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Brewing Guide: Nel Drip


The Nel Drip, or coffee sock, is one of the oldest methods to brew kafe. My Abuelita Luz brewed her café colao using the coffee sock in the mountains of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. This coffee brewing method is known for its thick dense flavors. It’s precise, amazingly smooth, and built like a glass of wine. The nel is somewhat temperamental and delicate. A quick pour, flippant whip of the wrist, or water that’s not properly brewed can negatively impact its flavor. The perfect cup demands a writer's determination, an artist's aptitude for creativity, and a physician's touch.

What you need



Nel Drip set




Brew Time

3½ minutes


Step 1

When using a new nel drip filter, remove it from its wire frame and place in boiling water for 5 minutes. Next, remove the filter from the water and attach to hoop.


Step 2

As you soak your nel drip filter, grind your coffee. The nel drip entails using a higher dose of kafe than most brewing methods. For this brew use between 50-55 grams of coffee. Ground your kafe coarsely – about the size required for French press.


Step 3

To dry the filter, wring the water out with your hands. Then dry the filter with a clean towel.


Step 4

Fill your nel pot and filter with hot water for one minute, then empty the pot.


Step 5

Pour your kafe inside of the filter forming a loose mound. Don’t compress.


Step 6

Using a bamboo paddle (or a butter knife) work your way around the filter in a soft cutting motion. Extend the paddle to the bottom of your filter.


Step 7

Create a small crater dent at the top of the coffee mound the size of a nickel.


Step 8

Heat your water to about 175°F, and very carefully pour around the circumference of your crater. This first pour is painfully slow – just 45 grams over 45 seconds. No need to worry about saturating all the grounds. The slow brewing time and the principle of capillarity will do all the work. After the first pour, pause for 45 seconds.


Step 9

You’ll pick it up a notch for your second pour. To be exact, pour 80 grams of water over 60 seconds. Pour straight into the center of your crater. The coffee will be tossing at this point. Once completed, pause for 20 seconds.


Step 10

It’s time for the final pour! Add 60 grams of water within 30 seconds. In the end you should have poured 185 grams of water within 3 minutes and a half.

As your last bit of kafe is trickling down the filter, pre-heat your drinking vessel using the rest of your water. Your nel drip coffee will be cooler than what you’re used to. Heating up the cups will bring the coffee back to temperature without shocking it. Amigos, whatever you do, DO NOT MICROWAVE your coffee. You’ll toss your perfectly crafted cup to the wind.

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