When comparing different brewing devices, there are two main attributes to focus on: the mechanism for brewing the coffee and the method for filtering the grounds out of the coffee. The mechanism for brewing, or brewing style, will impact the flavour of the brew as well as the parameters you have available to tweak.
Essentially, every device will put some constraints on you as a barista. For example a pourover will constrain you to a reasonably short brew time (as water is constantly leaving the device), while a syphon will constrain you to using fairly hot water in order to stabilize the top temperature. The filtering method will mainly impact the body of the brew. A metal filter will let through a fair amount of sediment and oil into the cup, leaving you with a full body, but potentially a bit of graininess or roughness in the texture. A paper filter will clean up the body, removing sediment and providing clarity, while a cloth filter will be cleaner still.
When people ask me what the best brewer is, I always ask “Well, what do you want to do with your coffee?”
Enter the Clever Coffee Dripper (CCD). In terms of the brew style, it is what’s known as a ‘steep-and-release’ brewer. Although it looks like a pourover, the valve in the bottom means the coffee can be constantly immersed in all of the brew water, before a short drawdown phase, giving it more in common with immersion style brewers such as the humble plunger. Because of this, the brewer is very easy to use and also very repeatable. The valve makes it possible to tweak certain parameters in isolation from each other. In a Kalita, for example, changing the grind size will also change the brew time. With the CCD we can tweak these separately, along with temperature and agitation levels, to dial in the coffee super quickly and get drinking. We’re also able to avoid some variables which are difficult to control, like the pour rate and amount of agitation during pouring. By removing these from the equation we can get more consistent results at home or between a bunch of different baristas in a shop.
To sum up, the CCD is a very accessible brewer. It’s easy to use, but also a powerful and versatile tool in our search for the perfect cup. Time to get clever?
Clever Coffee Dripper brew guide
Great brewed coffee should be complex, satisfying and clean. But most of all, it should be easy to repeat! Here’s a good starting point for a rockin’ Clever Coffee Dripper (CCD) brew:
INGREDIENTS & TARGETS
- 24g of your favourite filter roast coffee (lighter than espresso)
- 400g (or ml) of filtered water or adjust to a Coffee Brew Ratio of 16.7:1 (brew water : coffee)
- Clever Coffee Dripper
- Filter papers
- Digital scale
- Kettle or urn
- Carafe for decanting
- Spoon or bamboo paddle
1. Bring your kettle to the appropriate temp (~94°C).
2. Insert filter paper into Clever Coffee Dripper (CCD).
3. Fill CCD with hot water to preheat device, then drain to thoroughly rinse the filter paper.
4. Grind 24g of coffee at a medium coarseness (e.g. 18-22 on a Baratza Encore grinder).
5. Place CCD, with pre-wet filter paper on scales, add ground coffee and tare the weight.
6. Pour 400g of brewing water and add lid.
7. After 1 minute use a spoon or paddle to break the crust, gliding your spoon from front to back 3 times skimming the surface.
8. Replace the lid and at 4:00 minutes, drain into a carafe or pot.
9. After all liquid has dispensed, discard the used filter paper and rinse CCD.
10. Sit back, relax and sip your deliciously brewed coffee.
To get your hands on a Clever Coffee Dripper for home, you can grab one from our online shop. If you’re keen to rock one of these tools in your cafe, then just mention it when you place your next order and we’ll pop one in with your next coffee delivery. If you’re looking for a recommendation of what coffee to brew with your spankin’ new clever then you really can’t go past one from our Limited Release line-up which showcases unique and delicious coffees. Although one small tip: make sure you buy it roasted for filter.
For an downloadable and printable version of the above brew guide, click below.
Originally published 11 June 2015. Updated 7 April 2020.