I love the smooth, not-bitter taste of cold brew coffee (produced without heating the ground beans), but I don't exactly appreciate the fact that it takes me 24 hours to prepare a batch of concentrate. While some use a 12-hour process that saves some time, the Prisma (starting at $229 plus shipping, release date TBA) is a new cold brew machine that promises to complete a batch in less than 10 minutes.
The Prisma is the brain-child of FirstBuild, a Louisville, KY-based company that is currently raising funds for production on Indiegogo. If you're skeptical of giving money to a company you may not have heard of, FirstBuild is backed by GE Appliances, which it claims allows access to "world-class design and engineering talent."
Specialty Coffee Association of America member Blake Nail is advising FirstBrew and claims that the Prisma doesn't compromise on quality in order to achieve its fast brew cycle. The Prisma supposedly manages this feat of speed by using a specialized vacuum infusion process, which is far from the standard steep-in-water process for 12 to 24 hours that most (myself included) use.
Prisma's instructions appear to be just as simple as the traditional slower process, as you just need to add finely ground coffee and water to the chamber, press a button and wait for it to drain into the carafe. That automatic draining is a step up from standard cold brew processes, which require me to set an alarm to remember when to manually drain the batch.
The other difference between this and the popular Toddy T2N Cold Brew System ($34.95 on Amazon) is that the Prisma uses standard paper coffee filters, unlike the Toddy's custom filter discs.
While the Prisma is much more expensive than the Toddy, I might save up for my own if it can produce a batch that's just as good. It certainly beats having to remember to plan my days around being home to finish a brew.
As of this writing, backers have pledged $69,030, which is 46 percent of the $150,000 fixed goal. We'd love to get a visit from the FirstBuild team to see and taste Prisma coffee for ourselves, and we will let you know if that happens.