For us it has been almost been a given: The development and the thoughts behind the fascinating but simple coffee maker.
Carl Henkel Brewers has been the partner since the beginning of SoftBrew and we introduced the Original Oskar series already in 2010. We are still exclusive partners for George Sowden on the Oskar. What has been the idea in the words of the designer:
“Sowden SoftBrew. When studying the design and during the development of the SoftBrew – which uses infusion as the brewing method - the aim was to find the simplest and best way to brew good coffee. We decided that just like brewing tea, infusion is the natural way, easy and flexible, where everything is decided by the user. Starting with the choice of coffee, following with the darkness of the roast and the coarseness of the grind, the user has the opportunity to ‘play around’ and discover the fascinating world of coffee.
Sowden SoftBrew method allows the coffee to be ground course to fine. This means that the user has greater control of the brewing and has complete choice of variety, roast and grind. One detail to remember when using the SoftBrew filter - the finer the grind the quicker the extraction time. For some varieties of coffee and particular levels of roasting, for example ‘light roast’ which is popular in USA and northern European countries, the user may choose the grind to get just the flavour preferred by ‘experimenting’. The SoftBrew system freely allows you to try different ways – no instructions for use!
The purpose of the Sowden SoftBrew filter is to keep the ground bean waste separated from the final beverage, thousands of microscopic holes size between 0.15 and 0.18 mm maximum opening, allowing the water to flow and take up the taste without any of the inconveniences of the other coffee making systems, whilst some “fines” (very small particles) filter through into the coffee giving the typical “body” of an excellent brew.
The method is simple: place the filter into the pot, put coffee into the filter and pour over hot water at the desired temperature, SoftBrew allows natural brewing giving the final beverage a soft taste with all the flavour that your choice of coffee can give – no squeezing, forcing, pressing or over filtering. Extraction begins as the ground coffee comes into contact with the water.
‘SoftBrew’, the hot water, starting from 100° C, will dissolve and extract the preferred 20% of the ground beans in about 4 mins. Seen below is a table of the temperature change over 20 mins after pouring the hot water. in the first 4 mins (this is subject to experimentation with your chosen coffee) the extraction will be the 20% of good tasting soluble parts. By this time the temperature has dropped to 86/85° and infusion really slows down and increases the ‘window’ of time before the coffee becomes bitter. This is one of the highlights of SoftBrew: the brew will eventually become bitter after a very long period of time; usually after the pot is empty! it is not normally necessary to remove the filter.
‘Cold brew’, cold water will dissolve the soluble parts over a long period of time. This is a good way to make iced coffee in the fridge over night. The ‘window’ between over and under extraction is many hours which means after a few experiments it is very easy to get a perfect iced coffee.”