Bunn Trifecta

press, drip, syphon, clover

Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Jim Saborio on Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:23 pm

Apples, wrenches... What do you mean, Nick?
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby nick on Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:49 am

Understanding that I certainly have zero interest (financial or otherwise) in promoting it, I'm just gonna say it, Jim: I think that the Abid Clever is absolutely the overall best manual brewing system out there. It has the potential to make a perfect cup of coffee, and you can teach a brand-new barista to make it perfect in between 10 and 30 minutes of training. It's not the prettiest, or sexiest, or most interesting or exotic... and like any system, it needs a good grinder that's "dialed in" and such, but it gets the job done.

Some systems, especially how they're being implemented, are simply not producing top-quality cups of coffee. Some systems do have that potential, but they're very difficult to master. If a particular system is more difficult, more expensive, etc., then it would make sense that there be some significant benefit over other viable alternatives... and for the sake of anyone "who belongs in THIS community," I'd hope that the cup quality is the key benefit (in practice, not just in theory). On the most part, they're not.

I hate certain brewing devices (though "hate" is such a strong word...) because there are easier ways of making perfect coffee, but people seem so enthralled with what they've got that they're accepting lesser-quality cups, whether they realize it or not.

Espresso is different (it's like comparing apples to oranges... 'wrenches' is an inside-joke hyperbole), because there's no easier way to make perfect espresso. Simple.

Back to the Trifecta, like every other brewing system (or every other thing, period) it will go through a cost-benefit assessment both individually and industry-wide. We'll see how it fares.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Jaime van Schyndel on Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:35 pm

Well Nick, at least you are being forward about your financial benefit in your review.

Abid is not a brewing system, it is a brewing device. It does not produce the best cup and I am speaking from two more years of experience with the device than you have and several thousand brews of tasting on it. I once used it quite heavily and was fine with it's limitations but now I can't really stand the cup profile in comparison to the layered clarity of a good v60 or Syphon. When I had Abid and my only other real comparisons were Fetco bulk brews and such, yep, seemed like a pretty fine replacement.

My current v60 brews kick the ever living crap out of Abid but then again, I am cheating. Maybe you just got to get all Mr. Miyagi and learn to use the kettle.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby nick on Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:02 am

Sorry to have thread-jacked the Trifecta thread into a manual-brewing or Abid discussion...

Jaime, I don't doubt you, but it's one of those gotta-stand-side-by-side-and-taste-this-shit-and-talk-about-it things cuz it's so hard to do any qualitative or comparative stuff over long-distances.

I have a couple new wholesale customers who are going to be doing V60 drip bars, so I'll be working on my wax-on-wax-off for sure. But you also get how that was sort of part of my point... (ease of use vs. needing to get Mr. Miyagi)
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Andy Schecter on Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:27 pm

nick wrote:On the most part, be it a Hario V60, Chemex, siphon, Beehouse, etc., I hate them all.


Well, of course it's de rigueur to hate the Chemex.

nick wrote: I hope to encounter this "Trifecta" this weekend at Coffeefest. I am bringing a small bag of coffee beans which I am familiar with, solely to encounter this "Trifecta."


So did you and the Trifecta have a like, encounter?
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby nick on Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:49 pm

Andy Schecter wrote:So did you and the Trifecta have a like, encounter?

No. It was a no-show. :oops: :cry: :evil:
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Jim Saborio on Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:40 pm

Looks as if there is a Trifecta coming to Ann Arbor in a few months. Can't wait.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Rich Westerfield on Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:39 am

Jaime van Schyndel wrote:Abid is not a brewing system, it is a brewing device. It does not produce the best cup and I am speaking from two more years of experience with the device than you have and several thousand brews of tasting on it. I once used it quite heavily and was fine with it's limitations but now I can't really stand the cup profile in comparison to the layered clarity of a good v60 or Syphon. When I had Abid and my only other real comparisons were Fetco bulk brews and such, yep, seemed like a pretty fine replacement.

My current v60 brews kick the ever living crap out of Abid but then again, I am cheating. Maybe you just got to get all Mr. Miyagi and learn to use the kettle.


Jaime,
"Can't stand"? Really? As in make you want to gag? I find that hard to believe.

To take Nick's threadjack to another step, we're going on close to a year working with Abids. Been through a dozen or more iterations on methodology, including now stirring after the buttwhuppin I got from Rao. Also have a few months on V60 1-cuppers and have tried every method we could find online. So far the degree of difference in the resulting cup isn't all that startling to warrant dumping Abids in favor of V60s. Maybe we'll get there eventually.

