August 17, 2015

Kalita Wave: The Story & Brewing Guide


Kalita Who?

The Wave is another offering from Kalita Co., the family-owned Japanese company which has been making coffee equipment since the 1950s. The Wave’s streamlined style is characteristic of their products.

The Kalita Wave dripper, available in stainless steel, ceramic, or glass.

The Kalita Wave dripper, available in stainless steel, ceramic, or glass. 

Kalita as a Brew Method

The Kalita Wave dripper is a pour-over, similar to a Chemex or V60, which makes for a clean cup. This contrasts with the robust profile of full-immersion brews, such as the French Press or Clever.

Yet while similar to the Chemex or V60, the Kalita Wave has a markedly different extraction configuration. Rather than water dripping through a singular hole, it features a flat bottom with three extraction holes. This eliminates any channeling of water in the coffee bed, resulting in an extremely crisp cup. The dripper also has minimal contact with the filter, allowing for consistency in temperature and an even dispersion of water.

SEE ALSO: Hario v60 – The History and Brewing Guide

There are two filter types: the 185 and the 155. The 185 filters go with the larger 185 dripper. The 155 is good for those who only plan on drinking one cup per brew.

coffee beans with branches

The Kalita Wave brings out the brighter notes of the coffee.

The Three Factors of a Perfect Coffee

Before we begin looking at the Kalita Wave in detail, let’s talk about the three constants that are important for brewing the perfect cup of coffee:

1. Grind:

This will dictate how well the coffee brews. For the Kalita Wave, the grind setting should be 7.5 on a scale of 10 (1 being espresso fine, 10 being French Press coarse).

You really need a burr grinder for this—a blade grinder just isn’t capable of providing consistent granule sizes.

2. Water:

Water purity is crucial, as is the temperature. If the coffee’s brewed at boiling point, it risks being scorched. If it’s brewed at too low a temperature, the oils will never be properly integrated. It’s widely accepted among enthusiasts that 90-96°C is ideal.

Precision pouring is also a necessity—and the Kalita Wave just so happens to be one of the most accurate (and elegant) kettles on the market.

3. Ratio:

There’s a lot of speculation on the best ratio of water to coffee. The best ratio actually depends on several variables, but the Kalita Wave works best between 14.5-16(ml):1(g). This range allows for variations based on the type of coffee being used and the time since roasting.

Recently roasted and fresh beans

Recently roasted and freshly ground beans are also vital.

Time to Make Some Coffee

With the Kalita Wave, you want to do incremental pours every 30 seconds. The amount of water needed will vary based on what stage it is in the brewing process, while the finishing time should be between 2(m):45(s) and 3:15, depending on how much coffee is being made.

The brew I’m going to describe uses 20 grams of coffee to 360 grams of water. 

Kalita wave with a wristwatch

Keep a watch or timer handy to determine when to pour.

1. Bloom:

Be sure to wet the filter before adding the grounds; this will get rid of any papery taste. Once the grounds have been added, pour 40-60g of water and let it bloom for 30 seconds. This will help the gas within the beans from the roasting process to escape.

The Kalita Wave

The Kalita Wave—looking beautiful.

2.  Brew:

Next, pour 150g of water in a constant stream for 20 seconds. Wait until the timer reaches 1 minute, and pour 50g over the next 20 seconds. Wait for the 1:30 mark, then repeat. At 2 minutes, proceed to fill the dripper all the way up to 360 grams. Wait for the water to clear from the dripper, and you’re ready to serve.

Kalita Wave with a black stopper that keeps the coffee warm longer.

Included with the Kalita Wave is a black stopper that keeps the coffee warm longer.

Kalita Wave Brewing Tips

  • The Kalita Wave kettle is stove-top friendly, so don’t be afraid to get it hot. This will help ensure the water being used will stay warm, unlike when you pour boiled water from a hot kettle into a cold one.
  • A microfiber cloth and a bit of water polishes nicely, so you can keep your dripper and kettle looking like new.
  • When measuring the water you need, go ahead and fill the kettle to the top. This will allow enough margin to wet the filter, warm the server, and preheat the cup. The last thing you want is to run out of water while brewing.

Feature Photo Credit: Gavin Pugh.

Perfect Daily Grind.