Brown/coffee/chocolate keyboards?

Any recommendations for keyboards/cases in a brown colorway?

Since getting back into mechanical keyboards I’ve gotten Keynovo, FL-Esports, and Keychron boards, but I’m now looking for a nice 75/98/104 case to go with some light tan/beige keycaps. Searching with “brown” as a keyword brings up tons of switches, but not cases. Similar issues with “coffee,” or “chocolate.”

Any pointers for a reasonable quality mostly-full-size keyboard?

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If you can find one, the Classic Brown Kobo frame for the Filco Majestouch 2 is about the best I’ve ever seen brown look on a keyboard chassis:

I know an MJ2 isn’t much to get excited about these days, but I’ve got a TKL one of these and can vouch for how good that lacquered finish looks. Mechanicalkeyboards dot com has some full-sized wired ones on-order, and at least one wireless one in-stock.

Here’s some crappy pictures of mine with SP’s SA Filco in “black” (very dark brown):

It looks a lot like burl wood, but is done with dripping pigmented varnish type stuff, all done by hand.

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Are those compatible with a Filco Zero? I’d love to put one together with some Aruz switches I have laying around.

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TIL Filco made Alps boards.

Short answer: probably.

Since I’ve never gotten to mess with one of those in person I can’t say for sure, but the form-factor looks the same down to the LED placement. Those cases are mostly held-on with clips at the front and back, with a supplemental screw or two between.

I know KBParadise makes both MX and Mattias Alps clone boards that share cases (and can fit Filco cases with light modding).

Given what I’ve seen with this Costar form-factor, I’d say there’s a high likelihood one of the Kobo cases would fit right on with no modding, possibly with light modding to the tune of shortening or removing standoffs - but so far I’ve only had to do that when installing cases across brands, like cases meant for Filcos on KBParadise or Turtle Beach boards. All three of those brands use the same footprint when it comes to key, LED, and clip location.

I’ll put it this way; I’d be really surprised if Filco invested money in tooling they didn’t have to, and it would be much more simple to use the same mold for the Alps board cases.

Not quite Alps; they use Xiang Min KSB-C switches, which are Alps clones but a lot worse. Nowhere near Taihao Aruz or Alps.tw switches (which are also Alps clones)

Thanks! It looks the same as an MJ2, so it’s worth a try. The cases aren’t that expensive, so I’ll risk it. :slight_smile:

That is a really nice looking case, thanks for the suggestion! Although I have a lot of Ducky keyboards from MK, I’ve never actually owned a Filco, maybe it’s time to try one. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the various Kobo cases, some of those are absolute stunners. Not sure I’m ready for a gold or chrome keyboard case just yet, but they sure look better than I would have expected. :grin:

I am hoping to find a case that supports hot-swap keys, and I know I’ve seen some chocolate/coffee-themed boards recently. Of course, the pictures I recall could have been renders, but I’m crossing my fingers I can find some options.

What’s the typing experience with SA Filco? Does it type as well as it looks?

That brown-on-brown color scheme is beautiful.

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Well, I gotta chime in here. I have SA Filco and I mounted it on a Filco Majestouch with MX Browns.

It was my last experience with SA profile for a long time…The problem is that it was all R3 profile, and I just couldn’t type smoothly with a uniform profile.

However, the caps themselves were superb. The finest keycaps I have ever owned - the only thing that compares with it are other SP SA keycaps. The plastic was smooth and rich, the keycaps were all very consistent, and the legends were excellent. They were truly premium.

They also shipped with Co-star stabilizer inserts, making them very easy to mount on the Filco Majestouch as intended. They work just fine with the Filco. If you can stand R3 profile, they look and are great.

[I would only recommend them with clicky switches like MX Blue. They would likely give a crisper and more stable typing experience than they did with MX Browns. People who have used them with MX Blue have given positive feedback.]

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I’ve had a very similar experience with my SA Filco keys as @HungerMechanic. It’s also been ages since I’ve used this keeb so I broke it out to type this response. :slight_smile:


All the phone photos here will make the colors look lighter than they really are, but this one least-so. Also if you look close, you might see the funny poop-emoji house shoes I’m wearing today. :poop:

Physically, the keys themselves are amazing. They look straight from the late 70’s / early 80’s and like they’d last forever - like they’re made of billiard ball resin. They are heavier and more substantial than a typical cap, significantly more-so than Filco’s extra-thin stock caps. They’re already semi-polished so there’s not much concern in terms of shining them up - at least not on the alphas.

A shot to show the difference in surface texture; alphas are semi-polished while the mods have a more matte finish.

Wider keys do have a different surface quality - they’re also smooth, but the reflected light is more hazy. Swirling is a lot more common on these keys. This is generally true of all SP SA sets I’ve seen, and those keys will likely develop shine spots over time.

