Trader Joe’s Pour-over Coffee


When I saw this on a design blog last week, I knew I had to give it a try. Trader Joe’s sells a self-contained pour-over coffee with very clever packaging. The coffee is stored in a bladder inside the package, which expands to rest upright while the coffee brews. All you do is provide the hot water.

The first step is to twist off the end of the integrated spout, which was easy enough, although that cap wanted to skitter away at every opportunity. Then you open the ziplock-style seal at the top and pour the water in. A guide on the back tells you not only how much water to add, but provides two levels for Strong or Useless (I mean Mild) strengths.

The ergonomics are a little odd here, though. The top doesn’t open wide, which meant I had to use my left hand to stabilize the package and also keep it open enough to pour hot water into. I’m guessing that if you have one of those slender-necked teapots it’s easier; I spilled and burned my fingers a little. I also couldn’t see too well into the package, and soaked only one side of the coffee grounds, which goes against the point of it being a pour-over. A second try was more successful—I poured enough in to expand the base and give it more stability before pouring the rest.

Next, you seal the top, put the cap on top of the spout (although it’s slick and doesn’t want to stay), and wait four minutes. I gave the bag a little shake and squeeze to make sure all the grounds were soaked, too.

When the coffee was ready, I discarded the tiny cap and used the handle extension on top of the package to pour the coffee. The bag says it will make two cups, but since I brewed it at the Strong level, I ended up with just one cup.

As for taste, I rank it immensely better than what you can get at Disneyland, better than most hotels, and a little better than Starbucks Via. So: not bad, definitely drinkable. I think I’ll pick up a few the next time we go camping. And at less than a couple bucks per pouch, it’s affordable, too.

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