The Kalita Wave has quickly become one of my favorite brewing methods at home. Those of you who have read the magazine for a long time, and enjoyed conversations via email, probably know that I have long used a Chemex for home brewing. A time ago my large Chemex broke and I switched to a small 3 cup. During the interim, I started thinking about getting something else…
The Kalita Wave is popular in many speciality / 3rd wave settings. The reason for this is because as a pour over with a paper filter, it provides a remarkably full bodied and rich cup of coffee.
This has to do with the extensive surface area created by the waved filter design, along with the flat bottom brewer which encourages more full / rounded extraction.
In short, the idea with this design is that you get more flavor extracted. On top of that the filters are thinner than other paper filters, so you get a bit more in your cup (it’s still a paper filter, so many of the oils and all the grounds will be retained).
I’d had it on my mind for some time to grab myself one of these Kalita’s I had heard so much about – but since I was satisfied with the Chemex, I did nothing about it.
Then, I had the astonishing pleasure of a brewed cup via Kalita wave – and on a Poursteady as well (this is a fancy automated ‘hand’ pourover machine – mimicking a hand poured coffee, in this case on a Kalita Wave, but automated). As I was still in my Chemex phase, I was comparing all brewed cups to my own home experience.
I still remember this cup from the Kalita – it exploded with rich juicy sweetness. It was in many respects like a Chemex in that the flavors had heightened clarity, but it was also like an Aeropress or even a French Press in that it had impressive body. It was like I took a Chemex and rounded out the bottom half of flavors with deeper richness. Like biting into a ripe juicy cantaloupe compared to crisp apple. Both delicious, but the ripe cantaloupe is so thick, rich, and exploding with flavor by comparison.
Of course the coffee used matters, but it can’t be denied that the experience from a Kalita is both delightful and unique.
On top of that just like the Chemex it’s incredibly easy to get started with (actually, probably easier, as you’ll probably never have flow challenges that sometimes crop up with the brewing in a Chemex). You just stick the Kalita brewer over your vessel (either the carafe like I’ve shown in the kit, or even just over your mug), add your filter, add your grounds, then add your water.
Just like with my other pour over hand brewing methods, I’m recommending the gooseneck kettle here. Aside from easier, cleaner ‘precision pouring,’ having less agitation in the brewer is helpful in getting a clearer tastier drink. I’m also recommending my standard Bonavita Baratza Encore, as well as the beautiful Acaia scale.