The syphon (or vacuum coffee maker) is one of those brew methods that truly embodies coffee geekdom. Everything about it feels more like a science experiment than a morning coffee routine and it always creates quite a performance at the coffee shops who use them. The invention of the syphon coffee maker dates back to the early 1800′s, which makes it one of the oldest ways to brew coffee. While it’s taken many forms over the years, the modern syphon design hasn’t changed much—until now.
Hario, one of the more prominent manufactures of syphon brewers, has just released an elegant and curvaceous new model called the Hario Sommelier. I saw what looked like a prototype of this in Portland last year which piqued my curiosity, so Hario sent me one of the new production models to try out. If you happen to be in Nice this week for the World of Coffee event, they will most likely have them at their booth.
The new SCA-5 has left behind the glass globe from former syphon models and embraced a look that’s more familiar to wine aficionados. The new syphon bowls are handmade in order to achieve its extreme shape, but also contributes to its heftier price ($260). As the name implies, this syphon is meant to enhance the aromatic experience of the coffee, while also catching the attention of fine dining establishments.
One of the primary differences with this syphon, aside from the shape, is its separation from the stand. This allows the coffee decanter to sit on its own, which changes the experience of pouring and presentation. The neck is also covered by a thick, finned silicone collar that can be easily removed for washing.
Functionally, the Sommelier syphon works just like other vac pots, but Hario seems to have designed it to work primarily with their new metal filter. The filter is laser cut and works quite well, leaving behind sediment that’s comparable to the latest Kone filter.
The stainless steel and silicone filter is easy to clean and looks like it will survive a significant amount of re-use, however, the clarity of cloth filters is what I love most about the syphon. The Sommelier comes with both a cloth and metal filter, so you can decide yourself what works best for the occasion.
There are two things I had issues with while using the new design that I’d like to point out. First, the extreme bell curve at the bottom of the decanter is meant to trap sediment when pouring coffee, which is great when you’re using the metal filter, but frustrating when you’re using cloth and want all the coffee to pour out easily.
The decanter needs to be tipped at a fairly extreme angle to get everything into your cup. The lip on the decanter itself is also fairly wide, so the control of the pour isn’t as precise as the woodneck or V60 decanters, but I assume this is a result of it being handmade.
Hario may have gained inspiration for the Sommelier (name and shape) from fine wine, but now they’re using their expertise to help elevate the coffee experience in fine restaurants as well. Whether Noma ever intends to switch from brewing delicious coffee on V60s or you just really want to impress your dinner guests, the Sommelier syphon definitely makes a gorgeous conversation starter about coffee.
Discovered in the depths of Instagram comes this question generating photo of a prototype for what appears to be a programmable, fully automatic water dispersing device for a Hario V60 setup—the V60 Coffee Maker. We want to know more!
Is this something to look forward to in 2013? Does it have a scale? Does it have a timer? Does the base rotate? Will it meet Scott Rao’s approval? Is it fake? Is it the iPhone 6? Will the “v60″ type be kerned on production models? Will it compete in the Brewers Cup? Will Crossland sue? So many questions and so few answers.
I’ve got an email in to Hario for comment, or a cease and desist. Until then, enjoy letting your imagination run wild. If anyone out there has any more details, please share.
Thanks for all the tips. The mystery has been solved with a bit more digging. It retails for about $165USD and also comes in “wine red.” It doesn’t seem to be available outside of Japan right now, but you can (try to) read more about it here.
At every coffee event I attended this year, the Hario booth always had some of the most lust-worthy products on display. The highlight of their product line was always the newly released V60 Drip Scale. In a departure from Hario’s specialization in glass, this scale represents the companies continued focus on the growing coffee market. The scale includes the simple but brilliant addition of a built-in timer, which may not be new, but it’s the first time I’ve seen one specifically made for coffee brewing.
The scale is beautifully designed and upon its release became one of the nicest looking available on the market. It has a small footprint (140mmX190mm), but is still large enough for a Chemex. Its clean lines, touch sensitive buttons and unique shape are finished in a lovely matte black that looks great, but emphasizes finger prints.
The scale has a 2kg (2000g) maximum capacity with 0.1g increments up to 200g and 0.5g increments up to 500g. After you reach 500g, the scale only measures in 1g increments. Powered by two AAA-batteries, the scale automatically turns off after 5 minutes of inactivity, so a mid-pour shut-down should never be an issue. The display is clear the scale measures accurately, but it’s not as fast as I’d expect for the price ($70).
What makes this scale different than others available, is that it was specifically designed with coffee brewing in mind and includes a timer right beside the weight display. This may seem like a trivial addition, but once you’ve used it, you’ll wish every scale had this feature. Best of all, you no longer need to lay your smartphone below a stream of water (freeing it up to take photos for Instagram).
Hario also designed a clear acrylic pourover stand and drip tray that pairs perfectly with the scale. While it’s obviously designed with the V60 in mind, any pourover cone from Kalita to Melitta would work just as well.
The scale and stand are sold separately from each other, and the stand isn’t necessary to enjoy the scale. The clear acrylic is easily scratched with cleaning and also costs nearly as much as the already pricey scale ($65). However, if money isn’t an issue and you feel the need to brew with a stand, go all in like Petraeus.
