The Kalita Wave was the first model to challenge the dominance of the Hario V60.
The Wave is named after the special shape of the filter. The idea is that the filter shelters the brew bed from the cone, and thus creates a more stable brew temperature as well as an evenly extracted brew bed.
Compared to its rival, the Wave is often praised for being more beginner friendly. The three small holes in the bottom make it more forgiving when it comes to technique – or at least that’s the idea.
Personally, I think it’s actually more difficult to use than the Hario V60. The Wave is better suited for advanced home baristas, if you ask me.
The stainless steel version is the most common one, but I don’t recommend it since the filter has a tendency to get clogged and therefore slowing down the drip rate. Read more about that issue here. Especially, the bigger stainless steel version named ‘185’ suffers from this issue.
Instead, I’d opt for the ceramic version which has a much more consistent flow rate. The glass model also brews great coffee but it’s very fragile. If you’re just a little bit clumsy – like most of us are in a caffeine-deprived early morning state – then go for the ceramic one.
Beautiful Japanese design
Consistent brew quality (if you avoid the stainless steel model!)
Named one of the 100 Best Designed Product of Modern Times by the Illinois Institute of Technology
The Kalita Wave is an excellent hand coffee dripper – just make sure to avoid the big stainless steel version, which suffers from a design flaw.
Also, in spite of its reputation, I think the Kalita Wave is less beginner-friendly than the Hario V60.
That being said, it’s still a great device that I often use myself.
Make sure to check out my Kalita Wave recipe here.
The Hario coffee dripper is the undisputed king of manual drip coffee. And for a good reason. The flavor is rich and nuanced at the same time with just the right amount of acidity.
I recommend it to all beginners, since it’s easy to find recipes and instructions specifically for this model online.
The V60 gives you full control over how your coffee ends up by letting you manipulate brew time, water flow, and the water temperature. This control means you can end up with the perfect cup of coffee. But remember that you need a gooseneck kettle to get the full benefits!
It has a ridged vortex shape that is designed to stop the paper filter from sticking to the side of the cone while you’re brewing. This feature ensures that the grounds get extracted the right way every time. Because of the shape, it is sometimes called a pour over coffee cone.
You can get the V60 in either ceramic, glass, metal, or plastic, and it comes in several different colors. The material doesn’t really matter and many elite baristas prefer the plastic model. However, if you like something more premium then consider copper or ceramic.
The V60 has a sleek design that is convenient, and it is easy to store. Additionally, it comes in three different sizes – most people prefer the medium sized one, intuitively named number ’02’.
Often you can find it in a bundle deal – a so-called coffee pour over kit or set at a good price.
Used by the majority of the winners at the World Brewers Cup
Creates complex coffee with an interesting aftertaste
If you want to brew world-class filter coffee you have to consider the Hario V60. This pour over coffee dripper has been favored by a majority of the recent world champions (aka Brewers Cup winners) for a good reason.
You might think that this is just yet another V60 knock-off. That was my first thought, as well.
But I decided to give the Flower dripper a chance since Cafec also happens to be the brand behind another very cool product.
It’s a well-known fact that the quality of Hario’s paper filters started to go downhill a few years ago.
Cafec, a new coffee company from Japan, stepped in and launched a cone-shaped filter made with the game-changing abaca-material instead. It quickly became a favorite in the specialty coffee community.
For that reason, I decided to try the company’s dripper. At first, I wasn’t sure if there were any distinct differences between this and the trusty old V60.
However, over a couple of days, I ran head-to-head tests simultaneously, and it turned out that the Flower dripper has a slightly better balance and integration of mouthfeel and aftertaste compared to the original.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that the Flower is a better brewer, though.
I think it gives a more neutral representation of a given bean, while the Hario V60 has more acidity and sweetness, but in a slightly exaggerated way.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Cafec Flower looks like a work of art, and is available in some colors that young people would call ‘dope AF’.
More body, balance & mouthfeel compared to the V60
Cafec also produces our favorite paper filters
Available in both plastic and Japan-made ceramic
Cafec is a brand to keep an eye on; they are doing exciting things right now.
If you’re already an experienced pour-over barista, using mainly light roast single origin, I think this would be an appealing option for you. However, if you’re a newbie, mostly brewing medium to dark roasts, you should stick with the V60.
