There are so many equipment options for coffee, it can be overwhelming to find the best one for your needs. Two of the most popular options are the Hario V60 and Kalita Wave.
The Kalita Wave is a pour over or drip coffee brewer with a flat bottom filter. The Hario V60 is a cult favorite conical coffee dripper that comes in different materials and sizes and features a ribbed spiral pattern inside.
We’re going to be comparing the Hario V60 and Kalita Wave 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 Hario V60
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)
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)
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.
Here’s a great brewing tutorial to follow:
Kalita Wave review
- More control over your brew
- Beginner friendly
- Comes in a wide variety of materials and sizes
- Uses a special filter
- Not an elegant design
- Small handle
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. It doesn’t require the practiced technique or patience that the Hario V60 needs to produce a nice cup of coffee 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. (Source)
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)
Hario V60 brewing guide
Brewing with a Hario V60 takes a little more practice and skill compared to the Kalita Wave. However, the basics of using a Hario V60 are the same.
Like the Kalita Wave, 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. Then, add your coffee grounds and let them bloom.
Now, this is where you can get really creative with your technique. There are many 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.Each one varies slightly, but the goal is to pass water through the coffee bed, saturating the coffee 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 Kalita Wave 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)
Kalita Wave vs. Hario V60 pricing
The Kalita Wave is about above average in price, running $22-$40 depending on the material and size. While the stainless steel Kalita Wave is the most popular version, it’s also the most expensive at $40 retail.
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.
Final thoughts and recommendations
Between the Kalita Wave 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 and flavorful 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 roasts, 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