Geana Sieburger is the designer and creator of the Ebb filter, a cotton filter produced especially for coffee extraction, inspired by her childhood in Brazil and her commitment to quality textiles.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos by Ghostfotographics
Sometimes the things we make come from our upbringings—what we see in our childhood often unintentionally inspires what we create later in life. For Geana Sieburger, a textile designer and founder of GDS Cloth Goods, her newest creation was inspired perhaps inadvertently from her upbringing in Southern Brazil in the 1980s. “After I had been making filters for about two years, my mom casually told me one day, ‘You know, that’s how your grandmother made coffee,’” Geana shares, reflecting on her Ebb filter, an all-cotton reusable coffee filter that can be used for all types of pourover coffee set ups like V60 brewers and Chemexes.
In Brazil, this style of brewing wasn’t called ‘pourover,’ as it is generally referred to in specialty coffee circles. “It’s called cafe passado—literally translating to coffee that has passed through,” Geana shares. “During my grandmother’s time, cafe passado was made using a fabric filter attached to a small hand-held apparatus identical to Hario’s Nel.” Geana’s background is in textiles—she was the assistant buyer for Britex Fabrics—and she drew on her experience receiving fabrics from all around the world in attempting to create the perfect cloth filter. “The first filters, I made for myself and friends,” she shares. “I knew little about pourover then, so admittedly the first few filters weren’t great.” After some initial trial runs, she found that she didn’t have the right fabric to make the filter she envisioned. “And when I discovered the perfect fabric didn’t exist, it allowed me to locate the people who could make it happen,” she says.
Geana committed to finding the ideal fabric for coffee brewing. “The search for the ‘perfect fabric’ led me to a mill in South Carolina that weaves textiles using certified-organic cotton from a farm in Texas,” she says. “With their help, we’ve developed a fabric specifically for pourover.” She found inspiration for the name of the filter through its construction, which makes it perfect for coffee brewing. “A combination of fiber, weave density, and thickness allows the water to ‘ebb’ through at the right rate for proper extraction,”Geana shares. “ This fabric also filters finer particles, creating a cleaner, clearer cup than most fabric and metal alternatives.”
The process of making the Ebb filter was slow but intentional. “From start to finish, it took three years to develop Ebb,” Geana explains. “This is because the value standards were set so high and because the entire thing was done with no investment.” She worked with colleagues in coffee and other industries, such as Ben Brewer of Blue Bottle and Maria Schoettler, an Oakland-based artist who illustrated the first brew guides for the Ebb filter. “My goal was to create a filter that makes great-tasting coffee at no one’s expense, which meant that it had to be made of certified-organic cotton grown in America, it had to perform to specialty coffee standards, and it had to be an object of craft in itself.”
Along with the Ebb filter, Geana also makes aprons and other textiles with the same level of passion and exacting standards, drawing again from her childhood in Brazil. “I grew up in Southern Brazil, a place where, in the 80s, bread was bought at bakeries and produce [was brought in] by farmers who carried it in weekly by horse-drawn carriages and sold it at farmers markets around town,” shares Geana. “Urban gardens weren’t aspirational, just a way people saved money. And, in the middle of a city almost the size of Oakland, I woke up by rooster-call every morning. This was home for the first decade of my life. Many years later, it’s no surprise that when I decided to start my business of sewn goods for everyday use, it started at my local farmers market.”
The Ebb filter isn’t done growing or improving. “Later this year, I’ll visit the farmer and the mill owner in preparation for my first crowd-funded project,” Geana says. “We’ll be raising money to produce the first batch of fabric custom-made for Ebb.” To support the project, you can contact Geana directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Instagram: @ebbfilter or @gdsclothgoods.