We talk to Patrik Rolf, 2019 World Brewers Cup runner-up, about the new Kickstarter campaign for the April Drip Filter Brewer, the device he created for competition and for use at his shop.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Cover photo courtesy of Patrik Rolf
This past April, when Patrik Rolf took to the stage of the World Brewers Cup in Boston, he wasn’t just performing a routine representing Sweden in the global competition. He was also debuting on the international stage the new version of the April Drip Filter Brewer, a brewing device he had tinkered with for two years for use in competition and at his coffee shop April Coffee Roasters in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The brewer’s showcase in Boston was a success, as Patrik placed second in the 2019 World Brewers Cup. Now, he is on a mission to make the April Drip Filter Brewer available to specialty-coffee professionals and enthusiasts around the world. April Coffee Roasters launched a Kickstarter campaign last week to produce the first run of the April Drip Filter Brewer, which it hopes to start producing commercially early next year.
We talked to Patrik about how he conceived of the brewer, the long process of improving it, and much more.
Barista Magazine: How long ago did you start designing the April brewer, and what was your goal with it?
Patrik Rolf: I started creating the April brewer two years ago. It all started with me wanting to compete in the Brewers Cup. I was frustrated as I felt there wasn’t any brewer on the market that supported my style of roasting. The reality is that the two most common brewers, the Hario V60 and the Kalita Wave—even though they are each great—were created long ago and tested with coffee roasted in a way that would be much different than what we do at April today.
My experience with both brewers is that they are focusing a lot on making a darker-roasted coffee “cleaner” from a brewing perspective. However, we—along with many modern coffee roasters—are embracing a lighter roast approach. I always believed that how coffee is roasted should dictate how the coffee is brewed. So I wanted to create a brewer that would allow a new wave of roasted coffee to taste as delicious as possible.
How did you go about trying to accomplish that?
The process started with hand-made prototypes that I first competed with in the 2018 World Brewers Cup. With this first version, I got third place in total in terms of points, but under-poured my cups and therefore got last place in the competition. The next year I made some modifications and brought the new April brewer with me to the 2019 World Brewers Cup. Things worked better and I made sure to not under-pour the cups, which gave me second place with the highest-scoring Open Service in the competition.
After the 2019 World Brewers Cup, I felt confident that we had developed a brewer that brought something new to the market, so I started to look for partners that could take a handmade prototype and turn it into something we all can use. I partnered up with the design studio Serax; they have years of experience in ceramic productions. I always strive to work with partners that can bring knowledge to the project that we don’t already have in-house—in the end, it makes the products we do a lot better.
So how does the April Drip Filter Brewer work, and what distinguishes it from other coffee brewers?
The April Brewer is made to use with flat-bed paper filters. It has a unique “bottom feature” that holds up the filter and allows air to circulate through the brewer, creating a unique flow rate, together with the three holes on the outer rim of the brewer.
You brew directly into a specially designed cup that will highlight sweetness and comes with a lid. The lid is to elevate the taste experience for the guest, trap aromas, and regulate the drinking temperature. The inspiration for the lid came from wanting to offer a cleaner service and an element of surprise for the guest.
The main result with the brewer is that you create sweeter coffee with a higher-quality body. Especially as the cup cools down, the taste experience remains more balanced than with other brewers on the market.
Though we created the brewer to showcase our lighter-roasted coffees, it actually works great with all roast styles. The common result is that it generates a beautiful synergy in taste, with the different parts of the taste experience fitting together perfectly.
Are you making it commercially now, or is the idea for the Kickstarter to raise money for commercial production?
We are relying on the Kickstarter campaign to produce our first run of the brewer. The version we are taking into production is an upgrade from the one I used in Boston, with several new features and colors. Simply put, it’s better. I always think we should ask ourselves how we can brew better coffee, and I brought a lot of ideas with me from Boston that I implemented in the new brewer.
We have all the research and development done and the production line is set up. If all goes well, we will be able to ship out the first batch of the brewer early next year.
To read more about the April Drip Filter Brewer and support its production, check out the Kickstarter here.