Brewing coffee at home can be an art form. Investing in a pour-over coffee dripper can take your coffee game to the next level. Whether you’re a novice home brewer trying to brew your first batch of coffee or a coffee aficionado, you’ll appreciate the complex, full body the pour-over method of coffee brewing gives your morning cup of joe.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of each product and ultimately compare them to one another to help you decide how to upgrade your at-home brewing experience.
Kalita Wave Overview
The Kalita Wave takes the guesswork out of the pour-over coffee process and makes brewing your morning cups of coffee easy for novices and connoisseurs alike.
The Wave’s flat, three-hole bottom, and contoured cone restrict the water flow. Thus, the regulated water flow produces an even, consistent cup of coffee every time you brew.
Furthermore, the filter papers that go with the dripper have ridges to hold your coffee grounds away from the cone walls, which keeps your coffee warm through the process.
The Kalita Wave comes in three models to suit your personal preferences: stainless steel, glass, and ceramic. Each model comes in two sizes: the smaller Kalita Wave 155, which produces one cup of coffee, or the Kalita Wave 185, which makes about 2 – 3 cups.
As we mentioned above, the Kalita Wave has special filters to pair with the dripper, and this design helps keep your coffee warm over time. The Wave’s filters also reduce the time it takes to brew.
Since the filters are so thin, you don’t need to pre-rinse them as you do with others. There’s no risk of any residual papery taste, simply pop the filter into the dripper and make your cup of coffee.
However, the adage, “You have to take the good with the bad,” holds true here. While the Wave’s thin filters save you some time, they can tear easily or lose their rigid shape if not stored correctly.
The best way to store Kalita Wave filters is within the coffee basket of the dripper itself, so they keep their shape and function like they’re supposed to. You can find a pack of 100 Kalita Wave filters for less than $10.
How to Use
Place a filter in the Kalita Wave. Measure and grind your coffee. At the same time, start heating your water. After the coffee particles are as fine as table salt, add them to the filter. Place the wave on top of a carafe or coffee cup.
Saturate the bed of grounds evenly with boiled water (around 205℉/96℃). Give the coffee a few seconds to bloom (to rise up and bubble) and release the coffee oils, then stir gently with a spoon. Pour water over the grounds a second time in a spiral motion, starting from the center of the bed moving outwards to extract the coffee evenly.
Pour small amounts of water intermittently to keep the water level near the top of the Wave. Allow time to drip, then pour and serve.
If you’re an experienced home barista, you might find yourself limited by the Kalita Wave. While its predictability is attractive for new coffee brewers, coffee lovers want more room for experimenting with drip filter coffee than the Wave allows.
Hario v60 Overview
The Hario v60 pour-over dripper gives you control over every variable that goes into the brewing process, so your coffee routine can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like. The v60 offers many options for customization and experimentation, which is why it continues to be one of the most popular pour-over drippers available.
The v60 gets its name from its iconic 60-degree “V” cone-shaped brewer design, making it easily recognizable. The inside cone of the v60 is rigid, which keeps filters from sticking to its walls while controlling water flow through the single hole at the bottom. In turn, this conical coffee dripper produces a cup of coffee with an even consistency. It works especially well with light to medium roasts.
The v60 is produced in plastic, glass, ceramic (the most popular version), and metal models and comes in three sizes:
- Size 01, which is 1-2 cups
- Size 02, which is up to 4 cups
- Size 03, which is up to 6 cups
Some pour-over coffee filters can be too thick and impart a papery taste in your cup of coffee even after being pre-rinsed. Other filters are too thin and tear as soon as you pour hot water into them. However, the v60’s paper filter sits comfortably in the middle of these two extremes.
You will typically spend less than $10 on a 100 pack of v60 filters.
How to Use
Measure out and grind your coffee as you get your water boiling. Place the filter inside the v60 and position it over a carafe or mug. Once the water has boiled (around 205℉/96℃), pour a good amount through the v60 to pre-rinse the filter.
