This Japanese paperless pour over kit has ruined all other coffee for me

My coffee-making routine is so precise that I’m hesitant to alter it. I grind 24 grammes of coffee using a manual grinder, almost always using beans from the same roaster.

I wet the filter with hot water and warm both the Hario V60 I use for brewing and the mug it will drain into prior to the proper pour. 350 grammes of water are then poured over the coffee grounds via a gooseneck kettle selected for its consistent flow. 60 grammes for the bloom, followed by successive pours to reach 150, 250, and the final count.

I repeat this process every day and enjoy what I consider to be a consistently perfect cup of coffee. Neither the routine nor the tools have changed in several years — that is, until I discovered a paperless pour over set on the Instagram page of Kurasu, a Kyoto cafe with nearly 100,000 followers.

The Cera filter is the sole offering from 39 Arita, a company based in the small Kyushu town that bears its name. The filter, holder, and saucer are all made of Arita-yaki, a type of Japanese porcelain produced locally. The filter itself is unique, as it is made of porous ceramic with numerous micrometer-sized holes that allow only coffee to pass through.

When the Cera filter appeared on Karusu’s highly stylised page, it immediately stood out as a work of art. As a result of my work as a fashion writer, I’ve developed an affinity for Japanese fashion, owing to its attention to detail, emphasis on quality, and utility. This filter, unlike any other I’ve seen, hits all of the same notes, and it reminds me of a molcajete, one of the most attractive kitchen items one can own.

Of course, what matters most is the cup of coffee that is produced. And after incorporating the Cera filter into my morning ritual, I’m pleased to report that the quality is comparable to the V60 I’ve been using previously. Not better, not worse, but identical in flavour. With the end result being identical, what tips the scales in favour of the coarse-to-the-touch filter is the elimination of the need for paper filters.

I will not be duped by capitalist messaging that has led consumers to believe that their actions, not those of corporations, are reducing our environment’s hospitality. However, even though it is the corporate giants’ mass production of waste and pollution that is the real issue, I still make an effort to minimise my impact on the planet. While eliminating one paper filter per day is a small step, it is one of many I can now incorporate into my sustainability efforts.

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