What is a Tricolate?First question - how does a Tricolate work? Quite simply, really. It's a three-piece brewer, made up of a shower screen, central brewing chamber and a base. It is an injection-moulded brewer made from Tritan® plastic. Tritan® doesn’t contain BPA, BPS or any other bisphenols. It is a clear plastic that retains its colour and gloss even after hundreds of dishwasher cycles. You simply pop your filter paper in the brewing chamber, add your coffee, and pour directly onto the shower screen. The dispersal method of the screen means that there's no need for any fancy gooseneck kettle: you can pour your water however you like, knowing that it'll evenly distribute itself over the grounds.
How is the Tricolate different to a V60?Although they share some similarities, the Tricolate coffee brewer is arguably a much simpler brewer to get to grips with. Both the Hario V60 dripper and Tricolate require you to pour water over grounds, through a coffee filter paper, but that's largely where the similarities end. As well as the shower screen we mentioned previously, the Tricolate classes itself as a 'no-bypass' brewer, meaning that all of the coffee will be interacting with water, for the full duration of your brew.
If you were to picture a V60 dripper once you're done with it - there's always going to be a little bit of coffee up the sides of the paper filter (even if you have a very flat bed). This means that some of your coffee has stopped extracting once the water has dropped below it - by definition, that means that some coffee in the dripper will have extracted more than the rest. By keeping all of the coffee at the bottom of the brewer, the Tricolate ensures that all of your grounds are evenly saturated, and evenly extracted. The argument is that this creates a more balanced brew, with more clarity of flavour.
How is a Tricolate different to an AeroPress?
The Tricolate coffee brewer and AeroPress do look quite similar... Both have a main brewing chamber, and the brewed coffee passes through a flat bed of grounds which sit against a paper filter. The key difference, however, is that the Tricolate is a gravity-fed dripper. The AeroPress requires you to use its plunger to force the water through the filter cap, whereas the Tricolate lets gravity do the work, over a longer period of time.
What is the best grind size for a Tricolate?Brewing with the Tricolate can allow you to get much more extraction from your coffee than most other filter methods. This is thanks, in part, to the fact that it requires you to grind a lot more finely than other brewers. A good starting point for a Tricolate brew is to grind at a similar setting to a stovetop/Moka Pot – in other words, just a little bit coarser than espresso. This will slow down the brew, allowing that gravity-fed action to spend more time interacting with your coffee. As a result, you can experience a whole new range of flavours from coffees that you think you might know quite well! We've found whole new layers of complexity when brewing our coffees with a Tricolate, and it has a fascinating effect on your brew's body too - becoming silkier, rather than tea-like.
Does the Tricolate let me use less coffee?
Because of the ability to grind a lot more finely, you can use on average 30% less coffee in your Tricolate, compared to a V60 for example. Although you're using less coffee, the extraction yield is a lot higher with a Tricolate, so you don't lose any of the strength in your brew – it's really a win-win. We suggest a 1:22 ratio with the Tricolate, rather than a 1:16 ratio that we recommend for most other filter methods. In other words, you can make your favourite beans last 30% longer, and save money in the long run!
A Tricolate Recipe
Brew Guide for 2 Cups (400ml)
Use 20g of finely ground coffee to 440ml of boiling water.
Add your coffee to the filter paper in the chamber, and put your shower screen on top of the Tricolate.
Pour 75g of water for your bloom.
Pick up and swirl the brewer, saturating all the grounds.
When the first drips start to come through, fill the brewer to the top of the shower screen - this will bring you just short of the 440ml total water.
Allow to drip down to make room for the remaining water, then top up so you have 400ml in total.
Let the brew drip down, and once it's halfway down, give it a gentle swirl to ensure a flat bed.
Your total brew should be between 05:30-06:30 minutes.
Should I Buy a Tricolate?
We have loved using the Tricolate Coffee Brewer, and it has become a daily driver for many of the team in our roastery. It is a new way to experience filter coffee, with extraction yields that just aren't achievable by other means. The resulting brews have a whole new level of complexity and depth of flavour, and they allow you to explore new elements of coffees which you think you might know inside out.
Overall, we find Tricolate brewing to give cleaner and more nuanced results than other filter brewers on the market, and it's also incredibly easy to use. The benefit of using less coffee doesn't go unnoticed either, and it won't take long until the brewer pays for itself!