- Brew Quality (50%)9.1/10
- Design (15%)9.8/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.7/10
- Brew Quality (50%)7.2/10
- Design (15%)8.8/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.7/10
The Bodum is an adaptation of a French press coffee maker. Its affordable all-plastic design and stainless steel plunge filter are especially durable. The freestyle brewing technique it uses makes a full-strength cold brew coffee concentrate. It’s one of our top-recommended brewers.
The Coffee Bear is a very average immersion filter brewer. Its jug-type design uses a plastic and nylon filter. With a fixed brew ratio and a nylon filter, the Coffee Bear doesn’t produce much more than an average brew. Its only advantage is that it can brew in the door bin of most refrigerators.
- Bouquet (10%)9.0/10
- Drinkability (70%)8.8/10
- Sediment (20%)10/10
- Bouquet (10%)7.0/10
- Drinkability (70%)7.0/10
- Sediment (20%)8.0/10
The bouquet of the concentrate the Bodum brewed was quite strong. There was a well-defined roasted note with a hint of underlying caramel. Although confident, the bouquet was not defined by complexity.
The Coffee Bear produced a somewhat medium-strength bouquet. It had a slight roasted note and a hint of woodiness. It had none of the complexity that you would get from a brewer that makes a real cold brew concentrate.
The Bodum produced a strong and hearty full-roasted flavor. We used a 1:2 dilution of cold brew concentrate to water, yet further dilution is recommended for a standard coffee strength. The brew was full-bodied with no bitter flavor and the finish was perfectly smooth. The brew, however, lacked complexity except for a slight roasted caramel undertone. To get this favorable result we did two brew tests using different techniques detailed in the ‘Brewing’ section below.
The Coffee Bear brew was reasonable. It was of medium strength and we felt it was best to drink undiluted. There was a slight sweetness to the aftertaste, but overall it was not so full-bodied. There was little discernible difference between this brew and that of the almost identical product, the Coffee Gator.
The sediment test result of this coffee maker was excellent. There was hardly any detectable sediment, even fine granules. Coupled with this, the filtration method is one of the easiest among the freestyle brewing devices we’ve tested.
After allowing the brew to settle and decanting a second time, there was a moderate amount of fine sediment left behind. This was in line with the quality and design of the brewer, but you may want to decant the brew a second time yourself for a smoother drink.
- Stopper / Lid (30%)9.5/10
- Filter (40%)10/10
- Build Quality (30%)10/10
- Stopper / Lid (30%)10/10
- Filter (40%)8.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)8.5/10
In the Box
- Box WDH: 5.5 x 5.1 x 9.5 inches
- Decanter with airtight lid
- Plunge filter with lid
- Measuring spoon
- Multilingual instruction leaflet
Most of all, we loved how the Bodum was boxed. It has a simple two-sided cardboard jacket that neatly folds out with an opening for the spout. It’s minimal and there was an additional bubble plastic wrapping. The device came fully assembled. Since it’s made in Portugal, the small instruction leaflet is in multiple languages including Russian, Chinese, and Japanese.
- Box WDH: 6.7 x 4.7 x 9.2 inches
- Assembled glass brewer
- Instruction leaflet in Brewer
- Product message card
Coffee Bear is a good-looking cold brew coffee maker. We liked its handy size and solid design. The design, as well as the box packaging, is almost identical to Coffee Gator. There are no other extras in the package except the brew guide and care manual all on one leaflet. The greeting card by ‘the founders’ seemed a little contrived.
- Heightwith Stopper Lid:7.7 in (195 mm)
- Base Diameter:5.1in (130 mm)
- Width:7.5 in (190 mm)
- Weight:16.3 oz (462 g)
- Material:Plastic, silicone
The Bodum brew decanter is made entirely of plastic. It holds up to 37 fl oz (1.5 L) when full, so a plastic body certainly lightens the load. Notwithstanding, it’s also very durable and dishwasher safe. A key feature is the wide and comfortable handle with a silicone grip.
- Heightwith Stopper Lid:10 in (255 mm)
- Base Diameter:3.9 in (100 mm)
- Width:6.7 in (170 mm)
- Weight:30.0 oz (850 g)
- Material:borosilicate glass, silicone
The brew decanter is quite solid and appears well-made. The silicone base, although non-slip, was not the most perfectly level. On careful examination, the Coffee Bear carafe, without the silicone base, is slightly shorter than the Coffee Gator.
Stopper / Lid
- Diameter:4.4 in (125 mm)
- Additional Features:Silicone seal, plunge filter
There are actually two lids for the Bodum cold coffee maker, both having much the same diameter. The brew lid is the one without the plunger. It’s also airtight with a silicone seal and fits the brew vessel very neatly.
The lid with the plunge filter attached has a handy lever that opens and closes the spout for pouring and an airtight silicone seal. Depending on the quantity of coffee grounds, the height can increase up to 10 cm or more due to the raised plunger.
- Diameter:4.3 in (110 mm)
- Material:BPA-free plastic
- Additional Features:2 white silicone gaskets
The screw-on plastic rim and lid are a very practical design. There are two silicone gaskets, but in comparison, it doesn’t screw on as easily as the Coffee Gator’s. The handle is likewise somewhat small and uncomfortable to grip.
- Length:7.9 in (200 mm)
- Diameter:6.9 in (175 mm)
- Material:Plastic, stainless steel
- Additional Features:Silicone seal
The filter of the Bodum functions of course much the same as a French press. This means that filtering is quick and easy. The filter is a double-ply stainless steel mesh constructed around a plastic frame. Our sediment test score showed that the filter is one of the best.
