Japanese Wooden Dripper Review

Japanese Wooden Dripper Review
Japanese Yamanaka Shiki Wooden Pour Over Dripper

The Yamanaka shiki wooden dripper is a handcrafted coffee brewer that makes pour overs that taste as beautiful as the brewer looks.

Yamanaka Lacquerware

Yamanaka shiki is a traditional Japanese method of handcrafting wooden objects.  

Yamanaka shiki refers to the lacquerware of the Yamanaka region, a small town in Kanazawa with abundant chestnut and keyaki trees. Traditionally used for carving wooden bowls and spoons, Yamanaka shiki highlights the natural patterns of wood grain.

First, craftsmen use woodturning lathes and hand tools to shape the wood. The layered, concentric circles of the dripper are carefully lathed by hand, making each dripper unique. After carving, the dripper is then soaked in raw lacquer, which is absorbed by the wood and helps the wood preserve its shape. Lacquer putty and multiple layers of natural tree lacquer are applied multiple times before the dripper is ultimately dried and polished.

The skill and attention to detail required for carving these drippers – and managing the toxic chemicals of traditional lacquerware make this a beautiful and intricately designed dripper to own.

Conical Versus Flat Bottom

The Yamanaka shiki dripper is a conical dripper and not a flat-bottomed dripper.

Conical drippers typically feature one single large opening at the bottom of the dripper, whereas flat bottom drippers have one to three small holes for liquid coffee to flow through.

The Yamanaka shiki dripper is most similar to a Hario V60 in shape, and brews similarly to other conical drippers like the Origami.

Filter Size

While flat-bottom filters do fit the Yamanaka shiki dripper, it is meant to be used with conical filters.

We recommend using Hario V01 filters, folded at an angle for a snug fit.

Folding Hario V01 filters

Brew Ratio

The Yamanaka shiki dripper works best with 10-16 grams of coffee and is designed for a single serving. We recommend a 1:16 brew ratio at a kosher salt grind size.

Because the wooden dripper is most similar to a Hario V60, you can utilize any popular single-serving V60 recipe. But like any conical dripper, the Yamanaka shikki’s single opening makes it susceptible to clogging when the grind size is too fine. To prevent clogging and subsequent overextraction, we recommend grinding coarser to begin with and then fine tuning from there.

Heat Retention: Wood vs Ceramic

While the Yamanaka shiki is most similar to a Hario V60, we’ve found that the Yamanaka shiki warms up much quicker than its ceramic counterpart.

When preparing to brew pour overs, we recommend warming up the Yamanaka shiki on top of your Fellow or other electric kettle, as you would with a ceramic dripper.

However, the Yamanaka shiki dripper warms up much quicker than a ceramic dripper and retains heat from prewetting the paper filter. With the wooden dripper, you don’t have to worry about heat loss in the coffee puck, because the natural wood doesn’t retain as much heat as its ceramic counterpart.

Washing and Caring for the Yamanaka Shiki Dripper

We recommend hand washing your dripper. You can use soap and warm water to wipe down your dripper, but in most cases, hot water will suffice. Dry your dripper after washing.

We do not recommend using a dishwasher to care for your Yamanaka Shiki dripper.

Do not polish or apply oil to the dripper.

Purchasing the Yamanaka Shiki Dripper

The Yamanaka shiki dripper is a beautiful, hand-carved dripper that brews like a Hario V60. Small and lightweight, if you love single-serving pour overs and want an elegant upgrade to your daily routine, this is the dripper for you.