Review : Munieq tetra dripper
As a barista and gear/coffee nerd, I was obviously pretty intrigued by this super light and collapsible coffee dripper. So I found it. And here I'll review the plastic polypropylene version.
So, what are we talking about ?
From Japan, it's a 12g collapsible dripper who size as long and fine as a bank card. Perfect for one cup of a pour over coffee (around 250ml). So in fact, compact and light. Cheap as well as it costs around 10 euros. Some might say it's too expensive for what is it, and is cheaper option and blablabla. Well, for 10 euros, 12g and as bulky as a visit card, I'll say it's a pretty cool deal. Two options : stainless and PP (polypropylene). The one you'll find here is the PP one. Different design and slightly different weight. Although, from an objective point of view, the brew might be slightly different because of the material and the pattern. BUT, the shape remains the same, which means two things for me : it's quit aesthetic, but also bother me, I'll explain it later.
Well but, for what kind of usage ?
Hum, from a barista point of view, I might say it's not the best option to get the best of your beans. But from a wanderer point of view, I don't see why I shouldn't carry it along. The major pro side is mainly it's general characteristics. I can basically fits absolutely everywhere. The point is, if it's compact and cheap, it's also necessary to carry some filters. Which also means that you have to find it as well, which as a traveller, is not particularly obvious regarding the part of the world you're evolving in. Because here is the point. If you had price, weight and volume of this option (filters + drip) you're above the score of a GSI java drip for example. This last option include the dripper, the filter and a light/compact/cheap side. If you don't like the kinda "plastic" filter aspect of the GSI, this would be a good option. In a small food dry bag you can stock up some filters and the dripper. Flat, light, compact. So overall, in term of usage, I'll say for a quick outdoor escapade. If you like a paper filter dripper option and want to make it as compact as possible, sounds like a good option. But again, considering the dimensions and weight, no excuses not to carry it everywhere. Fits in a wallet or wherever. Ok, sounds a bit coffee nerd to permanently have a spare/safety/emergency coffee filter.
How to brew with :
Here is the matter. Cause with a v60 for example, or with any other circular dripper, it's easy to have a "clean brew". Understand here that the shape make the wiggles easy and natural to clear the filter from coffee ground and end with a flat bed with no coffee sticking in the paper filter. Also, it's probably just a psychological boundary, but the sweet and natural wrist movement to pour over a V60 sounds hum, pretty unnatural with this triangle shape. And at the first I was like "How the f*ck I'll pour it over". Which is stupid in a way, cause you just apply the same technical while forgetting about the shape and it's all right. Sure. But...
Again, the conic shape make the wiggles easy to clean up the filter, which makes the major part of the coffee ground in contact with water, and ends in a clean and flat coffee bed. And with this triangle shape, I feel that I loose a lot of contact with the ground, which could result in an under extraction. And you might use a spoon to try to reach the angles of this triangle shape to stir it all.
And the shape can makes the paper filter installation tricky. Because it clearly doesn't naturally fit in. I used a Hario V60 01 filter, which seems to be the best size, but you'll have to fold it to make it mold at the dripper. So it's a fake problem, takes just slightly more time and patience. The very wide opening where the coffee flows is a weird choice as well. Which is most probably because of the folding option. But the coffee doesn't flow from one point. As it's too wide, water goes through some other point than the final sharp end of the paper filter. Which is not good as we try to make the coffee going through one unique way with this type of filter. It creates some "pockets" inside the ground and the brew is not evenly done. The small height can make the pouring over step a bit tricky as the flow control is pretty important. A consistent flow across the coffee ground is essential to maintain an even extraction. And here, it's far too small to be able to control a constant pouring. And in the cup ? I have to admit that I was clearly surprised. Considering the versatility and simplicity of this object, I was skeptical about the real interest of it. But actually, when sticking as close as possible to a V60 brewing method, the coffee is surprisingly good. A bit harder to have a constant extraction and a proper and efficient blooming step. It's doable, but is a tiny bit more attention needed. The final cup is honestly good enough. I honestly don't know if I would have been able to make a difference between this cup and a V60 one. BUT. The dripper is one thing, but what makes this cup of coffee so special is the beans, the grind and the recipe. So, as long as you stick to your rules who make a usual good cup, shouldn't affect more the final cup overall.
Will I take it along ?
So that's a good question. If I would have to choose just one coffee extractor, I would not choose this one. Mainly because I'm a coffee snob. But if you don't care as much as I do, that's a very cool option. As I don't necessarily want to keep one and only coffee filter, I could take it. Light and compact, I won't even notice it. A zip bag with paper filters and the filter. Flat, light, easy. But I already carry a GSI java drip, so sounds like it would be a spare spare filter. And counter to the GSI, this one needs a paper filter to be usable. Although the cup is much better with the tetra drip. I consider it as a golden mean between the v60 and the java drip. That would be a struggle for a long journey in a remote areas as you have to carry bunch of paper filters, and if they are lost or damaged, no chance to get coffee. Which would be, hum, terrible. But for a short trip, it's probably the best option considering the bulk and coffee cup quality. Will I take it then ? I won't, for the simple reason that I don't carry any kettle any more, and pouring over without kettle is ruining the basic principle of slow process coffee extraction : not being able to control the flow. I could, for sure. But it would be against my wish of carrying less and making my life even more simple.
Not a game changer for me, and I'll most probably send it home with all of the thing I'm getting rid of. Although, I think it's clearly a good a solution to upgrade a camping coffee experience. Cheap, light, compact and efficient. Remains a very unknown solution, so good to put the light on ! Here is some links to find the filter, and a good way to learn how to pour over : Munieq products Pour over method