It’s about time somebody made this: a beautifully designed dripper that solves a common brewing problem.
BY JOSH TAVES
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
Photos by Josh Taves
I flunked out of business school, but at least I went for a year. In Business 101, they teach you that a good business idea involves solving a problem people didn’t realize they had, or seeing a hole in the market and filling it. Michael Butterworth must have taken that same class. His new venture, Etkin Coffee, is solving a pretty big issue that seems to have been right under everyone’s nose.
I’m sure you’ve made coffee for someone else before—probably lots of someones. Chances are you’ve made some of that coffee with a manual pourover dripper. I bet it was beautiful, I bet the person loved it, and I bet you loved it—and I bet when you were done with that cup, you started over to make yourself one because the dripper you used was too small to make two cups at once. The new Etkin Dripper is aimed squarely at solving this issue in an elegant and well-designed package that allows the user to brew up to 1 liter of pourover coffee at a time. The simplicity and ingenuity of the Etkin Dripper are perhaps summed up best by their slogan: “Make Plenty.“
Michael Butterworth is quite the jet-setter. According to his website, education and coffee are their strong suits, with a background in teaching, coffee training (for Quills Coffee), barista competitions (where I first met Michael), and writing. Michael is currently offering SCA-certified classes in Istanbul, Turkey, in both Turkish and English. As a subtly quippy ode to the near lack of manual drippers capable of performing the simple task of brewing larger batches, Michael borrowed the Turkish word meaning “effective” as a name for his dripper.
Attention to Detail
The Etkin Dripper is a large, double-walled ceramic manual brewer that the company claims is optimized to brew up to a liter of coffee. The brewer is designed with a familiar flat bottom and ribbing to suspend the filter off the sides and bottom. A variety of paper filters designed for small-batch brewers can be used with the Etkin Dripper, although Etkin has their own as well. A single hole in the bottom allows for ample draining and flow speed to accomplish larger batch brewing in a reasonable amount of time. I got the opportunity to play with the entire Etkin 8-Cup Pour-Over Set, which also included the elegant 1.5 liter Etkin Carafe. The pieces combined together create a beautiful aesthetic and functional experience.
As with any manual dripper, recipe variations and suggestions are infinite. But one thing I very much enjoyed about the Etkin Brewer is that no complicated recipe is needed, should the user desire something simpler, or if perhaps it’s 6 a.m. and they’re just tired. The single drain hole was sized large enough so that the brew never “choked” during brewing, but small enough that if you simply fill the brewer, the natural draining allows for an appropriate brew time.
The dripper is large enough in diameter that your “circle size,” or speed when pouring, doesn’t seem to matter as much as with small brewers. Simply ensuring all the grounds were incorporated in the slurry and you weren’t “bypassing” by pouring on the edge of the filter incorporated plenty of technique to ensure delicious coffee for you and a friend. While I appreciate complexity in manual brewing as much as the next professional barista, I shy away from devices that require complexity. Steep learning curves tend to reduce consistency, and therefore quality, in my opinion. The Etkin Dripper really is a delightfully simple solution to a problem we have all faced.
As for the taste? I’m happy to report it’s sweet, clean, and delicious. I felt the Etkin Brewer performed well with a variety of different coffees. I tried a washed-process Mexican, a natural Ethiopian, and blends of various roast levels. All had good balance and clarity, and made plenty of enjoyable coffee for me and my house guests.
All in all, I’m happy to add the Etkin Brewer to my collection. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes one of the most used brewers I own. And with the brewer offered at only $55, I think everyone who has ever struggled to make a cup of coffee for themselves and someone else (I’m hoping that’s you) should have an Etkin Brewer on their shelf.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Taves is the head of business development for Stovetop Roasters in Michigan and the
creator of CuppingBrewer.com. He is also a 2017 USBC finalist, so he knows his way around
lots of different coffee gadgets. He’s been working in the coffee industry since 2006 and enjoys
taking advantage of all the great adventures the outdoors have to offer.