Just opened on Kickstarter, from April Coffee Roasters.
Looks like a cross between a flat bed brewer and a V60.
Iím a big fan of April coffee, and I think this will be a nice brewer to go with it. Stylish too.
So it's a Kalita Wave with a bigger hole and a cup with a lid?
I think the idea is that it is a flat bed with a faster flow rate. I believe the idea of the fast flow is to allow a cleaner taste than a traditional flat bed.
The design inside looks quite different to a Kalita wave, theyíve done more than put a big hole in the bottom.
It's a flat bottomed brewer with extra holes and gaps to ensure liquid and air can pass each other at whatever rate they see fit. Same reason V60 has ribs. I might buy one when they're the price of a V60.
Iím happy to support the first production run from a little guy, I think he has done well to price it as he has - there would no no scale to benefit from. Hario are making zillions of them, April probably only a few hundred.
I like the cup, saucer and lid that is included too. It is well designed, and looks nicely made.
Looks to me very much like someone trying to reinvent the wheel.:rolleyes:
It is a crowded little market. Looks to have an even faster flow rate than the V60, which I spend a lot effort trying to slow down. Then you have to pay for marked up Kalita wave (presume that's what it takes) ribbed filter papers.
This is definitely purpose built for those super light lemony Nordic type roasts which I don't have a lot of love for.
Pass - coffee hipsters you may proceed.
It takes both kalita 155 and 185 size filters, and equivalent.
Considering April do roast light that would be the coffee it has been designed around, but I have no idea what impact this would have on a darker roast.
I really like light roast coffee, and buy a lot from April. I think they do an excellent roast.
As a matter of interest Geoff, are you associated in any way with April roasters?
Nope, I just really like their coffee.
Actually looks closer to the Blue Bottle brewer than the Kalita or anything else. Itís going to have a fairly small target market, ie. people that like light roasted, bright, sweet, fruity pour overs, but for those people it could be a very good option. And for people that are fans of April Coffee itís probably going to be the best option as itís obviously designed to suit their coffee. I wonít be getting one, but I actually think what theyíve done is pretty cool. April have most likely tried their coffee through a range of different brewers and been left feeling that they can do better. Not by reinventing the wheel, but by grabbing all the best and appropriate bits from other brewers with a few extra tweaks here and there. The price is pretty reasonable too for a complete ceramic set. Maybe I am tempted......
Originally Posted by level3ninja
I am about as close as you'll get to the target market for this brewer - I love light roasted, aromatic coffees and after all of these years, I am still dissatisfied with almost all of the brewing gadgets on the market, for various reasons, and I have spent enough time geeking out on coffee stuff that I should be able to understand and appreciate what separates this brewer from others. I haven't had any coffee from April, but I regularly buy and enjoy coffee from TW and I think it's pretty likely that I would like April's coffee; I'm sure I'll end up getting my hands on some in teh near future. I have to say that I find the whole sales pitch for this brewer quite irritating. It has a whole bunch of superlatives and vague claims, but the explanations of what it does and why it is better than competing brewers are frustratingly unclear. It took me a long time reading through everything to work it out. So hopefully I can save interested people some effort by setting out a few thoughts.
As far as I can see, this brewer does two things that most flat bed brewers don't: First, the bottom is a hole so big that it should never limit the flow rate. This is different from the bluebottle dripper, which uses the hole for flow restriction. The Kalita Wave doesn't have open holes, but it has quite large holes, so I don't really know if those holes are rate limiting. The december dripper is variable, but ends up with a lot of holes that can flow pretty quickly. The origami dripper has an open bottom. Second, it has "air pockets". At first, I thought the "air pockets" were the internal horizontal ridges, but on looking closer, I think that the "air pockets" are the three chunks cut out of the flat base and that the diagram pointing to the ridges inside is pointing to the wrong spot. I think that the role of the "air pockets" is basically to stop a vacuum being able to form, which would slow or stop the flow. I guess the horizontal ridges might do this, too, but that seems a much less effective way to do it than the vertical ridges/fins on a v60 or on the bluebottle dripper. (There's also the cup with the lid, which seems a nifty way to hold in aroma, but perhaps not a great way to get the coffee down to brewing temperature ... which is of course not discussed.)
So why does any of this matter - how is it an improvement? Is it unique? And is it a big enough improvement that we should turf our existing brewers and get this instead? And is it an improvement only for light roasted coffees? All of what follows is, of course, speculation from reading the kickstarter campaign, watching the embedded video and a bit of googling up. It isn't hands on experience. It might also be that Patrik has explained this more clearly in his extensive blog series on preparing for the brewers' cup, but I think it's pretty fair for prospective purchasers such as myself not to be expected to have to wade through all of that to get the information about why I should buy the thing - it's the manufacturer's job, or the retailer's job, to explain it and I think it's pretty reasonable that this is done at the point of sale (eg. the kickstarter campaign).
