Chapter 4: How to choose your dripper?

Chapter 4: How to choose your dripper?

Now that you have understood how to choose the best beans for yourself, it’s time to choose your dripper! Among the many types of drippers on the market, how do we choose the right one?

Last month, we introduced 10 different drippers in detail on our blog. In this article, we are going to summarize the reviews in 5 aspects. Looking at these aspects, you can decide what you like most and find your favorite dripper.

Read more: 10 Drippers Review

1. Shape

The shape of the dripper affects the extraction space, the depth and size of the filtering layer. New drippers come into play every day, and we are always open to try and test new products.

Generally, dripper shapes can be divided into the following 3 types:

Cone-shaped

Cafec Flower Dripper

This is the most popular dripper shape in the world in recent years. The main feature for cone-shaped drippers is its large hole in the bottom, prominent ribs, and fast flow rate. Among the different cone-shaped drippers on the market, most are designed to be 60 degrees. A typical example is Hario V60.  Compared with the earlier trapezoid and flat-bottomed shape, cone-shaped drippers brew coffee that is relatively balanced and rich in layers. This is due to its deep filter layer and uniform extraction. 

Since cone-shaped dripper has a fast flow rate and concentrated early extraction, the fruity and acidic taste is more outstanding. Though, the flow rate could also be too fast, resulting in an insufficient extraction, thin body, plain and acidic flavor.

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) conducted a research on drip coffee and found that with light roasted coffee, it is more likely that cone-shaped drippers brew fruity and sweet flavors, such as citrus, berries, and sweet floral aromas.

We are fond of Flower Dripper, which has an uniform extraction, sweet aroma and stable performance.

Read more: CAFEC Flower Dripper vs. Hario V60

Trapezoid

Kalita Trapezoid Dripper

The trapezoid dripper reminds us of traditional Japanese coffee shops in the old times, where the barista was brewing coffee in a warm and comfortable atmosphere.

The ancestor of the trapezoid dripper is from the brand Melitta in Germany with a long history. In recent years, most common trapezoid dripper brands include Melitta, Kalita, Clever, and Cafec.

For lighter roasted coffee beans, this dripper can brew more nutty, sweet and floral aromas. For darker roasted coffee beans, it brews a rich chocolate, cocoa taste and woody aroma.

Generally, compared with a cone-shaped dripper, brewing with a trapezoid dripper takes a longer time and has a mellower and richer aroma.

Unfortunately, we think that this kind of dripper is a bit difficult for beginners to operate, because its flow rate is sometimes unstable, or easily clogged. When the coffee is submerged for a long time, bad flavour will be extracted.

In terms of shape, material and performance, we prefer Cafec and Clever drippers.

Read more: Love and hate: Kalita Hasami Sandstone 101

Flat-bottomed

It is used with a wave filter with 20 waves, so it is also called the wave dripper or the “cake dripper”.

Its design is to have a uniform extraction using the immersion brewing method, so the slow water flow can extend the brewing time. The coffee brew with this dripper has a very rich and complex flavour compared with cone-shaped and trapezoid-shaped drippers. The body is very thick and sweet, concentrated in the middle and late stages of extraction. Though, over-extraction is very easy to happen, especially for beginners. Unpleasant tastes such as uncleanness and bitterness can be easily extracted.

It is very suitable for brewing iced coffee. The concentration is very high. It is diluted with ice cubes and tastes just right.

Common flat-bottomed dripper brands include Kalita Wave, Blue Bottle, April, Fellow X.

Other shapes

There are still many other kinds of drippers, including hexagonal, shallower or deeper ones, environmentally friendly drippers that brew without filter paper, and drippers that can adjust the flow rate. You can always explore and experiment with these drippers as you like!

Read more: Chemex vs Kalita wave set

2. Material

Flower Dripper

Drippers are mainly made of resin, ceramic, glass and metal. These materials not only affect the temperature, but also slightly affect the flow rate.

Regarding heat resistance, we must talk about thermal conductivity. The higher the thermal conductivity, the more heat energy is taken away by the material. Therefore, for coffee brewing, the performance of metal drippers, such as stainless steel and copper, is not the best choice. The resin dripper would be a much better choice. Some may think that ceramics are good for maintaining temperature. Yes, good ceramics have low thermal conductivity, but for the poorly made ceramics, which are rough, uneven and fragile, the results may not be as ideal.

To ensure a better brewing performance, you might as well warm the cup before brewing the coffee.

Regarding the flow rate, this is actually related to the degree of rib protrusion. Resin and glass are more prominent, while ceramics have a shiny and smooth surface due to the firing process and glazing, which also has a certain effect on the flow rate. If you ask me which one fits the developers' minds the most, I don't know, but I'm so sure that they are definitely different products.

Read more: Resin Flower Dripper - Does Material Matter?

3. Ribs

Ribs determine the flow rate.

Ribs provide space between the filter paper and the dripper. Coffee not only leaks vertically, but also penetrates horizontally. Ribs provide space and outlet for the coffee, and they can improve water clogging. With a good rib design, you will see that the space between the ribs and the filter paper is full of moisture after brewing.

4. Size/ Portion

Cafec Flower Dripper

The bigger the size the better?

You have to first think about your coffee drinking habits and for how many people you want to brew for most of the time. The structure of each dripper is different, it has the most suitable portion for brewing. For example, Cafec Flower Dripper Cup 1 is suitable for brewing 1-2 cups, and Cup 4 is suitable for brewing 2-4 cups. If it is used indiscriminately, the function of the filter cup cannot be brought into play. My tip is that going for the smaller size is usually better. If you have a small dripper, you can always brew several cups of delicious coffee. But if you only have a large one, it is hard to brew for a small portion. 

Several large drippers (for 3-7 cups) are collecting dust at my home.

Read more: Cafec Deep Dripper

5. Appearance

Origami Dripper

“Don’t judge a book by its cover!” 

But in the end, appearance matters a lot. Afterall, a good quality dripper stays with you for a long time and you’d be looking at it every day. Of course it’s best to choose one that has both a good appearance and a good taste. Choose one that you immediately fall in love with!

 

Previous Chapter: 

Chapter 3: How to choose Coffee Beans?

Next Chapter:

Chapter 5: How to brew coffee?

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