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The Nel Drip

The Nel Drip: A Japanese method of making delicious coffee.

 

How TO Brew Coffee with A Nel Drip

The Nel Drip is a special way to brew coffee.

Why is it special, you ask?

Well, it's special because it can produce a wonderful cup of coffee from "old" coffee beans!

"Holy Crap!" I know, right?!

Discovering the Nel Drip was not just a fascinating new discovery for my personal coffee journey, it was also an awesome business discovery.

Let me explain.

You see, at the time of writing this, we are shipping out about 150 pounds of Wild Coffee a week.

All this fresh roasted coffee is picked up by hand around the corner from where I live in Austin, Texas. Then we bag it all before shipping it out to customers.

As you might guess, we often have odd numbers of coffee left over that we can't use--example: having 5oz left and needing 6oz to make a full 6oz bag. 

While this means I always have an ample personal supply of fresh beans,  the fact is, I can't consume it all myself. 

And I've tried... trust me... I've tried.

I often give away some to friends, family and employees, but it still seems I'm always stuck with more than I know what to do with.

Because I refuse to throw coffee beans away, I end up with batches of beans that range from a few days old to a few weeks. 

That's not including that I often get orders of beans returned in the mail as "undeliverable" mail. And since I can't resell this coffee--because it's no longer fresh--I'm left with even more beans that desperately need a home.

That's why my first reaction was "holy crap!" when I read about this Japanese technique of using beans that have sat post-roasting.

Not only do I now have a way to use these older beans myself, but I now have a new market for selling these beans.

Both of these excited me, naturally, but not as you might suspect. You see, nel drip or not, there's never going to be a big market for "old" coffee. That's just a fact of life, so don't think I have any delusions about buying a jet with all my surplus Wild Coffee beans.

No, the actual reason I'm excited by the prospect of selling old coffee beans is based on the fact that I believe wasting coffee is a terrible thing

Truly and utterly terrible.

The nutshell reason is this: it takes a humble coffee plant an entire year to produce about a pound of green coffee beans. Then after roasting, the yield may be even less, say 10-12 ounces.

That's insaneeeee if you consider how much coffee the world drinks, or myself.

This is not to mention that amount of hands and process and travel the beans go through before becoming the delicious black liquid in your mug. 

Simply put, it's pure blasphemy to waste good coffee beans.

I was excited by the fact that I could now have an outlet for getting some of these not fresh coffee beans into the hands of those that either want to brew nel drip or that maybe don't mind slightly less fresh coffee beans. 

You can buy the Wild Coffee "Surplus Blend" here.

(
Plus, since Wild Coffee is already so fresh, I regularly brew beans that are 1-2 weeks old and can barely taste the difference. The cold brew method also works well for beans that have been sitting for awhile.)

The Nel Drip Method...

To brew the Nel Drip, you need a nel brewer. Get one here. It's cheap and awesome. (If you already own a pour over method, like a Chemex or a Hario V60, you can mimic this technique with reasonable results.)

We are going to provide two versions for brewing nel drip. The first is going to be the "old" coffee method. The second is what you want to use for fresh coffee. I recommend trying both... especially the method for those older beans.

How To brew "old" coffee with the nel drip

What you need:

Process:

1. First use of cloth filter: Soak in hot water, then ring out and pat dry between clean dish cloth. Second use: pour some hot water over it in brewer to preheat carafe and prep filter.

2. Remove filter cloth and ring dry then pat between clean kitchen towel

3. Place back in carafe 

4. Grind coffee coarse - same grind size you use for French press

5. Add grounds in loose mound to filter sitting in carafe

6. With a butter knife, “groom” coffee gently around side of filter to remove air pockets

7. Make a small indention in middle of coffee mound

8. Set Nel brewer on scale and tare

9. Get a timer setup next to brewer

10. When your water has cooled to 175°, it's time to start the initial pour: The Initial pour should be as slow as possible; you want the coffee to completely absorb the water and not drip into carafe.

11. Pour as slow as you can into the indention you made and slowly move out from there in clockwise circles, aiming for 1 gram a second for 50 seconds (1.7 oz total).

12. Let the coffee "bloom" for 45 seconds. That means watch the clock and be in the moment.

13. On your second pour, aim for a total of 80 grams (2.8 oz) over 50 seconds. A tad faster.

14. Pause for 30 seconds.

15. The final pour is faster: 60 grams (2.11 oz) of water over 30 seconds - 2 grams per second.

16. Your scale should now read: 190 grams (6.7 oz)

17. Remove the filter and discard the grounds.

18. Pour out your coffee and enjoy!

19. Rinse your nel drip. Remove it from the wire holder and store it in a jar or ziplock bag submerged in water.

HOW TO BREW FRESH COFFEE WITH THE NEL DRIP

The main difference for fresh coffee is the ratio of coffee to water and using hotter water. For brewing nel drip with fresh coffee, use a 10:1 water to coffee ratio and 195° water. For 250 ml (8.45 oz) water, use 25g coffee.

Use the method above, aiming for a total extraction weight equal to your brew ratio (250 ml equaling 250 grams in the above example) over a 2-3 minute total pour time.

 

Next: Coming soon!