When it comes to manual coffee brewing methods, there is immersion brewing such as French Press and then there’s drip coffee like many pour-over tools such as the Hario V60 or Kalita Wave.
But there are a few hybrid tools that combine both, and those would be the Clever Dripper and Hario Switch.
– Clever Dripper has a shut-off valve that is disabled automatically by placing the dripper on top of your mug or server. Hario Switch uses a flip switch (hence, the name) to activate the coffee pour.
– Hario Switch can be used as an immersion dripper or a pour-over dripper like the V60. So it’s a two-in-one tool.
– Material-wise, the Clever dripper is made of plastic, while the Hario Switch is made of glass.
Special Features of the Clever Dripper
The Clever Dripper combines the simplicity of drip brewing with the control of immersion brewing. Your coffee grounds are steeped in hot water, similar to a French press, which allows for a more complete extraction.
- Valve-release System: The dripper features a unique valve that allows your coffee to drain only when the device is placed atop a mug.
- Capacity: Typically available in two sizes, it’s suitable for single servings or multiple cups, depending on your needs.
- Material: Usually made from BPA-free plastic, ensuring it’s lightweight and durable.
- Filter: Requires a standard #4 paper filter, contributing to a cleaner cup and easier cleanup.
Ease of Use: You simply add coffee grounds, pour hot water, and let it steep. After the desired steep time, you place the dripper on your cup, triggering the release valve.
Maintenance: Clean-up is straightforward. Dispose of the used filter and coffee grounds, and rinse the dripper with water.
Brew Control: By adjusting the grind size, steeping time, and water temperature, you can tailor your brew to your precise taste preference.
This method is ideal if you’re seeking a brewing process that’s hands-off yet offers the opportunity for customization.
Overview of Hario Switch
The Hario Switch is a versatile brewing tool you might appreciate if you enjoy manual coffee making. It combines immersion and drip brewing techniques, allowing you to control the extraction.
Hario designed its Switch dripper as a competitor to the Clever Dripper, but it made it even better with a detachable valve. With the stop-valve installed, you can use the dripper as an immersion tool. If you remove it, you can use the dripper as a V60 pour-over dripper.
- Material: Heat-resistant glass, stainless steel, silicone
- Capacity: available in two sizes
- Filter: Use with Hario V60 paper filters
This method gives you the ability to experiment with steeping times, grind size, and water temperature. The end result is a coffee that’s tailored to your personal taste preferences.
Design and Build Quality
When comparing the Clever Dripper and the Hario Switch, you’ll notice distinct differences in both design and build quality that could affect your brewing experience.
The Clever Dripper is designed with functionality and simplicity in mind. The BPA-free plastic body is lightweight and durable, making it a practical choice for everyday use or travel. A unique aspect is its stopper mechanism that allows you to control the steeping time before releasing the brew into your cup.
Because it is made of plastic, it is less likely to break which makes it more durable, especially during travel.
In contrast, the Hario Switch emphasizes craftsmanship and a more traditional aesthetic. Made from high-quality glass and a silicone stopper, it feels more high quality than the Clever Dripper.
While the heat-resistant glass it is made of is a better material, it also makes it more likely to break and is not a travel-friendly option.
Related: Hario V60 vs Clever Dripper
Both the Clever Dripper and Hario Switch provide the same brewing immersion/drip hybrid method. The difference lies in the mechanism by which the coffee is released.
How Clever Dripper Works
In the Clever Coffee Dripper, you add ground coffee and hot water directly into the brewing chamber. Here’s what happens next:
- Immersion Phase: The coffee grounds are fully immersed in the water, much like a French press, allowing full contact and an even extraction.
- Drainage Control System: When you’re ready to end the brewing process, you place the dripper on top of your cup. This activates a release mechanism, allowing the coffee to flow through a built-in filter and into your cup. The process is controlled by you and can be stopped at any time by removing the dripper from the cup.
How Hario Switch Works
The Hario Switch, on the other hand, has its own distinct mechanism:
- Immersion: In this step, you will add the coffee grounds, pour your water, and let the mix steep.
- Switch Mechanism: The key highlight of the Hario Switch is the switch at the bottom. When flipped, it starts the draining process, shifting from immersion to drip. The idea of this switch is to control your coffee flow easily, without the need to lift the brewer as the Clever dripper would need.
- Pour-Over: If you at some point want to use your Hario Switch as a V60, you can do so by using the same dripper. All you have to do is remove the silicone stopper.
Ease of Use
Both the Clever Dripper and Hario Switch have the same simple process of brewing coffee.
All you have to do is add your ground coffee, pour the water in, and let it steep for two minutes.
The only difference here is how the coffee is drained. With the Clever Dripper, you put the dripper on top of the mug and the valve will get pushed and start releasing the coffee. With the Hario Switch, you flip the switch on the bottom to start releasing the coffee.
Does that make a difference in the taste of coffee? No, not really. What Hario did here is make the stopper valve manual simply to allow you to use the same dripper as an immersion tool or as a V60, which is a great design feature.
Taste and Extraction Quality
As immersion coffee drippers, both work the same way. However, other parameters can affect the taste of the coffee produced from each dripper.
The Clever dripper uses medium-ground coffee and a #4 paper filter that is thicker than Hario’s V60 paper filters, which is what the Switch uses, too. Coffee brewed using the Clever dripper is smoother and cleaner due to the type of paper filter and the larger ground particles which allows for a quicker release.
The Hario Switch, on the other hand, uses finer ground coffee and thinner paper filters. What that does is increase the water/coffee contact time and make for a slower coffee release (it starts quick and then slows down). The thinner paper filters allow for more coffee oils to be released into the brew. The result is a bolder and heavier cup of coffee.
The material of the dripper is another parameter to consider. The glass of the Hario Switch, while it’s supposed to retain the heat of the brew, the glass takes away from the brew’s temperature to some degree.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Both of these coffee drippers are easy to clean and maintain. All you have to do is dispose of the coffee grounds and rinse them under water.
You should not use any abrasive tools or cleaning detergents, warm water should be enough to clean them out.
If there is one thing that the Hario Switch wins at, it would be versatility. Because it works as both an immersion-style tool and a pour-over dripper, you get two drippers for the price of one.
The Clever dripper is a hybrid brewer, but it offers just that one brewing method. It can’t be used as a V60 dripper.
So if you are just getting into manual coffee brewing and want to try different methods to see which one you prefer, the Hario Switch would be a great choice.
Which One To Pick
To pick the right dripper for your personal preference, keep these things in mind:
- Do you prefer a cleaner and smoother cup of coffee with less oils? This is where the Clever dripper shines due to the paper filters it uses. You can always control the boldness of your brew by letting the coffee steep longer. But when draining the brew, you can always rely that your coffee will taste smooth.
- With the Hario Switch, when used as an immersion tool, you get a heavier cup of coffee. But as a pour-over tool, you can make a much lighter brew.
- If you prefer versatility and having a tool that can do both pour-over and immersion, the Hario Switch is for you.
- If you need something that is travel-friendly, the plastic material of the Clever dripper makes it perfect just for that. The Switch’s glass material is not a great choice for traveling or camping.