Most cold brew coffee makers rely on time to get the job done, taking hours—or even overnight—to brew. Dash uses a complex recirculation system that takes as little as five minutes to brew a pot of cold brew. But, does it work?
Well, we tried it out, and found that the Dash makes some surprisingly good, fast cold-brewed coffee right out of the box. But some silly design flaws take some of the joy out of using it.
A lot of thought was clearly put into simplifying the process of setting up and brewing. On that score, the Dash does really, really well. You fill up the filter cup with your desired amount of grounds, fill the carafe with water, turn the dial to the desired length of brewing time (between 0 and 15 minutes) and hit the start button. That’s it.
The Indiegogo-funded product is available now. It works by siphoning water out of the carafe, pushing it through the grounds, and recirculating it back into the carafe in a continuous loop. A few minutes later, coffee’s ready.
The visual effect of a steadily darkening coffee fountain is pretty stylish. Even when it’s not in use, the Dash is attractive enough to merit a spot on your kitchen counter—although its short power cord limits where you can place it. And while the machine isn’t quiet, it’s not as loud as a pod coffee maker.
In flavor and body, the final product is quite good—almost as good as commercial cold brew, but in a fraction of the time. As always, the cold brewing method eliminates any sour acidity, and the tension headache I got from sipping a full cup of concentrate suggests you’ll get all the caffeine of a regular-process cup.
That said, the final product will be lighter in flavor than a traditional brew, and if you’re looking for jet fuel that tastes like it, this may not hit the spot.
But design flaws start to rack up almost the second the brewing is done. In fact, I noticed them less than five minutes after using the machine.
For instance, the overall construction feels a bit cheap, and easily breakable. Pieces meant to lock into each other wobbled substantially—the single dial moves so loosely that I was worried it wasn’t actually attached, and the Start button at its center required enough force to actually press down that I needed to brace the whole thing with my other hand to keep it from moving.
Because the carafe circulates liquid through its base, even bumping it slightly can cause coffee to spill out, leaking straight from the bottom. The fixed central spout that recirculates the brewing coffee in the carafe makes properly washing the interior of the carafe particularly difficult.
Likewise, the multi-part grounds holder/filtration system seems tailor-made for post-brewing mess. Thanks to a complex design, it’s easy to spill the loose, wet cake of spent coffee grounds when you’re done. And, every time we brewed, four little pools of coffee invariably ended up in the base station’s connection points with the carafe and grounds container.
The base is so simple and light that you might be tempted to pick the whole thing up and quickly rinse the top off in the sink. I hope you would notice—as I did—the surprisingly exposed motor and electronic components in the base, with the large warning to not get it wet, or risk electrical shock. (The included instructions recommend running the system with plain water now and again to clean it out.)
Some of these issues can probably be coped with easily after just a bit of practice. But the initial brewing process was so well-designed towards ease of use that it throws the mistakes into sharp relief.
I mean, don’t get me wrong: If you want freshly made cold brew coffee without the wait time, the Dash delivers on that promise. But if you were hoping for full flavor and an equally quick cleanup, you may have to keep waiting.