano Klassic appear to be of very good quality, and certainly are up to the task of grinding for pour-over. They left very little sludge in the cup even when brewing without a paper filter at a slightly too-fine setting.
Both the inner and outer conical ceramic burrs are held in place with stainless steel hardware. A self locking nut for the inner burr, and a collar and four screws for the outer burr.
The thrust bushing sits below the adjustment wheel. While you can use a scale to weigh beans, when on the go just use the molded-in marks on the "hopper" of the grinder. They indicate approximately 10 grams to 25 grams in five gram increments.
The filter portion of the cone is perforated stainless steel, not a screen. It appears to be of very high quality and of a heavy gauge that should resist bending or denting in normal use for the life of the product. Note the cut-out notch on the retaining rim around the circumference of the basket. This is presumably to allow the outflow of air from the tumbler which is displaced when coffee flows into the tumbler. As I had mentioned, there is a lot of attention to detail in the design.
Start by heating up water. The instructions note that this should be done in another, not-included vessel. Since polypropylene is a thermal plastic, you can likely only make that mistake once. The plastic parts are NOT dishwasher safe. Hot water and a non-abrasive sponge with dish washing soap should be used.
The molding of the plastic parts makes them very easy to clean, and since there are no parts that can be damaged by water, including the grinder, the entire device can be washed up in the sink.
While water is heating, drop the filter dripper into the tumbler (it just drops in- no threads) then screw the grinder onto the top of the tumbler to hold these three parts together. If you want a "cleaner" cup of coffee, or to speed up cleanup, place a single-size paper filter in the filter dripper before grinding. Now pour the desired amount of beans into the grinder.
The tumbler is lined with stainless steel, and examining it closely it appears to be seamless. The junction of the bottom and sides has a nice little radius which should make it easy to wash and remove any trace of leftover coffee.
The next step is to grind the coffee. The assembly of the parts of the Cafflano Klassic at this point is solid. You will notice another design detail here:
The base of the tumbler is silicone which makes it a lot easier to hold the tumbler steady when grinding.
Care must be taken when pouring the water from the drip kettle. The little spout works perfectly and I did not see any stray dribbles. The exception was when I was using the black lid on the drip kettle and tipped it at an over-zealous pouring angle and a few dribbles came from between the lid and the kettle on my first try.
Additionally, if you flood the filter dripper and the bloom overflows, the bloom can dribble into the tumbler and get mixed with the beverage, so that is definitely to be avoided. Pour slowly and carefully.
It was mid-afternoon and I was half asleep at the computer which prompted my first test of the Cafflano Klassic. A full 'kettle' is about 8 or 9 ounces and the coffee produced will fill the tumbler about halfway. My first try was with 8 ounces and about 20 grams of beans (using the lines on the grinder as a measure). The grind was a bit too fine and the flow was quite slow. I set the grinder five notches more coarse and tried again.
Now that I was awake from the first cup, my second test was with a weighed 20 grams of beans which came to the 20 gram mark on the grinder. I counted 15 notches from zero (my first test was at 10 notches). This was the superior brew of the two, so I recommend setting the grinder to "zero," marking that "notch" on the adjustment wheel (I used a Sharpie), and then loosening the wheel two full turns and use that as a starting point (there are 8 notches, so two rotations would be at "grind setting" 16).
I was also lucid enough at that point that I started the timer. It took 70 seconds to grind the 20 grams of coffee at the "15 notches"
I tried pouring from the kettle without the lid and it does work, but it is easier to avoid over-pouring with the lid on the kettle, held down with the index finger finger of the hand holding the kettle. The little spout really does a nice job and allows precise control of the flow's placement. I was able to pour all around the edges of the filter without missing at all.
And I will add that this second cup is tasting quite delicious with my lunch right now! I have noticed no off-flavors from the polypropylene, and I am quite sensitive to that sort of thing. I did not use a paper filter and there was just a bit of very fine sludge in the bottom of the cup. To keep from spoiling the flavor, just avoid that last little sip from the tumbler. The sludge was far less than I have experienced with a "traditional" press pot.
The tumbler seems large when compared to the size of the kettle, but it leaves enough room to put in some paper filters or packets of coffee beans so it isn't wasted space when traveling.
As I tried to mention in numerous areas in the above review, the Cafflano Klassic is a study in design in its own right. From the multi-purpose cover on the top, down to the silicone base, this device shows a tremendous amount of attention to detail. Still, in my opinion, there are a few areas which could benefit from a bit of further attention:
- The drip kettle screws onto the top of the grinder to complete the storage assembly. The flat cover screws on the bottom of the kettle (which is the black top seen in the first image at the top of this review). The lid sits nicely on top of the kettle when pouring water onto the ground coffee, and it fits on top of the tumbler. But the lid does not screw onto either of those during use. Its threads only are to keep in in place during storage or transport. In actual use, if placed on the kettle when pouring or onto the tumbler after brewing, care must be taken to remember that it is "loose" in order to avoid spills or burns.
- The bushing for the shaft of the grinder is the polypropylene body of the grinder itself. What appears to be a white plastic bushing in the above photos is apparently just a thrust bushing. The grind adjustment wheel rides against it when in operation. It seems to do nothing to stabilize the shaft. I do not think this is much of a problem as this grinder is not designed to grind for espresso, but a ceramic bushing either molded in or at each end of the support would have been a nice touch.
- I found no mention of how to find a starting finding grind adjustment nor for a recommended coffee:water ratio anywhere in the documentation nor on their website.
There are no markings on the grinder's adjustment wheel so to find a preferred grind you must count the "notches" on the wheel, starting from zero, to replicate a grind setting.
Starting at about $85 delivered, the Cafflano Klassic might be the portable coffee-making device you have been looking for. Virtually unbreakable and just a fraction of an ounce over one pound in weight it would be easy to take along for all but the very most weight conscious traveler. For me, if it is a matter of no coffee or one extra pound, put it in my backpack and YOU can go without coffee!
The few minor negatives I mentioned above should not worry you. The Cafflano Klassic is compact, solidly built, easy to use, highly transportable, and easily makes a very nice cup of coffee. Or, as it did this day, makes two very nice cups of coffee.