- Brew Quality (50%)6.6/10
- Design (15%)8.1/10
- Ease of Use (35%)9.2/10
- Brew Quality (50%)7.2/10
- Design (15%)8.8/10
- Ease of Use (35%)8.7/10
Neither the Primula Burke nor the Coffee Bear are the most ideal cold brew coffee makers. To its credit, the Primula Burke has an original and quality design. In particular, the lid and how the filter attaches are very well-designed.
The filter, however, is too fine, resulting in a poor-quality brew. The Primula Burke is not a brewer we recommend. The plastic and nylon filters of both the Primula Burke and Coffee Gator are not ideal for hot brewing, and have limited versatility or added value.
The brew quality of Coffee Bear is somewhat below average. Its black plastic filter makes it difficult to see or remove coffee oils. The twist-to-pour lid is a bonus, but the silicone base stand is poorly designed. Coffee Bear appears to be a copy of the better-value product, Coffee Gator.
- Bouquet (10%)6.0/10
- Drinkability (70%)6.0/10
- Sediment (20%)9.0/10
- Bouquet (10%)7.0/10
- Drinkability (70%)7.0/10
- Sediment (20%)8.0/10
The bouquet of the Primula was decidedly on the weaker side. It was light and sweet but our testers did, however, pick up a faint roasted note. This indicated that the brew was probably sub standard.
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.
With a typical one-to-one dilution, the final drink was very light, watery, and somewhat sweet. In fact, even without dilution, it was still watery with little complexity. There was a slightly sour aftertaste, so not so satisfying. Although the brew is drinkable without dilution, it lacks excitement or complexity, which also means that the Primula is uneconomical for the amount of coffee ground used.
With the Primula, we would suggest a longer brewing period or brewing at room temperature. Either that, or using the hot blooming method to get a more substantial and richer brew.
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.
Having to filter a large quantity of liquid means cold brewing can be time consuming. Convenience, however, comes at a price. Our repeated testing has found that the permeability of an immersion filter is key to producing a quality brew.
The Primula recorded very little sediment, which at the same time betrayed its fundamental flaw. The filter, as good as it was, lacked the permeability to produce a worthwhile cold brew coffee concentrate. In this case, the cost of a perfectly filtered brew was the quality of the brew itself.
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%)10/10
- Filter (40%)6.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)9.0/10
- Stopper / Lid (30%)10/10
- Filter (40%)8.0/10
- Build Quality (30%)8.5/10
In the Box
- Box WHD: 7.9 x 9 x 7 inches
- Fully assembled unit
- Multilingual user manual leaflet
The Primula comes securely boxed with place holders and minimal plastic, but the package is nothing fancy. The unit comes fully assembled with a user manual inside that unfolds with instructions in English, French, and Spanish. Brew instructions, product care, and a few suggested recipes are included.
- 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:7.9 in (200 mm)
- Base Diameter:4.7 in (120 mm)
- Width:7.4 in (180 mm)
- Weight:19.5 oz (553 g)
- Material:borosilicate glass & plastic
The decanter or brew carafe is made of thick borosilicate glass and enclosed in a plastic jacket. The jacket doesn’t detach and also forms a base cushion. While cleaning, we noticed that there is an additional silicone seal on the base of the decanter.
- 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:4.9 in (125 mm)
- Additional Features:open/close function, silicone seal
The lid comes in three parts. The outer section has a silicone seal for an airtight fit. The filter attaches to the bottom and you simply press it into the carafe. With the inner lid removed, you can easily pour in the water and then seal the carafe for brewing. When storing decanted coffee, you can open this lid to stir the contents before pouring. To pour, you turn the lid handle to the open spout position.
- 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:6.7 in (170 mm)
- Material:polypropylene and nylon mesh
- Additional Features:detachable base
The filter is solid and well-made. In terms of design for a cold brew coffee maker, the plastic jacket appears to be limiting. It is uncertain how much permeability this kind of filter design will allow for proper brewing. In test brewing, we found the filter design to be fundamentally flawed.
- 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.
Overall we love the high quality of the materials and the convenient design. The mid-range 1.6 qt capacity is also very convenient, and we like how the brewer is wider rather than taller. The only fault is not so much the build quality, but rather the ill-conceived design of the filter.
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%)9.0/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)10/10
- Brewing (45%)8.5/10
- Decanting (35%)9.0/10
- Cleaning and Storage (20%)8.5/10
The Primula filter takes around 3.5 oz / 100g of coffee grounds, which means about an inch to a half below the filter rim. After securing the filter onto the outer lid, you insert both into the decanter. Next, pour enough water to wet the grounds. After a couple of minutes, you slowly continue pouring water until the rising water hits just below the top of the plastic jacket. That’s about 40 fl.oz (1.2 L) or 6 measuring cups. Finally, screw in the top lid so that the spout is also closed.
The brew decanter can sit in the door of your average 33- or 36-inch refrigerator but may be too big for an apartment-sized refrigerator. Brewing was relatively straightforward except for the lack of markers on the vessel. We also found the full carafe to be a little heavy. It weighed 4 lbs or 1.8 kg, so make sure to grip it firmly and avoid letting children handle it.
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.
We found that decanting worked best by simply lifting up the outer lid with the filter attached. Because the base of the filter is not permeable, it’s best to let the filter stand in a dish as quite a bit of extra brew still trickled out.
You can immediately remove the filter from the lid. We found a few granules of coffee had gathered around the edges so it’s best to completely rinse off the lid before putting it back. Once again, make sure the spout is closed to prevent coffee odors building up in your refrigerator.
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
Cleaning the Primula is effortless all round. It separates into seven parts. The filter parts and the lid can go on the top rack of a dishwasher while the decanter on the lower rack. It’s probably best to just rinse off the silicone seals. While cleaning, we discovered an additional seal at the base of the decanter. The plastic padding on the base gives a comfortable feeling when placing on the table, and peace of mind when storing away. We loved the quality of the decanter, except that it can be heavy for some when full, but the grip and pour is good.
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.