- Length:7.5 in (190 mm)
- Diameter:2.5 in (65 mm)
- Material:Black plastic, nylon mesh
- Additional Features:Detachable base
The detachable base of the filter is not unique since we’ve encountered this design before. One drawback is it takes time to drain out all the liquid. Furthermore, a permeable base could possibly help in developing a better brew quality. We were eager to see what our test results would bring.
For the price, the Bodum has excellent build quality. The lids fit perfectly, the pour lever is a nice feature, and the silicone seals and handle grip are of good quality. Some may not like the plastic body, preferring glass, however, it’s very durable and the product is designed and manufactured in Portugal.
Overall we were satisfied with the build quality. The silicone base, however, seemed less than the best. Compared to the almost identical Coffee Gator, the thread quality of the lid seemed not as good nor the filter assembly as smooth. Zoopolitics aside, we felt that the build quality of the Coffee Bear was not quite up to that of the contending Coffee Gator. Not a lion’s roar of a difference, but Coffee Bear also has fewer value-added extras.
Ease of Use
- Brewing (45%)9.0/10
- Decanting (35%)8.5/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)8.5/10
- Brewing (45%)8.5/10
- Decanting (35%)9.0/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)8.5/10
The Bodum doesn’t come with any brewing instructions other than: spoon in the coffee, pour the water, seal the lid, and refrigerate. The instruction manual and the website do not recommend any brew ratio. This kind of freestyle brewing is much appreciated, but it would be nice if the brew vessel had measurement markings to perhaps indicate approximate ratios.
In our first brew test, we simply took one standard bag of coffee ground of 8 oz and tipped the lot into the brew decanter. Next, we carefully measured and poured in 40 fl oz or 1.2 liters of water - about an inch and a half from the top, and stirred the contents. This was of course a perfect ratio of 1:5 of grounds to water — a ratio often recommended for making a strong cold brew concentrate. This ratio is comparable to other non-immersion filter brewers we have tested such as the OXO and the Toddy.
In the first taste testing, we were not entirely satisfied with the results due to a slightly sour edge to the brew and a lack of complete smoothness. We, therefore, brewed again, but this time took our cue from the Toddy brewing method.
We kept the same ratio but did layered brewing. We put a third of the grounds in the bottom and poured in 400 ml (13.5 fl oz) or two glasses of filtered water. To even the flow of the water, we poured around the edges using a wooden spoon. This mixture was left to settle and bloom for seven minutes undisturbed.
Then, we poured another third of the grounds on top and another two glasses of water. We gently pressed the grounds into the water and did the same with the remaining quantities. We did not disturb the contents by stirring, but sealed the brewer and placed it in the refrigerator for 18 hours. The brew quality result was much improved.
Brewing was a simple process of attaching the filter to the ring neck and then pouring in the grounds. The recommended amount of grounds is 95 g (3.3 oz) which is just below the mesh line.
You can pour in the grounds, but the last few inches may require a spoon. We used the silicon funnel and stainless steel measuring spoon from the similar Coffee Gator brewer. It was a lot easier but the Coffee Bear does not come with these useful little extras.
We also found that for a small refrigerator, we had to remove the silicone base for the Coffee Bear to fit in the door. Furthermore, the base is cumbersome to reattach especially if the carafe is full.
Decanting entailed a couple of operations. The first step is to activate the plunger, but you must make sure the lid is locked in place. After plunging, you just press down the lever on the lid, the spout will open, and you can pour. If you use the layered brewing method, it requires a bit of force to push the plunger down.
It operates much the same as any French press, however, since you’re making a cold brew concentrate, the design does leave some choices to be made. The manufacturer’s intention seems to be that you would leave the plunger depressed and store again in the refrigerator. This means that the concentrate will brew further.
We decided, after plunging, to completely decant the contents in line with our testing parameters. After cleaning the brew vessel, we returned the concentrate, although the container was rather bulky for the yield volume. Therefore, you may prefer to decant it into a more suitable container. This is the only hassle with an otherwise excellent free brewing method.
The ease and speed of decanting exceed that of the similar freestyle OXO cold brew coffee maker, except that a separate decanter vessel is not provided. A 1:5 ratio yielded 25 fl oz or 750 ml of cold brew concentrate, which can easily be diluted at 1:2 or even 1:3 as you prefer.
We experienced no issues with decanting. After slowly removing the neck ring, we checked the filter and it was still securely attached. It’s best to detach the filter immediately and leave the remaining liquid to drain into another container. We rinsed the neck ring, resealed the carafe, and refrigerated again. Our next step was to do our brew score testing for bouquet, drinkability, and sediment.
Cleaning and Storage
Bodum was perfectly easy to clean. The only things to be careful of are the two silicone seals. Because the grounds get quite compacted at the bottom, you will need a wooden spoon to level them out. We recommend hand-cleaning since it’s quick and easy.
The only inconvenience is a separate plunger lid and brewing lid. When storing, it's probably best to remove the silicone seal of the brewing lid and store it in the brew vessel for safe keeping. The brew lid needs to be stored separately.
Cleaning is about as straightforward as decanting. We detached the base of the filter, shook out the grounds, and rinsed thoroughly. Afterward, we gently cleaned inside with a bottle brush and outside with a non-abrasive sponge. The black plastic containing the mesh filter makes it hard to see where the coffee oils are. The carafe can be cleaned by hand, but larger hands may not fit inside.
The instructions say all parts are dishwasher friendly. We, however, disagree, feeling only the glass carafe should be put in a dishwasher.