So you’re in the market for a new coffee brewer? Maybe you want to upgrade or declutter your current kit, or perhaps it’s your first time shopping for coffee gear? Whatever your goal may be; hopefully by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have a better understanding of the Varia Multi Brewer and be able to make a well informed decision of whether or not it’s right for you. At the very least, you’ll have learned something new and that’s always good!
A couple of months back, the founders of Varia got in touch and asked if we’d like to give it a test run, well of course we would! Within a week we received the package, and within days we were brewing – it was a lot of fun and there’s lots to talk about. But before we get into the nitty gritty’s of this little device, we must define.
As the name implies – Varia is a multi purpose, multi brew-method coffee maker, six-in-one to be exact. It can brew pourover, french press, stovetop, cold brew, tea, AND it can be used as a kettle. Pretty impressive, right? Now, there are a lot of multi brewers on the market, some good and some bad. The ones that are good – great, the ones that are bad – *sigh* they’re usually really bad. So, where does Varia rank? Let’s explore all of it’s features and find out!
It’s hard to deny that pour over coffee is not the most popular brew method among coffee enthusiasts so you can rest assured, Varia accommodates. But if you’re unsure what pour over coffee is – it is a style of drip filtration coffee that involves manually pouring hot water onto coffee grounds and allowing the contents to pass through a filter. It is particularly favoured for its ability to extract a very delicate, clean profile with nuanced flavour notes. Varia comes with its very own dripper attachment which enables you to brew pour over coffee. The process was pleasantly simple and we managed to brew a heap of delicious coffee. The dripper attachment takes on a conical shape, it features spiraled ribs (much like the V60) and is made of BPA-free plastic which is great to combat heat loss. It easily inserts in and out of the body, so there’s no fiddling around and it holds its position well. Varia brews exceptionally consistent, fairly speedy with a clog free draw down. Excellent results are certainly achievable.
Do you sometimes cross worlds from espresso to filter? Maybe you can’t start the day without a rich dose of caffeine? Or perhaps there’s a nonna in the house? Then maybe the Varia Multi Brewer might well be for you. Stovetop coffee (aka moka pot coffee) is not quite espresso, but it’s close – it’s kind of in between espresso and drip style coffee (probably more espresso), and the good news is; you can indeed brew stovetop coffee with Varia. We followed the recipe as per booklet but with a slightly finer grind setting and were very happy with the results, and if you’re wondering – yes it did have crema. The process in general was fairly simple. Once you figure your way around the attachments, it’s quite easy. In comparison to the old Bialetti’s that feel really solid, it definitely lacks that hardiness, but the fact that they managed to get a stovetop in a multi brewer is pretty astonishing, and the results certainly speak for themselves. An espresso style roast is definitely recommended for this method.
Now what good is a multi brewer if it can’t make french press coffee, or plunged coffee? Surely you’ll know what it is, but in case you don’t, it is one of the simpler methods of coffee brewing. It is a style of immersion brewing that involves very little intervention, technique or equipment. All you really need is a french press (aka coffee plunger), hot water, and coarsely ground coffee. The process with Varia was very easy. Simply screw the basecap onto the body, get your plunger attachment and you’re good to go. One neat perk is that the plunger attachment has a little rubber seal around the circumference of the mesh. This really helped prevent boulders from ending up in the cup, which was lovely. Surely this would also extend its longevity. Nice touch Varia.
There’s nothing like a refreshing cold brew to perk up in the hotter days, heck even on a cold day. Cold brew is awesome and super versatile. You can drink it black, you can add your favourite milk, even use it in a cocktail (Martinis anyone?). Naturally with something so multifaceted, there are dozens of ways to make it, and with cold brew there are. However you’ll often find the most simple methods will yield best results. Rest assured, there’s nothing fancy about cold brew with Varia, and that’s the way we like it! Simply place your desired coffee dose into the jug with the basecap attached, add water and refrigerate. Once brewed, plunge down with the french press filter basket. It’s that easy!
