The Chorreador de Café

It’s a good thing Customs doesn’t limit the amount of coffee an American can bring home. As you might imagine, I returned from Costa Rica with a sack of beans—and I’ll get to that. But first, I want to introduce you to our new fave gadget, simple as it is: the chorreador de café. Apparently, every Costa Rican household used to have these nifty devices until they gave way to electric coffee pots. Boo hiss, this is mucho better.

Anyone familiar with Southeast Asian coffee will recognize the sock method, which often incorporates a bit of ballet into the long pour of hot water through dense grounds. It’s beautiful to watch, but I think I might prefer the chorreador de café for its ease. The sock sits snugly in its hole at the top of the frame and all you have to do is pour, then drink. It’s quick and clean, and highly successful.

Granted, we’re accustomed to good coffee in this house, thanks to our French press. And we used decent grounds in the cup above (Organic, shade-grown Café Miramontes, produced just up the road from Miramar, where my niece lived for the first part of the summer. The coffee was a gift from her host family.). I put a couple of big spoonfuls into the sock, and a minute later Jerry had a potent, rich (but not bitter) cup of espresso. I slid another cup beneath the sock, used the spent grounds and made myself an equally delicious cup, which was a necessary pick-me-up that particular afternoon.

My recommendation: get yourself a chorreador de café© if the opportunity arises, or make your own.

10 thoughts on “The Chorreador de Café

  1. Molly, I’m amazed by all the inventions aimed at a great cup of coffee!

    Miles, it’s a small sack. We had our two cups then rinsed it out (no soap), though I suspect it could have gone another round or two.

  2. When I worked in Uganda, I was right in the middle of the coffee growers. They brewed in a percolator, over the fire, just like I do when I’m camping.I was hoping to pick up some new technique, but alas, no. This method looks much more fun! How different does it taste from the french press? My morning brew comes from a stovetop espresso maker (Bialetti).

  3. Lorrie, it might be my imagination (given the fact that I was so excited to have a new coffee maker), but I think the chorreador made a slightly smoother cup than our French press regularly does. Then again, it could have been a particularly lucky guess on the amount of coffee to use. (I’m bad… I never measure precisely. I use my eyes to guess.) Either way, it was great.

  4. Hi Karen,
    I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and really enjoy it. Thanks for including the link to how to make your own chorreador de cafe. They didn’t specify the fabric for the filter. It looks thicker than cheesecloth, so I’m thinking that a normal cotton fabric (like from sheets) would work. Since you’ve seen it up close, does that sound right?

  5. Claire, some of my favorite kitchen “machines” are the least complicated.

    Marie, the fabric used in the chorreador is very soft and fuzzy, almost like felt. It differs from the usual Asian coffee sock, which tends to be more like muslin. I honestly have no idea how the texture of the fabric affects the flavor (or not). Try your sheet cotton and see what happens. Good luck! I’d like to hear how it goes.

  6. When I was in Costa Rica two years ago, I bought the Chorreador de cafe and have used it daily for two years. I love it. I bought four “sock filters” not thinking I’d need many more. Now I can’t find anyplace to buy them. Not much at sewing to make myself. Do you have an outlet where I can purchase these cloth filters. I’d greatly appreciate. For one cup of coffee in the morning and two cups on the weekends, an electric coffee pot is just too much for me. I love this concept….help!

  7. Sharon, I’ve often found similar “sock filters” at Asian grocery stores here in the US. The cloth is thinner than that used in my chorreador de cafe, but these socks are used for the same purpose.

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