The smoothest and most flavorful cup of coffee that a machine can't replicate.
Positive Product Points
A no nonsense "pure" coffee experience. There is nothing like interacting with your coffee and being in complete control of the brewing process. The carafe is quite simple and elegant. (my version has a handle instead of the wood wrap. although i own one of those as well.) Many professionals in cafes all over Japan use it and it yields the smoothest tasting coffee I have ever tasted.
Negative Product Points
It's not a turn key solution so there is experimentation involved with it. Don't expect perfect results on the first shot because it takes practice. Not enough exposure in the US market so it is hard to find good information and techniques unless you can read an asian language. Cleaning the Nel filter is a bit messy and I haven't really figured out a fool proof way of cleaning it without making a couple of drips along the way. The easiest is to hold it over the garbage can, flip the filter inside out and shake the filter "like a polaroid picture." Like all things, this product is just one part of the chain. You should also have a good grinder, a good kettle with a very narrow spout, your favorite coffee beans, and the best tasting cold H2O you can get. (when i am feeling fancy, i use Fiji water.)
There is a nice review by Mark Prince, "how to use a pour over brewer," which explains the fundamentals pretty well. (as a note, the "nel drip" or cloth filter he using in the photos is inside out.) This is a "geeky" way of brewing coffee for sure because it requires experimentation and a lot of tweaking along the way. One cup may come out fantastic and the next bitter so it can be a frustrating experience if you don't have the patience to figure out what went wrong. However once you begin to understand the nuances of hand brewing, you can brew the best coffee consistently and impress your friends with the chemistry lab looking setup.
The finish is generally very smooth, almost velvety, and has very little bitterness in aftertaste.
Although I have posted comments with a little more detail on my setup under “how to use a pour over brewer” section, I use a Kalita kettle (with a long and narrow spout), a $15 hot plate, and a decent grinder. The trick to brewing great coffee is all in the pour. A slow and consistent pour is the best method. “Disturbing” the coffee grinds in a controlled manner is what really brings out the rich flavors. I have tried a very slow pour where the grinds didn’t float and remained settled or packed and the flavor was very bitter. I have also tried pouring faster unsettling all of the coffee and that too resulted in less than a satisfying cup.
If you are lazy and just want Mr. Coffee to brew your coffee first in the morning with very little interaction with it, this IS NOT the product for you. But if a very good cup of coffee is a priority and don’t mind making the effort in making it properly, then by all means get it and experiment away.
The buying experience in Japan is always very pleasant. Incredible attention to detail and customer service. I had a very nice wrapping job, worthy of a wedding gift.