Oh did I mention you can use cold brew to make Tiramisu? 😉
Chances are, if you enjoy various styles and brew methods of coffee, you’ll inherently enjoy a nice cup of tea. So it’s nice that makers have thought ahead and equipped it for this task. There are a couple of ways to do it; the intended method is that you use the filter basket attachment and connect it to the french press plunger, this creates a little infusion basket. You then boil water in the kettle (Varia’s Kettle), or pour water in, and plunge the filter basket down to your desired brewing time. This works great. But if by some chance infusion isn’t really your thing, you can always brew your tea via immersion method using the french press. Both methods work perfectly fine, it completely depends on your personal preference. It certainly is nice to have that versatility.
Along with brewing various methods of coffee and tea, Varia Multi Brewer can also be used as a kettle. As you’ve probably gathered by now, some of the above methods do require the use of this mechanism, such as the stovetop and tea infuser. It boils just under 800 grams of water which was quite surprising given the small appearance, and works on a range of heating elements such as gas stove, electric and induction. It’s a nice little kettle. It’s not electric but it’s very flexible. A quick disclaimer about the kettle, and it’s probably obvious – you cannot use it to brew your Varia pour over with. You’ll need a separate kettle for that.
So, we’ve explored the features in some detail, tested their ability, so far so good! But how is the overall design? Is it practical? Will it last? Is it worth spending money on? In order to answer these questions, we’ve assessed the following criteria: functionality, practicality, build, aesthetic. Let’s go through each of them.
Functionally, Varia performed exceptionally. All the features worked as they should and with relative ease. We encountered no major issues and managed to brew a heap of tasty coffee. In terms of output, you might get better results with a specialised device – but it is a multi brewer after all. There needs to be some compromise in order to accommodate for the deluge of methods which Varia delivers. We were genuinely impressed with how little compromise there was, so hats off to the makers.
Quite possibly the most wonderful thing about Varia is how flexible and practical it is. Six methods in one tiny little package, all the while being incredibly simple is very impressive. It was clearly designed with absolute ease of use in mind. The transition from method to method is very manageable, it’s compact so it stores away just about anywhere, and it’s lightweight so you can take it on your travels. It is recommended that you read the instruction booklet before diving in, but other than that it’s very straight forward, easy brewing.
Just as important as having something work well is the assurance that it will last a long time and we think Varia have really taken this into consideration. With the exception of the coffee dripper, the handle, and a couple of other smaller bits, it’s mostly made out of metal. The quality seems very solid, and feels it would easily withstand the trauma from a fall, or any other kind of ding or bang from mishandling. It is entirely BPA-free so you don’t need to worry about ingesting any plastics or unhealthy chemicals. In addition, each Varia comes with an entire re-supply of seals and gaskets. It’s quite clear it’s intended to last a very long time. With proper care and servicing, there’s no reason it shouldn’t last you for decades.
It’s no secret that aesthetics play a huge part in user experience. If you like the way something looks, you will enjoy using it more. The overall design of Varia is definitely appealing and is certainly very well thought out. The shape is simple, the colour is great (neutral black with a matte finish), the accents of red/white/blue are nice. There are some minor things that could do with improvement – for instance the matte finish is not entirely consistent throughout the design, and the moka pot jug is not flush with the body – for some reason it’s slightly wider. But overall it’s a lovely piece of equipment and most people wouldn’t kick up a fuss.
So how does it all add up? Do its constituent make it worth the $190.00 (AUD) price tag? We’ve done a bit of research and compared prices, let’s find out.
Pour over: $20.00
Stove top: $60.00
French press: $42.00
Cold brew: $55.00
Tea infuser: $34.00
* These summations are to be taken figuratively. Averages were derived from similar products currently on the Australian market. You are encouraged to do your own research. Brew Methods holds no accountability for purchases you make.
Hopefully we’ve been able to guide you through the Varia Multi Brewer and provide some insight on what you might expect from owning one with this review. Overall we think it’s very impressive and certainly meets the bill on multi brewing. It is incredibly versatile, very easy to use and if we may reflect on our earlier statement – one of the good ones. There is a photo gallery below if you’d like to see Varia in action. If you’re struggling to digest some if the information, it might be helpful to view it in graph form below or if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
For more information, check out their website here.
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