Test Drive: The Graycano
A new dripper invites you to enter the coffee cycle .
BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SPECIAL ONLINE CORRESPONDENT
Photos courtesy of Vasileia Fanarioti
The Graycano is a new metal dripper that has been in the works for the past two years. Designed in Germany by Nicole Chabot and Felix Brügmann, the Graycano launched last February and is already making waves in the global coffee community.
In fact, the dripper recently traveled all the way to Melbourne, Australia. Germany Brewers Cup Champion Nicole Battefeld-Montgomery and Austrian Brewers Cup Champion Martin Wölfl used the Graycano to brew their coffees at the 2022 World Brewers Cup. Our curiosity was piqued when we saw the striking design and unique features of the Graycano, and we decided to put it to the test.
Main Features of the Graycano
The brewer’s name is inspired by volcanoes—and the Graycano has a few features that make it live up to its name. Firstly, the V-shaped structure of the brewer is designed to mimic the lava ribs that are often found in volcanoes. Its conical shape and inner structure do actually look like a volcano; it’s meant to symbolize the eruption of flavor it produces.
The Graycano is made with an aluminum core and a high-end, ceramic-strengthened Swiss technology coating. It’s food-safe, easy to clean, and abrasion- and scratch-resistant while offering an elegant look. The unique materials combination makes it durable and temperature stable without impacting the coffee’s taste. And the compact size makes it practical to use.
I was curious about the Lava Ribs feature (and their spiral positioning), as it’s something I hadn’t seen before on a coffee dripper. The Graycano’s lava ribs are designed to provide an evenly distributed water flow. They also help aerate the coffee grounds, resulting in a more uniform extraction.
The brewer comes with a handmade cork sleeve for safe handling, as the aluminum body of the Graycano gets hot during brewing. There’s a choice of three colors: black, raw cork, and red.
Brewing with the Graycano
The package comes with a booklet of details about the brewer and the philosophy behind its creation. The included brewing guide points out variables to consider when brewing filter coffee like water temperature, grind size, and coffee-to-water ratio. It doesn’t include a recipe suggestion, which allows the user to experiment and find their own perfect cup from the get-go.
I used a single-origin coffee from Jayuya, Puerto Rico, roasted by Baraka Coffee, with a medium-light roast profile. I ground the beans medium-coarse with my Comandante and opted for a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water. According to the instructions booklet, the recommended water temperature range was 90°C-96°C, so I opted for 92°C (197.6°F) and brewed for 2:30 minutes. While brewing, I noticed how stable the Graycano dripper is. The five walls that make up the V-shape structure are thick and sturdy, which means that the dripper doesn’t topple over easily and fits perfectly on the server.
During the test drive, I was able to produce a cup of coffee with a clean profile. The natural, controlled agitation from the Graycano’s spiral positioning of the lava ribs resulted in a uniform extraction with no channeling. The brew was smooth-bodied and tasted sweet, with notes of chocolate and caramel. I was curious to see if the cork sleeve would give off any unwanted aromas while the brewer was heating, but I didn’t notice anything when I brewed my coffee.
One thing to keep in mind is that the material combination of the Graycano has heat-retention properties. This means that if you want to achieve a consistent cup, it might be best to choose a temperature that is on the lower end of the recommended range. This will help to extract all the coffee’s aromas and flavors without over-extracting.
The cork sleeve is great for protecting your hands from heat and provides a good grip. Overall, I was pleased with the Graycano. I’ve used it a few times since, changing around the brewing variables. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an easy-to-use and well-designed manual coffee dripper.
Joining the Coffee Cycle
Nicole and Felix didn’t want to produce just another coffee brewer; they wanted to create a product with a purpose. That’s why when you buy a Graycano, you automatically adopt a coffee tree from the team’s plantation, Fazenda Jacarezal in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Customers can choose the name of the tree, and a sign is hand-made and placed near it.
Each year customers will receive updates on how their tree and the plantation are doing, including any challenges faced by the farmer and his team, and how they overcome them. This unique initiative allows coffee drinkers to deepen their understanding of the coffee cycle and helps the producers build a more sustainable business model. If you like the idea of adopting a coffee tree and brewing your coffee with a Graycano, you can purchase one here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior online correspondent for Barista Magazine, and a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work. You can follow her adventures at thewanderingbean.net.
Source: Barista Magazine