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Suncana Pod Brewer: Elegant Coffee Making

SunCana Pod Brewer brewing one cup of coffee

The cup holder on the Suncana is removeable, which means you can use a larger travel cup.

A-cup-at-a-time coffee makers are all the rage and it’s easy to see why. They’re easy, convenient, and, unlike making coffee from beans and ground coffee, they make coffee without the mess. Suncana (formerly SunCafe) by BluTigress has come out with a pod brewer that’s one of the most elegant and tasty of the pod coffee makers I’ve tried.

Since I travel and spend a lot of time in upscale hotels, I’m quite familiar with a number of pod coffee makers, including the ever-popular Keurig and Cuisinart brands. Often I find myself scrambling trying to figure out how to make each new brand work. And that’s one of the things I like best about the Suncana Pod Brewer—it’s drop-dead easy to use. It features simple, push-button operation with LCD display that’s easily understandable, even if you don’t read the instructions.

Complete Redesign with Customer Input

SunCana Pod Brewer with lit LCD and cup

Easy-to-use buttons and an LED make the Suncana a breeze to use.

Suncana previously sold a pod brewer, but the H701A has been completely redesigned based on customer feedback. One of the first changes has been on the inside where you can’t see it—there’s an internal 14 oz stainless steel boiler that consistently brews coffee at the perfect temperature (195-205°F). (The first machine we received didn’t heat properly, but the second one performed perfectly.) It also recovers almost instantaneously between cups so you can continue making coffee nearly non-stop.

One of my biggest complaints about most pod brewers is that they limit the size of the cup you can brew. Not so with the Suncana. This model features a removable cup tray that allows you to use up to a 16 oz travel mug.

Unlike many of the popular pod brewers, the Suncana’s coffee pod holder isn’t plastic. It’s stainless steel, which extracts a better cup of coffee. It allows the use of 12g pods, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s BPA free. This new system enables you to use 10g coffee pods, 12g coffee pods and tea pods too. To brew a cup, simply set the pod into the holder and into the machine, and clamp down the lever. Select the amount of water (5, 8, 9 ,10 or 12 oz) and hit the brew button. And in an amazingly short time, you’ve got a cup of freshly brewed Joe. Since I tend to like my coffee strong, after a little experimentation, I found brewing with 5 ounces of water produced the best brew for me. These settings are programmable so you can set the machine to the correct amount of water for you.

Suncana's large water vessel means you don't have to refill the water often.

Suncana’s large water vessel means you don’t have to refill the water often.

The Suncana features a large water vessel, which means you don’t have to continually refill the water every time you want a cup. The vessel is also clear so it’s easy to check out when it does need more water. The Suncana also has a small footprint (25L x 15W x 26H inches) and takes up little counter space (something I really appreciate). The durable plastic and stainless steel body comes with an easy-to-read LCD readout.

Secret is in the Pressure

Like an espresso maker, the Suncana Pod Brewer uses pressure (3 bars) to extract extra flavor from the coffee.

Like an espresso maker, the Suncana Pod Brewer uses pressure (3 bars) to extract extra flavor from the coffee.

Does Suncana pod coffee taste better than others I’ve tried? In a word, yes. And the secret is in this pod brewer’s unique extraction system. The pods are clamped into the unit and water is pumped through the unit and the pods at approximately 3 bars of pressure. This is pressure is half way between regularly brewed coffee and espresso and the difference shows in the taste of the coffee. Like an espresso machine, the Suncana system simply extracts more coffee flavor out of the pods. It makes coffee that has more body, a smoother mouthfeel, and a pleasant head of “crema,” the foam you see on espresso.

Each cup of Suncana coffee has a nice head of crema.

Each cup of Suncana coffee has a nice head of crema.

Suncana also works with a wide variety of pods, including those that are compostable. In fact, we used the Suncana with six different types of pod coffee. And, for me, that’s the problem with any pod brewer. While Suncana has produced a nearly perfect pod coffee brewer, the pod coffee makers are still producing coffee that, in my opinion, doesn’t match freshly ground coffee beans. By their very nature, pod coffee is pre-ground, which makes it immediately start to dry out and lose freshness and flavor. I won’t be giving up my made-by-the-cup with freshly ground beans pour-over coffee anytime soon. And, I’ll be cleaning up all those grounds on my kitchen counter too.

Of course, you can’t beat the convenience and no-mess of pod coffee. If you’re a pod coffee fan, Suncana Pod Brewer is a brew system you definitely want to check out.

www.suncanastore.com

 



Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at realfoodtraveler.com.


7 thoughts on “Suncana Pod Brewer: Elegant Coffee Making

  1. Cindy S

    Thanks for your review. I’ve owned my SunCana Pod Brewer for just 9 days now, and after the first 2 or 3 days I’ve noticed the “crema” is very weak if any at all. Has this happened to yours? The owner is sending me the espresso pod holder hoping that will help, we shall see. Also, for how long does your coffee stay hot? It seems half way thru my 5oz cup, it starts to become lukewarm. Yes, I do use cream, but even with my old Senseo, my coffee stayed hot thru the last drop!

    One more Q – Have you ever tried making your own coffee pods?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT EditorBobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor Post author

      Hi Cindy,
      Hmmm, I’ve not had the problems you’ve experienced with the Suncana Pod Brewer either with crema or temperature. Of course, with temperature, it never matters for me how hot it starts out, I never drink it fast enough for it to stay hot enough. I’ve recently started using a Contigo thermal cup (purchased from Costco), but that likely wouldn’t work for a small, 5 oz cup of Joe. But good on Suncana for addressing your concerns. Let me know how it goes.

      And I’ve never tried making my own coffee pods. I think it’s a great idea, especially if you can use a re-usable pod since it makes less waste and you can certainly use freshly ground coffee, which will taste better than any pre-made pod. Let us know how it works with the Suncana. Thanks for reading realfoodtraveler.com. Cheers! bobbie, RFT Editor

  2. Susan

    I purchased the Suncana pod brewer on June 7, 2014. At first it worked great. I cleaned it as instructed in the manual. Approx a month ago it started making short cups…and overheating to the point that it would not brew until I turned it off and it cooled completely down. Contacted Suncana by email and later spoke with a rep by phone. She determined I needed a new pod holder. Rec. the holder but it did not fix the problem. I again contacted Suncana, twice, have had no response. Not happy with the customer service of this company. I finally requested that my pod brewer be repaired or replaced as I believe a $136.00 pod brewer should last more than 11 months.

    1. Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT EditorBobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor Post author

      Hi Susan,
      Oh, that’s not good news. Like you, I agree that your Suncana should last longer than 11 months. I’d persevere with the customer service folks and demand a new unit. Thanks for giving us a heads up. Good luck and let us know how it goes. — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  3. paul

    Perhaps you can assist me with how to change the preset volume of liquid for the ounces of fluid and to check the temperature setting. Please help.

    Thank you.

    Paul

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