Fundamentally similar to the company’s original product, the new Pulsar features a flat circular paper filter at the base of an impermeable BPA-free copolyester cylinder. A water-dispersing cap above the cylinder promotes even saturation of the coffee bed.
The Pulsar also expands upon the platform with the addition of an integrated flow control valve, which allows users to pause and resume the flow of liquid through the brewer.
With the valve closed, the device performs a full-immersion brew. Opening the valve shifts the brewer back into percolation mode.
“The valve allows for full variable flow,” NextLevel Brewer Company Co-Founder and Co-Designer Darren Schmidt recently told Daily Coffee News. “Full immersion, or open the valve for the full percolation, or a mixture of both. We do lots of steeped blooming.”
Steeped blooming is the practice of pouring an initial amount of water into a closed brew bed before opening the flow of water for the remainder of the brew. The technique is often associated with valved pourover brewers such as the Clever Coffee Dripper or Hario Switch brewers.
While accommodating steeped brewing, the Pulsar also allows users to adjust flow throughout the brew. For example, users may experiment with reducing the flow while using a coarser grind.
“We are very happy with the control this brewer gives us with manual brew filter coffee,” NextLevel Co-Founder and Co-Designer Richard Unruh told DCN. “We believe we have achieved the main points that we were wanting to control, and more.”
Schmidt told DCN that the suggested recipes for the Pulsar brewer range from 15 grams of coffee up to 40 grams, depending on grind level and brew size. The recipe section of the brewer’s website shows beverage sizes ranging from 306-500 grams (approximately 10.8-17.9 ounces).
The Pulsar’s 80-millimeter base is slightly smaller than the 100-millimeter base of NexLevel’s original LVL-10, and its water-dispersing cap is optimized for the narrower format.
The new device was designed in collaboration with astrophysicist and author Jonathan Gagné, whose Coffee Ad Astra blog provided inspiration for the original NextLevel brewer design.
The first 30 days of Pulsar sales will be via the webstore of consultant Scott Rao, then directly through the NextLevel website. The device is expected to ship with a pack of 100 paper filters with a retail price of $65. Replacement 100-packs of filters will sell for $9.
A reusable 316 stainless steel filter for NextLevel brewers is currently being tested and could potentially launch for sale alongside the Pulsar. Unruh said the company intends to begin shipping Pulsar brewers to distribution partners by the end of July.
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.