Can't speak for Nick here, but I think you and I are on different pages. You're more like PeterL on the naturals debate on Jim's blog :shock:

Doesn't matter to us what the price is on the Trifecta or even what the box looks like. It's a bar device, not something one is gonna put on their kitchen counter. And that's the difference, IMO. We sell coffee for home brewing. We want to enable customers to brew coffee at home as close to as good as they can get it in the shop. The Abid makes that reasonably possible.

Despite Scott's contentions that his $50 unnamed electric drip brewer can make a better cup and how dumb I am that I can't figure that out*, much like we're the kinds of folks who consider naturals a good stepping stone to coffee appreciation, we consider Abids a good way to get customers to change their electric drip habits and learn about nuances of brewing. Not everyone here is going to agree with that. But there's little argument that Abids are approachable, inexpensive, easy to learn and does indeed make a fine cup (that every professional liked at one point). And yeah, we've sold seven cases of the things in the past three months.

At the moment, that's a step in the right direction. I'd imagine some of those people who are buying Abids today will be ready for siphons in a couple of years. But we think it's asking a bit much to ask customers to toss their Krups 8-cupper and jump right over to a Hario TCA2.

Happy to have you show me differently as it looks like I'll be in Boston next weekend.

*We tested some newer Mr. Coffees and they now get water to 188F.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Jaime van Schyndel on Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:06 pm

Rich Westerfield wrote:Jaime,
"Can't stand"? Really? As in make you want to gag? I find that hard to believe.


Gag, no, but I really can't go back to the cup character of Abids. I didn't feel so strongly about it until I had been using hand pour for months, then the kettle mods and finally the Lb-1 made it a moot point for me.

I am looking forward to the influx of peeps from the region for the NERBC so let's do some of that ' gotta-stand-side-by-side-and-taste-this-shit-and-talk-about-it ' stuff. Bring some familiar coffees and let's do some different brew methods.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Phil Proteau on Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:31 pm

I think we are at a point where single-cup-rapid-extraction-automated-brewing devices/systems will be showing up with more and more frequency. What Bunn has going against them, at least in part, is that they were not already perceived as a very sexy machine before, and the styling of the Trifecta is similarly not very sexy. There will surely be other S.C.R.E.A.B.s coming to market in the near future, most assuredly with much more attention to aesthetic design. I think much of the appeal for these devices is at it's core the mechanical sex appeal (or to drag up an old term from the Clover days- Machine Love).

The fact is there are many ways of brewing great single cup coffees without all the machinery. At what point are we making machinery for self indulgent mechanical satisfaction, and at what point are we creating useful, efficient, and cost effective tools.

And for the record- I do not hate the Chemex. I believe that most, if not all those who extol the virtues of the Chemex are brewing 12-16 oz cups. In the larger sizes, the brewing is terminated when the water level reaches the "belly button". The Chemex makes great coffee this way. Just try making a whole pot. The larger Chemexs are obviously designed with the intention of making a large pot of coffee. That is when it's Achilles Heel of slow drainage and over-extraction are revealed. To say that the Chemex is either good or bad is like saying
"James Hoffman said crema is disgusting and you should skim it off your espresso".
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Andy Schecter on Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:44 pm

Scott Rao and I recently visited Cafe Grumpy in Brooklyn and were able to experiment a bit with their prototype Trifecta. I posted some impressions over on portafilter.net.

Meanwhile, here's a barista's-eye-view of the Trifecta:

Image

Brett Hanson wrote:I don't see why Bunn would insist on grafting the portafilter analogy onto this wholly different device. Have we not reached our RDA of carpal tunnel?


The bar at the top is a lever than clamps and unclamps the brew chamber and "portafilter" in position. Brett, I'm not sure your comment is accurate, because locking and unlocking on a Trifecta does not involve the twisting motion of an espresso portafilter. I believe it's mostly the twisting that puts an untoward strain on some people's wrists.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Brett Hanson on Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:15 pm

Andy Schecter wrote:The bar at the top is a lever than clamps and unclamps the brew chamber and "portafilter" in position. Brett, I'm not sure your comment is accurate, because locking and unlocking on a Trifecta does not involve the twisting motion of an espresso portafilter. I believe it's mostly the twisting that puts an untoward strain on some people's wrists.