The Clever Coffee Dripper technically isn’t a pour over coffee maker. Instead, it’s a mix of immersion brewing and filter coffee. However, for all intents and purposes it is the same, so that’s why we have included it on the list. Plus, it’s a pretty great device.
The dripper is made of safe BPA-free plastic, and it comes in a large and small size.
The way it works is that you pour all the water in at once. There is an easy shut off valve that holds your coffee until the brewing process is finished. Once you place the dripper on top of your range server, the valve releases the beverage.
This model seamlessly pairs the functionality of a French Press with the convenience that comes with a coffee dripper for a full-bodied, smooth taste.
BPA-Free plastic design
Super easy and convenient
Great tasting coffee
This coffee dripper can appeal to all levels of coffee drinkers. It has a sophisticated look, and it is easy to operate and use again and again. This smaller coffee dripper might be an excellent choice for someone who only drinks one or two cups of coffee at a time. Read my Clever Coffee Dripper review here.
The Chemex Coffee Maker is a classic and probably the most iconic drip coffee maker of all time. Nowadays, it comes in various designs but the glass and wood-collar version is the OG.
The wooden collar acts as a heat blocker, and it can prevent you from getting burned when you handle it. It attaches to your Chemex brewer with a nonchalant leather cord, giving it that sophisticated look.
You can also opt to get the Chemex classic with a handle instead of a collar, but honestly, I much prefer the unique look of wood and glass.
It is relatively easy to clean and use. You insert the special filter into the Chemex, boil your water and pour it over your coffee grounds in the filter and watch it brew. Just make sure that the thick side of the filter is on the same side as the spout. You don’t want the filter to cling to that ridge, because it will also block the flow of the liquid while you’re brewing.
Tastewise it’s close to the Hario V60, but a bit more on the thin side. The proprietary Chemex filters are thicker, and therefore take out more of the coffee oils. If you like this or not is up to personal preference, however, I prefer V60’s flavor a bit more.
Brews up to 10 cups
Named one of the 100 Best Designed Product of Modern Times by the Illinois Institute of Technology
The Chemex Coffeemaker is a great choice if you want to brew larger batches of delicious pour over coffee and have a penchant for stunning design.
The Blue Bottle Dripper was released in 2016 as a custom dripper to be used in Blue Bottle’s shops in US and Japan.
There was a lot of marketing hype around it back then – allegedly, the dripper had been conceived by following “scienfitic principles.”
The device only has a single drain hole compared to the three holes in the Kalita Wave, so it’s easy to assume that it drips very slowly. But that’s simply not the case.
I was quite sceptical about the claims, but when I tried testing it I quickly realized that Blue Bottle had created something unique.
Not only does the dripper look quite beautiful, it’s also very simple to use.
I found that most recipes will work well with this pour over cone. Somehow, it’s engineered in a way where clogging or stalling is unlikely to occur. At the same time the flow rate is very consistent and actually rather fast, in spite of only having a single hole.
Blue Bottle also offers some rather expensive proprietary filters to be used with the dripper, but I have found that Kalita’s flat-bottom filters work just fine.
The main downside to the Blue Bottle dripper is that I find the cups a bit less “vibrant” compared to the Kalita Wave. They are are still good, but for some reason the cup profile just lack a bit of acidity and depth. On the other hand, the Blue Bottle dripper seems to require less skill compared to many other pour over cones, making it an excellent option for beginners.
Some people might also be turned off by the prominent branding.
Consistent and easy to use
Works with most different recipes and approaches
The Blue Bottle Dripper is one of my favorite flat bottom drippers, and it’s an excellent option for beginners who are looking for a consistent device.
Investing in your first pour over brewer is a relatively simple task. Compared to something like an espresso machine, it’s a tiny post on the budget.
And since the technology isn’t that complicated, it’s less confusing.
Pouring water on ground coffee and letting gravity do the work is called ‘percolation’. This is one of the oldest coffee brewing techniques along with ‘immersion’ (aka steeping), which is what the French press relies on.
How to make hand drip coffee
With percolation, the shape and type of the filter will affect the flavor of the final cup.
However, it’s definitely possible to overthink these things. Most of the models out there (except the Clever Coffee Dripper) have a lot in common.
