How to make amazing coffee at home, Part 3: Chorreador de Cafe

This is part 3 of a blog series on making excellent coffee at home using affordable, manual methods. (part 1: the basics and part 2: pourovers).

A Costa Rican chorreador de café is a simple, sustainable and beautiful way to make coffee at home. On a recent coffee trip to Costa Rica we enjoyed this method of making coffee so much we took one home (now I wish we’d taken more).

The method dates back about 200 years, and even though electric brewers have infiltrated this culture, many Costa Rican homes still use this method. Essentially it is a wooden frame with a round hole at the top into which a reusable, wire-rimmed cloth filter, "a bolsita," is inserted. Below the filter you place your cup. Then simply put fine-ground coffee in the filter and pour just-off-the-boil water over it until you have your cup full. This “sock” method is also popular in Southeast Asia.


  1. Bring the water to a boil. The water should always be fresh, filtered water (part 1: the basics).

Place a tablespoon of fine ground coffee (best to grind it right before you make your coffee) into the filter, then slip the filter in the hole of the wooden stand. 

Place your cup (or pitcher, if you're making more than one cup) under the filter and begin to slowly pour the just-off-the-boil water into the filter. Pour just a little and let it infuse and bloom for 30 seconds just as with the other pour-over methods we talked about in part 2.
  4. Then continue to pour the rest of the water slowly, pausing to let the water filter through.

  5. [Purists ignore this] You can experiment by adding a touch of cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla, chocolate or cloves to the coffee.

  6. Taste. Ah, pura vida! 

 Some dos and don’ts:

  • DO use a perfectly dry filter. If you prepare coffee a couple times a day, you'll need two filters. If you use only one, it is likely that it will not be totally dry the next time you brew coffee. If you have two, you'll always have a dry one on hand. Filters should always be naturally dried (sunlight helps!). 
  • DO NOT use soap or detergent when washing your filter (ever!). For daily use you should carefully rinse the filters in running tap water to remove all residue and then let it dry naturally. It is natural that it will stain and this is just fine.
  • DO wash your filter thoroughly once a week with salt. Generously salt the damp bag and vigorously rub it into the filter. Then thoroughly rinse the filter to remove all traces of salt and let dry.
  • DO replace your filter now and then. The Costa Ricans I spoke to about this said a filter is good for up to three years! They also insist that it gets better with time. This I can attest to.
  • DO consider a trip to Costa Rica. If you do, you’ll want to visit the Terrazu region to see the high-grown coffee farms in this beautiful place! A trip down the beach after your adventure is totally in order. 
  • DO NOT worry if a trip isn’t in the cards. You can get a Chorreador de Café online (There are many options--from elaborate to simple--if you do a search online. Here's a simple one and some other options.)
  • DO get crafty and try your hand at making one yourself!

Pura Vida! 

Our next post in this series will be on how to make Turkish coffee!

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1 comment

Ahhhhhh ! Can smell that wonderful aroma already. Great Post. and the trip to Costa Rica is on you RIGHT :>

mary leary

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