We’ve been going on about our new Kalita Wave pour-over equipment quite a bit, with good reason. These professionally crafted brewing tools are renowned for their quality results; however we had to ask ourselves how it would hold up in a one-on-one comparison with another pour-over method, say the classic Hario V60.
Despite the excitement, we honestly weren’t sure how discerning the results would be: we were using the exact same process for both brews: 16 grams ground coffee and 250 grams of 85 C water, poured and filtered in the space of 3 minutes. Sure, the Kalita Wave pour-over is a great piece of craftmanship, but at the end of the day aren’t these methods all more or less the same?
However we did have some preliminary hope: the Kalita’s design features a flat bottom and 3 drip holes, as opposed to the V60’s single funnel. How much of a noticable effect would these distinctions have?
Pour-over put to the test:
Head barista Ben Loebell sets up two parallel scales, placing the V60 and the Kalita pour-over respectively. The coffee’s measured out; in this case we’re using an Ethiopian single origin from Drop Coffee. After cleaning the filters of any paper flavour with some excess water, Ben starts pouring into the V60, staggering the process with the Kalita.
Having done this a few times before, Ben knows how to time the dripping process down to the seconds: 3 minutes for the respective brews, mark the bottles and we’re ready for a taste-testing.
Despite both Ben and Rob having rather clogged sinuses (’tis the season), the distinction in our results was astounding. The differences are far from subtle; you don’t have to be a coffee expert to recognise the individual qualities of these pour-over methods. Fortunately a clear-nosed Aidan was available for constructive assistance.
We’re well familiar with the qualities of a V60: it leaves a bright and clean brew, often with a lot of subtlety in the flavours left behind. However once we had a sip of the Kalita brew, the alarm bells went off. Hitting the mouth mildly like a tea, the Kalita pour-over leaves a world of sharp flavours behind, as a result of of the fuller extraction process. What you get is a pleasantly nuanced coffee that holds an overwhelming amount of presence for a pour-over brew.
Jim kindly commented below to ask us to clarify the results a little.
It’s subjective but we felt the Kalita got more out of the coffee for less effort. The good elements of filter coffee were more overtly present, everything was heightened. An additional bonus was that we felt the design removed some margin for error and faff (which admittedly you do grow to love). We tried adding the water bit by bit and all at once and couldn’t discern any difference in the finished article.
Both methods are good, but we liked the Kalita. At which point we should probably say that we are stocking a couple of Kalita drippers so I guess this may have influenced our decision; although we only have two so we’re hardly one of their main distributors!