Until the dripper is completed



The manufacturing of ORIGAMI Dripper starts with the selection of soil and goes through five major processes; (1) Molding (casting or jiggering), (2) Pre-firing, (3) Glazing, (4) Firing, and (5) Inspection.

ORIGAMI Dripper, which features a thin body and 20 fine folds, is made by divided works. The process up to pre-firing is done at a contract factory located in Seto City, which is also famous for ceramic ware, and Koyo Toki Co.,Ltd is responsible for the rest of the process.

The whole process is done by hand

The biggest feature of ORIGAMI Dripper is its thinness like paper as the name of origami. Mr. Yamaguchi, a worker at the contract factory, explains how they realize such thickness and finely jagged folds in the process before pre-firing.

Process: (1) Molding (casting or jiggering), (2) Pre-firing, (3) Glazing, (4) Firing, (5) Inspection

It all starts with soil-making. In this process, we knead the soil called Hakuji with a stirrer for about 6 hours, and then move it to a pressure tank to remove air bubbles in the soil. This basic operation is important because the soil gets crack during firing if it contains air bubbles.

Once the soil is ready, that's where a skilled caster comes in. He pours the soil through a small hole arranged on the mold of a dripper. This is called casting.
We have been making the dough of ORIGAMI Dripper for 40 years, and yet its thinness is surprising. So, it must be such a small hole.

The opening of the hole is only a few millimeters. If the soil is poured through a large hole, the jagged folds of the dripper will be spoiled. Soil with poor viscosity does not pass through the small hole, and conversely, watery soil does not solidify inside. That is how making this product is harder than it looks.

After the soil is poured in, he carefully removes the upper mold straight up. This requires extra care as the jagged part is damaged if it touches the mold.

The top opening is protruding, which will be smoothed out all by hand.

Carefully cleaning the surface with a brush.

He checks whether or not each of the 20 fine folds is not damaged, and sometimes shapes it by hand. The reason why one of his fingers is exposed is to know the smoothness by touching.

> This work is so detailed...!

The manufacturing is actually hard. I think such thinness and fineness of folds cannot be realized by other manufacturers!

Finishing 20 fine folds, the air passage

After casting, the dripper is dried overnight and is finished the next day.

Now we move to the process of "deburring". Everything here is done by hand as well. Deburring means the work removing thin steps generated by the surface of the upper and lower molds during casting. She polishes the rough part with clean water to make it smooth, however, the edge of the folds should not be rounded. It must be handled with care as it breaks easily by polishing.

Ms. Kano is a skilled worker here for 10 years. She said with laughing, the detailed work has stiffened her shoulders...

Gently placing on the firing table

Mr. Kamiya is solely in charge of the pre-firing process, in which he fires hundreds or thousands of pieces a day.

Process: (1) Molding (casting or jiggering), (2) Pre-firing, (3) Glazing, (4) Firing, (5) Inspection

He turns on fire at noon and until about 23:00 at night for 11-12 hours. The temperature is different between the top and bottom of the kiln. But, slowly raising the temperature makes the temperature uniform in the kiln. Regular plates can be fired even when stacking 10 plates, while ORIGAMI Drippers can be stacked only 3 because it is thinner than ordinary pottery. He is now putting on the firing table gently with care.

> I'm surprised that his motion is so quiet and agile.

It's dried but still so delicate that it may be chipped with a slight impact.

Ms. Kodera conducts the final inspection of ORIGAMI Dripper that has gone through a long firing process.

> Is it done now?

No, there's still a lot to be done. We will conduct further inspections to see if the folds of concern throughout the process after casting are not spoiled, if deburring is enough, and so on.

Check every nook and corner.

Thorough inspection is conducted for hundreds of ORIGAMI Drippers a day.

After finishing pre-firing, ORIGAMI Drippers are moved to Koyo Toki for the next process.

Glazing colors pottery

Process: (1) Molding (casting or jiggering), (2) Pre-firing, (3) Glazing, (4) Firing, (5) Inspection

Mr. Kato, the managing director of Koyo Toki, explains the rest of the process.


Here's the process of painting the fired ORIGAMI Dripper, which is called glazing. A colored glass powder, called glaze, is applied to the surface of the pottery.

> I didn't know that the color of the pottery is made of glass powder!

The pottery is colored by firing the glass powder on the surface through an oxidation-reduction reaction.

Each piece is dipped into the glaze with avoiding color unevenness.

Keep vertical when dipping down and pulling up. The important point is to soak every piece for the same number of seconds.

The folds engraved on ORIGAMI Dripper are calculated so as to ensure the optimum extraction time for baristas when pouring over. A slight difference in the thickness of the glaze may change the extraction time and even the coffee's taste. That's why all of us are always aware of these folds.

ORIGAMI Drippers after pre-firing and glazing, but still delicate.

Finishing ORIGAMI Dripper

Process:(1) Molding (casting or jiggering), (2) Pre-firing, (3) Glazing, (4) Firing, (5) Inspection

The folds and color unevenness are checked again. Accepted pieces are gently placed on the firing table.

> You are checking them again!

Yes, it's an essential part of the process to be done absolutely carefully.

At last, the pieces are fired in a 40m-long kiln. Sudden changes in temperature will distort the form, so it will take about 30 hours.

After final inspection, ORIGAMI Dripper is finished.

The process of manufacturing ORIGAMI Dripper is fairly difficult even for the skilled workers at Koyo Toki, which makes thousands of different pottery products a year.

As a witness of the real manufacturing site, it was impressive for me that all the workers always handled the workpiece so gently as if they were touching a small animal.

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