Making coffee at home is often a personal process. It’s therapeutic, (hopefully) tastes good, and you save money on coffee that you would normally buy out! It’s fun and rewarding, but getting started is often the hardest part.
There are so many equipment options for coffee including, but not limited to, the Kalita Wave and the AeroPress. The Kalita Wave is a pour over or drip coffee brewer with a flat bottom filter. The AeroPress is a manual coffeemaker with a cylindrical chamber and a plunger with an airtight silicone seal, that works just like a syringe.
We’re going to be comparing the Kalita Wave and AeroPress coffee brewers based on price, quality, and ease of use to help you decide which one is right for your coffee preferences and lifestyle.
History/Background on the Kalita Wave and the AeroPress
Kalita Co. started in Japan in the 1950’s and is a family-owned business that produces coffee equipment. The Kalita Wave dripper is a pour-over, similar to a Chemex or V60, yet, the Kalita Wave has a different extraction method. Rather than water dripping through a singular hole, it features a flat bottom with three holes which eliminates water channeling in the coffee bed. The filter and the dripper have little contact with each other, resulting in consistent water temperature and even water saturation. (Source)
The AeroPress was born in 2004 by Adan Adler, a renowned inventor and retired Stanford University engineering instructor. He started his company, Aerobie, to manufacture and sell his sporting goods inventions, like the Aerobie Pro flying ring, which set a Guinness World Record for the longest throw. Adler wanted to create a device that would brew a superior cup of coffee and began studying the coffee brewing process and analyzing coffee maker designs. In November, 2005, Aerobie debuted its breakthrough AeroPress coffee maker at a coffee industry trade show. (Source)
Kalita Wave Brewing Guide
For the Kalita Wave, the bare minimum you need is medium-coarse coffee grounds, water, a gooseneck kettle, and a coffee filter. More skilled or advanced brewers will use a scale, timer, specific ratios of coffee to water. You start by putting the filter in the brewer and rinsing it with hot water, discarding the water after. Then, adding your premeasured coffee grounds and blooming them for ~30 seconds with some hot water.
Once bloomed, add the rest of your water in three parts, 20 seconds each and a 10 second pause in between. Let the water drain completely before serving.
Kalita Wave Review
- Stable and reliable
- Consistent brew
- Comes in many different materials
- Inconsistent flow rate
- Filters are hard to find
The Kalita Wave brings out the brighter notes of coffee, and makes a very clean cup. It highlights more complex flavors in coffee and lends itself well to light roast coffee that are more fruity or floral. It also isn’t too difficult to learn how to use and fairly forgiving of mistakes in brew technique. Compared to the AeroPress, it offers much more control over the resulting brew. As a result, it makes a very consistent brew for a pour over and is very beginner friendly. It also comes in a wide variety of materials, including glass, metal, etc. and sizes ranging from 1 to 3 cups of coffee.
That being said, Kalita Wave use a special filter which may be annoying to purchase once you run out. They are usually found in specialty coffee stores or can be purchased online. The handle is also a little small, so if you have large hands it might be inconvenient or uncomfortable to pick up. (Source)
Here's a comparison of different pour overs for beginners:
AeroPress Brewing Guide
The AeroPress works using a plunger system. All you need is a fine drip coffee grind, the AeroPress brewer, and hot water. The beauty of the AeroPress is you can be as novice or experienced in coffee and still brew a great cup of coffee. You add your coffee grounds according to the number of cups you're making (the cylinder portion of the AeroPress has marked numbers to help you). Then, add your water (the company recommends 175°F (80°C) for hot brewing), stir the grounds and water for 10 seconds, and then plunge the coffee into your cup of choice.
- Very easy and quick to use
- Only comes in one size (two people brewing max)
- Physically challenging to use
- Under extraction is a common issue
The AeroPress is championed for being easy to use, portable, durable, and most importantly, makes great tasting coffee. It’s one of the most portable coffee brewing systems in the market and widely popular with camping and outdoor enthusiasts. The AeroPress is very forgiving to technique and doesn't require any fancy weighing or pouring. It's one of the perfect brewing methods for coffee beginners and connoisseurs alike.
The AeroPress is virtually indestructible, since it’s made with durable BPA-free plastic. The AeroPress is also versatile in its brew—you can brew immersion-style, espresso style, even cold brew! However, it doesn't offer the same control that the Kalita Wave does. In terms of flavor, the AeroPress has a clean and acidic taste with clearly defined flavor notes thanks to the paper filter that prevents oil and sediment from dripping into the cup. As a result, it's best used with washed coffees that are a light to medium roast.
A potential downside to the AeroPress is its size: it brews 6-8 ounces, which, depending on how you brew it, can be at most for 2 people to enjoy. It’s also quite challenging to plunge down as it creates a vacuum that creates a lot of resistance when pushing down (careful not to break any cups)! Between the coffee and the cup, the filter doesn't do a great job of retaining water in the chamber.
Kalita Wave vs. AeroPress Pricing
In terms of price, both the Kalita Wave and AeroPress run for around $30. Both are similarly priced and offer slightly different brew results, but focus on making coffee less intimidating to the regular consumer. If you are choosing between one or the other, it really comes down to what you’re looking for.
Similar to our Clever Dripper and Kalita Wave comparison, there is no clear better product. Each dripper offers different brew methods, brew flavor, and functionalities. If you are looking for a good introduction into pour over brewing, the Kalita Wave is the coffee dripper for you. If you’re looking for an easy brewer that is portable and forgiving on brewing mistakes, then the AeroPress is for you.