June 23, 2015

Bonmac Dripper: The History & Brewing Guide


The History of Bonmac

With so many filter brewing devices on the market today it’s often hard to keep up with them all. Depending on where you are located you’re probably asking, ‘what’s a Bonmac dripper? Well, to begin with there wasn’t much of a transparent history to this Japanese brewing device on the internet. So PDG put the work in for those of you who are interested.

SEE ALSO: Chemex – The History & Brewing Guide

The Bonmac dripper was created by the research and development team at the Japanese company, Lucky Coffee Machine Co. Ltd. The Pro Cone was produced by Counter Culture Coffee and Jay Egami, a renowned coffee expert and representative of the Ueshima Coffee Co, (the company that imports the brewing equipment to the U.S. for Lucky Coffee Machine Co. Ltd). He is also well known in the United States for having introduced the first $20,000 syphon brew bar to Blue Bottle Cafe in San Francisco back in 2008. Now, these may not be names that you hear often, but for pour over fanatics, does the Takahiro pour over kettle ring any bells? Well, these are the companies who produce and export it amongst other quality brewing products.

Coffee brewed with a Bonmac dripper

The Bonmac Dripper with its matching and much desired coffee geek kettle, the Takahiro Pot. Credit: @mdkmrym

What Can You Expect From the Bonmac Dripper?

If you have been looking for a dripper because you want to start brewing some awesome specialty coffee but all you see are Hario V60’s, Bee House, Kalita Wave, Clever, Bonavita etc, Bonmac is the ultimate dripper for beginners.

The Bonmac dripper has a wedge shape, and just like the V60, this dripper also has ridges, but they are vertical and are only at the bottom portion of the device. The ridges are designed to help water flow evenly through the coffee bed, so you could get away with not using a gooseneck kettle for this method. But by all means do get one if you can justify the purchase as it will always help control flow.

The brewer also has a small single hole rather than a large one, or multiple holes. It was designed this way to aid water to flow at just the right pace with the right grind size. The wedge-shape plus the small single hole will also help give the final brew a full-bodied mouthfeel with very complex flavors. This is because the water has more contact with the coffee than other drip methods. The Bonmac is capable of delivering a very consistent cup no matter what the expertise level of the user might be. And if you were wondering what the hole in the base is for, this is a bonus so that when brewing directly into a cup, you can see how much coffee you’ve made.

Bonmac dripper bloom

Bonmac dripper bloom (original cone)
Credit: @holeinthewallcoffee

There are some important differences between the original cone and the ‘Pro Cone’. It has two small center holes and vertical ridges all around the inner walls of the brewer. If you know that your pour-over skills are above average and you prefer a more flexible brewer for experimentation, then the pro version is definitely for you. The two holes and the ridge height reduce flow resistance so the dose, grind size, & the pour over flow technique affect the final result. This is also more coffee-shop friendly because it brews faster.

Bonmac Pro

Bonmac Pro by Counter Culture Coffee
Credit: @losantivillecoffee

How to Brew Like a Pro (instructions for original cone)

1. Grind size

In order to brew a high quality cup on a Bonmac dripper, it’s important to take into account that the grind size for this method is crucial since it is pretty much the only variable we can experiment with other than water temperature. The Bonmac dripper is predisposed to get clogged due to the small single hole, so it’s important to use a medium grind size, but not too chunky because you will under extract your coffee’s best attributes. Don’t worry if you see that water flows slowly, that is completely normal, but it shouldn’t stop dripping.

2. Coffee dose/brew ratio

Chose your brewing ratio and bear in mind that this dripper produces a full-bodied cup. 1:15 is my favorite ratio for this brewer (1 gram of coffee per 15 ml of water).

3. Water temperature:

Try brewing with water between 90-96 degrees celsius to begin with. Considering that this device leaves little room for experimentation, make the most of testing different temperatures to add an extra variable that you can control.

4. Brew time:

The Bonmac won’t let you do fast brew times (2-3 minutes) unless you’re using the pro version. Your brew will generally take between 3-4 minutes.

Brew Process 

Coffee brewed by a Bonmac pro cone

Definitely GOOD! Pro Cone by Counter Culture Coffee. Credit: @joshuaimay

Start by boiling high-quality water. It is recommended to boil twice as much water as you will brew in order to rinse the paper filter, preheat the device and the cup or carafe. Remember that the water’s temperature should be between 90-96º.

The Bonmac dripper uses its own bamboo unbleached filters. They do not have bleached ones but don’t worry, they don’t have such a papery taste.

Grind your fresh coffee beans. Rinse the filter, heat the cup, discard the water and add the grounds to the Bonmac and you’re ready to go. Good news! You don’t need a gooseneck kettle for this method because the dripper itself controls the water flow and you don’t have to pour in circles. That’s why this is a very friendly method to use at the office, in a rush or at 7am when you still want to go back to sleep.

Start by pouring enough water to saturate all the grounds and let them bloom. After 30-45 seconds, you can start adding the water, just be careful not to overflow. Once there is more room for the water, add the rest of it until you get the desired amount.

Wait until it pours completely, which should take between 3 to 4 minutes. If you decide to use the Bonmac “Pro Cone” then it should take 2-3 minutes.

Bonmac Brewing Tips

  • This method is predisposed to get clogged because of its tiny hole, use a medium size grind.
  • Remember to preheat the device. This only comes in ceramic which will easily absorb the water’s temperature if not preheated. This increases the chances of a less extracted coffee.
  • Do not pour at the edge of the coffee bed & make sure you distribute the water evenly.
  • Pour from a height that creates enough turbulence to improve the uniformity of extraction.

Article edited by A. Guerra.

Perfect Daily Grind.