The Clever Dripper may well be the most underrated manual drip maker on the market today.
This unique hybrid brewer never made the waves that the Hario v60 or the Aeropress did but has largely slipped under the radar.
And that is a tragedy.
For the Clever dripper may be the most user-friendly gateway into specialty coffee that there is.
If you love the textured taste of soft brewing methods like pour-over but get frustrated about inconsistent results, then the Clever coffee dripper may well be the brewer you didn’t know you needed.
Clever Dripper Review
Part of the advertising around the Clever is the phrase ‘‘high-caliber coffee made simple.‘’ And that basically sums up the impetus behind this funky-looking brewer. This is a coffee dripper designed for those interested in high-caliber coffee; it is not for the Keurig lovers out there but, instead, those who have jumped on the specialty coffee bandwagon.
But the genius of the Clever coffee dripper is that it is specialty coffee made simple. It is a brewer that lets you extract those unique flavor profiles of different single-origin beans while doing away with all the finesse and meticulous attention to detail needed for the Hario v60 or origami brewer.
Perhaps the best way to understand the Clever Dripper is that it is a slightly wacky hybrid of a French Press and a Pour-Over. It looks like a bulky and oversized pour-over but actually shares more in common than you might think with the French Press.
Like the French Press, this is primarily an immersion coffee maker. Immersion brewing means that the flavor is extracted as the coffee grounds sit or ‘‘steep’’ in hot water (think french press coffee). This is in contrast with drip coffee, where you brew coffee as water consistently pours through the coffee grounds (think pour-over).
In general, immersion brewers create heavier drinks with greater body and mouthfeel and more chocolatey notes. By contrast, drip coffee is light, bright and highlights floral or fruity notes.
Enter the Clever Dripper. The Clever dripper is one of the few coffee makers that is a bit of both. The Clever coffee maker is what happens when you combine the best of both worlds. A clean cup of coffee with a depth of flavor.
This immersion brewer has rightly earned the accolade of ‘‘Clever’’ due to its unique valve. This valve is ingeniously designed to open and close depending on whether the dripper is sitting on the carafe. While sitting on the bench or the valve is unengaged, the dripper is closed, allowing the coffee to percolate or steep. However, as soon as you place the Clever dripper on your desired carafe or mug, the valve engages and opens, and the coffee begins to drip through.
This simple design nullifies all need for gooseneck kettles and careful pouring technique and allows you to easily govern how light or heavy the coffee is. In theory, you could place the Clever Dripper straight onto the carafe and basically use it as a pour-over similar to the Melitta. However, if that is your main desire, we recommend purchasing a Hario V60 or Kalita Wave instead.
The strength of the Clever Dripper is that it straddles these two brewing styles in a way that is perhaps similar to the Aeropress. This makes it a very versatile coffee brewer. So whether you are just entering specialty coffee or sick of some of the unpredictability of pour-overs, the Clever Dripper is an excellent investment and one we certainly haven’t regretted. There is no denying it can make a delicious cup of Joe!
The Clever Dripper is made of BPA-free plastic and comes in two sizes and a range of different colors. We would recommend the larger size.
How to Use the Clever Coffee Dripper
Brewing coffee with the clever dripper is as easy as adding the ground coffee beans, adding the water, leaving for a while, then putting the brewer on top of your cup or vessel of choice. It really is that simple. And as opposed to many pour-overs like the Chemex or the Hario V60, it is very forgiving. So if you forget about it and leave it for a few more minutes, or just eyeball water level, you will still get a very drinkable and likely enjoyable drink.
However, while you can just estimate, we like to use a recipe for consistent results. We use James Hoffman’s Clever Dripper recipe and highly recommend it.
Clever Dripper Recipe
- Fold paper filter and place into Clever Dripper. Add hot water to rinse the filter, then pour out
- Pour in 250g of very hot water just off the boil
- Pour in 15g of coffee ground to medium/fine consistency
- Gently stir in coffee until all is wet and let steep for 2 minutes
- Break the crust with either swirl or stir
- Wait for a further 30s
- Place dripper on cup/carafe and wait to drain
Tips for better Clever Dripper Coffee
- Add the water before the ground coffee beans. As Hoffman picks up, by adding the water before the coffee, you get a far quicker drawdown time which can help avoid over-extraction and consequently unpleasant tasting coffee.
- Use the best water you can find. As with all coffee brewing methods, there is a direct correlation between the quality of the water you use and the taste of the coffee brewed. At the very least, we recommend using filtered water, if not bottled water.
Alternatively, try this Iced Coffee recipe with the Clever Dripper.
The Clever Dripper in Summary
In summary, we have come to love and highly recommend the Clever Coffee Dripper. This clever coffee maker is remarkably easy to use, can make excellent coffee, and brews very consistent results. The immersion style brewer cuts out all needs for an extensive coffee kit and careful technique and is very satisfying to use. We highly recommend it!