A Better Way to Drip
In June, I wrote about a coffee-making find: a little porcelain dripper made by a Japanese company I touted as my new favorite stripped-down way to get my morning java fix. I also confessed to serial gadgetry and wrote, "Now I can't imagine making my morning brew any other way, no matter what gadget comes along. I guess I've finally settled down."
Well, my wandering eye is at it again, and I've succumbed to temptation.
I have Maria Troy of Sweet Maria's Coffee in Oakland, Calif., to blame. Maria read my ode to the Beehouse dripper, which her company sells, and couldn't resist sending me her favorite coffee-making gadget. It's a dripper that operates on a similar principle to a tea maker that I've long owned and enjoyed: The coffee grounds steep in the water, in a paper filter inside the dripper cone, but rather than dripping through immediately, it stays put until you decide you're ready for it. Then you set it the device on your coffee cup, which activates a little spring that allows the brewed coffee to pour through. Basically, it's like a combination of a French press and the aforementioned dripper.
I tried it, and it works beautifully. The result is a richer flavor than you get with most drippers, but a filtering of all that sediment that happens with a traditional French press. And the on/off spring mechanism means you can make coffee for two, moving from one cup to the other after you steep the grounds for a few minutes.
As it turns out, Maria had seen the tea device I've been using, and thought, "Why can't they make that for coffee?" Then she saw the coffee device, called "Clever Coffee Dripper," at a shop in Boston and at another in San Francisco. Those owners had spent a pretty penny buying the devices at retail from the manufacturer in Taiwan, shipping them over, then selling them for an even prettier penny to customers here. Maria had another idea: She found the company, persuaded it to sell her cases of the device at wholesale, and thus is able to sell them through her Web site for just $13.50.
The thing is selling so well she's now talked the company into fixing one of its only drawbacks: the lack of a lid. To keep the water temperature at the preferred 195 to 205 degrees, after letting it come off a boil, she advises customers to use a small plate to cover the device while the coffee is steeping in it. But soon, another version will be available with a built-in lid.
Great. Looks like my serial gadgetry will continue.
-- Joe Yonan
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