The Clever Coffee Dripper is an underrated brewer that deserves a lot more fans. Read my review to find out why.
Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism
Do you want the kind of clean and aromatic coffee that has been associated with pour over coffee without all the exaggerated hipster brewing techniques?
Then the Clever Coffee Dripper might be the perfect brewing tool for you.
If you ask me, most people could benefit from having a Clever Coffee Dripper at home.
Read on, to find out what separates this from the horde of pour over cones currently available.
Why is it clever?
You’d be forgiven for seeing the Clever Coffee Dripper and thinking:
“What’s so clever about this device?”
On the surface, the brewer looks pretty much like a standard plastic Melitta filter cone.
But go beyond appearances, and you’ll quickly realize that the Clever lives up to its name.
Most popular pour over coffee makers such as Hario V60 and Kalita Wave work in a simple way, where you pour water deliberately on top of the grounds to saturate the brew bed evenly and control extraction. The water then runs out through the holes in the bottom. The only way you can control the total contact time is by grinding finer or pouring slower.
The Clever Coffee Dripper, on the other hand, has a special valve in the bottom that blocks the water flow. When you put the dripper on top of a cup or range server, the valve is opened, and coffee flows out.
Compared with normal pour over coffee, this makes brewing a lot more simple.
If you ask me the Clever Dripper is even easier to use than brewing a traditional pot of drip coffee with a machine. Heck, it might be the easiest coffee method in the world, if we don’t count in instant powder.
Pro-tip: The Clever Coffee Dripper is designed for Melitta Style filters, which is the most common model that you’ll find in every supermarket. In any case, it also works fine and dandy with a Hario V60 filter.
Pros of the Clever brewer
The unique design means that you’re able to control brew time easily. Do you want stronger coffee? Okay, just steep for 1 more minute.
You don’t have to invest in a fancy gooseneck kettle. You can pour in all water at once. Your electric kettle will work just fine.
You can buy filters in every supermarket — cheap and simple compared to the Hario V60.
What you need to pay attention to is only the steeping time, and coffee to water ratio. Once, you have nailed these things you’re pretty much able to brew the same cup of Joe every morning.
All this means that the Clever Coffee Dripper is a lot more simple and straightforward than most third wave brewing gear.
The Clever Coffee Maker is quite close to pour over coffee in terms of flavor since it uses a paper filter as the filtration method. But because of the steeping time, it also has some traits in common with a brew method like a French press.
Imagine a full-bodied cup of Hario V60, and you got something pretty close to the typical result.
Who should get the clever coffee dripper?
As you might already have figured out, I’m a Clever fanboy. I really think it could improve most people’s daily coffee setup. Here are some scenarios where I think it’s useful:
Instead of having a small coffee maker for 1-3 cups, you could use the Clever brewer
Use it in the early morning when you’re too worn out to even think about doing a pour over.
It’s great for travel! In spite of being bulkier than the Aeropress, it’s super handy when you’re on holiday. Especially, if you’re two persons instead of just one.
The specialty coffee geek who craves versatility. Often I use the Clever for ‘difficult’ beans that somehow don’t work well in a pour over.
Clever coffee dripper vs. Aeropress & French press
Most people thinking about getting the Clever Dripper are most likely considering whether you should get this model or an Aeropress of a French press. All three models are great, but I would make the case that the Clever Dripper is an ideal fit for most people.
It’s easier to get a well-brewed cup with the Clever than the two other models.
The capacity is better than the Aeropress. It’s almost double. Vital if you’re making coffee for your significant other.
Better for traveling than a French press. And in many cases also beats the Aeropress for that purpose.
You can always find a Melitta Style filter in your supermarket.
If you want to brew coffee for a larger group of people, the French press will prevail though, but aside from that, I can’t think of any good arguments to pick it over the Clever.
I think all coffee geeks could use a Clever Coffee Dripper in their life. If you want an easy no-fuss method, this brewer is for you.
If you’re looking for a travel companion, it’s also a great option.
If you are really attracted fruit forward coffee, and the more intimate ritual of brewing coffee manually, the famous Hario V60 will likely be more rewarding since it offers a bit more in terms of geeking out and modulating the flavor profile.
The Clever Dripper is available in two sizes but if you ask me the big one makes the most sense since it also allows you to brew a smaller batch should you want it.
My Clever Coffee Dripper Recipe
400 g water to 26 grams of medium ground coffee (like table salt).
First, pour 75 grams of water to allow the coffee to bloom. Wait 30 seconds.
Then pour the remaining 325 grams of water. Once you see a crust forming on the top, stir a couple of times to break it.
Wait 2.30 minutes, then give the clever a final light stir and put it on top of the server.
Let it drain completely. This should take between 50 and 70 seconds. Adjust your grind if that’s not the case.
Pour and serve the coffee!
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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