1. Why does it matter - how is it an improvement?
Most pourover coffee that I have had has been terrible. It's usually underextracted and devoid of aroma. You seldom get anywhere near all of the complexity that you get from a cupping bowl. This makes perfect sense. In cupping, it's immersion; you can just wait until it's properly extracted. With pourover, there is no such luck. It's just sort of assumed that you can get a good extraction at some sort of flow rate that is achievable by some combination of filter paper resistance and finer grind size resistance. I don't know why the world assumes that this is an easy thing to do, since many people, including cafes that charge for it, suck at it.
I had a bit of a play around with the kalita wave and the december dripper and I found it very difficult to hit a sweet spot (but, to be fair, I find it difficult with all filter brewers). The kalita wave papers seem to pour very slowly. This meant that when grinding finer, I hit a point where the filters would just clog entirely. The greater flow rate of the April brewer should help to address this problem.
One of the dirty secrets is this - the papers are hugely important. Swapping the Kalita papers for the tabless v60 papers resulted in a much faster flow rate. I'm using v60 papers in the december dripper and it's a big improvement. So, really, to dial in your filter brewing, you really need to also match the paper to your flow rate as well as the restriction of the brewer.
2. Is it unique?
Seems to be somewhat unique, but the origami dripper is also an open bottom kalita wave filter brewer and december also has an open bottom brewer. The origami dripper doesn't have "air pockets", but hopefully the shape of the brewer stops the wet paper from contacting the edge all the way around and forming a vacuum. I suppose the April dripper might have some marginal advantage over the origami dripper if it is lighter weight.
3. Should we turf our existing brewers and get this?
Well, if you have a flat bottom brewer with a flow-restricting bottom and you are concerned that that flow-restricting bottom is choking your brew or making things too slow, then the cheapest way to address this problem, at least to some extent, might be to get some faster paper and see if that fixes the problem for you. If that doesn't work, you can always punch some more holes in it.
If you have a flat bottom brewer and it is forming a vacuum that is slowing or stopping the flow, you can break the vacuum by lifting it up a little, putting it on a stand, putting it on some chopsticks and/or punching a hole in the base. The december dripper has a hole punched in the base, which I suspect is for exactly this purpose. (Let's call them "speed holes".)
4. Is it an improvement only for light roasted coffee?
I would have thought that if it has a faster flow rate it would make it harder to overextract coffee at a given grind setting. Darker roasted coffee is where this is the biggest problem, so, if anything, I kind of would think that this would be better for darker roasted coffees than lighter roasts. Or is the strategy for darker roasts to use a really coarse grind and rely on the paper and holes in the brewer for flow restriction rather than the grind setting? If so, then this brewer isn't going to be very good at brewing that way because of the massive hole.
Some closing thoughts ...
Maybe you can or maybe you can't dial in any combination of coffees, filter paper, dripper and grinder. I don't know, but I suspect the answer is no. But even if there is a good solution for every combination, I cannot understand why anyone would pick a filter brewing method where you can't simply steep for longer to increase extraction. If you have to solely rely on grind size to hit the best extraction, it just gives you a needlessly small margin for error. I suppose that in a commercial setting, time is money and if you have to throw out one or two brews to dial everything in, that's just to be expected. At home, you hopefully have more time and throwing out a dial in batch is a bigger deal, so that argument doesn't apply. The other issue is that filter results in more of the extracted solids actually making it into the cup, since the interstitial water remaining in the puck is clean water, not the same strength as brew water as in an immersion brew. Now I'm sure that you probably could get great brews from most combinations of things, but my go-to at the moment is the december, which is basically like the clever dripper that got me 3rd at the world brewers' cup, except that it's metal so it's not full of snapping tabs! On the efficiency point, I just steep 3/4 of the brew water and finish off the remaining 1/4 as pourover. This gives me a really large margin for error and brews that I really like. I also feel that minimal agitation from this method leads to a cleaner, more repeatable and less astringent brew than when I steep in one vessel and tip it through a pourover to filter it.
Now, having said all of that, the kickstarter price looks pretty reasonable for something that's made in a small batch and is a cup, lid, saucer and brewer and includes postage to Australia. If I didn't already have a gazillion worthless failed brewing devices, cups, lids and saucers and if I didn't think that most pourover cones are way more difficult to use than they need to be, I might be tempted. If you don't have such a set and you like the aesthetics of it, the package with the April coffee included is probably pretty great value. Assuming it gets made, which looks really likely.
Could you elaborate on that a little?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Luca, youíve put a lot of thought into it.
My impressions are pretty similar to what youíre thinking. Iíve been following the development of thus brewer over the last few months, and it had not occurred to me that the reason for its development was not clear.
I also noticed a big difference in filters recently, a brew with a Kalita filter that took 3 minutes only took 2 minutes with an equivalent paper from the Gabi. No change other than paper.