Ever sit there thinking you need a bit more oomph in your life?
I know I do, never in a million years did I imagine it would arrive in the form of a portable coffee maker, but there it was and here it is.
Out of the box.
It’s a plastic moulded device, a modern and stylish design which is very much of the times.
Think of it as an upmarket Cafetiere or french press..
The Oomph works on compression and acts closer to a domestic espresso machine than a rickety plunger maker.
In comparison a greater degree of initial strength from the coffee is achieved without the fall through of grounds into the drink.
The first impression in this Oomph review is we have the perfect Cafetiere killer.
Arriving in very smart and professional looking packaging this coffee maker is very pleasing from an asthetic point of view
It is made up from three primary components, the body, the insert and the lid, that’s it.
No filter papers or consumables required, pretty good.
The insert of the base unscrews enabling a closer look at the fill line, which is advised when putting the coffee in place.
The turbine and filter also detach for cleaning or replacement.
How the Oomph works
Place ground coffee in the base up to the coffee fill line.
Pour boiling water over it until it reaches the water fill line AKA the Oomph zone.
Wait two minutes and top the water up to the fill line once more.
This may be a method inspired by Pot Noodle.
Take the upper body or main insert and slowly push it downwards into the main body.
This forces water through and compresses the grounds.
The pressure created, according to the manufacturer in this process can be up to 5 Bar.
Impressive given that most modern espresso machines are set to 9 Bar, the Oomph does not require power to work.
The principle behind this being that the flavour is extracted from the grounds.
This is opposed to the coffee being stewed as it could when used in a french press.
When the operator is able to push no more the coffee has effectively been seperated from the water.
No further brewing takes place because the coffee grounds and water are no longer in contact.
It is possible to pull the plunger back up to repeat the brew process should the coffee be weaker than required.
The level of change in the Oomph review experienced by doing this was at best questionable.
A stronger dose of coffee should remedy this situation if this is the case.
In the bottom of the body (the clear plastic bit) sits an internal Turbine which is static.
What this does is stir the coffee, once brewed, every time the maker is tilted, a nice touch.
Although it’s hard to see when pouring if this is actually the case, given that it does not rotate.
Using the Oomph:
On the first attempt it was nearly midnight and although the fear of inducing insomnia loomed, it just had to be done.
The marketing spiel on the information sheet states that the Oomph is capable of ‘Intelligent Grind Correction’ .
To a varying degree it is stating that any size grind can be used, a bold statement by any measure.
I wanted to test this and I didn’t want a big drink, I used some Java with a filter grind.
I drink this nearly every day, brewed through a commercial filter machine and I also use it for cold brew albeit on a different grind setting.
This is a coffee I know extremely well and am very fond of.
I filled the coffee grinds to the first fill line and then filled to the first water fill line.
Stirred it, left it for two minutes and topped it up again, I then waited another 30 seconds and plunged.
I used mineral water in a standard kettle.
The reason being is that this is portable, the places where I see it being used in part would not have access to a temperature controlled kettle.
It seemed like a good idea to keep it realistic for review purposes.
What this resulted in was a drink which gave an initial first hit of warm high notes.
Something I would expect more from a Colombian rather than a Java.
This was soon followed by next to nothing, no body, bugger all and so it ended, a total failure.
I tried the pull back and re-plunge technique, it made next to no difference.
The upside was I found the device is very easy to clean, I chucked the coffee cake in the back garden and ran the rest under the tap, it looked as good as new again.
It was at this point I noticed that the end of the plunger is concave as the coffee cake was dome shaped.
The next day I tried again, this time I filled to the second coffee line.
This takes around 24G of grounds, Which is roughly what I would use in a 3 cup cafetiere.
I went again having filled half way in the zone with water.
This changed everything as many will know dose ratio of coffee measurement to water makes a huge difference to the result.
This time I got a very pleasing beverage, a very clean and sweet top ended coffee with a subtle but clearly evident body.
The caffeine hit was fast and the drink throughout was consistent.
The result was stronger than a Cafetiere would typically give.
Not that close to an espresso machine, which is fair enough given the grind size.
Second time lucky I now wanted to try some of my Classic Italian in there. I put this through an Iberital MC5 grinder.
I went very fine, using the same grind size as I would use when making espresso.
Filled the coffee to line 2 and the water line was topped up to the top of the zone.
This changed everything.
The plunger gave me more resistence, a lot more, I weigh 92 Kilos and am of muscular build.
I am considered to be physically strong by others, yet it took some considerable effort to plunge this in one go.
This definately highlighted a product limitation.
The upside was this gave me a lovely coffee with a very long lasting sweet after taste.
The caffeine rush was quite immense, the Oomph doesn’t do things half way.
You know when you have had a coffee making it this way, I think there’s only so many of these I could handle in a day.
Worthy of note is that this is not marketed as a travel mug set up and it will not fit a lot of standard car cup holders, it is a portable coffee maker.
It does however fit in the console hole of the MK4 Astra, lucky me !
Oomph review Conclusion
To summarise I would say this is a great bit of kit, it makes a lovely cup of coffee, it is very easy to use and very easy to clean.
It does have the feel of quality and something which will last for many years given attention to cleaning it straight after use.
It does well in ignoring grind size subject to dose size and embraces a finer grind when used, so there’s a variable there you can experiment with.
It’s flexible in as much as you can put a single origin through it or an espresso blend and it will give you something great at the other end.
It looks good too and makes enough coffee to share which is always beneficial.
The packaging lends it well to being bought as a gift or Christmas present and I am certain that will introduce a lot of people into the world of real coffee.
The drinks have a very clean feel to them, light yet flavoursome and strong in caffeine content.
They stay hot for a peak time of around 20 minutes in the container and gradually begin to cool there after.
The only cautionery note here is the level of strength needed to use it when the water level is set to max.
I have heard of people leaning on the plunger over a length of time to get the plunger to go down, this is not ideal and I can imagine some people will lose patience with it.
If you are the kind of person who has problems opening jars then I don’t think this is for you.
For that reason I would say that it’s not quite the Cafetiere killer it could be.
Who it is for
It does come close.
It’s different and in many ways better, in terms of results it’s half way between that and a Moka pot.
This would suit someone who wants to make good coffee at work, or outdoors.
For a picnic, fishing, camping, sailing, hiking and so on.
It’s ideal for someone who wants real coffee but does not want to fork out for a full blown machine.
Due to unforseen circumstances we no longer sell these. we do however have some cracking Mokka Pots see this clicky: MokkaPot aka stovetop espresso maker.
Thank you for reading this Oomph review, please feel free to leave comments, all feedback is very much appreciated.