Hi, my name is Nicholas Cho, and I'm the co-founder ofWrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, a specialty coffee roastery and cafe company in San Francisco. More about me later, but for now, I'm proud to present: The December Dripper.
The December Dripper is the first coffee brewer that's designed from the ground up by specialty coffee brewing experts, making a truly great cup easier than ever!
Brewing great coffee in a pourover dripper involves:
- Great quality whole bean specialty coffee, roasted 3-14 days ago
- Clean water, without flavor taints or high mineral content
- Coffee ground to the right size, preferably with a high quality grinder that grinds the coffee to a more consistent particle size
- A good brew recipe (i.e., 25g of coffee to 360mL of water)
- The right temperature water (typically around 200°F or 93°C)
- A good way to pour the brew water onto your coffee (a kettle designed specially for coffee will give you the best control)
- A consistent, controlled, and gentle pour of water
- Everything lining up so that your coffee is finished brewing in between 3 to 4 minutes
In general, if you can accomplish all of that, you're going to have a great cup of coffee.
The problem is, most pourover drippers (or for that matter, most coffee brewers of any kind) don't set things up for you to accomplish that list of requirements.
In order to make the best brew, your grind size needs to be optimal for the coffee you're using and the target brew time you're going for. Despite what many believe, you can't just grind finer and brew for a shorter time. The increased surface area exposed by grinding the coffee finer results in more over-extracted flavors, which come through as bitter, astringent, and generally unpleasant. The best coffee brew will be a balance of the flavors extracted from the coffee grounds, and a medium-coarse grind will help you get there.
If the water flows too quickly or slowly through the coffee bed, your coffee is going to taste too weak or too strong. But in other drippers, it's really hard to control the speed at which your brew flows, and if you don't have control over that speed, you're not going to be able to brew properly, and that's a problem.
The December Dripper is the answer.
The December Dripper is the first flat-bottomed pourover coffee dripper with adjustable brew flow. For coffee lovers, that means that it makes brewing a better cup easier than ever! For coffee brewing nerds, that means precision control over flow restriction after the brew bed. You can maintain an optimal grind size with a wide range of brew recipes and achieve an even extraction every time.
The December Dripper is a flat-bottomed pourover coffee dripper, similar to a Kalita Wave dripper or a commercial coffee brewer. Having a hockey-puck shaped coffee brew bed sets things up for an even brew dynamic, meaning the water interacts with all of the coffee grounds in a similar way, whether you're talking about the grounds at the top of the bed, the bottom, or one of the corners. Other drippers come in some sort of cone shape, setting things up for an uneven brew.
The main innovation of the December Dripper is a variable aperture base. The ability to change the number of openings at the bottom of the dripper allows you to slow the flow of water through the dripper, consistently reaching your target brew time. In most other drippers, which have no adjustable flow control, you can only control flow by varying the amount of coffee you're brewing, or worse, by adjusting the grind away from what's optimal. Both of these stop-gap efforts to finish your brew on target diminish the quality of the coffee in your cup. Why buy an expensive bag of specialty coffee if you can’t get a great brew every time? Even the most skilled baristas are limited by the confines of traditional pourover drippers.
When you twist the base of the December Dripper, you have the option of four different stages.
Stage 0 is when the dripper is fully closed. No water will flow out of the bottom of the dripper. This setting is convenient at the end of the brew, when a continuous drip might make a mess when you move the dripper off of your server or cup. In our prototype release, we have seen that some baristas like to close the dripper off during the "bloom time," the period when you're first wetting the coffee and waiting for carbon dioxide gas to release.
You have the option of adjusting the December Dripper during the brew or choosing a stage that is optimal for the resulting volume of coffee you intend to prepare.
Stage 1 is optimized for about a 10-12 ounce (300-360mL) brew.
Stage 2 is optimized for about a 14-16 ounce (400-475mL) brew.
Stage 3 is optimized for about a 18-24 ounce (500-700mL) brew.
To use the December Dripper, you simply rotate the dripper-section against the saucer-section (we see you, ST:TNG nerds!) and set it to your desired position. When you can control the flow rate, you are suddenly free to dial-in your grind size to where you really want it for the best flavor and aroma that your coffee has to offer.
