The Coffeevine brew guide: Clever Dripper
A much overlooked coffee maker, Clever Dripper is a great brewer that offers outstanding consistency and control that result in a delicious cup
This is something that I’ve meant to do forever but life always gets in the way. Although I already provide monthly brew guides for each of my Coffeevine editions, I’ve not yet put together individual manuals for using the most common and some more uncommon brew methods that many of you out there use on a daily basis.
Now that we’re back in lockdown, I no longer have any excuses. So, here it is! My Coffeevine Brew Guide series.
And I shall begin this one with a coffee maker that doesn’t usually get much attention, at least not on Instagram because, let’s face it, it’s not the prettiest. Clever Dripper.
The origins of this brew method are a bit unclear and the website of the company that invented it looks like it comes straight out of Stranger Things. What we do know is that the Clever Dripper was invented in Taiwan and has been around since the early 2000’s.
What’s great about this brewer is that it:
- Is made from BPA free plastic meaning it’s extremely sturdy
- It also means that it keeps the temperature inside pretty constant (if you apply the lid)
- It offers full-immersion brewing similar to the Aeropress, however it uses gravity to extract the liquid
- It can also be used for pourover but I would advise against that
- And it is also a great device for brewing tea, something you see places like Bocca in Amsterdam do very well
I actually have a bit of a personal love story with the Clever Dripper that goes back to 2015 when I opened and ran the first filter coffee only bar in Amsterdam. It was only a short lived project, sadly, but it was also the first time I spoke directly with James Hoffmann who offered me some learnings from his own filter coffee pop-up café in London where he used the Clever Dripper.
It was thanks to him that I decided to work only with the Clever Dripper and the results were consistent and delicious because the Clever Dripper requires very little work to produce a great cup of coffee. That is probably also why Berg Wu, another World Barista Champion who I met in Taipei in 2016 also used only the Clever Dripper at this café.
The mechanics of this brewer are such that it has a valve at the bottom that allows you to precisely time the drawdown to suit your desired outcome. So it’s really up to you to find the right combination of coffee, grind size, water and brew time but the below recipe should be a good starting point.
Generally speaking, I use the Clever Dripper to brew a larger cup of coffee with a yield of around 300 – 320ml.
What can you expect in the cup?
A balanced a full-bodied cup that highlights the floral and fruity notes of your coffee while keeping the more bitter elements safely trapped in the filter.
I hope this custom brew guide will help you to discover this nifty brewer and that you’ll also be able to make some banging cups coffee with it.
Get all of your gear ready to brew fresh coffee. This includes scales, a decanter, freshly boiled water (I use the Barista Hustle recipe that you can find here), a stirrer, a grinder and 22g of your favourite coffee of the moment. I used a gorgeous washed Caturra from Samaichacha roasted by Drop Coffee.
Add your paper filter and rinse you Clever Dripper with some hot water to remove the papery taste.
Add your very coarsely ground coffee – about 34 – 35 clicks on the Comandante Grinder – to your Clever Dripper and immediately add 350g of freshly boiled water at around 93ºC.
Then give it a good stir to make sure all the grounds are wet and there are no clumps. Apply the lid and let it steep for 1:45 minutes.
Remove the lid and give it one more nice stir to agitate the grounds. Then, at 2:00 minutes begin the drawdown into a clean decanter. This should take approximately 4:00 minutes in total but can vary slighlty based on your coffee and the consistency of your grinder. If it takes way longer, you need to grind coarser. If it’s too fast, grind finer.
Pour and let cool slightly until you can enjoy this coffee without burning your tongue. If your partner asks you to share, tell them you’ll make them another one because you ain’t sharing. 😉
I hope you enjoyed this brew guide for the Clever Dripper. Leave a comment down below to share your own recipe or to let me know what you think of this guide.
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