Following our article on Chemex, we welcome our second collaborator, Joshua Clark, to talk about yet another pour-over brew method – the Kalita Wave.
In this post, he shares his insights, techniques, and pros vs cons of the Kalita Wave, plus a recipe for the perfect cup!
Brew Methods: Kalita Wave
By Joshua Clark – Head Roaster
With its stainless steel, wavy contours and unique flat bottom – it is very easy on the eye.
Thankfully for home users and coffee professionals alike, it’s also easy to use, and capable of producing consistently excellent brews without too much thought. The Kalita Wave is used to make pour-over coffee, just like the more commonly used V60 and Chemex.
Percolation – brews in which water passes through the bed of coffee, such as batch-brew and pour-over variations – differs from full-immersion brews (such as cafetieres and Clever Drippers), in which water and coffee are in contact for the whole duration. In this sense, the pour-overs are generally prized for their clarity of flavour, whereas full-immersion brews typically display greater body.
The Kalita Wave differs from other pour-over devices in a few subtle ways. First up is the hole through which coffee drips from the slurry into the vessel. Unlike the V60 and Chemex (both of which are V-shaped devices which draw coffee through a relatively large single hole), the Kalita Wave features a unique flat bottom with three very small holes. This significantly slows the drawdown time, thereby reducing the opportunity for channeling – a brewing error that occurs when water is able to bypass pockets of grounds.
The second difference is the ridged filter papers. Because of the air pockets caused by the ridges in the paper, there is minimal contact between the slurry and the outer wall of the device. This enhances temperature stability during the brew since there is less opportunity for heat to escape.
The pros to the Kalita Wave are that it’s an easy method with delicious coffee and a solid recipe – regardless of your ability, you’re very likely to end up with a tasty brew no matter what.
It’s also repeatable. Unlike other devices which the success often depends on the skill of the pourer, the Kalita Wave is forgiving and means you’re in for consistent results. Finally, it’s lightweight and durable – you could even take it camping!
Now the cons. Although the filter papers have fancy ridges, they can collapse easily which can be terribly annoying. As for the price, of all the one-cup brewing devices, it’s one of the most expensive.
Finally, let’s get brewing!
Start with a recipe. We recommend beginning with 60g of coffee per litre of water. At Grindsmith, we use 18g of coffee per 300g of water.
Fresh is best. For the most delicious results, use coffee roasted within the last month and grind to order.
1) Sit the filter paper in the Kalita Wave, place on top of your carafe and place on the scales. Carefully rinse the paper with hot water. This will have the double benefit of reducing any taste the paper might impart to the brew and also warms the brewing equipment. Discard the water. 2) Grind your coffee to a medium coarseness (something that resembles table salt) and add to your Kalita Wave.
3) Tare your scales and add 40-50g of water just off the boil. Give the slurry a gentle stir, taking care to ensure there are no dry pockets of grounds.
4) After about 30 seconds, begin to pour the remainder of your water in a slow, spiral motion.
5) Once you have added all of the water, give the Kalita Wave a gentle swirl. This stops coffee from sticking to the walls of the brewer.
6) When all of the water has dripped through, you should be left with a relatively flat bed of grounds at the base of the brewer.
7) Give your brew a stir, serve and enjoy.
Professional’s Tip: If your coffee is a little bitter for your liking, grind coarser next time. If you find it sour, try grinding finer for your next brew.