The December Dripper is great for light, medium, or dark roasted coffee. With any contribution we'll include a handy brew guide that will help you brew better coffee. We do recommend that you have a good quality grinder, though many cafes will grind your coffee for you upon request. We recommend any of the grinders from our good friends at Baratza. A pouring kettle for brew water, like the Kalita Wave Pot 1L, is also recommended but not required.
The December Dripper is compatible with Kalita Wave #185 filters, which are readily available around the world. The filter paper is high-quality and doesn't add a papery flavor to the brew.
This project has taken over two years from conceptualization to our first production test units that we have been selling in Korea. We've played with various materials and manufacturing processes (bending metal into a cone shape is a lot harder than you'd think), and ultimately landed on 18-10 stainless steel with a PTFE disc (similar to Teflon) that serves as a gasket. Stainless steel is dishwasher-safe, durable, and much less fragile than ceramic or glass.
The December Dripper has been designed collaboratively in San Francisco and Seoul, and will be crafted by artisan metalworkers outside of Seoul. Because of the form and shape of the December Dripper, they will be handcrafted individually, not milled or formed automatically by a computer-controlled machine.
We believe that coffee tools are only as good as the resulting coffee brew tastes, and the December Dripper is the result of thousands of brews since we started work on it.
Most coffee products are designed by product designers with very little consultation from coffee professionals. They tend to provide a design platform for brewing coffee, but they don't really help guide you to the best flavor in the cup. Our core expertise and experience is in brewing and serving coffee to the tens of thousands of customers that have come into our cafes over the years, as well as our work with champion baristas and our fellow coffee experts around the world.
The flavor of coffee is the result of what happens when coffee is still a plant, how it's handled and processed, how it's roasted, and how it's ground and brewed. Because coffee has both desirable and undesirable flavor compounds in it, brewing a balanced and delicious cup can be a challenge. We're excited to offer you the December Dripper as a way to unlock the true potential of the whole bean coffee that you're brewing, whether that's at home, at the office, or in a cafe.
And why would we name our coffee dripper "December?" Well, it is our favorite month. Also, it has 12 holes. Adjusting the dripper reminds us of a perpetual calendar too. Also, Nick was born in December, as was actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Nicholas Cho is co-founder and head barista at Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters in San Francisco, California.
Nick founded murky coffee in 2002, which developed to be Washington DC's premier coffeebar, winning barista competitions and recognition around the specialty coffee industry.
Over the past few years, Nicholas served as a director on the Barista Guild of America’s Executive Council, on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Board of Directors, on the World Barista Championship Board of Directors, and as the chairman of the United States Barista Championship. He was also the 2006 South East Regional Barista Champion and has served on the SCAA Technical Standards Committee. In 2009, Nick developed a hand-crafted coffee brewing competition that's now known as the World Brewers Cup.
Nick has been a guest lecturer at the University of California Berkeley, Dartmouth College, University of California Davis, and a speaker at various events around the world including re;co Symposium. He also co-hosts a podcast for coffee professionals and enthusiasts at portafilter.net.
Youngmin Lee is the founder at CBSC, a coffee roastery and cafe (called 'Coffee Seed') in Seoul, Korea.
Youngmin has been heavily involved in the specialty coffee scene in Korea as a barista, coffee educator, and thought leader. He is the developer of the World Latte Art Battle competition platform, and he has been a coach and mentor to barista champions and competitors around the continent of Asia. He has served as an Speciality Coffee Association of Europe volunteer and has organized the Korean National Barista Championships.
We've put together a number of different packages and configurations for you to score the very first December Drippers. Choose your desired reward level, and look out for the limited ones!
The great news is, we're only a couple of months away from being able to deliver a finished product to you, our supporters!
The remaining steps are to secure our new production factory (which is already underway), tweak the final dripper design, design the packaging, and prepare spare parts. We're hoping that by the end of this Kickstarter campaign, that we'll be able to roll out one or two little improvements that we won't spill the beans on yet, since they need to go through their own short development cycles. If possible, they'll be rolled into the December Dripper production and your reward drippers at no extra charge!
So in a nutshell,
Kickstarter campaign: April-May 2017
Reward products ship to you June 2017!
We'll be posting updates here during this campaign, as well as vlog-type videos to answer your questions, so feel free to contact us and we'll try our best to reply, either personally or publicly.
Risks and challenges
The December Dripper project is nearly complete, and the only thing we need now is your support! The first "public beta" version is already out in Korea, and we're confident that we'll deliver on time and as expected.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)