Even though certain drippers may have ‘signature’ flavors it’s definitely possible to steer whatever brewing contraption in a direction you like by using certain techniques and recipes.
For instance: The Clever Coffee Dripper is known for producing less acidic cups compared to the V60 but a different recipe could make up for that.
Pro-tip: Remember that you need a gooseneck kettle to get the best results with a coffee dripper. Check out my background article that covers everything regarding kettles for coffee.
Think about the filter
If you ask me, your primary concern should be the paper filters.
With something like the Hario V60, Kalita Wave or Chemex, you’ll end up using proprietary filters. These can be slightly expensive and difficult to find in your local supermarket. Are you ready for this kind of task or not?
Other models, such as the Clever Dripper, work perfectly fine with a standard coffee filter (‘Melitta’ style).
💡No matter which model you go for, however, make sure that you get some proper oxygen bleached filters.
White filters aren’t unhealthy or bad for the environment. Just make sure that they are oxygen and not chlorine bleached.
All brown filters give off a bit of cardboard flavor to the coffee – avoid them at all costs.
When you become more comfortable with the pour over method, you can also experiment with different filter types. For instance, there are several premium brands that produce cone-shaped filters; all with a slightly different flow rate and mouthfeel/body balance.
Cone Shaped vs Flat Bottom Drippers
Some people say that it’s easier to brew with a flat bottomed dripper (Kalita style) compared to the cone-shaped one, because there’s some flow restriction going on. Personally, I don’t think that’s the case at all.
In my opinion, beginners are better suited with cone-shaped brewers such as the Hario V60 since they are more likely to brew darker roasted coffee or coffee of lower quality.
Both shapes have their own pros and cons, and I use them for different purposes. Let’s use an audio analogy to better understand what’s going on:
Cone-shaped ones are like a set of speakers with plenty of bass and treble. I think audio geeks call this calibration ‘fun sounding’.
The flat bottom drippers are more like a neutral set of studio monitors. They give a clear, unbiased representation sound stage with a balanced EQ. For this reason the Kalita Wave lends itself better to high-end light roasted coffee, where you want to be able to pick out a bunch of different flavor notes at the same time.
Which dripper I prefer depends on the mood and the beans that I have at hand.
A good rule of thumb, though, is that coffees under 82 points often need the extra oomph you get from the cone shape — attributes like increased acidity and complexity in the aftertaste.
Some thoughts on materials
Some models have a permanent mesh type filter. These manual drip coffee makers aren’t the best if you ask me, because they allow a lot of coffee oils to enter the cup. They tend to produce coffee with less acidity and clarity – two of the most distinguishing trades of a good cup of pour over.
Pour over coffee makers are typically made out of the following four materials. They all have their pros and cons, so you should also keep that in your mind before making any decisions.
Ceramic is a very popular material when it comes to coffee brewing. It won’t add any additional unwanted taste to your coffee as ceramic is chemically inert. Ceramic also acts as an excellent insulator to keep your coffee warm. It’s thicker and heavier than glass, and also quite a bit more sturdy
Glass is another popular pour over coffee maker material. It is also chemically inert, and it won’t add any unwanted flavor. For best results glass should be preheated to keep your blooming coffee grounds at the optimal temperature. Glass usually looks great, but it’s not for the clumsy home barista!
Metal, especially copper, is a good option if you’re looking for a durable and lightweight coffee dripper. However, metal like stainless steel doesn’t hold heat well. As it doesn’t insulate well, it can affect how well your extraction goes because your coffee grounds can lose their temperature quickly.
Plastic can be a great alternative to ceramic coffee funnels as it weighs less and is very durable. If you plan on bringing your pour over coffee maker on the road, plastic should be on your radar. Plastic used to be seen as inferior compared to some of the more premium materials, but in recent years more well-known coffee experts have started to recommend plastic drippers because they don’t steal any heat from the brew bed.
Hello, and welcome! I'm the editor & founder of this site. I have been a coffee geek since I started home roasting more than a decade ago. Since then, coffee has taken me on countless adventures: From ancient coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia to the volcanos of Sumatra. My background is in journalism, and today I'm also a licensed Q Grader under the Coffee Quality Institute.
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