Air Brewing Coffee With the VacOne May Convince You to Dump Keurig

VacOne Air Brewer
VacOne brews a single cup of coffee using vacuum suction. TYLER HAYES

I started regularly drinking my morning coffee black once I began using a pour-over method to make it. I've always preferred coffee plain, but I usually need to add a splash of cream to smooth it out when it brews in a coffee machine. Up until now, I've had great success getting easy-to-drink coffee using fresh ground coffee beans and the V60 Hario pour-over method. After trying the VacOne, however, there may be another way to get a cup of ultrasmooth plain black coffee.

The VacOne is a single-serve coffee maker that uses vacuum suction to pull water through coffee grounds and a filter. It's a single-unit device that sits on top of a custom glass carafe. It has a battery inside so it doesn't need to be plugged in, just recharged from time to time. It's as simple to use as any other coffee maker, including a Keurig, but it produces one of the smoothest cups of coffee that I've ever had.



  • It can do cold or hot brews
  • Easy to use with minimal parts


  • Only makes 10 to 14 ounces per use

Buy at Vac Coffee.

Setup and First Use

Out of the box, the VacOne is ready to go. Mine came with sufficient battery charge. There's no battery level indicator, so you'll need to guess when it needs to be plugged in. I assume its not turning on is the hint that it's time to plug it in. Luckily, the device should be able to make 100 to 200 cups of coffee fully charged, which should only take about 2 hours.

The USB charging port is on the bottom under the yellow cap. It unscrews to reveal the port and screws on tightly to keep water out.

VacOne Air Brewer
The small rubber button on the top gets pressed to start the vacuum suction process. TYLER HAYES

There aren't many required steps for making a 10- to 12-ounce cup of coffee with the VacOne, but the process is different from other manual coffee maker's. Brewing my first cup of coffee took a few minutes longer than the second, as I eased into getting familiar with the device. Essentially, using the VacOne entails scooping the right amount of coffee grounds, pouring in hot water up to the indicator line, waiting a minute for the grounds to steep and then pushing the vacuum button until all the water is pulled through.

My first cup of coffee was pretty smooth and had some flavor. It was decent. It was the second cup that really got me. There were no hints of bitterness to be found. I made this second cup using Peet's Coffee Holiday Blend beans to compare with the pour-over coffee I had made previously. But the point is that the beans weren't the part that made this second cup so good. Once I knew I had the VacOne figured out, I ground up some origin-roasted Quintal Coffee, from the team behind VacOne. It had a light and bright morning flavor. It was great, as well.

In terms of overall flavor from the unit, I had some mixed results. On one hand, I never had a bad cup of coffee. On the other hand, it occasionally tasted like I was sacrificing some flavor for the smoothness. This wasn't the case each time, but it was most noticeable with the lighter roasts. I found that I needed to experiment with the amount of coffee grounds and the amount of water I used (in very small ways) to hit the combination of flavor and smoothness I was looking for.

Air Brewed Coffee

Here are a few more details about the VacOne and its air brewing process. First, the company describes it as a "unique coffee extraction method which uses air to extract the full flavor of coffee in record time."

VacOne Air Brewer
The process to brew a hot cup of coffee takes less than 2 minutes once the water is heated. TYLER HAYES

The entire device is housed in a single unit. There's nothing to attach or remove for each brew. The whole thing can go underwater and be washed. It has an embedded metal mesh filter, but it should be good for hundreds of uses. If it does need to be changed out, the company sells an $8 replacement filter.

If there's anything remotely difficult about the VacOne, it's the cleanup. Because it's one piece, the entire unit needs to be washed. I found it takes about 2 minutes to get the grounds out. Two minutes seemed reasonable, but that is in stark contrast to my normal routine of walking a V60 paper filter to the trash can, dumping it and then giving the ceramic dripper a quick rinse. If there's a possibility the VacOne can make someone's cleanup process easier and simpler than before—fantastic. For me, it added a minute or two extra to the job.

I continually found myself impressed by the VacOne's compact size. I'm not sure if its handmade glass carafe would travel well, but it does seem this unit is well-positioned to be a portable coffee maker. Its single-cup volume and integrated battery could be perfect for a hotel room or possibly a campsite.

Cold Brew

On most days, I drink one cup of hot coffee in the morning. I don't tend to drink cold brew, except for a few short stretches during the summer.

The VacOne is handy because it can make hot or cold coffee. The process is the same for both, except for the latter you use room temperature water and let it steep for a couple of extra minutes.

Personally, I think most plain cold brews, black, often have too strong of a bite. The VacOne mellows that sharp taste. Whereas hot brewed coffee, made using the VacOne, can be more subtle than I would prefer, cold brew made on the machine is delicious. For my taste, it was spot-on. The same smooth taste applies in this context and is even more welcome.

It is disappointing, then, that using the VacOne for cold brew results in even less coffee—much closer to 10 ounces than 12 or 14. The instructions say to add five scoops of ground coffee, as opposed to four for hot (VacOne's scoop is 7 grams, whereas a standard scoop is 10), and to let it steep for 4 minutes, compared with hot coffee's 1 minute, on the lowest indicator line. You can probably play with the strengths and water levels to eke out a couple more ounces for your cup, but as instructed, it's not much coffee per cold brew.

Should You Buy the VacOne Brewer?

VacOne Air Brewer
The VacOne includes a handmade glass carafe in addition to the brewing unit. TYLER HAYES

Coffee is often a very personal thing. The smell, the taste and even the rituals involved are all part of what people who make their own coffee at home get accustomed to. Asking someone to switch from one manual method to another one may or may not go well. For example, as much as I liked the smooth taste using the VacOne, and I really like it, I'm still on the fence if I'd switch to it completely. Changing over to a different process usually comes with more than one consideration.

For people currently using a Keurig or another generic coffee maker, however, the VacOne is a terrific way to venture into a more fulfilling cup of coffee. It's only slightly more finicky than popping in a K-Cup, but it's much more rewarding. Because the machine comes in under $100 and it's easy of use, I do think it's worth taking a chance on for anyone curious.

Buy at Vac for $89.

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