August 2, 2013

Learning from Shukan Flavor/週間フレーバーで学ぶ

Flavor Coffee, run by NAKAGAWA Masashi, broadcasts the program, "Shukan Flavor" (Shukan = Weekly), live on USTREAM on Wednesday, starting at 9:00 p.m. The program is later uploaded to YouTube. Many of the editions are about coffee, and you can learn a lot from them (if you understand Japanese).

Weekly Flavor on USTREAM/USTREAMの週刊フレーバー

(Message to Dan: I selected this Edition, 28, first because it answers all of your questions.)
(From here on, Japanese text omitted to save time)

In Weekly Flavor 28 (not 29), Trying Different Gadgets, Nakagawa-san compares three different types of cone-shaped dripper:
Matsuya-style wire frame dripper,
Kono's meimon dripper, and
Hario's Ensui Dripper (made of glass, not plastic).
(Ensui = Cone)

With these three drippers, he makes coffee IN THE MATSUYA WAY, and measures the time it takes to brew 300 cc coffee from 50 g coarsely ground coffee, as well as the weight of the liquid that remains in each dripper.

Matsuya: 36 g, 1 m 45 s
Kono: 32 g, 1 m 13 s
Hario: 32 g, 1 m 09 s

While he stresses the fact that Kono's and Hario's drippers are NOT designed to make coffee in the Matsuya way, he points out the differences among the three due to ribs.
Matsuya: No ribs
Kono: Straight ribs in the lower half
Hario: Spiral ribs all the way from top to bottom

Sae-chan (the female assistant) agrees that Hario's dripper produces the weakest coffee. Nakagawa-san explains the reason in detail. When Hario's cone-shaped dripper with spiral ribs was first released, Nakagawa-san made various experiments with it, and concluded that the spiral ribs pulled water because of surface tension, resulting in rather weak coffee. He adds that Hario's cone-shaped dripper is a "follower product"  (Kono's cone-shaped dripper was released earlier), but Hario produces "cool-looking products", so their products have become quite popular.

Near the end of the program, Nakagawa-san talks a little about the Melitta and Kalita gadgets. He says that with the Melitta gadget, with a single hole, no water-pouring techniques are involved. You just pour water. With the Kalita gadget, with three holes, you need to pour water in several parts, so the water-pouring method becomes important.

I will provide some more details about this video when I have enough time.

Edited on Aug. 5 to add the following:
Other things I have learned from the video:
1. The Matsuya method is no different from the nel (flannel) method in that they do not depend on ribs, brewing coffee only by gravity.
2. At 36:30 and after, Nakagawa-san explains how to pour water from a drip pot. He uses his thumb, not wrist, to control the water flow. He says that human fingers are tireless, so you can pour water endlessly this way. To move the pot in a circle, he uses his shoulders and elbow, not wrist.
3. At 55:26, Nakagawa-san shows the spiral wire-frame dripper that he previously made. He once brewed coffee for 20 cups with the dripper, and found that the resulting coffee was weaker. He has a feeling (has not yet confirmed) that spirals tend to quicken the water flow.


Fräulein Trude said...

But there is a water pouring technique using Melitta drippers - in the video he showed a Melitta pot who I have never seen here, must be produced for the external markets. (By the way Melitta coffee dripper is a german invention). You use hot water and first you fill the dripper up to the rim - end of the ribs. Ok, coffee starts dripping. You wait until the ground coffee has soaked up all water and nothing is dripping anymore and than you add water again in a little smaller amounts. Usually you use the Melitta dripper for 750 ml coffee or a liter. Depends on the coffee pot and the amount of coffee - usually it is 5 cups. But you would never prepare 1 or 2 cups only. You have to prepare 750 ml at least or the taste is no good / for german tongues. There is some soaking time involved and with only one fill of water, the water just drips through the ground coffee and did not extract the good stuff. One interesting aspect, I think the old fashioned Melitta ceramic drippers are better than the plastic or glass drippers. Ceramic drippers keep the soaked ground coffee cosy warm.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: Yes, I know. Melitta Benz! Nakagawa-san talks about Militta's recommended way of making coffee: single pour. Do many Germans brew coffee in the way you described???

