Buying Guides

Clever Coffee Dripper Review: Brilliant Brews Simplified

Dive into our Clever Coffee Dripper Review to find out how it simplifies brewing without compromising on taste.

Just so you know, if you click on a product on and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.

Pour-over brewing has certainly earned its place as the darling method of the coffee community. And why not? It’s pretty empowering stuff to drink a cup of coffee made precisely the way you want it.

But for the uninitiated, things can look complicated. Crazy, even! After all, pricey gooseneck kettles and five-stage pouring techniques aren’t everyone’s cup of… um, coffee.

Enter the Clever Coffee Dripper. This device brews up clean cups like a pour-over but is as effortless to use as a French press. It’s the best of both worlds in one nifty device. But is it any good?

Read on as we put the spotlight on this interesting little hybrid brewer!

clever coffee dripper review

Key Takeaways

  • The Clever Coffee Dripper combines the best of pour-over and French press techniques in a user-friendly design that’s suitable for both coffee and tea.
  • The brewer is praised for its robust plastic build and its use of standard #4 paper filters, guaranteeing a grit-free coffee experience and simple cleanup.
  • Though it lacks the aesthetic appeal of more premium brewers and has parts that may wear over time, it’s a cost-efficient choice for consistent brews.

Things To Consider Before Buying the Clever Coffee Dripper

Pouring water into Clever

The Clever Coffee Dripper is worth a peek if you’re in the market for a brewer that’s easy to learn and use. Before you pony up the dough for one, you might want to know a few things about it:

Part Dripper, Part Steeper

The Clever looks like an oversized pour-over dripper, but the way it brews is closer to that of a French press. Regular drippers rely on percolation, while French presses use steeping or full immersion.

Steeping is a much simpler affair that does not require as much specialized gear or finesse to execute flawlessly. However, the cup profiles aren’t quite the same. Immersion brewing tends to create cups of coffee with more sweetness and body, while percolation tends to highlight brighter, more intricate flavors.

Plastic Is Fantastic

Clever Plain
A big hunk of quality plastic.

Since the first model was released in 2008, the Clever’s always been about that plastic construction. No worries though, as it’s the nice kind — heat-resistant and BPA-free Tritan Copolyester.

More recently, Clever came out with a glass variant that functions the same way. But it’s twice the price, harder to find, and in my opinion, significantly more cumbersome to use due to the size and heft.

If you want to experience the Clever’s magic at its best, plastic is the way to go.

One Size Fits All

Unlike other brewers with a wide range of sizes, Clever keeps it simple with just one: a 500ml (18oz) variant. This shouldn’t matter much unless you need to brew bigger quantities of coffee.

What if you drink just a cup a day? Don’t sweat it! Since the Clever brews by steeping, you can brew small servings just fine without changing your recipe.

Wear and Tear

Most pour-over brewers are a one-piece affair. The Clever has a few more, so you might want to take extra care when using and storing your unit.

The main brewer itself and the bottom release plate are made of plastic. At the center is a two-piece silicone fitting that prevents water from dripping. The parts are designed to move and will wear out over time. Luckily, Clever sells spare parts that will restore ailing brewers to like-new.

A Quick Look at the Clever Coffee Dripper

The Clever Coffee Dripper is a ‘steep-and-release’ brewer. It looks like an oversized drip cone but brews using full immersion. This is possible through its unique silicone stopper valve, which keeps the brew in until it’s time to let it drain.

The valve stays closed as long as it’s on a flat surface, thanks to four small feet that prop the brewer up. These bits, along with the rest of the brewer, are made of BPA-free Tritan plastic, which is both durable and heat-resistant.

With the Clever, brewing coffee is as simple as preparing your filter, adding your coffee and hot water, and letting it steep. Next up is my favorite part – simply place the Clever on top of your cup and your completed brew shall flow forth!

Clever Draining
Magic? No, just Clever.

Included with the brewer itself are filters, a lid, and a plastic coaster, which comes in handy to catch small spills that might happen during brewing.

Features and Benefits

There’s a lot to like about this unique brewer. Here are some of the best bits:

Steep and Release System

A silicone stopper valve connects the brewer to a release plate that, by default, is in the “down” position. This closes the valve, allowing you to steep coffee in your Clever. The weight of the coffee also helps keep the drain closed.

Setting the Clever on top of a cup or rimmed vessel pushes the release plate up, which opens the silicone valve. This action allows the coffee to drain out into the cup below, effectively stopping the brew.

This system is what makes the Clever, well, clever!

Clever Valve
Close-up of that clever stopper valve.

Finer Brews

Similar to a French press, you can take control of variables like coffee-to-water ratio, brewing time, and water temperature to suit your bean or flavor preferences.

One thing that the Clever does better than a press is the ability to use slightly finer grinds for steeping. Since it uses a paper filter, you won’t have to worry about grit and sludge passing through and mucking up your cup. As some coffee gurus say: Try grinding finer!