Add grounds to the filter. Use a stopwatch to time your pours. Start the stopwatch and begin your first pour. Evenly saturate the grounds and allow them to bloom (to rise and bubble), then gently stir with a spoon. After 30 seconds, begin the second pour in the bed center and use a spiral motion to move outwards. Aim to pour the water evenly until 2:30 minutes have elapsed.
Gently stir with a spoon once more. Allow to drip for another 30 seconds extraction time.
Pour and Serve.
The v60 brew method takes time and practice to master, so if you don’t see yourself enjoying learning how to perfect your process or experimenting, you may want to consider other options.
If you’ve just made the perfect cup of coffee with your v60, it can be difficult to replicate the process and get the same result in the future unless you’ve mastered your pouring technique.
Kalita Wave vs. v60 Recap
So, where does all of this leave us?
Comparing these two comes down to how much time you want to spend mastering your morning brew.
If you want a pour-over coffee, but you don’t want the hassle of fine-tuning every variable while making it, you might find the Kalita Wave more suitable. The Wave will give you an intricate, flavorful cup of java every time you brew. Its filters don’t need to be pre-rinsed, and the design regulates the water flow for you.
However, if your interest in pour-overs stems from the ritualistic-like process involved in the coffee brewing experience, you’ll want to consider the v60.
What’s Your Budget?
When it comes to your budget, these two aren’t separated much by price. Depending on the model and size you choose, the Kalita Wave can cost anywhere between $26 and $38. Likewise, the v60 can cost between $9 and $35.
If you anticipate making coffee for more than just yourself, then you’ll also want to consider how many cups you’d like to make at once. The Kalita Wave’s larger size model only makes up to four cups, whereas the v60’s makes up to six.
Other Considerations: Brewing Equipment
Do you already own a few coffee accessories necessary to start brewing your pour-over?
If you don’t already have a decent quality kettle or a scale at your disposal, consider how this affects your budget. You’ll also want to consider whether you want to grind your roasted coffee beans yourself or request to have them ground at your favorite local coffee shop.
The Kalita Wave is versatile and forgiving regarding the kettle you use with it, thanks to its unique design and three-hole bottom. You can get away with using a kettle you already have on hand to save some money.
However, the Hario v60 relies on you to evenly distribute water through your coffee bed. This is where a quality kettle makes a difference. While you can use any old kettle with your v60, you won’t be getting the full benefits of this dripper if you do.
You’ll also want to consider investing in a scale if you haven’t already. Even if you don’t anticipate yourself agonizing over every last gram, you’ll want a good idea of how much coffee you’re using. This is especially true if you want to replicate something you’ve already made.
Since density varies from coffee to coffee, a digital scale is the best way to measure out your coffee grounds.
Hario sells a scale designed to pair with the v60 that measures in 0.1-gram increments. Coffee lovers who have brewing down to a science will appreciate the precision this kind of scale provides.
Alternatively, there are plenty of other scales on the market that are more budget-friendly.
Lastly, determine whether you want to grind your own coffee beans. The Kalita Wave and the v60 benefit from freshly ground coffee that comes in the right grind size since coffee grind size directly affects the balance of an extraction you’ll get from your pour-over.
Too finely ground coffee can result in over-extraction, especially with the v60. Too coarsely ground coffee can result in a thin, soupy java.
If you’re on a strict budget or don’t want to buy all the accessories for your pour-over at once, stick to getting your coffee ground at your favorite local coffee shop. However, if you want control over your grounds’ freshness and size, you can investigate different grinders and find one that works best for your needs and budget.
The Bottom Line
If you’re a coffee fanatic but had to choose only one of these great pour-over drippers, then we’d recommend coffee fans purchase the Kalita Wave.
If you see yourself making a pour-over day in and day out, then the Wave’s reliability and built-in water control help you focus on what really matters in your coffee ritual and less on abstract details to brew better-tasting coffee with a fuller flavor.
The Wave requires less specialized equipment to make your perfect cup of coffee. However, if you already have the coffee basics (a quality kettle, scale, or grinder to pair with it), or you choose to invest in them later on, then you can make your java even better.