Note; the lighting in this photo is exaggerated to bring out details that would otherwise be very hard to see. There is a bright light shining directly on the caps, and the camera shutter is letting more light form this image than would happen in your eye. This helps to demonstrate the difference between the 1u alpha keys and the surrounding mods - and molding artifacts in the plastic are much more prevalent on the mods. This also makes extra-obvious that I need an air duster.

The color on these is amazing; these look like little cubes of rich dark chocolate. Why they sell this set as “black” I have no idea - this is the best looking brown I’ve ever seen on a keyset. This is one of my very favorite sets to look at.

A close look at both the case finish of the Kobo Classic Brown frame, and at one of the F-keys. Note the line on the surface; this is only really visible at a glancing angle like this with light reflecting right at you - this is either swirling or a scratch, not 100% sure which. Either way, it was like this from the bag. Yes, bag - packaging has been SP’s main weakness imo, and it does cause some damage.

Some of the legends have a slight wiggly quality to them, but nothing you wouldn’t see on some ancient caps; it’s most noticeable on the Menu key and its comparably complicated legend of a context-menu-with-cursor. Main legends look fantastic. There’s a touch of line-weight inconsistency on the legends with full words on them, but again nothing you wouldn’t see on some actual vintage caps, which the tooling for these was adapted from.

Aforementioned Menu key

In terms of usability and typing:

The fairly tall, mostly uniform profile took a little getting used to but wasn’t too bad for me; your mileage may vary. If you’ve typed on OEM and Cherry your whole life, these will definitely be weird at first. For me personally, the one reason I don’t type on this keyboard more often comes down to the space bar, and more specifically its total lack of texture. With my skin, it acts like a racing slick - it grips my thumb and doesn’t let it slide - which is bad for me because I tend to slide my thumb across the bar when using it. This would be a non-issue for someone that naturally pushes the bar straight down.

Sound-wise, I actually preferred the stock thin Filco caps on this particular keyboard; like HungerMechanic’s, mine has MX Browns, and I think the fat, heavy keys actually over-power them a bit. I agree these would probably be better suited to something like Blues - but also a well-tuned linear to bring out the impact sound. I’d like to try them with UHMWPE switches to see how they sound.

Here’s a recording of mine in stock form with these keys (Soundcloud is derping-out today so it’s good ol’ Vocaroo to the rescue):

SA space bars are famous / infamous for their “THUNK” sound. Some love it, some don’t - and some vendors like KBDFans sell foam inserts to mitigate it if you’re in the latter camp.

I put this keeb together before I knew a thing about tuning for sound, so the stabs are dry and rattly, but the 1u keys do make a satisfying heavy clack. A positive to Costar-style stabs is fewer friction surfaces, and all of them are plastic-to-metal, so there’s only reason to use one type of lube.

This is probably my favorite Signature Plastics keyset, and it’s an in-stock product that costs less than its more famous group-buy siblings.

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Great pics. They capture how the set looks IRL very well.

I have my Brown Filco SA caps on a Kobo board too. I adore how vintage they look and feel. I am a rare fan of SA R3 caps. I really wish I would have picked up a set of the Navy version before they all sold out. The only reason I don’t use the keycaps more is the lack of split right shift and tsangan bottom row options.

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I’m curious, what board do you use tsangan on?

Maybe I’m misusing the term? I refer to 1.5, 1, 1.5, 7, 1.5, 1, 1.5 as “Tsangan bottom row”

Most of my keyboards use this bottom row layout. I prefer the uniform look and I don’t have much use for the extra modifier in an ANSI build. Also, I build anything less than TKL with a split right shift, and for 60% and smaller, a split backspace.

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What a great description!

Yes, that co-incides with my experience, and is the best description of Filco SA, ever.

They are among the nicest keycaps in existence, but it all comes down to how you deal with the profile. Personally, if these were in a sculpt like in SA Pulse, maybe I’d actually use them. In R3, they turned me off SA profile, but some of those sculpted SA clones on AliExpress were pretty nice, so I think that it is the R3 that let down these keycaps.

They are thick and semi-polished. Which, as you note, does MX Brown no favours! I also agree that nice linears would be good with these. Something like Momoka Frog on the cheap end, or a mid-weight L + F V2 Durock linear. I bet the R1 HHHH linears would be nice with these.

Yeah, I just wish they had sculpted these, then I could put them on a 104-key with fictional Cherry MX Yellow linears.

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Nice Filco SA review.

Just on the different surface finish of the wider keys, I polished mine with PlastX & they exactly match the alphas now.

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Awesome! Yep, definitely going to do that. Might have to include Chocolatier and 1965…

Old meets New.

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I hear that these bad boys are ready to ship:

JTK can get HSA so right, but struggling with its tripleshot Griseann / Royal Alpha, from what I understand.

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Maybe… no one has had an up close and personal look at HSA yet :neutral_face:

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Something new just showed up on drop.com with a brown colorway: Drop + MiTo MT3 Noctua Keycap Set | Mechanical Keyboards | Keycaps | Custom Keycaps

I haven’t seen it in person.

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