Brewing a cup of coffee using a manual brewing method is one of my favorite ways to unwind and craft the flavors of my brew.
Clever Dripper and V60 are both manual coffee brewing methods. But that’s where the similarity ends. Each of these coffee tools is designed to bring out a different taste profile and is used differently.
– Hario V60 has been around since 2005 and it’s based on the classic pour-over method which dates back to the early 1900s. This method is precise and needs a continuous water flow in a timed matter.
As I’ve been using my Clever dripper for several years now as my main manual coffee dripper, I’ll explain what you can expect from each coffee brewing equipment, how you can use them, and how to choose the best one for you.
Overview of Clever Dripper and Hario V60
The Clever Dripper combines the best of both immersion and drip brewing methods. You have control over the extraction time and can enjoy a clean cup due to its paper filter. It’s made of plastic, which is durable and retains heat well.
Its defining feature is the release mechanism at the bottom that allows coffee to drain when placed in a mug. So it’s an immersion method, because the coffee steeps for minutes, then the release mechanism is when the coffee dripping takes place.
Clever Dripper Features:
- Material: Durable BPA-free plastic
- Brewing Method: Immersion/Drip hybrid
- Filter: Uses standard #4 paper filters
- Capacity: Typically 1-2 cups
- Heat Retention: Good due to plastic construction and included lid
- Cleanup: Fairly simple
The Hario V60, on the other hand, is a classic pour-over method. It is known for its spiral ridges and a large single hole that facilitates quick and even extraction. It requires precision with pour-over technique to achieve the best results.
When using the V60 dripper, you have to time your water flow and make sure you saturate all coffee grounds. This brewing method is all about timing.
Hario V60 Features:
- Material: Available in ceramic, glass, metal, or plastic
- Brewing Method: Pour-over
- Filter: Uses proprietary V60 paper filters
- Capacity: Ranges from 1 to 6 cups
- Heat Retention: Excellent with ceramic and glass options
- Cleanup: Easy
Your choice between the two will depend on your preference for immersion or pour-over brewing, as well as considerations about material and ease of cleaning. Both can produce an exquisite cup of coffee that highlights the beans’ flavor profile. But you have to keep in mind that the Clever Dripper requires no attendance on your part, you pour the water quantity all at one go, let the coffee steep then release. While a method like V60 requires that you pour water continuously for about 2 minutes in a steady flow, so it takes some effort and precision on your part.
The approaches to brewing with the Clever Dripper and Hario V60 differ significantly, primarily in terms of technique and the control you have over different variables affecting the taste of your coffee.
Clever Dripper Brewing Method
Begin by placing a filter into your Clever Dripper. Rinse it with hot water to remove any paper taste and preheat the brewer. For a balanced extraction, use a medium-coarse grind, similar to sea salt. Use a standard ratio of 1:17 of coffee to water. That means for every gram of coffee, you add 17 grams (or milliliters) of water.
- Preparation: Insert the paper filter and add 20g of ground coffee.
- Pour 340g of water heated to around 200°F over the grounds.
- Start a timer and let the coffee steep for about 2 minutes.
- Release: Once steeped, place the Clever Dripper on your mug and allow the coffee to drain, usually taking an additional 1 to 1.5 minutes.
Hario V60 Brewing Method
With the Hario V60, a gooseneck kettle will give you the most control for pouring water, but you can use a regular kettle if you can have good control of your pour when using it.
You’ll need a filter specific to the V60’s conical shape. Aim for a medium-fine grind, finer than sand but not as powdery as espresso.
- Preparation: Place the V60 filter in the dripper and rinse with hot water.
- Add 20g of ground coffee.
- Start by pouring 40g of water for a 30-second ‘bloom’ phase.
- Continue pouring in stages up to 320g of water, maintaining a steady spiral motion.
- Finishing: Allow the water to draw down completely. The total brew time should be close to 3 minutes.
Paper Filters for Each Dripper
A Clever dripper can use any #4 paper filter available to you, from any brand. So anything like a Melitta coffee filter should work just fine.
Hario’s V60, on the other hand, requires that you use special paper filters. It looks conical, like a Melitta filter, but the difference is a V60 filter is pointy at the bottom.
The V60 filters are available from Hario or other generic brands, and they are available easily at any grocery store or online store.
There are several options of reusable filters for both Clever and V60. You can choose from stainless steel mesh filters or organic cotton filters. But these can slightly alter the taste of your coffee because they are thicker than a paper filter.
Ease of Use
When comparing the Clever Dripper with the Hario V60, you’ll find that each brewing method has its unique considerations for ease of use.
