The Kalita Wave has experienced a steady growth in popularity here in the U.S. in recent years, and it isn't surprising. The Kalita Wave makes a very good cup of coffee, arguably one of the best cups you can get if you do things the right way.
Where it sets itself apart from other pour over coffee makers is that it has 3 very small holes that are in a triangular configuration in a flat base. This allows for a more even, sufficiently steeped extraction.
The Kalita Wave is also available in stainless steel, glass, or ceramic versions. This alone is a huge selling point, because all 3 materials are “safe” in terms of keeping your coffee free of unwanted chemicals often found in plastic. Additionally, all 3 materials retain heat very well, which is crucial for keeping a constant, and high, brew temperature throughout the brew cycle.
You will find that this brew guide is very similar to the others, but there is one key distinction: your grind.
If you use a grind that is too fine you will over-extract the bitter elements of the coffee, so it's important to start with a coarser grind and work your way up until you are getting the results you are after.
What You'll Need (required)
Here are the things you must have in order to brew coffee with the Kalita Wave:
- Medium-coarsely ground coffee
- Good quality, filtered water
- Kalita Wave (155 or 185) coffee dripper
- White Kalita coffee filters
What You'll Need for the Best Results (optional)
If you really want the best results and are willing to spend a little bit more money, this is everything you will need to make great pour over coffee:
- Coffee beans that have been roasted less than 2 weeks ago
- Good quality, filtered water
- Gram scale
- Gooseneck kettle
- Burr grinder
- Kalita Wave dripper
- White Kalita coffee filters
Kalita Wave Pour Over Steps Outlined
If you really want to experience a notable difference in the way your coffee tastes when brewing with the Kalita Wave, use these steps as a starting point.
Keep in mind that everybody has their own technique when it comes to preparing coffee, so following this guide exactly as-is will not guarantee great results. The beauty of pour over coffee is that you can adapt it to meet your own personal preferences.
So with that in mind, here are the steps I take to brew coffee with the Kalita Wave:
- Add fresh, filtered water to your gooseneck kettle and bring the water to a boil.
- Many gooseneck kettles can't be placed over a heat source, so if your gooseneck kettle is one of these, boil your water with another kettle and then transfer it to your gooseneck kettle.
- Weigh out 18 grams of whole coffee beans on your gram scale. If you're making two cups, use 36 grams.
- Add the coffee beans to your burr grinder's hopper.
- Make sure your grinder is set to a medium-coarse grind setting.
- Add paper filter (I use the White Kalita coffee filters) to your coffee dripper, then place your coffee dripper on top of your mug or carafe.
- When water is just off the boil (or at desired temperature), pour the hot water into the coffee dripper making sure to thoroughly wet the entire filter.
- Or, you can use a variable temperature kettle like this one, and set the temperature anywhere between 195-205˚F. These days, I heat the water to about 207-208 due to significant heat loss during the brew process.
- Dump the hot water from the mug or carafe into the sink, then place mug/carafe with the Kalita Wave on top of your gram scale.
- Grind your coffee and dump it into your Kalita Wave.
- Shake the coffee dripper to settle the ground coffee so it is distributed evenly throughout the filter.
- Tare your scale.
- Slowly pour about 36 grams of water onto the ground coffee, making sure to evenly wet all of the ground coffee.
- You should be pouring twice the weight of the coffee, in water. So if you're using 30 grams of coffee, pour 60 grams of water.
- Pour slowly from the center of the bed of coffee in a spiral motion towards the outer edges.
- Try not to pour any water directly onto the filter. Water should always be coming into direct contact with ground coffee as it's being poured.
- Let the coffee “bloom” (expand and bubble as the CO2 is escaping) for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- If your coffee is a couple weeks past the roast date, let it bloom closer to a minute.
- Close to the roast date? A shorter bloom should be sufficient
- Pour about 30-60 grams of water every 15 seconds until you reach 225 grams on your scale.
- Try and target a total brew time between 3 and 4 minutes.
- A good starting point for amount of water you use in your brew can be anywhere between 15-18 times the amount of coffee you used. In this case, 270 grams of water is 15 times the weight of the coffee. Therefore, it's a 15:1 water-coffee ratio.
- Remove the Kalita Wave from the top of the mug when there is still a little bit of water remaining in the coffee filter.
- Sip your coffee and enjoy!
There are so many variables that come into play when making coffee, and this is especially true when you're using a pour over brewer like the Kalita Wave. Still, it's a lot of fun making adjustments to these variables to see how it affects your brewed coffee.
If your coffee isn't tasting the way you want it to taste, I'd try making the following adjustments in this order:
1. Adjust Water-Coffee Ratio
Adjusting your brew recipe (water-coffee ratio) is perhaps the easiest, and most impactful way to change the way your coffee tastes.
If your coffee is too strong and/or bitter, you should try using more water or less coffee in your brew recipe. So 18 grams of coffee with 270 grams of water could instead become 15 grams of coffee with 270 grams of water or 18 grams of coffee with 225 grams of water.
Always experiment with your brew recipe first.
2. Adjust Grind
Adjusting your coffee's grind to be finer or coarser is kind of an arbitrary science, but it's important nonetheless.
I normally like to use a coarser grind with the Kalita Wave because of it's relatively small holes at the bottom. The theory behind using a coarser grind is that the water will pass through the coffee at the right rate for sufficient extraction, given the smaller holes. Too slow (from a fine grind), and the coffee could turn out bitter.
With that being said, if the grind is too coarse your coffee is at risk of under-extraction and little flavor or complexity.
A good rule of thumb is to adjust your grind so the total brew time is between 3 and 4 minutes. Anything less, and your grind may be too coarse. Anything more, and your grind may be too fine.
3. Adjust Pour
How, when, and where your water comes into contact with the ground coffee will have an impact on the final cup of coffee. Try pouring the same amount of water in the same pattern across 15 second intervals. From there, you can always experiment with pouring more water at once, in different patterns, and at different rates.
Just make sure you are taking notes on how this impacts your final cup of coffee.
The most important part of making pour over coffee is to have fun while doing it. Experiment. Take notes. Drink great coffee. Rinse and repeat.