Do you find pour over coffee complicated and inconsistent?
Then you might be the target audience for Hario’s new gadget.
On the surface, the Hario Drip Assist is, in many ways, a direct rival to one of my favorite coffee gadgets (the Gabi Master B).
Still, it has some features that are better than the original
As the title of this review suggests, I have gone from skeptical to somewhat of a fan.
However, the Hario Drip Assist is not for everybody.
In this blog post, I’ll give you all the pros and cons and tell you who it’s for.
If you have been around in the world of specialty coffee for a while, the Japanese company Hario doesn’t need an introduction.
The company almost became synonymous with pour over coffee and gooseneck kettles around a decade ago.
Hario Coffee Company was founded in 1921 in Japan and was initially a glass manufacturer. The company began producing coffee siphons in 1948 and soon became famous for its coffee products.
Today, Hario Coffee Company is still based in Tokyo, but you can find their coffee gear and almost every hip coffee shop worldwide.
The Hario Drip Assist is a part of a new range of products created in collaboration with former coffee champion Pete Licata.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the Hario Drip Assist looks like another of my favorites; the Gabi Drip Master B.
It’s a plastic dispersion screen with two different reservoirs, meant to sit on the top of your pour over dripper.
The idea is that controlling the water flow and agitation will help you make better and more consistent coffee. We have been familiar with this concept for some years now.
Using a dispersion screen instead of a gooseneck kettle is also interesting because it is theoretically more reliable and repeatable than controlling a kettle stream with your hand.
The most famous products in this category are, of course, the Gabi Dripmaster B and Melodrip. I talked about both of them previously.
The conclusion was that I like both and that they are different and useful for different types of people.
Hario Drip Assist is very similar to Gabi Drip Master B, so for the rest of the article, those are the two I’ll mostly be comparing.
Hario Drip Assist Compatibility
The Drip Assist is often sold as a bundle with the V60, which makes sense since this is what it’s supposed to “assist” with in the company’s mind.
However, as a typical coffee geek, you’re probably also wondering whether it fits a range of other models.
- The Drip Assist fits perfectly on the V60 size 02.
- Surprisingly it does NOT work on size 01 and 03 of the V60
Of course, the 02-version is by far the most popular; still, it’s an odd design decision to exclude the small and XL versions of the V60.
The Hario Drip Assist has four small fins protruding from the underside of the gadget. They aim to make the Drip Assist sit more snugly inside the V60 cone. However, it also has the opposite effect when used with a range of standard models, including the two less common V60 versions.
- The Drip Assist does fit perfectly on Kalita Wave 185 and many drippers of similar size.
- For instance: The April Dripper, Blue Bottle Dripper, Lili drippper, etc.
- It does NOT fit Kalita Wave 155
So the Hario Drip Assist fits on many drippers, but not all. Contrast this to Gabi Drip Master B, which fits on more or less all dripper designs.
Flow rate and type
The idea behind the Drip Assist is that you have two different types of flow. The inner reservoir is a fast-flowing one that transforms the water input into three thin, center-focused streams.
The flow rate of these streams is fast enough to create some turbulence. However, for some recipes/beans/roasts profiles, you’ll want some additional agitation.
The outer reservoir targets a larger surface area and transforms the water input into smaller droplets.
The good thing about these two different types of flow is that you can rely on the Drip Assist instead of a gooseneck kettle.
So if you are brewing slightly more developed coffee (medium-light to medium or dark), you can get a well-extracted, repeatable brew by only using the Drip Assist.
This is in contrast to the Melodrip and Gabi Dripmaster B; with both those devices it’s ideal to use them in conjunction with a gooseneck kettle.
My standard V60/Drip Assist method
This method is inspired by my take on the Osmotic Flow brewing method. Usually it works well with a ratio around 1:15 or 1:16.
Since, you’ll be using the Drip Assist, you can grind a bit finer than usual.
19 g coffee / 300 g water
- Bloom: 60 ml of water – inner reservoir. Wait 40 seconds.
- 2nd pour: Slowly pour in the inner reservoir until the scale shows 150 g. This is 50 % of the total volume.
- 3rd pour and final: The remaining 50 % in the other reservoir.
This recipe has worked well for me, but there is room for a lot of experimentation with the Drip Assist.
You could also pull off the 4:6 method with it.
Or many different types of recipes, for example, my Kalita Wave recipe.
Flow rate: Drip Assist vs Melodrip vs Gabi Dripmaster B
How long does it take for 500 ml’s to drain through each device?
- Gabi Dripmaster B: 155 seconds
- Melodrip: 51 seconds
- Hario Drip Assist (inner reservoir): 45 seconds
- Hario Drip Assist (outer reservoir): 104 seconds
Other reasons to get one?
There are some obvious pros to the Hario Drip Assist:
- Beginners: If you’re just getting started with pour over coffee, you can skip investing in an expensive gooseneck kettle. The Hario Drip Assist is pretty affordable. Until you learn to pour carefully, the Drip Assist can be a reliable tool to help you.
- Bad grinder: I also think dispersion screens are excellent if you have a typical entry-level grinder. Those grinders throw a lot of fines, and a calm and gentle flow rate can mitigate bitterness and astringency.
- Clarity: Overall, you can benefit whether you have a cheap or a high-end grinder. You can experiment with gentle agitation and see what it does to the cup and mouthfeel. I like to use the Hario Drip Assist to maximize flavor clarity.
- Travel: Another benefit could be if you’re traveling and want good coffee on the road. I have never seen a hotel room with a gooseneck kettle. In that case, it would be practical with a dispersion screen.
- Brew on autopilot: I’m sometimes just in the mood for a lazy brewing session. Using a dispersion screen can put the brewing a bit more on autopilot.
The most significant downside of the Hario Drip Assist is that some drippers won’t accommodate it very well.
Another thing to be aware of is that it drips differently than the Gabi Drip Master B.
The droplets create more turbulence overall, and the flow rate is faster. However, you’ll probably have to have a very sensitive tongue to taste the difference in the cup.
I was a big fan of the Gabi Dripmaster B and still am. If you already have it, I don’t think there are any reasons to invest in the new Drip Assist.
However, Gabi has had some problems with the supply chain and quality control over the last couple of years.
Since Hario is a worldwide company with distribution anywhere, I imagine the Drip Assist will be widely available at a competitive price.
For that reason, I think many home baristas will pick up one of these, and I find it pretty hard to come up with any strong arguments that they should go through a lot of hassle to source the rare Gabi Dripmaster B instead.
I think most semi-serious home brewers should have a dispersion screen or some sort at home, and they might as well start with this one since it’s cheaper than the alternatives while still doing a solid job.
At the same time, it offers many benefits to beginners.
So yes, in short, you should probably get yourself a Hario Drip Assist if you don’t have any tools like it already.
For the price, it’s an excellent coffee investment!