- Straightforward process: You simply add coffee grounds and hot water, let it steep, then place the dripper on a cup to release the coffee.
- Built-in stopper: No need to watch over it; the coffee will not draw down until you’re ready.
- Ease of cleaning: After use, you dispose of the paper filter and rinse the dripper.
The Clever Dripper works similar to a French Press pot. The first phase of the brewing is called Immersion, which is when the coffee grounds steep for a few minutes just like you would in a press pot.
What’s the difference between a Clever Dripper and French press, then? Clever produces a much cleaner cup of coffee due to the use of a paper filter, but the taste profile is more pronounced than a filter coffee machine, because of the long steep time.
- Requires attention: You need to pour hot water in a circular motion for even extraction.
- Consistency of technique: Achieving the best results requires practice to maintain a consistent pour.
- Manual control: Offers more variables like pour rate and pattern that you can adjust to taste.
In terms of ease, you may prefer the Clever Dripper for its simplicity and consistency, especially if you’re new to manual coffee brewing. The Hario V60, while offering precise control and the potential for a more nuanced cup, can take some time to master due to its manual requirements.
Can a Clever Dripper Be Used as a V60 Or Vice Versa?
No, none of these can be used as a substitute for the other.
a V60 does not have the stop-valve mechanism of a Clever dripper. And a Clever dripper has a built-in valve that cannot be removed.
If you want a two-in-one brewing tool, check out the Hario Switch which works as an immersion dripper and a V60 dripper.
Flavor and Extraction
When you brew coffee using the Clever Dripper, you’ll notice that it offers a more forgiving extraction process due to its steep-and-release mechanism. This method allows for a full immersion brew, similar to a French press, yielding a rich and full-bodied flavor profile with a smoother taste.
On the other hand, the Hario V60 requires a more precise pour-over technique which, when done correctly, can extract a cleaner and more nuanced cup with bright acidity and clear flavors. The V60 emphasizes the unique characteristics of the coffee, such as floral or fruity notes.
With the V60, timing is everything. Over or under-extraction can happen if you pour your water too quickly or slowly, which can result in an unpleasant cup of coffee.
Here’s a simple comparison table to highlight the differences:
Your choice between these methods should reflect your flavor preferences:
For a richer cup: Clever Dripper. For a brighter, nuanced cup: Hario V60.
Your brewing technique will greatly affect the extraction and ultimately the flavor of your coffee. Take your time to master your preferred method for a rewarding cup every time.
Grind Size and Coffee Types
When brewing with the Clever Dripper, you’ll want a medium-coarse grind resembling sea salt. This grind size ensures proper extraction while maintaining a clean cup. Here’s a quick guide:
- Light roasts: Aim slightly finer to extract more flavor.
- Dark roasts: Keep to medium-coarse to avoid bitterness.
With the Hario V60, a medium-fine grind works best, but you need to adjust based on your coffee’s roast profile:
- Light roasts: Grind finer to accentuate the coffee’s bright acidity.
- Medium roasts: A true medium-fine grind balances sweetness and acidity.
- Dark roasts: Grind slightly coarser to mitigate bitterness and enhance sweetness.
Always ensure that your grind size is consistent to avoid over- or under-extraction. Your taste preference should guide slight adjustments to these recommendations.
If you are using a Baratza Encore like I do, try grind setting #20 as a start for the Clever Dripper, and the range 16 to 18 for V60.
Design and Build Quality
Both the Clever Dripper and the Hario V60 have distinctive designs catered to enhance your coffee brewing experience, with build quality that reflects their reputations in the coffee world.
Clever Dripper Design
Material: The Clever Dripper is made from BPA-free plastic, a choice made to ensure durability and decent heat retention during the brewing process. Its body is thick and sturdy, displaying resilience against the daily wear and tear of kitchen life. It also includes a lid that you can use to keep the coffee hot as it steeps.
Structure: It features a unique shut-off valve system that gives you control over the steeping time. The cone shape is compatible with standard #4 size paper filters which contribute to a clean cup. Its flat bottom design facilitates an even extraction, harmonizing the flavor profile of your coffee.
Hario V60 Design
Material: The Hario V60 is typically made from ceramic, glass, metal, or plastic. The ceramic model, in particular, is favored for its heat retention properties and its solid, artisanal feel. However, the glass and metal variations are valued for their aesthetic and durability, while the plastic version is appreciated for its affordability and lightweight nature.