He talks about Melitta ceramic and plastic drippers in another video, and says plastic ones are better because they have "deep" (pronounced?) ribs. Some ceramic ones have less pronounced ribs, so that the paper filter can stick to the inside of the dripper.

Ruminating Roy said...

I'm curious what your position on iced coffee would be? Do you think that in the summer it would be preferable to iced matcha?

A rather crude but effective method for iced coffee is to use 162 g of coarse-ground coffee, and mix it well in a pitcher with just over 700 mL water, and then store it in you refrigerator overnight/about eight hours.

I've gotten to where lately I cannot drink hot coffee no matter the brewing process, but I'm quite addicted to my cup in the morning (or at least until I get myself switched back to kuki-cha).

Hiroyuki said...

Ruminating Roy: Iced matcha??? The Japanese don't drink much hot matcha, much less cold matcha. On the other hand, iced coffee is huge in Japan.

I once cold-brewed coffee, but I found the resultant coffee lacking acidity. I prefer making hot coffee first and then cooling it.

Fräulein Trude said...

Each german drinks 153 liters coffee a year. I guess there are still a lot of people left using the dripper and pouring method as my mother in law but 77% of the germans own a coffee machine / maker. For a long time those kind of the machine were in use who just do heat up the water and pour it into a dripper (as in Melitta), now more and more coffee pad or nespresso capsule machines are in use. 35.000 tons of pads and capusles were sold in 2010. We at home use a de Longhi coffee maker which grounds the coffee and cooks the coffee with pressure automatically: just chose the program and push the button (before it was a Jura).
I still have a Melitta dripper, a bag of paper filters and a coffee handmill in storage for times when the coffee maker may not work. Heaven prevent I have to start a day without coffee.
Melitta: I have never experienced a filter sticked to the ceramic dripper.

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, one of the most memorable moments in Japan for me was drinking ice bitter matcha! It was in a small tea room just above a small tea shop, nothing fancy or fashionable in a rather calm district... so I assumed it was something very popular.
Kiki, I dream of buying a pressure coffee machine... but manual one (I mean just the last step is manual like in Italian cafés). Are you happy with De Longhi? The worst thing is when one starts to read coffee geeks' forum and they affirm that only above a certain pressure it's worth buying such a machine and of course the good ones are very expensive so I content myself with the stove top Italian mocha coffee maker now.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: Thanks for your very detailed statistics (laugh).

Japan imports more coffee than France (and less than Italy), as you can see here:

In the following video, the paper filter stuck to the inside of the Melitta dripper, clogging the flow, and Nakagawa-san had to do the experiment once again:
(At around 12:00 and after)

Sissi: It's true that matcha has become much more popular than it was when I was young (20-30 years ago), but it's still less popular than coffee. The sad thing about matcha is that it's closely associated with sado or chado (茶道), the way of tea, that is, still formalities.

I understand that in English, the word bitter is used to describe the flavor of matcha and green tea, but in Japanese, we use the word shibui 渋い, astringent, to describe it, as well as the flavor of astringent persimmons (shibu gaki).
Cf. coffee and chocolate = nigai 苦い bitter

Hiroyuki said...

I have just updated this post with some more info.

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Sorry, not still formalities but STIFF formalities.

Sissi said...

Thank you so much, Hiroyuki. Astringent is more precise in the case of green tea, you are right! I think I use this term only with some fruits and red wine ;-)
I have never seen the tea ceremony, but I'm not sure if I would profit from it... it's very expensive, I've heard!
The tearoom I went to served also matcha shaved ice.... it was excellent but so huge both with my friend we haven't managed to finish one portion (maybe because we had a lunch in an unagi restaurant before and the portions were very generous!). I still have some matcha from my trip to Japan. I must prepare some iced matcha too! It was so good! (I think the one for ceremonies is usually the most expensive... ).

Sissi said...

And thank you once more for the Japanese lesson!