Durable Plastic Build

The Clever is made of BPA-free Tritan Copolyester Plastic — the kind that’s shatterproof, safe to use, and resistant to high temperatures. It’s a bit of a chonker clocking in at about one pound, but overall, the build inspires confidence.

Oh, the beefy handle is a plus too. No worries lugging the Clever around, even while brewing!

Easy Peasy Brewing

Two words to sum up the brewing experience on the Clever: Reliable and repeatable.

Once you have your grinder set up and your coffee-to-water ratio dialed in, it’s pretty difficult to mess up a brew with the Clever. Yes, no fancy kettles or precision pouring required!

Filter Democracy

Huzzah, no proprietary filters! The Clever uses regular #4 paper stock, which you can find practically anywhere. Kalita, Brew Rite, Melitta, or even Walmart’s Great Value brand will work swimmingly.

In a pinch? You can use #2 filters or even a Hario V60 filter folded at the bottom. Keep in mind though that you won’t be able to fill your Clever to the brim with an undersized filter.

Clever Filters
Brew Rite works alright!

Affordable Set-Up

Filters? Cheap. Kettle? Totally up to you.

Just feed it high-quality beans and this clever brewer will thrive. It really is the ultimate value choice for consistently great-tasting coffee.

Spill the Tea

Wanna know a secret? The Clever just happens to be my favorite tea brewer! The large capacity is great for tea leaves and flowers that expand in hot water. The valve makes it easy to strain out. And the paper filter makes cleaning a breeze.

Additional Notes and Points for Improvement

Even the most clever minds can overlook a few things! I’ve listed a couple of concerns I have about this brewer. Take a look to see if any are deal-breakers for you:

Function Over Form

If you like how the Clever looks, then this won’t be an issue. But compared to the handsome Chemexes and pretty Kalita Waves of the coffee world, it’s just a hunking piece of plastic. Indeed, there’s a lack of premium-ness here.

One plus in this aspect though is the color options! There are three transparent variants and a smattering of colorful opaque ones. Personally, I’d stick to any of the clear ones for a better view of the brew as it happens.

Moving Parts

The release plate and silicone stopper valve are essential parts of the Clever itself. These move around and have a bit of play, so over time, these may get damaged or misaligned.

Since the stopper valve is made of silicone, it’s worth taking the time to keep it clean and dry when not in use. This means not leaving the wet paper filter in longer than you have to. Remember, a cracked valve means leaky Clever bottoms!

Keep your Clever’s moving parts clean and free of obstructions.

Clever Spills

The Clever as a Dripper

We’ve talked in length about the Clever’s capability as an immersion brewer. But how well does it do as an actual pour-over dripper? As it turns out, not bad!

How? Simply brew with the Clever on a cup or server from the get-go, and it will keep the valve open as you pour water into the coffee. Keep in mind that the Clever drains quite fast compared to regular pour-over drippers, so adjust your grind size and pouring speed accordingly.

Specifications List

Here’s a handy specs chart you can refer to, if you need technical information like dimensions or cup limitations.

Package InclusionsClever Coffee Dripper, Lid, Coaster
MaterialBPA-free Eastman Tritan Plastic
Dimensions4.13in x 4.13in x 6.10in (105mm x 105mm x 155mm)
Capacity18oz (500ml)
Filters#4 to #6 Coffee Filter
Cup CompatibilityCups with rim diameters between 1.5in (3.8cm) to 3.75cm (9.5cm)
ColorsClear, Cloud, Java (transparent)
White, Black, Yolk Yellow, Solid Red, Navy Blue (opaque)

Clever with Coffee

Alternatives and Wrap-Up

If you prefer a premium dripper with steeping capability, consider the Hario Switch. It’s basically a glass V60 with a release valve at the bottom similar to the Clever.

Another brewer that can do both percolation and immersion is the Aeropress. It makes comparatively little coffee but wins in portability points and the sheer number of aftermarket accessories available.

Of the three, the Clever is the simplest to use, the most affordable to acquire, and can brew up the largest amount of coffee. Plastics aside, it’s a great pick for coffee OR tea lovers looking to brew at home with a small learning curve and minimal fuss. Or perhaps even for the enthusiast looking to add a well-built brewer to their collection!

The Clever Coffee Dripper is a solid piece of kit, no matter your brewing style.

Happy Caffeinating!

Clever Coffee Dripper Review: Brilliant Brews Simplified
clever coffee dripper review review

Discover the ins and outs of this amazing brewer in our comprehensive Clever Coffee Dripper review. Uncover its brewing secrets!

Editor's Rating:
Share the goods

Recommended Reads

Brew like a Barista
from home

The Home Barista Coffee Course 14-lesson video course about brewing consistently amazing coffee at home. Stream or download the entire course to learn how to make coffee as good as your local barista for a fraction of the cost.

Learn more