February 25, 2015

Matsuya Coffee's Wire-Frame Dripper/松屋コーヒーの金枠ドリッパー

After I ran out of Matsuya's and Hario's paper filters, I used this dripper set for a few days, together with the paper filters that I bought at the 100-yen shop.
(A set of a lid, a plastic dripper, and a glass carafe for 5 cups (plus some paper filters), all for 500 yen! Several months ago, I found it at the second hand store, and I just had to grab it.)
I was amused to see that the dripper had two, not one or three, holes.
I searched for any information about the manufacturer, but in vain.

Well, nothing wrong with the dripper set: The dripper was great, and the carafe was also great, but I decided to go back to the wire-frame dripper.

These are the paper filters I got from the 100-yen shop. Made in Germany!!!
I tried these two methods of folding a paper filter into a conic one (Japanese only). After several attempts, I think that one shown on the left is better.

I even made this "template" from used milk carton (top).
Place the template on top of a paper filter like this,
fold the right side, and
fold the left side.
I folded the left side to the opposite side. You can also fold it to the same side. I have tried both ways, not much difference between them.

The paper filter now looks like this.
Place it in the wire-frame dripper.
Let me tell you that I have changed my brewing method completely. I grind the coffee beans finely with my Milser (small blender), and put them in the paper filter, and
pour water right from the thermos.

Let it bloom for 30 seconds or so,
pour more water in several parts.

About 300 ml coffee from 20 g coffee beans.
コーヒー豆20 gからコーヒー約300 ml。
One great advantage of the wire-frame dripper is that it's almost maintenance free. You just need to rinse it under running water after use, and it will last forever!

February 22, 2015

Follow-up on my Funayuki, with Some Notes on Funayuki Knives/舟行のその後と舟行包丁に関する注意

Here is a photo showing my 210-mm multi-layer funayuki knife (bottom) with my other knives.
120-mm petty knife from Watanabe Blade
120-mm Shigefusa kitaeji ajikiri
Global santoku
165-mm kurouchi santoku from Watanabe Blade
195-mm kurouchi mioroshi deba from Watanabe Blade
210-mm funayuki
210 mmの積層鋼舟行(下)と他の包丁の写真です。
From the photo above, you could say that a funayuki knife is quite similar to a mioroshi deba. In fact, I think you can get a good understanding of a funayuki when you think of it as a mioroshi deba with a thinner blade. One word of caution: This particular funayuki is double-beveled. A funayuki may be either single- or double-beveled, so you have to specify which type you want when purchasing. Note also that a funayuki with a blade length of about 150 mm is popular. 210 mm is quite long for a funayuki.
上の写真から判断すると、舟行包丁は身卸し出刃によく似ていると言えそうです。実際、舟行は、刃の薄い身卸し出刃と考えると、舟行をよく理解できると思います。ただし注意して欲しいのは、この舟行は両刃だということです。舟行には片刃も両刃もあるので、購入する際は、どちらの種類が欲しいのかはっきり指定する必要があります。また、舟行は、刃渡りが150 mm程度のが一般的で、210 mmは舟行としてはかなり長いほうです。

The next photo shows my funayuki together with my 165-mm Shigefusa kurouchi nakiri.
次の写真は、舟行と165 mmの重房黒打菜切りの写真です。
I measured the width (top-to-bottom length) of each knife. It was 52 mm for the nakiri and 53 mm for the funayuki. No wonder that my funayuki can be a great substitute for a nakiri. I feel very comfortable when cutting vegetables with my funayuki. My Global and Watanabe Blade santoku have smaller widths.
それぞれの包丁の幅(上から下までの長さ)を測ると、菜切りは52 mmで、舟行は53 mmでした。道理でこの舟行は菜切りの代わりとして使えるわけです。この舟行で野菜を切るのはすごく気持ちいいです。グローバルや渡辺刃物の三徳の幅はこれより小さいです。

Here's some pork tenderloin.
My funayuki can cut it into slices just like a sashimi knife.
I forgot to mention that I had sharpened it with the #5000 grit whetstone before cutting the meat.

My funayuki knife now can cut tomatoes as effortlessly as my Shigefusa nakiri and petty knives.
Edited to add:
Here is a link to the shop I purchased this particular 21-cm multi-layer funayuki knife from. The shop offers other various types of Tosa Uchihamono.
Tosa = Present-day Kochi prefecture
Uchihamono = Uchi (Wrought, forged) + Hamono (bladed tool).
Unfortunately, this shop does not ship internationally.
この21 cmの多層鋼舟行を購入したショップのリンクです。この店では様々な種類の土佐刃物を販売しています。

February 15, 2015

Funayuki Knife, Multi-Layer Steel/舟行包丁 多層鋼

I purchased a 21-cm multi-layer funayuki knife online for 9,750 yen.
ネットで21 cmの多層鋼の舟行包丁(9,750円)を買いました。
Funayuki = funa (< fune = boat) + yuki (< yuku = to go)
As the name implies, a funayuki is a versatile knife particularly useful in a boat. It can be used to fillet a fish, make it into sashimi, and cut meat and vegetables.

