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 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.
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
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.
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.