None of Hario’s V60 drippers includes a lid. Many people prefer to brew their coffee in a server (a small carafe) and use its lid to keep the coffee at a drinkable temperature.
Structure: Its design has a distinctive spiral pattern and a large singular hole at the bottom enabling a quick brew time and encouraging a rich extraction. This V60’s 60-degree angle allows for optimal coffee layering and flavor development. The use of specific V60 paper filters helps to eliminate unwanted oils and ensure a crisp, clear cup of coffee.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning your Clever Dripper or Hario V60 is needed after each use. Both are straightforward to clean.
- After Each Use:
- Dispose of the grounds.
- Rinse the dripper with hot water.
- Use a mild detergent and a soft brush or sponge to clean the valve.
- Rinse thoroughly to remove any soap residue.
- After Each Use:
- Dispose of the grounds.
- Rinse with warm water to remove coffee oils.
For both brewers:
- Do Not Use:
- Abrasive cleaners or pads.
- Any cleaning agents that could affect the taste of your coffee.
- Allow to air dry completely before the next use.
None of these drippers requires any special tools or processes for cleaning, which is part of the appeal of using manual coffee brewers.
Durability and Longevity
When you consider the Clever Dripper and the Hario V60, you’re looking at two robust options in the world of coffee brewing. But V60’s durability will depend on which material you opt for.
- Constructed from BPA-free plastic, the Clever Dripper is quite resilient against drops and mishandling.
- Due to its plastic build, it’s less likely to crack compared to ceramic or glass.
- Offers a long lifespan when cleaned and stored properly, avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures.
- Available in various materials such as glass, ceramic, plastic, and metal. Each material directly affects durability.
- Glass and ceramic versions can break if dropped, but provide better heat retention.
- Metal and plastic V60s are highly durable and resistant to falls.
- With regular use and careful handling, the V60 can last many years.
|High durability, lower heat retention
|High durability, lower heat retention
|Moderate durability, high heat retention
|Low durability, high heat retention
|Very high durability, moderate heat retention
Portability and Convenience
When considering the Clever Dripper and the Hario V60 for brewing coffee, you should weigh their portability and convenience.
The Clever Dripper is a lightweight immersion brewer made of durable plastic, ideal for travel:
- Weight: Approx. 10 ounces
- Material: BPA-free plastic
- Ease of Use: Simply add coffee and water, steep, and release.
On the other hand, the Hario V60 requires a more hands-on approach but is revered for its precise control over the brewing process:
- Weight: Ranges from 2.95 ounces (plastic) to 9.88 ounces (ceramic)
- Material: Available in plastic, ceramic, glass, and metal
- Ease of Use: Requires practice to perfect the pour-over technique.
Both options are compact and designed for easy transport, with the Clever Dripper being slightly more forgiving for beginners.
Your choice depends on your preference for convenience over control, and your willingness to carry around a few extra accessories, like filters and a gooseneck kettle for the V60. Both fit easily into your luggage or daily pack, so you can enjoy a quality brew wherever you go.
When comparing the Clever Dripper with the Hario V60, you’ll notice a difference in their initial costs as well as the ongoing expenses associated with their use.
Initial Purchase Price:
- Clever Dripper: Prices range from $22 to $35.
- Hario V60: Prices range from $8 to $50, depending on the material (plastic, glass, ceramic, or metal).
- Hario V60: Requires special filters that can cost anywhere from $5 to $7 for a pack of 100.
- Clever Dripper: Uses conical filters that are slightly less expensive, around $4 to $6 for a pack of 100.
Is Clever Dripper a Better Option Than the Hario V60?
None of these coffee drippers is better than the other, but each is made for a specific use and to create a certain coffee taste profile.
I mentioned earlier in the post that I have used my Clever Dripper daily for several years now.
I picked it as my dripper for several reasons:
- It is easy to use. Dump the entire amount of water on the coffee grounds, steep and release. As opposed to the precise water flow that the V60 requires, the Clever dripper is quite forgiving and will provide great-tasting coffee every time.
- I wanted something that would brew a bolder cup of coffee than what the V60 can provide. The Clever dripper steeps the coffee for about 2 minutes, so it provides a longer extraction time than the V60.
- The Clever dripper doesn’t require any special accessories (gooseneck kettle or specific paper filters). Any source of hot water will do.
Alternatively, if you feel like you want to work more on your coffee brewing skills, and want to make a brighter and crisper cup of coffee, you’ll enjoy the V60 instead. Due to its spiral shape and large hole, the coffee does not steep but drips immediately as soon as you start pouring in the water. Which is why you need to do it in a timely manner.