Best price: You can get the successor to one of the best mobile espresso machines, the Hibrew H4 A, as a gift set at Banggood for €65.16. But I recommend the travel set, which you can also get from Banggood for €74.08. Use the voucher for both offers: BGCGHD083.
Do you know the Giotto advertisement that always says: “Caffè? – Solo con giotto” (Eng: “Coffee? Only with Giotto”). Whenever I’m on the road for a longer period of time, it could be more like: “Espresso? – Solo with Hibrew H4 “. Because Hibrew, a Chinese-American company that specializes in the manufacture of compact and/or mobile (capsule) coffee machines, supplies a mobile espresso companion with a 3-in-1 function with the Hibrew H4 (ACM009). It is compatible with capsules from Nespresso (and corresponding third-party suppliers), Dolce Gusto and with coffee powder.
Hibrew H4 Review & Specs
- Hibrew H4 mobile espresso capsule machine
- Hibrew H4A mobile espresso capsule machine (upgrades: cold brew function, more compact, 10g instead of 5g aluminum coffee powder adapter)
- Technical: powerful with 15 bar?
|product name||H4 (ACM009)|
|Performance||80W at 12V (DC)|
|pump pressure||15 bars|
|compatibility||Nespresso capsulesDolce Gusto capsulesCoffee powder (capsule adapter)|
|Product Dimensions [W x D x H]||70x70x240 [mm]|
Scope of delivery: espresso capsule trinity
A classic or premium package is available. The latter also includes a storage bag and a coffee stand. I have the classic package, which contains the device itself, a coffee powder adapter with dosing spoon, a Nespresso capsule adapter (two-part) and a Dolce Gusto adapter. You also get a cable for the 12V connection in the car, an AC adapter for the socket and a micro USB cable.
Design: simple workhorse
Simple and timeless – that’s a good thing with this mobile espresso capsule machine. The Hibrew H4 measures 70 x 70 x 240mm and weighs 600g unfilled. There is only one button, which is placed in the middle of the device. Above the button is a ribbed rubber area terminating in a red ring.
This ensures a secure hold when opening and closing the overlying water tank lid. Below the knob is a DC jack protected by a red rubber sleeve. Except for the coffee mug at the bottom, the plastic used feels robust and appears to be quite scratch-resistant. The processingis solid, but certainly still has room for improvement.
First of all, you remove the coffee mug at the bottom, unscrew the coffee outlet and insert a capsule adapter with a capsule of your choice. The coffee outlet and the filled coffee adapter are now screwed back in (pro tip: only turn it hand-tight, otherwise only the pliers will help in the worst case!). Open the lid at the very top and fill with either cold or hot water up to the “max mark”.
Now you can either connect the AC adapter or the 12V adapter. Immediately afterwards, the button will briefly flash blue before ready (not lit). If you press it, it flashes red slowly and the heating phase begins until you. After 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the original water temperature, you will have your espresso in the cup. But be careful: If you use the supplied USB cable, the heating function is not available and you need hot water. You also have to press the button for 2 to 3 seconds.
Practical test: passed
The machine basically does its job quite quietly with a pleasant deep humming during the brewing process (max. 70 dB, 30cm distance, recording with the “Sound measurement” smartphone app). While the relatively large Dolce Gusto capsules work in principle, the preparation of the corresponding capsules always requires more water than the maximum 60ml of the water tank, with the exception of the espresso, the results in the cup are rather poor.
The other two types of preparation are completely different. Finely ground, fresh coffee with light pressure in the coffee powder adapter conjures up a solid espresso, if you reduce the amount of water to about 40ml. However, the coffee result is most convincing with the Nespresso capsules and their third-party versions. Here the espresso or an Americano diluted with hot water can compete with a fully automatic machine.
Taste: without milk
The taste largely depends on the capsule or the bean. So this is where you need to experiment. Just like fully automatic coffee machines, this espresso capsule machine tends to underextrude due to the principle of the principle – this means: the full aroma of the bean does not quite get into the cup, the espresso sometimes looks sour. Therefore, we generally recommend more classic Italian, chocolaty roasts that tend to be stronger.
Once you have found your “house brand”, the espresso pleasure including a solid crema is guaranteed. So far I’ve had the best success with the Nespresso-compatible capsule brand from a coffee house that has long advertised “perfectly refined premium coffee”. A milk function, however implemented, would of course have been the icing on the cake. But on vacation we use a Bialetti milk frother, which does the job quite well.
Environment: use consciously
Most of you are probably familiar with the controversies surrounding capsule coffee. Capsules are regularly criticized because of their large amount of waste and their energy-intensive production. This may also be due to the fact that Nespresso’s parent company, Nestlé, has had a negative image for years, which, among other things, is to be polished up with studies it has commissioned itself. If you are interested in the topic, just have a look at this BR article.
Of course, I could always use coffee powder directly with the Hibrew H4, but I’m often just too lazy to do it, especially when it needs to be done quickly. I therefore consciously only use the Hibrew H4 when I’m on the go. Although there are capsules with compostable materials, the machine doesn’t seem to get along with them very well. Maybe I just haven’t found the right compostable capsules for it yet.
Cleaning: easy – with a few restrictions
Cleaning is quick and easy: remove the capsule, rinse the adapter, coffee spout and cup briefly under water, wipe the water tank with a dry cloth (prevents limescale deposits) and you’re done . Only cleaning the coffee adapter with ground coffee is a bit annoying and sometimes requires a little fiddling with a toothpick and washing it off several times.
Conclusion: a faithful travel companion
I’ve tested the little machine extensively on a number of trips (which you can certainly see in one or two photos) and I don’t want to do without it on longer (car) trips or when camping. If I’m alone in the car, I prepare everything so that I can enjoy an espresso while driving at the touch of a button.
Of course, the espresso can’t keep up with an expensive portafilter machine, but definitely with one or the other bakery coffee or sour coffee sold as fruity-lemony from hipster taverns. In this respect, the Hibrew H4 is highly recommended. What do you all mean? Do you already have a mobile coffee solution? Let us know in the comments. Hibrew H4 review.