The extent to which Americans guzzle coffee — random coffee, mediocre coffee, whatever coffee is most readily available in the office kitchen or nearest Starbucks — belies the expertise and sheer nerdery that can go into making coffee. Bean varieties, grind styles, brewing timing, water quality — the number of variables at play seems endless, as does the number of methods.
Which is why it doesn’t hurt to ask an expert. Charles Babinski is the cofounder of Go Get Em Tiger in Los Angeles — which consists of several GGET coffee shop locations and a roasting operation — and the kind of coffee pro who frequents (and wins) barista competitions. These days, one of Babinski’s favorite approaches for brewing involves what he describes as “a basic, rudimentary tool,” the Melodrip.
“The Melodrip is a pretty simple design, which is that it’s a shower head,” says Babinski. The petite apparatus, which began as a Kickstarter and “looks like a little dental tool,” gives you more control when making pour-over.
“It’s basically like a little shower head on a stick — you hold it [over the coffee filter] and you can pour water into the shower head, and it makes a very gentle, uniform fall” as the water cascades over the ground beans, explains Babinski. The result, he says, is a “cleaner cup,” since the controlled flow of water minimizes the effect and volume of fines (bean micro-particles — as previously stated, coffee can get really, really technical) coming through the filter.
What makes the Melodrip particularly exciting, Babinski says, is that it’s a great for travel, when it’s easy enough to pack your own filters but hardly convenient to carry around a kettle. “You still need some way to measure your water and beans,” Babinski says, but being able to control the flow of water for your pour-over from a clunky hotel-issued kettle makes a real difference.
And for coffee nerds always looking to try a new method, “it’s one more tool that expands ways that you can brew, without being something that takes up a bunch of space in your cafe or your kitchen.”