Brew Method: The Sowden SoftBrew


Two months ago, I wrote about a new way to brew with the Sowden SoftBrew. I immediately fell in love with the object itself and looked forward to comparing it with my trusty press pot. An early article by the New York Times helped the SoftBrew sell out quickly through its only US distributor at the time, and it was initially back ordered until mid-January. I was fortunate enough to get ahold of one a few weeks ago and since then, Sowden has caught up with demand in time for the holidays.

Initially I was disappointed and skeptical of Mr. Sowden. After brewing a number of really weak pots, I increased the brew time to 6, 7, and 8 minutes as suggested by the manufacturer, but that just seemed way too long for a pot of coffee to brew. So, I started playing with the grind to discover the micro-filter’s sediment threshold—slightly finer than drip—and after a few days I dialed in my method. I settled on a 4-minute brew time with a grind that’s in-between a drip and a French press.

The SoftBrew has replaced the press pot as my preferred morning brew method for a few reasons. First, I just love using it. The porcelain is solid, feels nice in my hands and it won’t shatter with a slight tap on the edge of the sink. I can pull the grounds out of the pot right after brewing to prevent over-extraction and the micro-filter creates a cleaner cup, while still producing a full flavor. The porcelain also maintains heat better than a glass carafe and it’s much easier to clean.

Last week, I included the SoftBrew in the DCILY Gift Guide, but realized not everyone is familiar with it, so I made a video to show it in action. Enjoy!

Shop for Sowden Softbrew

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  • Reply Jamie 12/13/2010 at 12:48 pm

    Great video. I have been having quite a bit of trouble figuring out the grind size for this. So far, all my cups have been weak with a ton of sediment.

    Thanks to this video I will be experimenting with it once more.

    • Reply bwj 12/13/2010 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks Jamie. Is your grinder producing too much powder? When you say too much sediment, do you mean more than a French press? My cup is by no means sediment free, but it is less than what I get from a press pot. I would keep experimenting until you find something you like.

  • Reply Jamie 12/13/2010 at 4:48 pm

    I just bought a new grinder (Baratza Virtuoso Preciso) so I am hoping it will change, but before I was using a Breville burr grinder and I was getting more sediment than a French press. Of course, the grinds had a lot of powder in it too.

  • Reply James 12/13/2010 at 8:41 pm

    Nice video, Brian. I’m waiting for you to open your own shop!

  • Reply brian 02/14/2011 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for the video. I’m wondering how well the softbrew keep warm. Does is retain heat much better when pre-heated? If I make 12 cups, would it be better to decant it into a thermos anyway? Thanks!

    • Reply bwj 02/18/2011 at 12:21 pm

      Yes, I would definitely pre-heat the SoftBrew before hand. I do it myself, but forgot to mention it in the video. It helps retain the heat more than a single-walled french press, but if you’re making 12 cups, a thermos would still be your best option of keeping it warm. Unless you’re sharing coffee with 6 people though, I would suggest making less coffee more often to get the best cup. Hope this helps!

  • Reply Mimo 04/13/2011 at 4:50 pm

    What about dosing? Same as a French Press?? I’ve been dosing 7g of coffee for every 4oz of water (as recommended by Stumptown’s Press brewing guide)

  • Reply Drew Moody 07/09/2014 at 7:00 pm

    How many grams of coffee/water?

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