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Kalita Wave 155 review:

Kalita dripper makes quality coffee if you put in the work

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The Good If you have the will to practice, the Kalita Wave 155 brews outstanding cups of drip coffee. It's relatively affordable compared with fancy automatic coffee makers. It's made from textured stainless steel that's durable and attractive.

The Bad To use it properly takes lots of practice and patience. Kitchen appliances such as a quality burr grinder, a scale and a gooseneck kettle will increase your chances for brewing success but you'll have to purchase them separately.

The Bottom Line To use the Kalita Wave 155 drip brewer properly takes plenty of practice and extra kitchen gear, but the payoff is a cup of fabulously good drip.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.3 Overall
  • Performance 7.7
  • Design 7.5
  • Features 6.5
  • Maintenance 7.0

Review Sections

There's a good reason the $30 Kalita Wave 155 coffee maker (£24, AU$40 equivalent) enjoys a cult following among professional baristas and nerdy home java amateurs. Within this modest-looking steel funnel lies the power to make cups of staggeringly delicious drip coffee. Just be prepared to invest the time and patience to develop the skill necessary to get the most from it.

Unlike other drip coffee funnels such as the $16 Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over, the Kalita Wave doesn't measure water for you. Neither can you take a leisurely break during the brewing process like you can when using the $40 Bonavita Immersion Dripper. This means using the Wave is a nerve-wracking affair until you've sharpened your personal coffee game. Of course it makes sipping a successful, hand-crafted cup of coffee from the Wave 155 that much sweeter. Casual java drinkers should get their morning fix elsewhere.

Design

The Kalita Wave 155 is a deceptively simple device. The tiny coffee maker consists of just one main part, a stainless-steel funnel designed to hold paper filters for ground coffee. Built to brew a single cup of coffee, the Wave 155 is Kalita's smallest drip coffee maker. The company also sells a $38 Wave 185 that can produce double the volume of brewed coffee.

Inspired by European pour-over originator Melitta and its line of filter brewers, the Kalita Wave 155 is very similar save one important difference. Instead of a cone-shaped filter basket, the Wave's filter holder has a flat bottom. Kalita says this filter design promotes a uniform bed of coffee grounds and therefore balanced flavor extraction.

The Kalita Wave's simple design can be very effective.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Some electric coffee makers take the same approach and for the same claimed reason, including the Bunn Velocity Brew and our Editors' Choice winner, the Bonavita BV1900TS. Due to the Wave 155's uncommon design, you'll need to supply it with proprietary paper filters made by Kalita. Still, they're readily available in packs of 100 units ($8.40) through resellers such as Amazon.

At the bottom of the Wave's funnel is a flat disc that serves as its base and suspends it over cups. Brewed liquid drips down through three holes on the base and inside the filter basket into your container of choice.

Coffee brewing and tasting

Compared with other manual single-cup coffee makers I've used, brewing with the Kalita is challenging. The first step is to drop a paper filter into the Wave 155's funnel, then place it over your cup. After that you have the option to rinse it with hot water. which Kalita says washes out any unpalatable flavors the paper may have picked up in the box.

Here is where the process gets tricky. Kalita lays out these parameters for a good brew. Use roughly 20 grams of grounds with 10 ounces water. The total brew time should be about 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

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