A good coffee comes down to an even extraction. An even extraction is the result of a controlled brew, where each variable is carefully manipulated and accounted for. Most coffee enthusiasts will attest that the best way to ensure a controlled extraction is by carefully brewing a single cup at a time, by hand. (Although batch brew technology is truly on point these days). It seems like every few years a different company reinvents the single cup coffee brewer in attempt to mitigate some sort of error or impracticality in an existing brewer. But to the layman, these brewers are doing fundamentally the same thing. A cone or funnel shape houses a paper filter where the brewer adds the coffee grounds and water according to a specific pattern and timing based on a predetermined recipe. (You can find our preferred recipes back further on our blog).
In the wake of what seems like countless new coffee brewers and devices hitting the market, I wanted to take a minute to pay homage and respect to two of the single cup coffee brewers that paved the way for much of what we know as specialty coffee. The Hario V60 and the Kalita Wave.
Hario was founded in Tokyo Japan in 1921 originally making glassware for use in a chemical laboratory setting. After developing natural and heat-proof glass for their products, they designed their first glass coffee siphon in 1949. While the company has been around for over 100 years now, the V60, which is arguably their most notable product, was first debuted in 2005.
The V60 is a cone shaped coffee brewer that is now made in glass, ceramic, and metal versions. The name comes from the 60 degree angle of the cone itself. The cone features a large opening at the top where the coffee and water are added, spiralized ridges to allow air to escape, and a smaller hole at the bottom where brewed coffee exits.
Due to the conical shape, coffees brewed on the V60 yield a bright, clean, and lighter coffee. This is great for highlighting coffees with a very fruit-foward profile. Although this also creates a more volatile brew, where any difference, no matter how minor, can ultimately impact the flavor of your cup. Here is how we like to use a V60.
Kalita was founded in Tokyo in 1958. Their most notable coffee product is the Kalita Wave brewer. Unlike the V60, Chemex, or other conical shaped brewer, the Wave makes use of a flat bottom with three smaller holes, compared to one large hole on the bottom. The flat bottom ensure that the coffee extracts evenly, without the risk of channeling or under or over extraction.
The filters used for the Kalita Wave are almost thicker than what you may find for other single cup brewers, which also aids in extraction and filtering out any harsh oils that may come from the brew. The Kalita Wave is recognized for its consistency. It is often the brewer of choice for baristas in both a home or a cafe who want predictable, repeatable brews. Here is how we like to use the Kalita Wave.
The Kalita Wave is a great brewer for someone who wants to highlight the depth and complexity of their coffee, and wants it to brew exactly the same way every time. This is why the Wave is often preferred in a retail setting, where baristas must offer a repeatable and consistent product to their guests. The Hario V60 is great for highlight the brightness and fruity characteristics of a coffee. It is an especially good brewer for at home, where there is more leeway to experiment and find new ways of brewing your beans.