People are making coffee at home now more than ever, in an effort to make a cafe-quality coffee at home when visiting cafes is harder to do. But there are so many brewing options to choose from, espresso to pour over to drip. To make things even more daunting, there are also multiple tools to choose from: the Hario V60, the Clever Dripper, the Kalita Wave, etc.
The Clever Dripper and the Hario V60 are some of the most popular choices amongst coffee makers at home and baristas. The Clever Dripper is an immersion-style brewer that features a handle and valve on the bottom to hold water in. The Hario V60 is a cult favorite conical coffee dripper that comes in different materials and sizes and features a ribbed spiral pattern inside.
How do you choose between the two? We will be reviewing them based on price, quality, ease of use, and feedback from online/video reviews. Read on to find out which dripper you should get to make cafe-quality coffee right in the comfort of your home.
Background on the Clever Dripper and the Hario V60
The Clever Dripper is an immersion-style brewer hailed as one of the easiest brew methods out there and made to make manual coffee easy. It’s conical-shaped like a pour over and retains water in the device like a French press. By mixing the two methods, the Clever Dripper can filter out fine sediment while immersing all the coffee grounds during the brew. (Source)
Hario is a glass-manufacturing company starting in 1921 and branched out into making their beloved Hario V60 dripper in 2004. Back then, immersion brewing and instant coffee were all the rage, but designers of Hario wondered if passing water through coffee would lead to a cleaner cup of coffee. Their design is inspired by a parabola shape, what they called a “shape of nature,” and allows air to escape while brewing. (Source)
Clever Dripper Brewing Guide
For a Clever Dripper, the bare minimum you need is medium-coarse coffee grounds, hot water, and coffee filters. More skilled/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 and saturate the grounds, letting it sit for ~2 minutes. Then place the brewer on top of a decanter or carafe and let the coffee drain. That’s it! (Source)
Clever Dripper review
- Very easy to use
- Doesn’t last forever
- Not the most aesthetically pleasing
- Only comes in one size
The points that make the dripper “bad” may not necessarily be negative but personal preference. The best thing about the Clever Dripper is its ease of use. It’s probably the most uncomplicated coffee brewer to use and doesn’t require any fancy techniques compared to a pour over. You can set it and (kind of) forget it, making it approachable for novice coffee connoisseurs and those new to coffee alike.
It’s very lightweight, easy to hold, and made of BPA-free plastic. Additionally, it’s versatile in its brew—you can do a pour over or an immersion-style brew with one tool! In terms of flavor, the Clever Dripper doesn’t extract coffee oils as well as a drip coffee would and produces a fuller-body coffee that would work better for medium to dark roasts. This means that the fruity and floral notes of light roast coffees won’t be as prominent.
Also, while plastic is durable, it’s not durable forever and could start to wear down depending on how often you use it. Aesthetic-wise, it’s not the most elegant, but it does the job—crafted for utility. One last thing to note is that the Clever Dripper doesn’t come in multiple sizes and is mainly a single serving brewer, meaning that it might be a hassle to make many cups of coffee.
Hario V60 brewing guide
Brewing with a Hario V60 takes a little more practice and skill compared to the Clever Dripper. There are so many ways to brew using a Hario V60. However, the basics of using a Hario V60 are the same. Like the Clever Dripper, the bare minimum you need is medium-coarse coffee grounds, hot water, and coffee filters. To start, you add the filter to the brewer and rinse it with hot water like the Clever Dripper. Then, add your coffee grounds and let them bloom. Now, this is where technique blossoms. Different people have different techniques of passing the water through the coffee. There is the Rao spin—grab the filter on the sides and give the slurry a spin—, James Hoffman’s ultimate V60 technique, etc. (Source)
Each technique varies slightly but the goal is to pass water through the coffee bed, saturating the coffee as most as you can to extract as much flavor as possible.
Hario V60 review
- Beautiful appearance
- Brewing versatility
- Comes in many different materials
- Steeper learning curve
- Can be fragile depending on which version you get
The best thing about the Hario V60, other than its aesthetically pleasing appearance, is its versatility in brewing. The Hario V60 dripper comes in a variety of materials including, but not limited to: metal, plastic, glass, and ceramic. It is also made in multiple sizes, ranging from one cup to three cups. The versatility in brewing means that there is no one way to enjoy a cup of coffee.
That said, because there are so many materials it comes in, every Hario V60 iteration brews slightly differently. For example, while the ceramic is gorgeous, it’s harder to preheat and keep at a stable temperature due to its thickness. It’s also fragile and breaks if dropped. Additionally, such versatility in brewing techniques and tools means it may be more confusing to learn if you’re new to coffee brewing. There is a steeper learning curve for the V60 compared to the Clever Dripper and more tools you would need to invest in. On the flip side, more versatility in technique can lead to a more personal cup—you can control different factors like temperature, water pass rate, and saturation which ultimately affect the flavor extraction.
Flavor-wise, pour overs highlight coffee origin flavors and complex flavors best, making them the brew method of choice for baristas or people who enjoy light roast coffee because it retains more original flavors. It makes a very bright and clean cup of coffee. (Source)
Clever Dripper vs. Hario V60 pricing
In terms of price, the Clever Dripper is a little more expensive than average compared to other drippers out there, retailing for $29.
On the other hand, the Hario V60 is inexpensive to average in price, running $8-30 depending on material and size, with the plastic Size 01 Hario V60 retailing for only $8. The Hario can be more pricey for limited editions, like the olive wood that retails around $45. The glass version, which is our personal favorite, retails for $28.
While the Clever Dripper is more expensive than the Hario V60, there are few/low entry barriers, and virtually anyone can use it. Its de-emphasis on technique and preciseness makes it a versatile coffee brewer that produces a full-bodied and consistent cup of coffee. The Hario V60 is cheaper, but making a good cup of coffee takes time and practice. Even then, there are many tweaks you can make to your pouring technique that might be frustrating. Despite that, the Hario can provide a more complex tasting cup as it can bring out more nuanced flavors that immersion brewing doesn’t.
Final thoughts and recommendations
Between the Clever Dripper and the Hario V60, there is no better product. Each brewing system has its pros and cons, highlights different flavors in coffee, and produces different types of coffee. They are both great for brewing specific cups of coffee, and whether one is better than the other is up to you. The Clever Dripper produces a full-bodied cup of coffee that goes well with medium to dark roasted coffee, like our Downtown Blend that’s fueled New Yorkers for 12 years!
Since the Hario V60 produces a clean and bright cup of coffee that pairs better with light to medium roasted coffee, we recommend our one-of-a-kind pour over Honey Processed Purple Gesha coffee. While you can use any roast in both methods, each brewing system can bring out certain flavors of coffee that the other might do as well.
- Tags: Home Brewing