It's a bird! It's a paper airplane! It's a....portable unfolding one-time use coffee maker? For those for whom a ceramic cone dripper is too hefty and fragile to toss in one's overnight bag we offer the Kantan Dripper, a beguilingly and bizarrely simple disposable paper filter for brewing a clean, full-bodied cup on the go.
Made by the Japanese brewing wizards at Kalita, the Kantan Dripper (kantan being Japanese for "easy") began to crash on the nerdier coasts of North American shores earlier this year, largely due to the enthusiasm of the dripper's importers at Wrecking Ball Coffee. The enthusiasm's warranted beyond the novelty, however: these slim packs of filters pop open right over your cup, and their convenience is matched equally by the quality of extraction.
With a small, flat-bottomed filter bed that necessitates slow, measured pouring, many of the shortcomings of a regular cone-shaped brewer—uneven extraction from different parts of the coffee bed, not enough time for the water to dwell in the coffee—are removed. In the end you'll find a very sweet, balanced extraction from these drippers, full of body and character.
How to Brew
1. Open your package of Kantan drippers with curious excitement. Bend sides of dripper gently along the arc-shaped scoring lines. Expand the filter "basket" carefully and insert the middle tabs of the dripper's wings into the inside of a coffee cup.
2. Bring 250 mL of good quality water to a boil.
3. Measure out no more than 16 grams—your Kantan dripper can barely hold that much coffee anyway—of coffee and grind for filter brew. We enjoy a 13-15 gram dose.
4. Carefully place ground coffee in the basket of the dripper—you may wish to use a teaspoon!
5. Once water is off the boil, slowly begin filling the dripper with water. Be very careful here not to overflow the coffee as it "blooms" around the top and bubbles at the edges of the filter opening. Water will slowly drip through into the cup, and you will keep filling it until you've used your water. If you overflow or jostle the chamber, be ready for bonus coffee grounds to run over the edges right into your cup!
Tip: You can either measure your water out in advance (though if you pour it from a kettle into a measurer you may lose heat) or you can weigh your water (250g) on a scale as you pour. Either way, the Kantan drip will take some time—about three minutes—for full extraction, so you'll want to cover your pouring vessel to lose as little heat as possible while you keep waiting to refill. It may seem frustrating at first to babysit the dripper with so many little pours, but take a moment while you attend to your cup to enjoy the zen of preparing something lovely.
Soon enough you'll be ready to pitch the dripper and coffee into the composter and enjoy a brilliant cup. What will they think of next?!
About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is bad at keeping up her coffee-world blog at twitchy.org.