- Brew Quality (50%)7.8/10
- Design (15%)9.0/10
- Ease of Use (35%)9.3/10
- Brew Quality (50%)9.1/10
- Design (15%)9.8/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.7/10
The Ovalware cold brew coffee maker is one of our top selections for an immersion filter brewer. Using the freestyle brewing method, the Bodum is one of our overall favorite brewers. The choice between the two lies in brew strength quality and the extra work required by the Bodum.
Design-wise, the Ovalware is much the same as any stylish glass carafe brewer. It brews through a stainless steel filter with a brew ratio of 1:11. The slender neck and wide base also help in producing a good quality brew. Decanting is relatively simple, the stopper is airtight, and the silicone base is a plus.
For the Bodum, you have to choose your own brew ratio and quantity. The brew vessel is wider than the Ovalware ( 7.4 vs 4.7 inches). It’s a true French press design: using a plunge filter for after brewing. The filtration results are excellent, but if you wish to fully decant the brew, you need to provide your own decanter.
- Bouquet (10%)7.5/10
- Drinkability (70%)8.0/10
- Sediment (20%)7.5/10
- Bouquet (10%)9.0/10
- Drinkability (70%)8.8/10
- Sediment (20%)10/10
The Oval produced a somewhat surprising bouquet, but its medium strength was more or less in line with the brew ratio. The bouquet had distinctly herbie and somewhat earthy, chocolatey notes, and we were keen to see what kind of flavor it produced.
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.
With a one-to-one dilution, the Ovalware cold brew had a mildly roasted and surprisingly sweet taste. It also felt rounded and smooth, but lacked the rich complexity that our top brewer was able to produce. There was a slight bitterness, but overall the taste was very satisfying and not watery at all.
We would recommend less dilution for a more robust flavor - maybe two thirds coffee to a third of water. It may also be worth brewing for longer than our standard 18 hours.
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.
We brewed the Ovalware undisturbed for 18 hours in a refrigerator. After allowing the contents to settle, we decanted the brew and the sediment left behind was quite substantial. Decanting the contents a second time, or even filtering through a paper filter, would probably be the best solution. However, we felt the good quality of the brew concentrate was a reasonable compromise on the filter.
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.
- Stopper / Lid (30%)9.0/10
- Filter (40%)9.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)9.0/10
- Stopper / Lid (30%)9.5/10
- Filter (40%)10/10
- Build Quality (30%)10/10
In the Box
- Box WHD: 5.5 x 9.5 x 5.5 inches
- Assembled brewer
- Promotional card
- User manual and warranty
The Ovalware comes neatly packaged in a custom box, but a little over packaged with plastic bubble wrap. The user manual was inside the carafe which is common but annoying because it bends. You should register your warranty on their website and there’s a handy QR code link for non-English instructions in most major languages.
- 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.
- Heightwith Stopper Lid:8 in (205 mm)
- Base Diameter:4.7 in (120 mm)
- Width:5.5 in (140 mm)
- Weight:17.3 oz (490 g)
- Material:borosilicate glass
The decanter is very attractive and the markings in cups and milliliters are very useful. The handle was comfortable and the flat edge easy to grip. The carafe poured well with the small lip, a nice feature that means less chance of accidental chipping.
We particularly liked the base’s silicone stand. There’s a hole to let out air and you can easily hook it off for cleaning. Overall, the carafe design is excellent.
- 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.
Stopper / Lid
- Diameter:3 in (75 mm)
- Material:stainless steel
- Additional Features:silicone seal
The stainless steel stopper is a nice complement to the glass design. Our only qualm was the quality and fit of the silicone seal. Without the filter, the stopper was not so tight and required a little turning to get a more airtight fit.
- 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.
- Length:6.9 in (175 mm)
- Diameter:2.7 in (70 mm)
- Material:lasered stainless steel
- Additional Features:silicone seal
The filter appeared well-made and there were no sharp edges. We noticed the holes on the bottom seemed finer than on the sides. The silicone seal for the filter, and for the stopper, was not the best quality. In our testing, we have come across better quality designs, so this was a little disappointing considering the Ovalware brand status. Our brew quality test showed that the paucity of the filter allowed for a good brew to develop.
- 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.
Except for the compromise on the silicone stoppers, the overall design quality of the Ovalware is excellent. The filter is well-machined and the silicone cushion is an extra that you don’t often find on other cold brew coffee makers.
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.
Ease of Use
- Brewing (45%)10/10
- Decanting (35%)9.0/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)8.5/10
- Brewing (45%)9.0/10
- Decanting (35%)8.5/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)8.5/10
Brewing steps are clearly outlined in the manual. They recommend weighing 85 g (3 oz) of medium to coarse ground coffee which is a little more than 80% of the filter volume. Then pour room temperature filtered water slowly over the grounds. You should stir and mix the grounds a little. Like any immersion brewer, we found brewing simple and effortless.
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.
Like brewing, decanting was straightforward. As with any immersion filter, you simply lift it out of the carafe and place it in a small cup to catch the remaining liquid. The holes on the bottom of the filter make decanting fast and effortless. After decanting, we rinsed off the stopper even though there were no granules present.
Due to the amount of sediment left behind, we recommend a second decanting at the expense of a little extra work. The more health conscious may want to use a paper filter at the same time.
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.
Cleaning and Storage
The shape of the Ovalware carafe means that you need to clean it with a bottle brush. Although slightly more effort is needed than other brewers, it’s a small compromise on a design that works comparatively well. The filter requires a bottle brush too, however, all parts can go in the dishwasher.
The Ovalware cold brew coffee maker simply stores as it is. We noted that the silicone base is an excellent design feature for safer storage. The glass doesn’t bang and the sides are protected from scratching.
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.