At our Equator cafes, we have the luxury of pulling shots through top-of-the-line espresso machines, and serving pour over coffees through a range of pour-over devices. But we realize not everyone has a full coffee bar in their kitchen. The coffee makers we use at home most frequently employ the pour-over method, a simple technique that can produce competition level results with a little bit of practice.
What’s the Best Home Pour-Over Coffee Maker?
Two of the most popular pour-over coffee brewers are the Hario V60 and the Kalita Wave. The Hario V60 is a cult-favorite conical coffee dripper in the specialty coffee community, both for its aesthetic appeal and featured ribbed spiral pattern. That being said, the Kalita Wave remains incredibly versatile and consistent and a staple in any home pour-over bar. It all comes down to personal opinion, and if you don’t know what they say about opinions, go ask your grandpa—we’ll let him fill you in.
What we can tell you definitively are how each pour-over coffee maker performs, and what will give you the most bang for your buck. Both get the job done and produce great results, but a few key differences will help you decide which one is right for you.
The iconic Hario V60 is one of the more elegant and sleek brewing devices we utilize. For homebrewers who want to pour the perfect cup, this nuanced and versatile device performs like a champ.
Hario began in 1921 as a heat-proof laboratory glass manufacturer in Tokyo, Japan, and eventually morphed into the brewing equipment company we know today. The V60 was originally sold in the U.S. in the 1980s, made from their signature heat-proof glass, as an alternative to other immersion brewers on the market.
The “V” in the name refers to the shape of the coffee brewer, and the “60” is for the 60° angle of the sides of the brewer. The spiral rib pattern on the interior of the brewer allows water to continuously flow through the coffee, with the perfect amount of resistance to extract the optimal flavors from the bean.
We love the wide opening of the V60, which supports faster brewing, but it does require a more exact technique, gooseneck kettle, and a steady hand. When all is said and done, you’ll find you’ve brewed a wonderfully bright and clean cup of coffee. With more versatility in brewing technique, there is more room for error and this method can be less forgiving—if you can’t pour accurately through bleary eyes in the early morning, save the V60 for your afternoon cup.
Kalita Wave 185
Kalita’s been in the business of making quality coffee brewing equipment since 1958 when it started producing paper coffee filters. Based in Japan, the land of precision and technique, their gear is often simple on its face but filled with considered details to enhance their function.
The Kalita Wave 185 is their most popular model, prized for both its ease of use and the versatility to experiment to find your perfect brew. Its flat bottom and wave-design sides reduce surface contact with the filter, which works with the three evenly spaced drip holes to regulate water flow and extraction time. The 185 Wave dripper is best for larger cups with 16-26 ounces of brewed coffee.
For a single cup of coffee with 12-16 ounces of brewed coffee, the 155 Wave dripper is a great option for early morning single servings or when it’s time to recharge in the afternoons. Pro tip, the light weight, small size and unbreakable stainless steel 155 Wave dripper is perfect for camping and adventure travel.
How Do They Compare?
Both are pour-over methods, and we find the Kalita Wave a more forgiving vehicle for early-morning brew. But if you have a truly special coffee, the V60 is our go-to to extract the ultimate flavor profile. They both produce excellent results when paired with the proper coffee. And with a little practice, they can both produce the same pour-over results you love at your local cafe.
The filters are similar in terms of thickness but vastly different in shape. The thinner filters typical of both remove any sediment, but they let a little bit more of the oils through, which gives the coffee a little more body and a super smooth flavor and feel.
The Hario V60 filters are specially designed and aren’t always easy to find on grocery store shelves, though most cafes with a retail shelf will have them available. The Kalita, on the other hand, accepts the same basket-style filters that are available anywhere you shop.
A major similarity between the two is the recommended grind setting. A finer grind that’s close to the consistency of table salt produces the best results in both the Kalita and Hario V60 as they have a relatively thin filter and similar brewing times.
The key difference is in the design, particularly the bottom of the vessels. The Hario V60 has a larger hole that coffee pours through in a single drop, while the Kalita has a sealed bottom with three small holes. The flat, holed bottom of the Kalita allows for more uneven pours and less attention to detail. While the single-holed open bottom of the Hario requires a consistent pour to ensure an even coffee extraction.
Kalita vs. Hario V60 Cheat Sheet: The Pros of Each
Still not sure which method is suitable for you? Check out the Kalita vs. Hario V60 cheat sheet below for the quick hits on what distinguishes one from the other.
- Made in two sizes in glass, plastic, and ceramic materials
- Thin filter with ribbed interior walls that require precise pouring.
- Expect a 3-4 minute extraction time per batch.
- Can brew anywhere between 3–10 cups of coffee per batch
- Brewed coffee tastes clean and bright.
- It is perfect for the connoisseur brewer that loves the details
- Made in two sizes from stainless steel, exceptionally durable and portable
- Typically brews coffee in 3–5 minutes
- It makes 2-3 cups of coffee per brew, not ideal for larger brewing
- Can expect a smooth and light flavor profile, with no sediments in coffee but some oils
Still not sure? Here’s our recommendation: try both! You can find them and other brewers in our online store here. For many of us at Equator, the Kalita is perfect for at-home brewing and when we are on the go entertaining a group of friends or family. The Hario V60 is our go-to for when we want to go big and brew a rare Gesha coffee from Finca Sophia that we want to showcase and control each variable.