My first impression of the knife was not very good. I said to myself, "Is it really hand-made?" Is it really a "forged bladed tool"?
It looks made of a composite material.

The back of the blade is not rounded, and is not thick towards the tang.
Weight: 179 g
重さ: 179 g
Compare it with my 165-mm Shifegusa kurouchi nakiri.
165 mmの重房黒打ち菜切りと比べて下さい。

By the way, my nakiri is rather heavy, much heavier than most nakiri.
(You may love or hate a heavy knife, depending on who you are. I personally like this particular heavy nakiri. I can hold it steady, and it cuts right into the ingredient under its own weight.)

My 120-mm Shigefusa kitaeji ajikiri:
私の120 mm重房鍛地鯵切:

My 180-mm Shigefusa kitaeji petty knife:
私の180 mm重房鍛地ペティ―:

My 165-mm kurouchi santoku from Watanabe Blade:
渡辺刃物の165 mm黒打三徳:

As you can see, for all these four forged knives, the back of the blade is rounded, and thick towards the tang.

Maybe I'm asking too much, but I'm a little disappointed by the quality and the look and feel of the blade.

Anyway, I had to check if it would cut properly. One of the reasons why I bought this knife is that I wanted a 21-cm knife capable of cutting long vegetables with a single slicing motion.

Chinese cabbage:

Can you tell what it is? A head of cabbage.
Given to us by my father-in-law.
Good! I really liked the way it can cut with a single motion.

My 165-mm Shigefusa nakiri is too short for this carrot.
私の165 mmの重房菜切りでは短すぎです。

Great! I liked it!
It cannot compare with my Shifegusa kitaeji and kurouchi knives, but it's a good knife in its own way.

I think I'll buy some tomatoes tomorrow to see how it can cut them.

Edited to add the following on Jan. 17:

I bought some tomatoes today, and checked if the knife could cut them properly. It did!
Slightly less sharp than my Shigefusa nakiri and kitaeji petty, but I think with a little bit of sharpening, this knife will be as sharp.

February 12, 2015

Kono's Coffee Dripper Used in Finland/フィンランドで使われているコーノのコーヒードリッパー

Just wanted to share a YouTube video, which is the part of the famous TV show, "Wafu Sou-Honke", that features Kono's Coffee Dripper. View the video at 1:45 and after.

It's interesting to see Kono's Coffee Dripper used overseas. Finland has the world's largest per capita consumption of coffee, so probably the Finnish people know exactly what good coffee is.

February 2, 2015

What Is Direct-Flame Coffee Roasting?/直火コーヒー焙煎とは?

This post is intended for the Japanese audience.

In Japan, direct flame coffee roasting is thought of as roasting coffee beans in a perforated drum with the gas burner underneath it, so that the beans can come in "direct" contact with the flame via the holes in the drum.
A description of direct-flame roasting can be found here. Scroll down and see under Direct-fired cylinder.
In the UK, however, direct flame coffee roasting is roasting coffee beans in a perforated drum with the gas burner inside of it.
直火焙煎の説明がここにあります。スクロールして、Direct-fired cylinderの欄を見て下さい。

Here are links to some interesting websites and videos.

From here:
My Whitmee roaster is a legacy of the era when Great Britain had few rivals anywhere in the world in building machinery that excelled in both form and function. The roaster features a perforated drum with the gas burner mounted inside – a style of roaster radically different than those built today. “Direct flame” roasters were nearly universal in Europe and the United States in the years between WWI and WWII, but went out of style because of their low fuel efficiency and the extensive training needed to operate them properly – not because their coffees didn’t taste good!

From here:
Flame roasting may take more skill and be more volatile than modern industrial roasting methods, but we believe it's worth it for the unique flavours imparted on our beans. Thankfully, generations of Thomsons customers agree.

Our direct flame roasting technique hardens the casing of the coffee beans. This allow us to achieve high roasting levels - such as our Full French Roast - whilst protecting the delicate flavours often lost via contemporary machinery.


You can see the company's Whitmee coffee roaster in action from this video.

You can see another Whitmee coffee roaster in action at another company from this video. View the video at 1:33 and after.

You can see a manual direct flame coffee roaster from video 1 and video 2.