DIY Mod: How to Fix the Stainless Steel Kalita Wave

It’s possible to fix the Kalita Waves flow rate issues with this simple hack. Say goodbye to stalling and clogging.

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Asser Christensen

Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism

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Around a year ago I made an experiment that shows that all the Kalita Wave models have different flow rates.

Especially, the stainless steel model exhibited differences compared to the other models.

Here’s a simple flow rate comparison when draining 500 ml’s water:

  • Steel version – 55 seconds
  • Glass version – 30 seconds

So basically, they are two completely different products that only have the name in common.

Clogging and Stalling

But besides the slow flow rate, another significant issue with the steel version is clogging and stalling.

It’s not common knowledge that it’s a widespread problem, but if you search on various coffee forums and Reddit, you’ll see countless of user experiencing this issue.

The stalling happens because the water and the coffee’s weight will drag the filter down on top of the drain holes, and a seal will form. When one hole is blocked, it slows down the speed a lot, but when two holes are blocked, it creates an airlock, and it becomes almost like a clogged sink.

I recently found a little hack that really alleviates the problem. See the video below for the full explanation or read on.

How do you do it at home?

You can pull this off at home by simply using a drill. There are drill bits meant for this kind of project that might give you a more satisfying finish on the backside. On the other hand, you can also attach a steel nail to the drill if your drill bits are a bit soft for this project.

kalita wave hacked with drill
A drill can significantly improve the stainless Kalita Wave

The steel is not that thick, and it already has holes in it so a cobalt drill bit will work just fine.

Pro tip: The modded holes are just a bit bigger than the usual drain holes.

  • Original: around 2 mm
  • DIY Mod: about 4 mm

Does it work BETTER?

I did an experiment and tested out the DIY Mod. I poured 500 ml of water through the empty dripper with the new holes, and the flow rate is down to 30 seconds. 

Yes, unsurprisingly, the flow rate is way better, and it’s a lot more similar to the other models.

Compared to the ceramic version, it is now even faster and works almost like the glass version. However, it still has a greater risk of clogging because the ribs are so shallow.

If you have a stainless steel Kalita Wave at home, and you’re not happy with it, this little mod worth trying.

New and Old Kalita

When the Kalita became popular around 2011 and made a name for itself, it was actually a pretty different product. Today the design is different from the original version. This seems to further create issues.

  • The old one had welded ribs in the bottom of the dripper
  • Holes were placed differently
  • It would be a lot more difficult for the paper filter to cling to a drain hole with the old design

If you ask me, it’s like the coffee world’s version of the MacBook and the butterfly keyboard. It’s just a gigantic design mistake, and to be honest, I don’t understand why so many shops still sell this model.

For sure, I can understand why you’d support the old version with the bigger ribs because it had a lot of advantages when it came out compared to the V60; but the recent one is just not good.

I can’t believe that nobody hasn’t noticed that “hey this new version is totally different.”

This is incredibly weird because the general “wisdom” is that the Kalita is the more consistent pour over coffee maker and ideal for beginners.

If you want to get a Kalita, then go for the big ceramic version. Or if you’re less clumsy, then go for the fragile glass version.

Further Reading: The Coffee Chronicler’s Guide to Pour Over Coffee

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Asser Christensen

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.