Bonavita BV4000ID Immersion Dripper
May 30, 2014
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2014 - All rights reserved

      Pour-over drippers have been around for a long time. In recent years they have made a resurgence as the public becomes more aware of the nuances of coffee and dare we say, more aware of the environmentally friendly, low-tech nature of the pour-over method of brewing. If you just stepped off the “tea bus,” pour-over is exactly what it sounds like, The ground coffee is held in some sort of device which has an area to hold ground coffee, usually in some sort of filter. You manually pour hot water over the grounds and the water percolates through the coffee and drips out the bottom of the holder and into your cup or carafe. So long as you have a source for hot water, that is about as technical as you need to get with these devices. And, of course, the process benefits from fresh whole-bean coffee and a good grinder.
      Their weakness in the past is that basically all you have is a drip coffee maker and you are offered little control over the process. Sure, you have the ability to control temperature as well as the amount of coffee used and the grind coarseness, but that is all. While the method itself is sound, you lose some of the depth of flavor you get from other brewing devices which leave the water in contact with the grounds for a fuller extraction. Press pot comes to mind in that regard. What if you combine the full immersion and control over steeping time of a press pot with the simplicity of a pour-over? In essence you get the Bonavita Immersion Dripper.


      For a dripper to allow the sort of full immersion that a presspot offers, the brewing water has to be held in contact with the coffee for a longer period of time. To do that, Bonavita had created a valve built into the bottom of the device. When you decide the brewing has completed, slide the lever to open the valve and the coffee is dispensed into your cup. An added benefit is that this also allows the steeping of tea.


      Inside the brewer are a series of flutes which leave a bit of space between the filter and the walls to help avoid a seal which would dramatically slow the brew's flow into your cup.


      There are other similar functioning devices available, but the Bonavita Immersion Dripper has some noteworthy features. The coffee never comes into contact with any plastic. The upper section of the Immersion Dripper is glazed porcelain. The valve's seal is silicone. The base (the area below the gray ring seen in the first photo at the top of th page) is plastic but the coffee dispenses out of the porcelain directly into the cup when the valve is opened which means that the water can be held as long as desired making it also suitable for brewing tea. The plastic base also means that it less likely to chip when sitting it down after brewing and less likely to chip your coffee cup.


      The Bonavita Dripper comes with a lid that is said to help keep the heat in when brewing and doubles as a sort of “plate” on the table or counter to place the dripper when finished brewing. As seen here, mine did not fully fit the brewer's top, but some images I have seen show that it does appear to fit on other examples. Whether by design or not, this is the way mine fit.
      The Dripper comes with a sample pack of unbleached paper filters. Some folks prefer that, but after drinking espresso for quite some time (in years), and enjoying Turkish quite a bit over the last few months, the thin body created by brewing through a paper filter may not be to everyone's liking. A permanent #4 metal filter (not supplied with the Bonavita Dripper) is available aftermarket from various sources and it looks like I am going to need one. You may not.
      The total capacity of the cone area is about 20 ounces and took about 25 seconds to fully drain. Both measurements taken without filter or coffee in the device- just water. The design inside the cone leave only a trace amount of moisture left after draining. But really, that doesn't matter since you can close the valve when the extraction finishes.

      A cone is a cone is a cone, pretty much, at least in terms of the quality of the brew. Add a valve and you increase the usefulness of the device. You can steep whatever you are brewing, or just let it flow if that is how you like your coffee. The porcelain is smooth and cleans easily, the valve seals very well, and the price is about $40 shipped if you look around. Maybe a bit less.