Focusing for a second on this one single complaint of "basket choice"...
Fair enough, I'll take my objection down from "injury-inducing" to "odd choice".

Which hand position is more comfortable for you to repeat long-term and while applying weight: pointing (like using a portafilter)?, OR
making a fist (like holding a coffee cup)?

I'm no ergo expert, but the latter seems like it makes more sense. ... my 2c having never touched the device.

And is manual pourover really that bad? Intelligentsia doesn't seem to think so...
http://vimeo.com/11181154
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Andy Schecter on Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:04 pm

Brett Hanson wrote:Which hand position is more comfortable for you to repeat long-term and while applying weight: pointing (like using a portafilter)?, OR
making a fist (like holding a coffee cup)?

I'm no ergo expert, but the latter seems like it makes more sense.


Not trying to be argumentative, but I'm not sure that either choice reflects the way the Trifecta is used. You insert the "portafilter" in the machine, and then lock it down with a short pull on the upper handle. The lockdown is sort of like a operating a lever machine, except that the Trifecta involves far less effort.


Brett Hanson wrote:And is manual pourover really that bad? Intelligentsia doesn't seem to think so...
http://vimeo.com/11181154


It's a really cool video and the cafe workflow is a great merchandising tool for selling roasted beans, V60's and kettles. But you can't tell from the video if the coffee is consistently good....
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby jpscoffee on Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:31 pm

Who else here tried the Trifecta at SCAA? I had a before-the-show-floor-opens demo from a Bunn sales guy (thanks John) who showed me and let me taste the Trifecta in action.

I am not familiar with all the brewing methods discussed on this thread, but to give the Trifecta a fair shot I'll name my parameters.
1. Can it brew a great single cup effectively? I think so. I only had one coffee from it, but it produced a very nice cup, similar to a French press coffee (it uses a steel filter that allows sediment). It was an Ethiopian I believe and the brewing method brought out the fruit in the cup very nicely. The variables for brewing can be tweaked to bring out the best of various coffees. I think it would take some time to play with and get the most from all variables (they are going to supply a chart that helps operators)
2. Is the machine in a reasonable price range? Well, anything compared to a Clover is cheap and compared to a French press is expensive. List price is $4995, street price should be about $3995, maybe less.
3. Is it well thought out? I think so. I am not an expert, just a coffee lover and geek wannabe. But, I think they thought through the variables they felt would bring the best out of coffee and be the most important. It is easily programmable.
4. Does it have the desired features? I don't know of anything else I would add, although I'm sure someone will.
5. Does it work like coffee people would like it to? I think so. Even though manual methods have the advantage of being cheaper and less obtrusive, consistency is so important in a manual method. It interesting that in a cafe I know that brags up about the importance of exactness in the stirring and extraction of a vacuum method coffee has videos of them on You Tube where the employee breaks all of their own rules. Not trying to pick on them, just pointing out that sometimes automation can add a benefit like consistency to processes.
6. Would it work in a cafe? Is it durable? Yes, it is solid. It is well built and well thought out. It has been in process for about 3 years or more and I think they did a good job of fabrication.
7. Can it be easily serviced and repaired? Yes, very few parts, very easy to repair, pump is a common $10 pump and Bunn has always excelled in support and service with equipment.
8. Is it an upgrade or movement in the right direction or a new direction for the goal of serving a single cup? I think so.

I know that use of a Trifecta over time would reveal much more about cup character, real live cafe usage and more. I look forward to seeing the Trifecta get into the market and start getting real feedback.

A last thought - I think its funny that people talk about it being not sexy. As compared to what? The Clover? Like using a squeegee to remove coffee grounds is sexy?
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Brett Hanson on Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:31 am

Andy Schecter wrote:
Brett Hanson wrote:And is manual pourover really that bad? Intelligentsia doesn't seem to think so...
http://vimeo.com/11181154


It's a really cool video and the cafe workflow is a great merchandising tool for selling roasted beans, V60's and kettles. But you can't tell from the video if the coffee is consistently good....


Advance the video to 1:48. "700-1,000 transactions per day" says everything I need to hear.

One could respond to that with "customers aren't a good judge of true quality and extraction" to which I'd reply - Customers are the ONLY judge of quality that matters... if you're a business trying to make money, that is.

