The Clever Coffee Dripper might look like a pourover funnel, but it combines immersion and percolation brewing in one gadget – and that’s what makes it the filter brewer of choice for Andy Gelman of Melbourne specialty cafe Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird.
As Gelman points out, infusion or percolation are the basic choices when brewing coffee: you can either let the grounds steep in water, or to let the water percolate through the grounds (under pressure in the case of an espresso machine or an Aeropress).
Each method has its advantages, Gelman says. Infusion in a plunger gives a more even extraction, and more of the non-soluble materials and oils in the coffee end up in your cup thanks to the relatively coarse filter mesh in plunger brewers. More non-soluble material means more body – and more coffee sediment.
Percolation through the filter paper in a pourover cone makes a cleaner cup.
The Clever Coffee Dripper combines the two, he says: “You’ve got the steep of a plunger, which allows you to get the texture in the mouth. Plunger’s got that awesome mouth feel – really rich and smooth. Then the paper filter gives you clarity.”
The key to the Clever Coffee Dripper is its clever valve. When it’s sitting on a solid surface, the valve is closed, and that keeps the coffee steeping.
Once you place it on the rim of a cup or a serving vessel, the valve opens, allowing the coffee to drain through.
Some baristas prefer to use the Clever Coffee Dripper because it makes good filter coffee, one cup at a time, without the attention a V60 needs. It’s also a pretty forgiving gadget for making filter coffee at home.
Andy Gelman’s Clever Coffee Dripper brew recipe
• 16 grams of coffee, very coarsely ground: “like raw sugar,” saws Gelman
• Melita #4 paper – “a finer paper with a slower pour-through, and a better size for the Clever Coffee Dripper”
• Rinse the filter paper with boiled water
• Add the ground coffee
• Add 100–150 grams of water that’s just off the boil to saturate the coffee and let it bloom
• Once it stops bubbling, stir – “we do exactly 10, back and forth” – then top up to 300 grams of water
• Put the lid on and start the timer
• At 1 minute 30 seconds on the timer remove the lid and stir again.
• Place on a glass or serving vessel to open the valve. The coffee should pour through for a further 2 minutes, giving a total brew time of 3 minutes 30 seconds.