Review: Solofill Cup V1 Gold Vue Pack Filter
After the first Keurig Vue brewer was released, the first thing most people kept wondering was whether or not Keurig would manufacturer a My Vue Pack re-usable filter for it. We heard rumors that Keurig were in fact working on just such an item, but we could never confirm if this was actually the case and we have yet to see anything materialize on Keurig's website nor anywhere on the market. When Solofill realized there was a demand for a re-usable filter, they decided to make the boffins in their R&D department design the first Solofill filter for Vue brewers and hence the item we're reviewing today... the Solofill Cup V1 Gold Vue Pack Filter.
The filter is the size of a travel mug Vue Pack and is made up of 2 components... the outer plastic shell and an inner filter basket which is completely removable. The plastic shell has a hole in the center of the lid for the intake needle and a hole near the bottom of the shell's spout for the output needle. The design/shape of the Vue system's brew chamber ensures that the filter will be inserted properly each time and again, there's no need to disassemble anything... just fill the filter with coffee, pop it in the brewer like any other Vue Pack and you're good to go. The one major difference is obviously the customization factor of the Vue brewer. You will need to experiment to see which settings on the machine produce the best results.
Solofill decided to continue using their cross-weaved micro-foil filter but instead of a chrome version, they skipped straight to using 24 karat gold plating instead. Gold is an inert material which won't impart any changes to the final flavor of the coffee, so you're ensured to get 100% of the coffee's intended flavor characteristics without any metallic or altered taste. They also stuck with the same piano hinge which proved so reliable on their K3 K-Cup filters and have once again guaranteed that this hinge won't break (complete with the same limited lifetime warranty).
The lid still has the Decaflo System but has the same slightly longer needle as the K3 series which gets inserted further into the filter basket when closed allowing for better water coverage. The lid also still uses a rubber gasket to secure it in place forming a seal once it's pressed closed for brewing. Again, it would have been nice if a true snapping latch mechanism would have been designed to ensure the lid wouldn't blow open if ever there was too much pressure build-up, but perhaps the way the Vue brewer's brew chamber presses-down on the lid may eliminate the need for a latch altogether?
You can also use coffee pods with this filter much like you can with the K3 series. This marks the FIRST pod to Vue Pack adapter/filter ever to hit the market and once again turns this filter into a 2-for-1 item which further increases flexibility/choices during brewing. We were pressed for time with this review, so we didn't have a chance to test using pods but we can only surmise the strong button on the Vue might produce slightly better results than what you'd get with a Kienna Kup due to it emulating pulse mode brewing typically found on dedicated coffee pod brewers.
So, just how does the new Solofill Cup V1 Gold Vue Pack Filter perform? The filter itself has a very solid feel to it and we can foresee it lasting quite a few years down the road if we take good enough care of it and maintain it as necessary. We tested brewing on a few different settings and got mixed results... we tried with a 12oz travel mug setting using a dark roast Starbucks coffee and everything just seemed too weak, so we reset and tried again using 10oz but again things didn't seem strong enough. We finally zoned-in on the sweet spot which appeared to be the 8oz default setting. While the coffee still wasn't as strong as what we were hoping, it had a decent enough flavor overall. So... there's a strong button on the brewer, let's see if it makes any difference.
We reset again and used the 8oz setting with the strong button turned on. This time we achieved mostly what we had wanted. The coffee started tasting more like what you'd get out of a Starbucks Vue Pack. It wasn't quite as strong but was a lot closer than before. As a result, we think from now on when we use the V1 filter, we'll leave the strong button turned on. We noticed the final body was so intensely dark that it was practically opaque, so we knew the strong button had done its job overall. Despite the packaging claiming that the micro-foil would result in reduced amounts of coffee sludge, we still landed up with quite a fair amount in the bottom of our mugs during testing. At first we thought this was due to using too fine of a grind but we confirmed we were using the same grind as normally found in a Vue Pack. We understand you can't have optimum water flow-through if the mesh is too fine (hence the problem with the old K2 K-Cup series clogging so often), so we're willing to make this compromise if it means we'll get better extraction.
As with the K3, clean-up was a breeze. You simply turn the filter upside-down shortly after brewing, give it a few solid taps on the counter top and the coffee grinds come right out of the filter basket without any problems. There's a small amount that remain stuck to the inner lid but those rinse right off when you clean things up under the kitchen faucet. Instructions are provided in the packaging with tips on how to prevent filter clogs, how to use pods, etc. Solofill have also confirmed that their upcoming SoloGrind coffee grinder will work with all their Solofill filters all the way back to the old K2 (Octaflo) series right up to this new V1 filter, so if you're planning on buying the SoloGrind once it's released in April 2013, you can rest assured that this filter will be 100% compatible with it.
So, here's a quick run-through of our likes & dislikes of the new Solofill Cup V1 Gold Filter:
- New piano hinge guaranteed never to break, filter again includes a limited lifetime warranty!
- 24 karat gold plating on micro-foil allows for MUCH easier clean-up as grinds no longer remain stuck inside filter basket, plus the inert gold material means you don't get any altered or metallic taste.
- Slightly longer Decaflo needle allows for better water coverage during brewing.
- New micro-foil design prevents clogging and allows for better water extraction.
- Ability to use strong button on Vue brewer means you can customize your coffee strength to your own preference... something you can't do with the K3 filter on a Keurig K-Cup brewer.
- Removable filter basket allows for easier filling/cleaning.
- 100% BPA-free plastic.
- Ability to use coffee pods makes this a 2-in-1 filter and adds greater versatility/choices overall.
- Included instructions advise how to use pods, answer most questions and note helpful tips which advise how to prevent filter clogging.
- Confirmed to be compatible with Solofill's SoloGrind coffee grinder which the company is releasing in April 2013.
- Despite claiming to reduce coffee sludge, there was still a fair amount left in the bottom of each mug during our tests albeit slightly less than with the K3 series.
- Despite being able to customize your brew, some folks may still find the results to be weaker-tasting than they expect.
- No snapping latch mechanism to prevent lid from blowing open if there's too much pressure build-up. Maybe the design of the Vue system's brew chamber eliminates the need for this?
We figured that Solofill would answer the call once Keurig wasn't releasing their own filter, but we didn't expect this to occur so soon less than a year after the machine was introduced. Needless to say that many fans will appreciate being able to use their own ground coffees in their Vue brewers and those who have yet to try coffee pods and don't want to pay extra for a dedicated pod brewer now have to option of trying pods for the first time (although better results will obviously be achieved using a dedicated brewer).
With the selection of Vue Packs still at a rather limited variety (this will hopefully improve over time), we think this is a worthwhile investment for any Keurig Vue user and recommend giving this a try should you get the chance to do so.
The Solofill Cup V1 Gold Vue Pack Filter will work in all Keurig Vue brewers and is available in Canada for $25.98 USD ($19.99 USD + $5.99 USD flat rate shipping fee) via ordering direct from Solofill.com. This Solofill filter is also available at CoffeeTitan.com and CoffeeOutlaw.com in USA.
A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased this Solofill Cup V1 Gold Vue Pack Filter on our own for the purpose of this review.
Read More in: Coffee Gadgets & Accessories | Keurig Vue & V-Cups | Reviews
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Posted by Jay Brewer at March 7, 2013 5:37 AM