Whether it’s the Hario V60, Kalita Wave, Bonmac, or Gino, there’s no shortage of pour-over devices on the market. Each has their devotees and detractors, but few people are dissatisfied with the options. Which is exactly what makes Long Beach Dripper so surprising. In contrast to the mass-produced, imported drippers that dominate the market, the Long Beach Dripper’s Ximeno is handmade in, you guessed it, Long Beach, California.
Long Beach Dripper is the project of Sarah Alonzo and Clay Wood, two ceramic artists and studio potters with a love for locally roasted coffee. Alonzo and Wood worked with several Long Beach-based coffee companies to develop the Ximeno, which they’ve been making in a local pottery studio. The fledgling company is starting to get some traction and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund their own production facility.
Long Beach Dripper sent us one of their handthrown cups and an Ximeno dripper in exchange for our thoughts on the device. We enjoyed testing it and were surprised to find how easily it replaced our V60 in our morning routine.
We love the design and aesthetic of the dripper and cup. In contrast to the sterile, mass-produced feel of other drippers, when you use a Long Beach Dripper you know that you’re touching a one-of-a-kind work of art. There’s a certain amount of handmade inconsistency that lends a unique character to each piece. Alonzo and Wood, however, have found a healthy balance between form and function, as any aesthetic decisions do not negatively affect the functionality of the device.
An unexpected advantage of using clay is that it’s more thermal retentive than other ceramics. This means less energy is being absorbed by the dripper which results in more coffee particles being extracted. Even though the Ximeno doesn’t have a handle we found it was never too hot to pick up.
The Ximeno uses Kalita Wave or Gino filters and has all of the benefits and draw backs of that design (for more on flat-bottem drippers read here and here). One advantage of the Ximeno’s design is that it allows for long brew times with a coarser grind. In theory, you can reach a certain extraction with any size grind given enough time and temperature. But in practice we find longer brew times with a coarse grind produces a superior cup.
Although Alonzo and Wood claim the design of the Ximeno allows a pocket of pair to help with the flow rate, we had a few brews choke out on us. We found the Ximeno works best with a Chemex-coarse grind and a dry filter (we normally recommend rinsing filters to remove the papery taste). We didn’t feel this inhibited our ability to make a delicious cup of coffee with the device.
Long Beach Dripper’s Ximeno doesn’t break any new ground, but then again, it doesn’t claim to. It is, however, a beautiful handmade device that is both functional and fetching. It’s perfect for any home barista that also has an appreciation for well designed, American-made craftsmanship.