August 11, 2013

Learning from Shukan Flavor, Part 4/週間フレーバーで学ぶ パート4

Shukan Flavor 4 is about nel (flannel) drip.

Shukan Flavor 4: Playing with Nel Drip/週間フレーバー4・ネルドリップで遊ぶ

First of all, Nakagawa-san says that as for nel drip, there are a number of "schools" or "factions", which may be fastidious, and he himself has nothing to do with such matters at all. He simply intends to describe his way of nel drip. He has no intention to pick a fight with anyone. As a pacifist, he has to make this clear first.

He says that a brand-new nel is no good. It has to be used 100 times to make coffee so that it gets stained with oil, letting oil pass through it. Once used, a nel should be washed with water alone. No detergent should be used. He introduces a clever way to stain a brand-new nel with oil instantly. At 13:05, he starts pouring espresso coffee in the nel, three cups in total. The brand-new nel is now ready for use.


A nel is raised on one side. Brewing coffee with the raised side out is no different from brewing with the Matsuya method, he says. At 21:40, he starts brewing coffee with the raised side out. At 23:10, he starts brewing coffee with the Matsuya method.

At 33:52, Sae-chan (assistant) tastes both brews. Nakagawa-san says that the coffee made with the nel may be a little weak but it feels as if it went around in the mouth because of the oil.

At 40:45, Nakagawa-san shows the coarse grind for use to make coffee with the raised side out, and at 40:54, he shows the fine grind for use to make coffee with the raised side in.

At 42:47, he starts pouring water. The coffee grounds bloom considerably. At 44:12, after the coffee grounds have sunk, he starts pouring water in a floral pattern. The resultant coffee is very strong.

At 57:42, Nakagawa-san starts pouring water, with the raised side in, to demonstrate double filtering. He does not do murashi (steaming). At 1:01:03, Sae-chan tastes the coffee and says it tasts bad. He then does double filtering, that is, simply put the coffee back to the nel. With a paper filter, you couldn't do double filtering because the filter would clog. At 1:03:00, Sae-chan tastes the coffee and says that it is better. In response to a comment from a viewer, Nakagawa-san says that the coffee will taste even better if filtered another time. Coffee grounds have the ability to adsorb off-flavors.


Nels require meticulous management. According to Nakagawa-san, a nel has to be kept in water to prevent the oil in it from oxidation, and the water must be changed twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.


Dan said...

Thanks a ton Hiroyuki ...Awesome post as usual ...your site is soon going to be a coffee encyclopedia for all coffee lovers world over ! Appreciate your time and help very very much !

Hiroyuki said...

Dan: Thanks for your compliment. I guess every country/area has their own preferred ways of brewing coffee, but anyway, I think anyone will benefit from the concept of the Matsuya method.

Dan said...

Hiroyuki....I have a question ..Just looking at the flannel cloth dripper ..I see one side is soft and other side cloth material fabric is a little coarse of these two ..which is the "raised side" as apparently there are 2 ways to brew with using fine and coarse ground coffee...
I checked hario's website and they recommend to use coarse side inside ...

Can you please clarify when you get a chance between soft side and coarse side ?

Hiroyuki said...

Dan: I posted about a nel dripper here:
where the first photo shows a nel dripper with the raised side out.
Raised side = soft side
Un-raised side = coarse

As I said in the post, Nakagawa-san considers that brewing coffee (coarse grind) with the raised side out is quite similar to brewing with the Matsuya method, but differs because the former can let oil pass.
To brew coffee with the raised side in, he uses a fine grind, and does not do "murashi".

There are nel drippers with both sides raised. Someone comments that he uses such nel drippers, and Nakagawa-san replies that he doesn't like them because he can't enjoy the difference between brewing with the raised side in and brewing with the side out.

Anyway, nel dripping is for very serious coffee lovers because nels require meticulous care. Altough he admires nel dripping, Nakagawa-san is not a regular user of nels.

My nel dripper is now dried, and is stored in the cupboard.

Dan said...

Thanks a lot for clarifying Hiroyuki !