Assuming that intelly did their homework and tested the concept goes without saying.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Robert Goble on Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:19 am

jpscoffee wrote:A last thought - I think its funny that people talk about it being not sexy. As compared to what? The Clover? Like using a squeegee to remove coffee grounds is sexy?

As far as sexy goes, we all have our tastes and preferences so who am I to argue the kind of BUNN you adore? And at a trade show - who needs booth babes to sell a product when you've got a 12 man and woman team of 50 year olds in cream tops and black aprons pushing by-the-cup coffee?

But lets give some credit to there being some kind of generally agreed design standard for sexy. There are enough apple users in our community to arrive at some sort of consensus that within the world of design there are products that score higher or lower on the imaginary sexy factor. BUNN isn't in the business of sexy. They just aren't. But that's ok. They don't need to be. And it's okay for us all to acknowledge that. I didn't plan on taking my coffee brewer back to my room anyway.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby jpscoffee on Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:34 am

I didn't plan on taking my coffee brewer back to my room anyway.

That's funny!

Bunn is not sexy, but I don't know of any commercial auto drip coffee brewer that is. The Trifecta is at least cute on the sexy scale, and maybe even higher depending on your viewpoint.

I do agree that "sexy is in the eye of the beholder". I just think coffee geeks are so starved for innovation that equipment described as , "but, she's got a great personality" is thought of as hot.

I highly doubt we'll all agree on coffee brewer sex appeal, but heck I bought my Mac to make me look good, not perform well. Fortunately it performs well too!
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Mike White on Mon May 24, 2010 11:09 am

Quick question(s),

If I want the yield to be a 12oz cup of coffee, do I use a "12oz" setting on the unit?

Also (related), does anyone know how the Trifecta determines the amount of water used to brew? Weight, volume, time, etc?

Just curious.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby Andy Schecter on Mon May 24, 2010 6:44 pm

Mike White wrote:does anyone know how the Trifecta determines the amount of water used to brew?


According to Vince, the Trifecta uses a flowmeter.
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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby John Oughtred on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:31 pm

I have one in Victoria that I have been playing with for a few days now. I really like it. Sexy?? Compared to my girlfriend no, compared to yours...not sure. Makes great coffee and you have pretty much full control over the brew parameters. Reading this thread is funny to me as an industry professional. If bunn was a company that produced machines in a basement with a recorded loss of 100,000 dollars annually, it would probably have a lot different response from the industry (3rd wave). Success is not a bad thing in the coffee industry...Or is it? To me its all about the coffee. If anyone wants to try it feel free to come on by. I will be sending it to Vancouver pretty soon for a little tour, so if you're there and you want to play let me know.


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Re: Bunn Trifecta

Postby jpscoffee on Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:47 pm

I had a job two weeks ago helping a client open a store in PA. She purchased a Trifecta and had me set it up, determine the correct parameters, make coffees, figure out menu sizes and everything for it. It was a great learning experience for me. I really like the coffee it make. I think it does an excellent job at what it was created to do; brew single cup coffee and maximize potential of the coffee used.

We ended up putting an 8, 12 and 16 ounce coffee on the menu. She has about 4 or 5 coffees to choose from. You really have to use a scale to have any type of consistency between coffees and to insure proper ratios. It is different at first when weighing 16 grams of coffee to make an 8 ounce cup of coffee. That ain't a lot of beans in the bottom of the cup. But it does extract it well.

I only had probably an afternoon total to really play with it, so I don't have experience with adjusting time, temperature and turbulence for each coffee, but it is easy to do. And Bunn gives you the basics and one can adjust from there.

The thing I love about it is it's so consistent and does the job for you. I remember the first time I heard about Blue Bottle in SF and looked up a YouTube video on them. They talked all about how critical the employee was to the process and, to stir it exactly the right way for the right amount of time. But when I watched a video that someone obviously took at BB with their phone camera, the employee completely did not follow the "supposed critical directions" for the brewing method. Thus, the Trifecta's consistency and automation I think will be a great asset.

The Trifecta is really well built and designed. An employee can fresh grind, load, press the button and then do something else while the machine finishes the job. The extra labor for my store on trying to implement a pour over would be killer.

Last comment, I think the original pictures that Bunn used to promote the machine made it look cheaper and flimsier than it really is and made it look like it was made out of plastic. It's not. It is heavy duty steel and set well on the counter. I am making plans to hopefully in the next 6-9 months create a dual Trifecta brew by the bar area for our store.
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