Coffee Catcher- Siphon Remix?

Disclaimer: I have been paid for photography work for this product. My observations and thoughts were only realized through my interaction with the product outside of my paid time. I was not paid to write this post.

I was introduced to the Nate Jones, one of the creators of the Coffee Catcher, at Trabant Coffee before the product was introduced as, well a product that even existed. It was through my customer-barista interactions with Nate that I learned what he was doing with one of his coffee projects.

I managed to convince Nate to allow me to do brew experiments using one of his later prototypes of the Coffee Catcher. It was at the KEXP spring pledge drive that I learned the Coffee Catcher would work with my siphon. I decided to make a few tweaks to my siphon filters and the Coffee Catcher and the result was a new approach to siphon brewing at home.

With almost all siphon brews I’ve had, I’ve smelled a brown rice aroma after immediately removing the top apparatus of the siphon. Given how important “essential oils” are for a coffee, I wanted to figure out a way to filter my siphon brews. There are already other products for the siphon pot that replace the cloth filter (i.e. single use paper filters, reusable mesh filters, etc..) but I’ve never managed to ditch the cloth. A while back, Seattle had it’s first Barista Round Table thanks to Sarah Dooley and her Coffee Enhancement Lounge (C.E.L.) at Visions Espresso Supply & Service in SoDo Seattle. One of the labs the B.R.T. featured was a filter tasting lead by Tom Pikaart (also of Visions at the time.) There must have been over 20 filter products from various manufacturers of different textile. To be honest, it was quite funny to watch a bunch of coffee people “cupping” water at 9pm from all the various filters after every rinse we did (5 total rinses per filter.) Long story short, I don’t like brewing with cloth filters and cleaning a siphon filter and the grinds kinda sucks. I’m sure there’s a way to master it in a super efficient mode, but until I work a siphon bar in a commercial setting, I can only siphon brew at home and be left to suffer the anxiety of the day I break my next siphon pot. Just don’t break it? Not possible. Experienced siphon brewers know, always keep back ups.

So now you know my dilemmas, to not break the last siphon “back-up” I have and to find a better filter. After a 5-minute modification, I was grinding coffee with my new filter. I wasn’t sure what to expect after the “french pulls” and a Sumatra (from Herkimer Coffee) with the coffee catcher that gave me a refreshing affair with brewed coffees.

Some constants: I brewed on my 5-cup Yama siphon, used a commercial grinder with 49th Parallel’s Colombia Finca Las Brisas (1550m, washed, sun-dried), and all brew techniques were consistent. The only variable to change was my filter. I used the standard Yama siphon filter, w/out a cloth filter while using the Coffee Catcher, and the Coffee Catcher sprung upside-down to the stem using the hook catches as a spring catch. See pictures below for clarification.

The Results:

CLOTH FILTER: Brewing with new, clean cloth filter cut the body dramatically. First thing I noticed, brown rice aroma. But after it cooled, it had the “body” of water, with a soft cocoa hidden behind slight notes of biting into a cool orange in the sun with the sweetness of a mango. With little body, the “lively acidity” (as described by 49th Parallel) turned into an overwhelming brightness like fresh lemonade.

WITHOUT CLOTH FILTER, WITH COFFEE CATCHER (as filter): No brown rice aroma. Smells like coffee, tasty delicious coffee. Body was there, flavor profile was more pronounced, and the coffee tasted phenomenal. There was a noticeable amount of oils floating on top, something I hadn’t seen much of on a syphon brew before (more than likely due to the micron size of the mesh filter on the Coffee Catcher.) The brew, in comparison to the last, was an extremely well rounded, balanced brew that I had to take a coffee break,…to consume the enitre 5-cup brew. I was able to jump straight into the next brew within 45 seconds (using one syphon) after a quick rinse, wipe, and refill of hot water.

COFFEE CATCHER (upside down) SPRUNG ONTO SYPHON STEM: This brew was somewhere in between the two before it in regards to it’s body and balance. It tasted awesome, but not as phenomenal as the second brew. It was clean, but not as clean as you would expect from a siphon. brew, in a good way.


Categories: Barista, Brewing, Dose, NEW, Obsessive Quest


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7 Comments on “Coffee Catcher- Siphon Remix?”

  1. 06/11/2010 at 9:55 pm #

    What size coffee catcher?

    • 06/12/2010 at 10:57 pm #

      That is the middle-sized coffee catcher. 34oz French Press size?

  2. 12/01/2010 at 3:15 pm #

    BTW, this great idea is now an official mod at the site.

  3. Jeremy
    02/21/2011 at 6:03 pm #

    A cloth-filtered siphon tasting like rice–that’s a sign of an improperly sealed filter. Cloth siphons are in my opinion awesome when done right. Just giving the other side here.

  4. 03/03/2011 at 12:53 pm #

    I’m wondering to what you attribute the difference between the 2nd (catcher and yama filter frame) and 3rd (catcher alone) brews? Does the mesh on the catcher function differently depending on what direction it is facing? I would think that the Yama frame alone would not add or subtract anything in terms of taste…

    • JoeT
      10/01/2011 at 10:56 am #

      I, like Rick, do not understand the difference between the “WITHOUT CLOTH FILTER, WITH COFFEE CATCHER” setup and the “COFFEE CATCHER (upside down) SPRUNG ONTO SYPHON STEM.” The photos of the latter setup, while quite beautiful, are of too high contrast such that the detail is lost. There are no photos of the former setup.

  5. 04/20/2011 at 9:23 am #

    The images alone are awesome in this post. Check out our take on siphons.

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