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Why do I use the Nel drip method for my coffee?

Long story short, Espresso isn’t suitable for coffee tasting at all, it takes out a lot of the subtleties of the beans, essentially ruining them with the hit of pressure, mizudashi I still very much enjoy but you need a darker roast to get enough flavour to judge from, and simply paper drip leaves the taste of paper.

Nel drip, on the other hand, from the English word ‘flannel’, is quite simply the best way to extract the pure flavour from the beans. The first drip down, when done properly, is a lesson in art.

It takes a lot of care to produce that first drip well, such as making sure the filter is dry enough, but not too dry, and the pour is slow enough but not too slow. Also that the water is the right temperature, and of course the beans fresh and freshly ground to the right consistency. The weight isn’t as important, as you can adjust the ratio of water to beans for a stronger or weaker coffee. For consistency, of course you would want to use the same ratio each time though.

When done right, you will notice a slow creep up of brown liquid on your Nel dripper before the first drip. This is a good sign. If you don’t have this creep, you’re extracting it too fast.

Slowly pour over the grounds, not going over the edges, and leave a gap of about 5mm. Keep adding drip by drip until you get that first drip, then wait for a few seconds (20 or so). Then you can start the proper pour. If you’ve done everything right, you will have a good bloom that can sometimes go higher than the edge of the dripper.

What comes out at this time mixes with the original so-called ‘extract’, and gives you a cup or so of coffee. Adjusting the amount of water and beans gives you either more or fewer cups.

Now comes the really fun part, the tasting. What you’re looking for is a consistency between the smell and the taste, the initial flavour, and the aftertaste.

Most darker brews taste very strong, although some lighter brews can have the same strong taste somewhere in the mixture. The lighter brews often bring out more fruity flavours that I enjoy a lot, especially Moka and Mandelhing (spelling?) beans.

The moment I knew I was addicted was when I tried the Moka beans, and the fruity flavour went straight to my brain.

Since then, I have tried stovetop espresso, which I like with milk, and paper drip, but neither of these give off such clear flavours as Nel drip. As mentioned earlier, Espresso essentially ruins the flavour completely, and paper drip can have the taste of paper that can get in the way.

So, there you have it. Why I drink Nel Drip pretty much every day.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.


I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.


On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.


Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.


Tim.

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