COFFEE DRIPPER! Ceramic | Abid Clever | Beehouse | Hario | Frieling Cilio
Want to make a cup of drip coffee for yourself but don't want to break out the electric coffee maker? Single-serve coffee using coffee drippers (or filter cones, pour-over drip makers, or coffee filter holders) are becoming more and more popular—as evidenced by the Blue Bottle phenomenon here in San Francisco—as people realize that drip coffee is delicious, it's just that letting it sit in a pot or thermos for hours that makes it taste like battery acid! Besides, automatic drip machines don't always get the water to the right temperature (about 200F/93C) and the heat plate that they typically use to keep the coffee warm just makes the coffee smelly.
Using a coffee dripper is simple:
- heat up your water in a kettle or microwave
- put a filter (#2 or #4 most popularly) in the coffee dripper and mount it on your mug
- wash the dripper/filter with hot water to warm it and wash the filter; pour out that water
- pour in about 1 1/2 ounces (40g) of freshly ground coffee into the filter
- pour a little hot water into the coffee, and mix it into a slurry with a spoon or stick
- slowly pour the rest of the water into your coffee and let it drip into your mug
Abid Clever Coffee Dripper
Abid's Clever Coffee Dripper deserves its name. Unlike the other options here, you have a bit more control over how long you'd like your coffee to steep before you allow it to dispense into your mug.
You brew your coffee as you would with any other coffee dripper, but in this case, the coffee does not immediately start to drip into your mug. There is a small stopper which you release that allows the coffee to drip...after it has steeped to your satisfaction. So, if you're the type that likes your coffee a bit stronger and maybe a bit more acidic, this is an option you should consider.
Bee House Coffee Dripper
The Japanese-made Bee House coffee dripper sets itself apart from its competitors through its design. Two things make it stand out: the elegant top-mounted handle, and the slits in the base that allow you to look into your mug and see how full it is while brewing your coffee (so it doesn't overflow). One small drawback is that the base is a bit smaller, so it will not fit over very large-mouthed mugs.
The Bee House dripper comes into 2 sizes—small and large—but they both run small. The small is better for demitasse-style mugs, while your standard American coffee mug will need the large one.
I had one of these for about 2 months, until it fell off (OK, I accidentally knocked it off) the counter. The poor thing shattered. :(
Hario Coffee Drippers
Hario, another Japanese company, has several sizes of its famously elegant coffee drippers. With a robust base and signature single hole at the base from which the coffee dispenses into your mug, Hario is probably the most popular maker of coffee drippers today.
The large hole, though, means that you will have to take a bit more care and slowly pour in your water instead of dumping it in all at once, if you want to end up with a rich cuppa joe.
A nice bonus is the beautiful swirl pattern of the ribbing inside the cone that holds your coffee and filter in place. If the aesthetics of your kitchen accessories matter to you, then the Hario is probably worth the price.
Frieling Cilio Coffee Filter Holder
With an exceedingly simple design, and delicate but sturdy construction, the Cilio tends to appeal to those who like spare, clean designs. The muted, smooth design makes this coffee dripper very easy to clean, and a nice accessory to a simple, clean mug. The bottom of this coffee dripper has three relatively small holes, which tends to retard the flow of coffee, allowing your coffee to brew a bit longer.
Frieling makes this coffee dripper in the German town of Solingen, known as the "city of blades" for knife manufacturers Wüsthof and Henckels.
Melitta One-Cup Coffee Makers
Combining a filtercone/dripper with a mug, Germany's Melitta offers a couple options for making pour-over coffee.
The Ready-Set-Joe set, which is available in a bright red color and uses a simple red plastic dripper in order to brew yourself a simple cup of coffee. The simple design and abundant use of red plastic help keep the price low, especially compared to the other ceramic options available from Melitta's competitors. Ready-Set-Joe is also available in larger sizes, where the mug is replaced with a small pot, if you plan on serving your coffee to more than one person. It works on the same principle, though, with a filter cone perched over the glass pot, which you fill with coffee and hot water.
If you want something a bit more elegant, Melitta offers filter cones in both #2 and #4 sizes, which have their pretty script logo on the side. They seem to run about $20 which is about the average price you're going to see among its competitors.
There are other ceramic coffee drippers available, and expect to see them around more. I saw a rather generic one for sale today at Peet's (a local coffee chain) for $16 that would work quite nicely. I bought mine, however, from Amazon, since they offer the same sort of things you see in retail shops, but with a healthy discount.
A barista using the Bee House Dripper
Filters: paper or permanent?
Should you buy paper filters, or use permanent? Here are some advantages of each option:
- environmentally friendly, if you plan on using it thousands of times; no waste
- gold-plating prevents any imparting of flavor into your coffee (i.e. no paper flavor, if you're really sensitive)
- there are two components to coffee - cafestol and kahweol - that can raise blood lipids and "bad" cholesterol (LDL) that are high in brewed coffee, but paper filters remove them. A permanent filter will not.
- easy clean-up - just throw the filter filled with wet grounds into your compost bin
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