Last week, I received a parcel kindly send by Ken Miura, my friend in Tokyo, containing among others an assortment of Japanese drip coffee makers. From left to right, a Kono TF-40, a Hario CFOD-1B Caféor permanent filter, a Donut dripper, and a ceramic Hario V60 VDC-02.
Check out Ken’s store on ebay for more interesting Japanese coffee stuff.
Fifteen years ago, if you had asked me about filter drip coffee makers, the only name that would have sprung to mind would have been Melitta. In Europe, filter coffee was virtually synonymous with Melitta.
There were also Chemex brewers, but in Europe these were little known, and had never acquired the same status as the Melitta filters.
For a while, it had seemed as if filter coffee was going the way of the dinosaurs. Espresso was the main interest for specialty coffee. For home use, single cup brewers with push button ease looked like the future of brewed coffee.
Somewhat unexpectedly, that changed in the past five years.
Perhaps it was the Clover machine that brought about the change. Suddenly, there was a brewing device on which all brewing parameters could be set and adjusted on the fly. It did cost a staggering USD 11000, but then it could make an excellent cup of coffee in a matter of minutes.
And then, in a blink, it was gone. Starbucks bought the Clover company just before the 2008 crash hit the global economy, and Howard Schultz’ plans for the Clover were put on halt.
Avant-garde baristas, however, had developed a taste for brewed coffee. Now, they were looking around for Clover alternatives to satisfy their appetite. They didn’t have to search very far. Melitta and Chemex were still around, and these could be used to brew an acceptable cup. The question on the coffee table was, what else was there, and how would that perform?
It didn’t take too long to find the Hario V60 series of drip filter coffee makers. Launched in 2006, Hario was actively promoting their new filter brewer. It was different from drip brewers known in the West. Its shape was different from Melitta’s cut-off cone, and the paper was much thinner than the Chemex’.
Although launched as revolutionary, the Hario V60 was in fact derived from Toshio Kono’s work in the early 1970s. Hario added the curved ribs, and developed the ceramic and glass filter cones. The shape and size of the filter cones, and choice of paper were still the same as the Kono Siphon Coffee company had been selling since 1973. Kono filter coffee makers like this model TF-40 are very popular in Japan, but little known in the West.
The Torch Donut dripper is an odd shaped filter coffee maker. Compared to most other drip coffee makers, it is much deeper than it is wide. It basically looks like a tall mug with a hole in the bottom. The Donut’s name presumably comes from the wooden ring used to hold the filter cone on a cup or carafe. The dripper takes Melitta Nr. 4 size filters, which need a little folding to fit comfortably.
Lastly, the Hario Caféor is a slightly different concept, consisting of a stainless steel mesh in an ABS shell. Similar coffee drippers have been manufactured by Hario for a long time. The Caféor is a small, lightweight 1-cup drip filter, that can easily be taken to the office, or on hiking trips.
It is somewhat like a Swissgold KF-300, or a single cup version of the Bodum Kona.
As with every coffee maker, it takes time to get the best results with the various filter drip brewers shown in this post. I’m working on it…