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Woodneck/Nel Drip: Remove filter before drawdown?  & best practices
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Senior Member

Joined: 10 Jul 2013
Posts: 4
Location: NYC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jul 10, 2013, 1:32pm
Subject: Woodneck/Nel Drip: Remove filter before drawdown?  & best practices

Hey folks,

Just got a woodneck and have loved playing with tweaking the brewing method, but am yet to perfect it.

It my online exploration, the most legitimate video I've found (Japanese brewer who's been doing it for 10 years) seems to suggest to pull the entire filter away when you reach or target water volume in the brewer itself, meaning the "final drawdown" effectively does not reach the cup, as that water is pulled away.

I found another video from a Japanese coffee class where the student does the same thing, pulling the filter away with water still in it.  To do this precisely you would tare your scale without filter and grinds atop the woodneck I suppose, and hold the filter in your hand while pouring.

Whatcha'l pros think of this idea?  Any potential pros or cons?  I'll post links to both video below.

Most instructional video, though you don't SEE him pull it away or the drawdown:

This one you see it taken away:
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Joined: 4 Feb 2009
Posts: 29
Location: Sydney, Australia
Expertise: Professional
Posted Thu Jul 11, 2013, 2:36am
Subject: Re: Woodneck: Remove filter before drawdown?

This does sound like an interesting method. In theory this would yeild a cleaner cup because of the lack of drop in pressure in the final seconds. Unless of course there are desirable flavours in that portion of the extraction, some coffees do have sweetness at the end there.

You wouldn't have to hold the filter though, you would just have a heavier target weight.

My micro-roastery is up and running, be sure to check it out! www.beanofatree.com.au
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Joined: 1 Jun 2013
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Posted Thu Jul 11, 2013, 7:59am
Subject: Re: Woodneck: Remove filter before drawdown?

There aren't really any "cons", it's obviously easier to do with a separate brewer cone & carafe and if you brew into a vessel on scales using a brew stand to hold th brewer & filter.

It eliminates variables in retention in the brewer (the brewing control charts assume 2.1g brew water/g of grinds will be held back at the end of brew, if for some reason your brewer/technique skews this figure, then brew water added ratios are of questionable value).

The Japanese often seem to refer to a cup as being 120ml.

60g/l equates to ~70g/l (7%) in the cup at the end of brew time (15g dose:~214g in the cup). It's the same idea as used in espresso brew ratios.

Personally I prefer this method of establishing brew ratios, as it is more concerned with what lands in the cup (which you can taste), rather than what evaporates or is absorbed by the grinds (which you can't taste).

You still have to get your grind right.
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Senior Member

Joined: 10 Jul 2013
Posts: 4
Location: NYC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jul 11, 2013, 3:53pm
Subject: Re: Woodneck: Remove filter before drawdown?


Honestly being new to doing pour overs at home, though I am detail oriented I'm overwhelmed by the number of variables to consider in perfecting this method of brewing!  On top of that, there weirdly doesn't seem to be much out there in terms of guides, and theres a lot of variation in the little that's out there.

For example, most guides I've seen recommend a continuous pour and finer grind setting, but then blue bottle recommends this cracked out procedure: http://www.bluebottlecoffee.com/preparation-guides/nel-drip

I'd love to hear some general recommendations on using the Nel Drip/Woodneck.  I've seen the other threads but there still didn't seem to be a consensus.

1) Continuous Pour vs. pulsing?  Continuous pours are called for most everywhere I've seen, but I personally find that with my beehive kettle this results in way too fast a brew (I think.)  Like 1:40 total brew time fast, unless that's fine.  I just order one of those flow restrictors, but that kinda feels like cheating...

2)Grind size: discussed a ton I know, varies I know, but I'm still unclear what to default to.  I have the Hario Skerton, and base my setting off "knotchs" from all the way tight.  At first I had it at 4 which visually looked right, fine but not ultra fine.  It seems possibly over-extracted and bitter to me.  Backed it up to 5, way too course I believe, water ran even faster, weak and sour cup.  Do I change it trying to achieve a specific brew time?

3) Brew time total?  What to shoot for, 2:00, 3:00, 1:40, aaagh!

4) Ratio:  I see the same one everywhere: 18 grams coffee and 240ml water for a ration of 75g/1L.  Though on forums and for other brewers I almost always find larger quantities of each which I find peculiar.  I like this volume for a cup personally.  Subquestion:  To do two cups, I'd simply double both quantities, without changing the grind setting yes?

I think those are my major questions.  There also seems to be a general recommendation to indent the center, and the pro's seem to always use a chopstick or something and shove it down the sides around the grinds.  I've seen other folks just leave it level.

As a general rule of thumb, it seems to me it all becomes more manageable if you hold yourself to only manipulating 1-2 variables from a base plan, yet folks seem to change everything, all the time in their recommendations.

Help the n00b!  I jumped into this setup as my local shop in DC made the best cup i ever had with a non-traditional filter and pour-over, and the consensus seems to be that the cloth can produce a better cup than other pour over's once you master it.  Any/all feedback welcome.
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Joined: 29 Mar 2010
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Posted Thu Jul 11, 2013, 4:22pm
Subject: Re: Woodneck: Remove filter before drawdown?

Hi, hardly an expert here, but I do own and enjoy a nel dripper.

My experience is that a good starting place is to grind as fine as it takes to get the water through with a slow pour (taking breaks as necessary) in 2:30-3:00 post-bloom. After that it's taste buds, and I think you have the right idea about adjustments. I do find that a slightly higher coffee to water ratio along the lines you describe is better for this gadget. Maybe grind a tad more coarse for a larger batch. I have tried level and dimple and prefer level (seems to percolate better in my experience).

Thanks for the video, though -- next time I will have to try out Blue Bottle's weirdo approach.
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Joined: 16 Aug 2013
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Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler 920XL;...
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Posted Thu Dec 26, 2013, 2:11pm
Subject: Re: Woodneck/Nel Drip: Remove filter before drawdown?  & best practices

I personally really like the Blue Bottle method. Produces an interesting cup of coffee with great body. The coffee has the body of french press, but with the delicate flavors that you find from the paper filter pour-over methods. Best of both worlds.
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