We made the Etkin 8-Cup Dripper for one simple reason: we wanted to buy something like it, but couldn't find it . The few larger drippers on the market were conical – which is less ideal for large batches.
To understand why a flat-bottom dripper is better for larger batches, we need to imagine what happens when you brew coffee.
The coffee bed is made up of millions of tiny coffee particles of various sizes. Some of these particles are incredibly small, like dust. Baristas call these “fines.” The majority of the particles (by mass) are medium sized particles, between 400-1000 microns in size. Finally, depending on your grinder, a small percentage of the grounds will be larger than 1000 microns. Baristas often call these larger particles “boulders.”
The soluble compounds in the fines will dissolve almost completely– they add a lot of bitterness and complexity to the brew.
The soluble compounds in the boulders will not dissolve completely, as the interior of each particle is less accessible to the brew water. The boulders mostly add sour flavors to the brew.
This leaves the medium-sized particles. When brewed well, they will contribute most of the perceived sweetness and acidity.
Ideally, each one of these medium-sized particles will be similarly extracted. To achieve this, each particle needs to come in contact with an equal amount of water and experience an equal amount of turbulence. Obviously, this is impossible, but a good barista will try to evenly extract their pour-over as much as possible. (Read more about SCA Ideal Cup standards here).
Enter bed depth
For some time, coffee professionals have understood the best results come from a bed depth of 3-5 cm.
A bed depth of less than 3 cm will result in an increased risk of channeling. The water will find a path of least resistance and bypass most of the coffee. More than 5 cm, and the brew is more likely to choke– it’s too much coffee for the water to percolate through.
A flat brew bed ensures that the bed depth is the same at every point of the brew. Coupled with a proper pouring technique, a flat-bottom dripper creates an ideal environment for a more even extraction. This means more perceived sweetness and less bitterness in the cup.
What we’re not saying
This doesn't mean you can’t make a good cup of coffee with a conical dripper. In fact, conical drippers are more ideal for really small doses like 12-15 grams. A flat-bottom dripper is unlikely to provide adequate bed depth at these small volumes.
But if you want to make more than 500 ml of coffee, you’re going to run into bed depth issues, uneven application of turbulence, not to mention an increased disparity between the top and bottom of the brew bed.
Make more coffee, better.
“I love the richness the Etkin Dripper gives without sacrificing the high notes. Ease of use and aesthetic, too, are just great.” – Andy H.
“I took the Etkin Dripper to work and made it for a coworker. He ordered one before he finished his first cup.” – Jeremy S.
Throughout the prototyping process we tried many different angles and ridge patterns. When we tested the final version, we knew we had discovered something special. Nonetheless, actually hearing customer testimonials like these is truly inspiring for us. Our goal was to make a dripper that would create shared experiences without compromising quality. Seeing that dream become a reality makes us want to brew another cup.