There is something magical that happens when form meets function, when something works as beautifully as it looks. Upon first glance of the St Anthony Industries Phoenix 70 pour over, you immediately notice the minimalist design and retro/modern look of the device. Laser cut stainless steel, precision spot welds, heck, even the laser engraved wood box that it comes in is a work of art. None of that matters however if the cup it yields isn’t any good. Is this pour over all show and no go? Or does it preform as well as it looks, like an Italian super car? Let’s find out:
Equipment Run down:
Phoenix 70 Pour Over
St Anthony Industries P70 paper filters
St Anthony Industries Filibuster Decanter
Stagg EKG+ Kettle
Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the Phoenix 70 is the cone paper filters. This initially rose a bit of a red flag for me personally as I’ve always been very sensitive to paper filter nuances coming through in the cup with cone paper filters. My theory as always been the low surface area and concentrated focal point of the coffee as it passes through the filter intensifies the paper filter flavors that may be in the cup due to all of the coffee passing through that single point. The coffee event horizon if you will. My preferred paper filter pour over has always been the Kalita Wave, as the high surface area filter threshold allows the coffee to pass through more freely. This being said, my first instincts were to do a double filter rinse. I like to do this immediately prior to brewing as adding your grounds to a cold wet paper filter can impart some wacky flavors in the extraction should it sit too long. For this test, I did a single rinse just to get a base line. Let’s run through the brewing parameters and setup:
Coffee: 35g - medium fine grind
Water: 16oz – Bloom and brew at 201 degrees Fahrenheit
As always, your brewing parameters should be tweaked based on the coffee you are preparing, brewing method, and your own personal tastes. With Beach Vibes, I use a little stronger brew just based on my own personal preference. These are also the same brewing parameters I use with other pour overs with Beach Vibes, so for the purpose of the review and performance of the Phoenix 70 I could really make an apples to apples comparison.
I tend to not time the bloom of the coffee and rather wait for the bloom to begin to collapse to continue the brewing process. I’ll be going over brewing parameters and methodology in another blog and will dive into in to the brewing process and how to tweak your brewing to your own preferences then.
One small gripe that is purely cosmetic and in no way detrimental to the actual cup is the side seepage that you will get out of the side of the filter when brewing. Because so much surface area of the filter is exposed, you will see some coffee spill through the sides of the filter rather drip nice and neatly into your decanter through the bottom of the filter. This happens with every paper pour over filter, but the pour over itself typically hides this from sight. You could probably make the argument that the Phoenix 70 doesn’t hide the imperfections of coffee brewing? Everything is right out in plain sight.
Something I find oddly satisfying with the Phoenix 70 is how you can kind of gather the filter after the brewing is complete very simply and effectively with one hand. It’s very neat and clean and allows you to dispose of your grinds with one hand in a single motion, which is ideal in a café setting or just being tidy at home. It’s the simple things, people.
So, we’ve done all the work and have our cup of freshly brewed Beach Vibes. So how does the coffee taste? Does it live up to expectation? To be honest, I almost assumed it wouldn’t preform just because I wanted it to work and be my new favorite pour over because it just looks so darn cool. I was absolutely ready to be let down by poor quality filters that left the cup tasting like fresh cut lumber, or for it to just not work, the filter collapses and falls over the moment you begin to brew or some other catastrophic defect…but, it didn’t. The cup is fantastic and preforms easily as well as the Kalita Wave, and certainly wins the beauty contest against it. The flavors of the coffee come through clean, nuanced, and easily discernible. It produces a very solid cup of coffee. My concerns about the filters were laid to rest as well as I detected no paper tastes with a single pre-brew rinse. When testing brewing equipment, I always like to give it a little real world conditions test as well. Look, if you are using a single pour over setup as your only source of coffee brewing at home, you probably aren’t always going to have the time to sit down and play world barista champion. So I also tested the Phoenix 70 using less than stellar brewing parameters just to see how it’s preforms when you are running late, tired, and it’s Monday morning. The Phoenix 70 still yielded very drinkable cups even without ideal brewing parameters. Even with no pre rinse the filters imparted very little paper taste for me. I could easily live without rinsing them prior to brewing and not me miserable.
In conclusion, my feelings are the Phoenix 70 by St Anthony Industries is a product that fires on all 12 cylinders. It looks great, performs well, and is absolutely pleasing to look at even just sitting on your kitchen counter. Another intangible that I really like about this product as that you can just tell the quality is there. The pour over itself is solid, and has enough weight to it where it just feels indestructible. Have you ever picked something up that was just a bit heavier than you anticipated and it gave you a sense of quality and craftsmanship? That’s what I felt with this pour over. All the pieces are laser cut, and the edges are smooth with no burrs to speak of. It’s a quality piece for sure. It passes with flying colors in the Honest Roast Coffee testing lab. The Phoenix 70 is a great pour over for the home or coffee shop and if you are in the market for a pour over you should absolutely pick one up. Swing down to Northbound Supply and see it in action along with the rest of the equipment in this review. And don’t forget to get your coffee here.Stay caffeinated, friends!