Serious Eats: Drinks
How to Brew Coffee in a Clever Dripper
The Clever coffee dripper is a Japanese-manufactured cone brewer similar to a Melitta (but made of medical grade plastic), or the ceramic drippers (like the Beehouse, Bonmac or Hario V60) recently experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Unlike most dripper cones, though, the Clever marries the principles of immersion brewing—or steeping like a French Press—with the principles of extraction via pouring water over the grounds into a conical brewer which awesomely suspends the immersion until you release the coffee (via a weight-controlled valve) over a cup.
The combination of pourover extraction style and the longer contact of grounds-within-water that the Clever mixes together can produce a very well-balanced cup with beautiful body and delicate flavor. It comes with an unintimidating entry fee (you can get one for less than $20), is easy to use—and childishly fun to dispense coffee from.
Equipment needed: water, coffee, #4 paper filters, Clever dripper, paddle or spoon, lid, cup or pitcher that Clever fits over top of.
Coffee dose: 22 grams or approximately 3 level tablespoons.
Place filter in the Clever dripper and premoisten with very hot water from your tap or kettle. Drain the rinse water from the Clever over a cup or small pitcher.
Begin boiling water. Measure your coffee and grind it coarsely during the boiling process.
Place ground coffee in Clever dripper (while it rests on the counter). After water has come off the boil for approximately 40 seconds, pour just enough over the coffee to saturate it, give a quick stir, and cover for 30 seconds.
Continue evenly pouring water over the grounds until it reaches the top of the ridges on the Clever's sides. Stir in a cyclonic motion once or twice, and cover for 2 minutes and 45 seconds.
Engage Clever dripper by placing on top of cup or pitcher to dispense coffee. Total extraction time should take approximately 45 seconds. Pull the dripper off of the cup before the final water is drained completely. (Or, depending on the size of your cup—before it overflows!)
Time, temperature, coffee quantity, and grind are all variables you can play with to assure your final cup of coffee is where you want it to be. If you find your extraction time is longer than anticipated, coarsen your grind. If it drains through too quickly, make the grind finer. You may also find you prefer a little more coffee in your extraction: play with two or three more grams at a time to find the spot you like without overpowering the nuances of the particular coffee.
As always, experiment to your own tastes, and enjoy!