When many people think of the third wave of coffee, the image of a sleek kettle with a long gooseneck spout comes to mind. (http://www.roaste.com/product/SungardenTea/Hario-Buono-V60-Drip-Kettle ) The spout design is to focus the water in a thin stream so it comes out in a slow pour, which defines pour-over coffee brewing. The pour-over stainless steel kettle in the mental image is most likely the one made by Hario, a Japanese glass company.(http://www.roaste.com/store/brand/Hario) Oliver Strand has written an interesting piece on Japan’s place in today’s coffee culture. The Japanese, despite their reputation as tea drinkers, have a love affair with coffee that is exemplified by the fact that they import more than 930 million pounds a year. They do things ceremoniously, not hurriedly in Japan, so it’s not surprising their coffee brewing implements are becoming popular. Hario, which means “king of glass” has been called the “Pyrex of Japan”. Though famous for glass blown products, they also have come to represent the Third Wave of the coffee culture. Pour-over brewing involves a personal relationship with the coffee, as it is more labor intensive than most types of brewing. It takes timing and skill to bring out the best in the beans. Strand puts it this way “ The narrow spout produces a thin, precise stream, and the handle brings your hand into a naturally balanced position — instead of flooding the filter and letting it drip, you deliver a measured amount of water over a period of several minutes. It might sound precious or tedious, but the control is enthralling. It’s like picking up a drafting pen after only writing with Magic Markers. More important, the coffee tastes different. The flavors can be distinctive and bright, even sweet.” Because pour-over equipment is very simple- just a kettle and a coffee dripper (the funnel-shaped piece that is filter-lined and holds the grounds) and basically any pot for the coffee to drip into, it might be worth the small expense to try the technique. It also allows for single serve brewing right into your cup. Even so, as Strand points out, for many, the equipment will go the way of the fondue pot after a few weeks.
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