Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
consumer product reviews
vac pot & other brewer reviews
Cafetino Balance Brewer - Rai -'s Review
Posted: May 9, 2002, 9:41am
review rating: 9.3
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Cafetino Balance Brewer
Where to Buy
Arrow No Business Listed
 List your business site here.
About "Where to Buy"

More About This Product
Arrow The Cafetino Balance Brewer has 5 Reviews
Arrow The Cafetino Balance Brewer has been rated 9.12 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since January 10, 2002.
Arrow Cafetino Balance Brewer reviews have been viewed 33,976 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Rai - 9.33
Jeroen Vriesendorp 8.75
George Wachsmuth 8.57
Jack Denver 7.85
Ed McGovern 6.40

  Next Review
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.8
Manufacturer: Coffee4You (Belgium) Quality: 10
Average Price: $200.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $200.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: from Patrick online Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 3 months Overall 10
Writer's Expertise: Just starting Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Bodum Santos
Bottom Line: Incomparable: an objet d'art that makes great coffee!
Positive Product Points

This product is a work or art that combines old world simplicity with modern-aged, machined perfection.  It is an heirloom-level artifact.

Negative Product Points

I did give this a "9" in the Cost vs. Value category, only because one can buy a device to make similar coffee for under $50 (and this site is "Coffeegeek," "not Brewergeek" after all), but, really nothing else compares with the Royal Coffee devices as an after-dinner treat on many levels.

Detailed Commentary

George Wachsmuth has done a great job of describing the history and function of vacuum pots here, so I won't repeat that (because I'd be largely plagerizing his review anyway!).  Surprisingly, however, as long as vac pots and balance brewers have been around, they are little-known among causual coffee drinkers.  Everytime we use the Cafetino at a dinner party, someone writes us a thank you note that is entirely focused on his/her amazement at seeing and tasting the brew from such a unique contraption--this is not an insult to the wine we serve; the Cafetino really can upstage a 15-year-old Bordeaux.

Patrick Van Den Noortgaete's directions, with drawings that make them look like an underground comic strip, are absolutely straightforward and easy to follow.  By simply placing 60 grams of medium-ground coffee in the glass jar, filling the sphere with water, and lighting the spirit lamp, you can get a very good cup of coffee.  As others have noted here, it is expedient and useful to tweak that process slightly; I pre-moisten the grounds and give them a quick stir with a chop stick in the kitchen before moving the brewer tableside.  I also pre-heat a litre of water in the microwave for 5 minutes before pouring it into the sphere, so that the brewer completes its cycle in about ten minutes.  This gives dinner guests an opportunity to at least notice the dessert they've been mindlessly nibbling while transfixed by the Cafetino.

Others have waxed about the high quality of the stainless steel in the Cafetino and its precise finish, as well as the sturdy and attractive hand-blown glass brewing chamber: all quite true.  The spirit lamp that comes with the Cafetino is a very nice design as well, but it takes some tricky maneuvering to light it and get it in place.  If you are right-dominant, you might find it easiest to light the wick with your left hand, so your more dexterious, opposable digits can place the lighted lamp underneath the lowered sphere, leaving the cap propped against the stainless server.  Fuel for the spirit lamp is economical and readily available at any hardware store.  In the U.S., it is called "Denatured Alcohol" and retails for a couple of bucks per quart.  Its resulting flame is transparent and blue-white, a mesmerizing pyrotechnical delight.  Be careful with the wooden handle on the spigot, however; I pushed ours too far back in closing it once at the start of the brewing process and singed its lovely finish.

As you can gather here, we use the Cafetino almost exclusively at dinner parties, although we have been known to operate it for our own enjoyment after dinner on quiet nights at home as well.  When the air is still, it is remarkably calming on the patio at night. (We would probably use it more often, but we have to give equal time to all of our coffee toys.)  The Cafetino is on permanent display front and center on the dining room buffet.  Guests usually ask if it is a "still," and their curiosity isn't sated until they have quaffed a couple of cups of its home brew.  Its litre of coffee will handily fill six china tea cups. Incidentally, the pictures on the Coffee4you.com web site do make the Cafetino look smaller than it is; note that it actually has equal capacity with its copper sibling the Royal.  Remember to keep a towel, heavy dinner napkin, or something handy to hold the hot sphere while releasing the siphon from the top so that air can enter the dispenser and make the spigot function. The wooden cap on the siphon facilitates this as it stays cool to the touch.

I find the Cafetino exceptionally easy to clean.  The large opening at the top of the brewing chamber makes removing spent grounds very simple, and I am content to put a little Urnex and water in the dispensing sphere and shake it vigorously, followed by a quick rinse, to clean its interior.  The denatured alcohol leaves only a trace of residue which is easily wiped away with soap and water.  The high quality stainless, glass, and wood polish up perfectly with a dish towel.

If you only live once, you entertain at all, and you want to share your passion for coffee with friends, you could use a Coffee4You Balance Brewer in your life.  Personally, I think the Cafetino, with its art deco lines, and anachronistic design, is the better value.  Still, it is an expensive vac pot, but you could keep this thing on your mantel!

Buying Experience

Amazing!  I emailed Patrick's Belgium address, he answered from his travels in Mexico within hours, and the Cafetino was delivered from his San Francisco warehouse within three days.

  Next Review
Write a Review for this Product
review rating: 9.3
Posted: May 9, 2002, 9:41am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Login Password
forgot pw | signup
Cafe Espresso Machines
Video reviews, nationwide installation, leasing options... Nuova Simonelli, Rancilio, La Marzocco.
Commercial Equipment
Nuova Simonelli, La Marzocco, Rancilio. Nationwide installation. Instant financing options.
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2015 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.177602052689)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+