Adding to a rapidly growing list of “zero bypass” manual pourover brewers hitting the coffee equipment market is the Drobi One, a manual brewer from Korea and New York-based startup Rainmaker.
The Drobi One’s most distinguishable characteristic is its all-metal construction, comprising a stainless steel body with an aluminum ring holding a three-layer steel mesh filter.
The three-piece, cylindrical device is designed to prevent the phenomenon known as bypass, in which water circumvents the bed of ground coffee during brewing.
With the Drobi One, ground coffee is loaded into the bottom of the brewing chamber, while the brewer’s shape forces water to move through the coffee, increasing extraction and reducing the amount of coffee needed for a finished cup.
A crowdfunding campaign for the new brewer has surpassed $9,000 with four weeks left to go, as of this writing.
The Drobi One is approaching the market at roughly the same time as the Melodrip Colum, a conical no-bypass brewer currently crowdfunding for a 2023 release. The seeds of today’s zero-bypass field were first planted with the Tricolate brewer, which launched from Australia in 2018, as well as the larger NextLevel brewer, which hit the market in March 2021.
The Drobi One, meanwhile, is composed of a showerhead top piece that disseminates hot water evenly over the grounds, a middle brew chamber piece and a bottom piece that sits atop a coffee mug or other vessel. The pieces are designed to nest compactly for storage. The three-layer mesh filter also alleviates the need for a paper filter.
“Coffee people use paper filters a lot,” Jiyoung Lim, brand strategist and project planner for Rainmaker, told Daily Coffee News. “This is because the paper filter completely filters out the fine particles, but we wanted to make clean coffee without using a paper filter. To do so, [the Drobi One filter] was made triple so that it could perform as much filtering of fine particles as a paper filter.”
Rainmaker was founded in Seoul, South Korea in 2019 by Seoung-hoi Kim, who is also the inventor of the Drobi One. Originally a product development company commissioned by others, the company in 2020 fully developed and launched a line portable UVC sterilizers. Revenue from that venture has supported the development of the Drobi, according to Lim.
Brewing recommendations for the 1-2-cup Drobi One range from 16-20 grams of coffee and 200-300 grams of water for a finished brew in approximately three minutes. After Rainmaker established an office in Manhattan earlier this year, the device made its public debut at the 2022 New York Coffee Festival.
An initial round of 500 brewers is ready now for shipment to Kickstarter backers as soon as the campaign ends. Approximately 800 more Drobi One brewers will be ready to ship by January, with scaling up to follow, according to the company. The anticipated retail price of the Drobi One is $70.
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.