Kalita Wave 185

8.6

Price

6.0/10

Coffee Maker Quality

10.0/10

Coffee Quality

10.0/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Cleaning Ease

10.0/10

Appearance

10.0/10

Brew Speed

9.0/10

Durability

10.0/10

Versatility

4.0/10

Pros

  • Small footprint
  • Stainless steel for keeping brew temperature steady
  • Even extraction with flat bottom and 3 small holes
  • Attractive
  • Arguably the best coffee from a pour over

Cons

  • Filters are pricey
  • Unbleached filters are no good
  • Expensive for a pour over coffeemaker
  • Takes patience to dial in the grind

Another pour over coffee maker is probably the last thing that I needed for my already too-crowded kitchen. Fortunately, the Kalita Wave 185 is not only incredibly small, but it also boasts several benefits my other pour over coffee makers can’t stake claim to.

About the Kalita Wave

The Kalita Wave is quickly becoming one of the most popular pour over coffee makers out there. Available in two sizes (155 and 185) and three different materials (ceramic, glass, and stainless steel), you are bound to find one that suits your needs.

The Kalita Wave is made in Japan and features 3 small holes in a triangular configuration at the bottom of the dripper. The coffee maker itself is conical, but the base is flat and circular.

The Kalita Wave 155 is the 1-2 cup version, while the 185 model is for 3-4 cups. Today, I’ll be reviewing the latter in its stainless steel version.

The Review

The Price

In relative terms, the price of the Kalita Wave can easily be construed as “outrageously over-priced.” I mean, it’s just a simple coffee dripper that’s at least $10 more than the Hario V60.

Still, it is a bargain when you consider the fact that coffee makers that brew coffee that is far worse, cost a whole lot more than $25.

Score: 3 stars

The Coffee Maker Quality

All stainless steel and very lightweight. Nothing about it feels cheap and it appears to be made with quality materials.

Score: 5 stars

The Coffee Quality

You can definitely get 5-star coffee from this if you do things right. Having said that, there is also plenty of room for error. For example, if you go too fine with your grind you can easily over-extract the coffee and end up with a bitter cup of coffee.

Of the pour-over options however, this will get you the most consistently great results.

Score: 5 stars

Ease of Use

Brewing coffee manually is definitely an involved process, but it isn’t difficult. You will have to experiment a bit with grind, water temperature, brew ratio, and your pouring technique, but chances are good that you will get something you’re pretty satisfied with right off the bat.

Score: 4 stars

Cleaning Ease

Toss the filter and give the dripper a rinse. Simple as that.

Score: 5 stars

Appearance

I think it looks great! Petite, sleek, nice materials.

Score: 5 stars

Brew Speed

Since the holes are smaller than any other pour over dripper I’ve encountered, the brew speed is reduced a bit for the typical drip grind. But this really has most to do with the grind you are choosing and the rate at which you pour.

You should be aiming for 3-4 minutes.

Score: 4.5 stars

Durability

The only thing that could conceivably break on this coffee maker is the handle, which seems to be attached pretty solidly. Even if it did fall off (which I don’t see happening, ever), the coffee dripper could still be used as intended.

Score: 5 stars

Versatility

It’s not really fair to review versatility for a pour over coffee maker. After all, you’re not looking for a crazy list of features if you’re even considering pour over coffee in the first place. But alas…

Score: 2 stars

The Filters

Yet another coffee maker with its own “special” filters. These are the cupcake style filters that are pretty similar to Melitta’s as I explained in the video. These filters are quite thick and also quite expensive.

You could probably get away with using a Melitta filter, but it wouldn’t fit very well into the Kalita itself, even after pre-rinsing.

You do want your filters to fit into your filter holder (The Kalita in this case) though, because this is what will keep your brew’s flow rate in order, your extraction even, and ultimately will result in a better cup of coffee.

Another thing: I got the unbleached filters, and just like the unbleached Chemex filters, they really need a thorough rinsing to get the papery taste out. I’d probably go with the bleached version if I could start over again.

In fact, since I wrote that last sentence I’ve already gone ahead and purchased the bleached filters.

Is the Kalita Wave 185 for you?

If you’re looking for a pour over coffee maker that retains heat well and offers an even extraction, then I think the Kalita Wave is probably your best bet.

The Kalita Wave however, is probably not your best bet if you’re trying to get the quickest cup of pour over coffee at the lowest price point.

So if you’re just getting into pour over coffee, I might start with a Hario V60 or Melitta because they are less expensive and can still get you great results.

But if you’re looking for the absolute best results from a pour over coffee maker, you really can’t go wrong with the Kalita Wave.  Just be ready to put in some practice before you get that perfect cup of coffee.