The manual pourover method of brewing coffee is a hallmark of modern specialty coffee; a deceptively simple process of bringing out the most desirable flavors that actually requires a bit of skill, or at least a steady hand and a helpfully goosenecked kettle.
It’s these latter items that prove to be an obstacle for some aspiring home baristas that either lack the equipment or the wherewithal to stiffen up a shoulder for the perfectly thin spiral pour. Attempting to solve both problems is a new cup-top brewer called Lulu’s Hand, whose unspoken pitch is essentially that if you’re having trouble with pourover by your own hand, try Lulu’s.
At its core, the Lulu’s Hand apparatus is an immersion dripper, with elements in common with the Clever Coffee Dripper and the Bonavita immersion dripper, among others. In immersion mode the stainless steel upper reservoir of Lulu’s Hand holds a mixture of coffee and water for however long a user wants, and is itself held by a polypropylene outer cup the makers say assists in maintaining a stable temperature.
Then by a slight rotation of the reservoir, a valve at its base opens to allow brew to pass through to a fine stainless steel laser-cut mesh filter below before ultimately reaching the cup. Bearing particular kinship to the controllable flow of the Bonavita, the degree of rotation of the reservoir controls the openness of the valve and therefore the flow rate of coffee out from the grinds. With the valve open the whole time, the brewer works basically like any other pourover.
Yet what Lulu’s also brings to the table is the ability to be used another way, with ground coffee added directly onto the filter in the chamber below the reservoir. The reservoir then serves as a dispenser of sorts, letting pass a user-controllable shower of water in a mitigated sort of pourover process that alleviates the need for a steady hand or gooseneck kettle. With freshly boiled water added to the reservoir, the stainless steel immediately brings the temperature down into appropriate brewing range, and by adjusting the valve to let a momentary trickle through for blooming and then the rest for the extraction and drawdown, the intended result is an even, measured pourover with much less skill, no paper filter and no specific kettle required.
“They are trying to make something that’s easy to use and solves the problems for people who want to get into it, but have a hard time figuring out how,” Lulu’s Hand North American representative Chris Lee told Daily Coffee News.
Lee said that the brewer is the product of a team of Taiwanese engineers lead by Professor Alvin Su, a professor of information technology at the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan. It was funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign on the New Zealand KS website that concluded successfully in January of 2015 and fulfilled its commitment to backers the following March.
The good professor has no professional coffee background, just a longstanding love of it and an enterprising eye observing the rapid growth of specialty coffee consumption in Taiwan. At present there are no additional sizes or stands or other accessories planned by the company, save for a lid in development that will also assist in maintaining the temperature. Otherwise, R&D going forward will remain focused on further iterations of the existing brewer, enhancing such features as the drip pattern and range of adjustability, and perhaps a more heat-retentive ceramic version, said Lee.
Lulu’s Hand is currently available for sale online and in select stores and coffee shops in Taiwan. “We are seeking retailers,” said Lee. “We definitely look more towards specialty coffee vendors like Prima or nice coffee shops that would have the clientele for something like this.”
Lee hopes to have Lulu’s Hand on U.S. shelves by the end of this year.