I’ve always been a fan of Hario’s design and the quality of their products. The new scale and drip stand are no exception, however I do believe they’re priced too high when compared to other quality scales on the market (i.e. Jennings CJ4000). That said, once design is factored into the equation the new Hario scale has little competition and will look better on your counter than most options available.
Matt Perger, the 2012 World Brewer’s Champion, has put together a lovely V60 tutorial for ST. ALi in Australia. The two and a half minute tutorial is a fully annotated, “real time” brewing demo filmed to the sounds of Frank Ocean.
While there are a couple moves I’d consider a bit risky for those just learning, it’s worth trying out if you’re not satisfied with your own pourover method. Tap dat.
I’m not sure how I’ve never come across this hand grinder from Hario until now, but I love the way it looks. It’s a nice hybrid of the traditional Zassenhaus grinder and the more modern Hario Skerton. With its steampunk aesthetic and a price range that falls in between the other mills, it’s very enticing.
However, I could only find two reviews on it, so I’m not sure how well it actually works compared to the other hand grinders out there. Does anyone have any experience with it? Would love to know what you think.
With summer finally arriving in places other than Florida and Southern California, there comes a growing desire for afternoon iced coffee on a sunny back porch. So in celebration of the warm weather, I’d like to introduce you to the Hario Fretta—a V60 contraption sitting upon a long funneled diffuser filled with ice. This may be the summer’s hottest new way to make cool coffee (I really said that). The method is simple, brew a double dose of coffee as you would in a V60, which is then cooled and partially diluted as it melts the ice in the diffuser. Once the brewing is finished, you pour the concentrate over ice again to chill and dilute even more, then enjoy.
While I was at the SCAA Expo in Houston, Ian(?) from Lamill Coffee in Silverlake, CA was giving demos of the product all week. He was brewing an Ethiopian that stood out as one of my favorite coffees from the event. It maintained a much more complex flavor profile than I’m used to with iced coffee and didn’t seem flat or muted. Even though it may be less attractive and more sexually suggestive than the AeroPress, I was impressed. I could definitely put one to use this summer.
In recent years, the more popular method of brewing iced coffee has been with a Toddy cold brew system or similar. Cold-brewing creates a coffee concentrate at room temperature which can be stored in the refrigerator or poured over ice. This method can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours to brew and creates a very smooth and low acid coffee, which many people love. However, not everyone plans that far ahead and I personally really enjoy acidity and brightness in my coffee—even when iced.
The Hario Fretta solves a couple issues I have with cold brew systems. First, it only takes as long to make as a V60 pourover, and the coffee is immediately passing over ice—cooling it down in the process. So if you forgot to set up your Toddy the night before, you can still enjoy a refreshing glass of iced coffee in the middle of the day. Second, this method uses hot water to brew, which brings out the brightness I often miss in cold brew iced coffee. For less than $40, its a fair price if you drink a lot of iced coffee. Though after seeing how it works, you could probably rig up a similar device of your own with a standard V60 and a trip to the hardware store.
The more cafés begin using pour-over as a method to brew coffee, the more creative they get with the stands that hold the drippers. From the concrete bar at Water Ave in Portland, to the custom Chemex drippers used by Kickstand in Brooklyn—I am continually impressed by the ingenuity of baristas and store owners who provide a unique set for their coffee theatrics.
While I love a homemade cup of pour-over coffee, resting a V60 on top of a mug just isn’t the same experience as visiting a café with a dedicated pour-over bar. The guys at Clive Coffee must have agreed when they set out to create an elegant stand that would look just as good in a home as an Eames chair. Thanks to them, pour-over in the kitchen just got a bit more sophisticated.
The Clive Stand was designed—and beautifully hand crafted—by Delaney Carthagh Kelly, who has been working with wood since he was 13 years old. The stand, made from salvaged Oregon black walnut, takes about 10 hours to build from start to finish and costs $165—a fair price for quality design and woodwork. It will work with a Hario V60 or Clive’s own ceramic dripper made by Pigeon Toe Ceramics.
I stopped by McCarren park this weekend to meet the guys behind Kickstand Coffee, Brooklyn’s newest—and only—bike powered, mobile coffee bar. The founders Peter Castelein, Neal Olson and Aaron Davis—who have all worked with Gimme! Coffee—just finished their third weekend in business, but have already created quite the buzz.
Their open air coffee theatrics have been providing delicious Chemex brewed coffee, from local roasters, to the sun soaking folks in McCarren Park and local craft fairs. However, once Kickstand get’s cleared for a vendor license, there’s a good chance you’ll see their mobile, transforming bar—which was brilliantly engineered by Neal’s roommate Ben Schleif—showing up in other places around the city.
The idea combines the founders’ passion for bikes with their passion for coffee and has created a unique and intimate experience that allows the customer the opportunity to fully engage with the person making your coffee. It also give’s Kickstand a chance to educate customers about the differences in quality coffees and the brewing process while it takes place right in front of them. Good luck guys, you’ve got a successful summer ahead of you.