We, like 779 other Kickstarter backers, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our December Dripper. The adjustable flow rate pour-over device more than tripled its goal, raising a cool $58,251. With an estimated arrival time of late June, we have some time before the December Dripper is making our morning cup, but in the meantime our sponsors at Prima Coffee gave us a chance to take a peek at a pre-ship sample. After a few brews we have a few thoughts on how this new brewing technology might be utilized to produce tastier coffee.
There’s a Catch-22 when it comes to brewing coffee. You only want to brew fresh coffee, but fresh coffee contains gases that interfere with proper extraction. Baristas try to mitigate this problem by “blooming” the coffee, i.e. adding a small amount of hot water to allow the coffee to degas before adding the rest of the water. Some water invariably drips through the bed of coffee before all of the grounds are saturated and it’s easy to leave some of the grounds dry if you don’t stir the slurry. The December Dripper allows an easy way to avoid this. By starting with the flow completely cut off, the barista can use a smaller percentage of their brew to bloom the coffee without sacrificing even saturation.
Better Iced Coffee
There are a lot of ways to make iced coffee. Although the easiest is undoubtedly cold brew (check out our tutorial here), one of our favorites is Japanese iced coffee, which essentially is a double dosed pour-over brewed over ice. The only problem with this technique is that it’s difficult to get a proper extraction with so little water. In the past, we’ve compensated by grinding finer, but eventually you hit a wall where grinding finer actually makes it harder for the coffee to extract. The ability to control the flow rate of the brew in real time makes the December Dripper ideal for iced pour-overs. We had success with a 10:1 coffee to water ratio, brewed over four minutes. We started with the flow cut off, switching to the lowest setting after a minute and a half. The slow and steady trickle produced a sweet, balanced cup with a refreshing acidity.
Flow Rate Profiling
What happens when the flow rate of a pour-over slowly ramps up? Or down? Depending on their volatility, different compounds dissolve at different points of the brewing process. In theory, changing the flow rate during the brew has the potential to extract different flavor compounds.
Do you have any ideas for how to use the December Dripper? Sound off in the comments below.