Origami Dripper: Air vs Ceramic
There’s no denying that the Origami Dripper has become a staple brewer for many people around the world and if you’ve been in this space for some time then there’s a good chance you’ve seen its latest iteration – the Origami Dripper Air. This has come as good news for not only the fans, but the fence-sitters as well. Why? Because it’s made of plastic. Plastic Fantastic!
The new Air model retains all of the features that make the ceramic model great, such as its simple and elegant design but repackaged in an ultra-light, ultra-tough, and (almost) non-conductive AS (Acrylonitrile Styrene) resin – meaning it takes very little heat away from the brew. Now that it’s hit the shelves and people have had a chance to try it, it’s clear that there are some big differences between the two drippers and what kind of coffee they can produce, but for many whom haven’t had a chance to test them side by side, there may be a lot of questions.
In today’s journal post we’ll break down some of those common questions and get into the nitty gritty of the designs. We’ll provide some sensory analysis and even bust open some myths on brew temperature. So if you’ve been eyeing the the Origami Dripper, hopefully this will help guide you in the right direction.
So let’s start with the basics. How are they different?
Material – the original version is made of fine Minoyaki porcelain, while the Air is made of AS resin, making it far lighter and tougher – ideal for travelling. But apart from this contrast in durability, the two materials conduct heat very differently which can have a significant impact on the brew.
Geometry – overall they’re almost identical with some minor differences. The Air is 5mm taller and the grooves protrude further in at the base. We’ve tested to see whether this has any impact on brewing and it does not. Draw down speeds are roughly the same on both brewers. Currently the Air is only available in size S.
Aesthetic – beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think both versions are equally stunning. Both are available in a range of colours so there’s something for everyone. We really love that they’ve chosen a slightly translucent matte finish for the Air, it gives the brewer a super lux feel.
Origami Dripper Air
Now the real question, which brews better coffee?
We’ve conducted well over 50 tests comparing both versions across a wide variety of recipes with coffees from various roasters and we began to notice a pattern during our taste analysis. The pattern became so obvious towards the latter end of our experiments that we could blindly distinguish which coffee was made with which brewer. For our tests, we used the exactly same recipe on both drippers.
Below are our findings.
The ceramic version consistently produced a richer, sweeter, and fuller coffee. The acidity was well-integrated and typically stayed that way as the coffee cooled. Overall, there was great cohesion and consistency while cooling. It highlighted notes of sweet red and tropical fruits, and rich chocolate.
The Air on the other hand consistently produced a finer, silkier, and lighter coffee. The cup profiles were sharper with a higher perceived acidity which typically increased as the coffee cooled. It highlighted notes of citrus, tea, and florals.
After getting familiar with the two brewers, an efficient way to tell them apart during our blind tastings was to focus on the body. The Air always exhibited lighter characteristics while the ceramic offered a richer mouthfeel. Additionally, in many instances the perceived acidity of the Air was higher in the hot stage and often became wild and unruly when cooling down,
For this reason, we initially favoured the ceramic model, but as we began to test various coffees and roast profiles, we began to enjoy the Air more.
Through out findings, we found that the Origami Air complements coffees that would benefit from either; more brightness and acidity, or a lighter body such as:
While the ceramic Origami compliments coffees that would benefit from a higher body/texture, sweetness, and balance, such as:
Below are six of the tests we conducted with sensory notes.
Panama Finca Nuguo, Natural Anaerobic Geisha
17/250, 5 pours at 90C – Conical paper filter
Ceramic: Balanced, refined, creamy, and sweet with integrated acidity. Improves when cooling.
Air: Higher acidity, juicy, tropical, tea-like/silky, gets really bright and sharp on cool, acidity not as integrated.
Colombia GLE, Natural, Geisha
13/200, 4 pours at 90C – flat-bottom paper filter
Ceramic: Rich, balanced, sweet, creamy throughout. Acidity increases when cool, well integrated.
Air: Bright, sharp, thin body, tea-like. Acidity loses cohesion when cooling.
Ecuador Maputo, Washed, Typica
17/250, 5 pours at 91C Conical filter paper
Ceramic: Flat and muted when hot, low acid. Sweeter and rounder when warm, improves when cooling. Acidity intensifies.
Air: Bright, balanced, floral, integrated acidity, structured when hot, collapses when cooling, bright and sharp acidity, thin body when cool.
Kenya Karinga, Washed, SL28/SL34
20/300, 5 pours at 92C – Conical filter paper
Ceramic: Heavy, slightly bitter. Low acidity when hot, high when cool.
Air: Round, balanced, sweet. High acidity when hot, lower when cool.
Nicaragua El Madrono, Washed, Catuai
13/200, 4 pours 91C – Flat bottom filter paper
Ceramic: Heavier texture, rich, balanced, sweet. Bright and juicy, acidity decreases when cool.
Air: Silky and tea-like. Bright, balanced but slightly wild acidity. Acidity intensifies when cool.
Panama Finca Deborah, Natural Anaerobic, Geisha
13/200, 4 pours 93C – Flat-bottom paper filter
Ceramic: Bright, syrupy, rich and sweet with balanced acidity throughout.
Air: Silky, floral, tea-like, with low body. Brighter when cool.
So what’s this thing about brew temperature?
This may just be the most interesting find of all. During our tests, we decided to measure brew temperature or slurry temperature and the results were rather surprising. While the Ceramic dripper initially brewed cooler, at around the 1:00 mark it’s temperature surpassed the Air, this was consistent across all coffees brewed.
Why was this occuring? We don’t know for sure, but it appears that ceramic retains temperature and continues to heat as you pour, increasing the slurry temperature. Whereas the Air initially has a higher brew temperature, but doesn’t hold as efficiently.
This definitely shocked us, we’ve always been under the impression that plastic drippers consistently brew hotter than ceramic. Whether this is the case for other drippers such as the V60 or Kalita, we’re yet to find out. We’ll be conducting some tests in the near future.
The Origami Dripper has always been an exciting brewer, we love it for it’s versatility and ability to brew super tasty coffee. The new Origami Air definitely adds a new dynamic, not only is it light and durable but it’s proven to compliment certain coffees better than the original.
We’re truly surprised at just how much of an impact material can have on the final cup and for that reason we can’t choose a favourite, but rather we would choose the dripper depending on the coffee that we’re brewing. We’re truly excited about this evolution and we can’t wait to see what Origami Kai come up with next!
To purchase an Origami Dripper, follow this link.
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