Coffee in Our Kitchen – Clever Dripper Recap

Coffee in our Kitchen Clever Dripper

Thanks for joining us for our 3rd installment of Coffee in Our Kitchen! We love the Clever Dripper for its simplicity and quality cup. Below is a quick overview of how we brewed the Clever in our video as well as answers to questions we were asked. Shoot us a message if you had a question that didn’t get asked and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Tune in next week for our 4th installment where we will cover the differences in home drip brewers!

Coffee in our Kitchen: Clever Dripper

In this week’s Coffee in our Kitchen, Matt brews on the Clever Dripper!

Posted by Driven Coffee on Saturday, April 25, 2020

How We Brewed Our Clever Dripper

Brewing with Clever Coffee Dripper
If you want a full-bodied cup without much hassle, this is the brew method for you.
  • Coffee: Driven Guatemala Antigua
  • Grind: Medium drip grind
  • Filter: Filtropa or Melitta #4
  • Coffee Weight: 26 grams
  • Water Weight: 450 grams
  • Water Temperature: off boil, 200 degrees
  • Yield: about 10oz of coffee

Clever Dripper Brew Steps

  1. Place filter in Clever Dripper
  2. Pre-wet filter with water just off boil.
  3. Drain out water from Clever into your mug to preheat the mug (be sure to drain water from mug prior to coffee pour).
  4. Add 26 grams of coffee to filter
  5. Start timer and pour in 50 grams of water to allow coffee to bloom
  6. At 30 seconds pour in remaining 400 grams of water. Pour technique is not critical here as it is an immersion brew method, meaning the water is really just steeping.
  7. Allow coffee to steep until 3:30 and then place Clever on your mug and allow coffee to drain out.
  8. At 4 minutes remove Clever and dispose of filter.
  9. Enjoy your cup of coffee!

Clever Dripper Q&A Followup

  1. What sets apart the Clever Dripper from other brew methods? The Clever is a combo immersion and drip brewer. This is essentially some of the best parts of a French Press combined with a filter to pull out the oils. Additionally, due to the myriad of techniques you can use on this combining the steep time and the drain time, you can pull out many different things from coffees.
  1. When would you recommend using this brew method? I would use the Clever for an easy brew that doesn’t require a ton of attention of technique. If you want a full-bodied cup without much hassle, this is the brew method for you.
  1. Is this brew method better suited for certain types of roasts? Due to the immersion style of brewer, it does a little better with medium to dark roasted coffees. You can brew any coffee but it really shines with medium to dark.
  1. Can you use the Clever to brew loose-leaf tea? Absolutely! To brew tea on it place two teaspoons or between 6-10 grams of tea in the filter and steep it for 4 minutes, then drain. Water temperature for green or Oolong teas should be between 175 and 185 degrees, black or herbal just off boil.
  1. Can you taste the difference between a Chemex and a Clever? Definitely, the Chemex makes a delicate and exquisite cup of coffee that really does well in light roast to medium coffees. The Clever will make a more full-bodied cup of coffee that really pulls out more of the roast characteristics.
  1. How do you use the spoon to further extract the coffee with a Clever? Great question! The spoon can be used to break the crust at about 1 minute to let some of the gasses escape. It can also be used prior to the drip out at around 3 minutes to agitate the coffee, increasing extraction and reincorporating the fines to prevent clogging while dripping out.
  1. Why is it called the Clever Dripper? Although I can not confirm this, I believe it is called a Clever due to the “clever” drip out valve on the bottom. The design has small feet that keep the valve from depressing and overall it truly is a clever design.

Coffee in Our Kitchen – Clever Dripper Live Stream Transcript

Good morning everyone! If this is your first time tuning in to Coffee in our Kitchen, my name is Matt!

(1:30) This week, we’re going to cover the Clever Dripper. If you’ve been in a café environment, you’ve likely seen it. The Clever Dripper is a plastic unit and is considered a combination of an immersion brewer and a drip brewer. Because of this, there’s a lot of flexibility on how to brew it.

The Clever comes with a plastic handled pour over looking device, which has a one way valve with a plate on the bottom. When you push the plate, it will drain. It also comes with a lid to keep the heat in while brewing, and a coaster, which I think is obsolete. The Clever won’t drip much, but it’s a fun accessory nonetheless. 

We’ll be using #4 Filtropa filters, which we haven’t used yet in any previous videos. Melitta filters work as well and both are available in grocery stores. These are thinner than a filter you would use in a Chemex, and more similar to a standard home drip brewer filter.

To make coffee in a Clever, you’ll need a scale. If this is your first time joining us, we use an Escali Arti scale, which is available on our website. Besides that, you’ll need coffee (we’re using our Guatemalan today), a timer, water in a kettle, a spoon if you so choose, and your favorite mug. This method is pretty straightforward!

Let’s get started! I’ve been heating my water here and once it’s heated we can prep the filter. 

You’ll notice that the #4 filters come with part of it pressed together and we want to fold the pressed parts in the same direction. Then you can open it up, put it in the Clever, and pre wet it to get some of the paper taste out.

The Clever is a BPA free plastic vessel, which we’ll set on top of the mug. What you don’t see right now is that until the Clever is on top of the mug, the water stays in. By prewetting the filter, it’s helping us in a few ways: it’s getting the paper taste out of the filter, warming up the vessel, and warming up the mug so the coffee doesn’t get shocked.

Now you can dump the excess water out and put the Clever on your scale, taring it out once it’s on. We’ll be pouring in 26g of a standard drip grind coffee. You can certainly play around with the grind to your preference to make it more or less coarse. If it’s too bitter, increase the grind size, if it’s dripping through too fast, decrease the grind size, etc. If you’re ordering online and want to order with a Clever in mind, select regular drip grind and that will work.

Once you’ve got that set, shake the Clever so you have a level bed and get your timer and water ready. 

For your initial bloom, you’re going to pour in 50g of water and let it go for 30 seconds. The bloom is allowing the carbon dioxide to escape. Pouring in circles like you would in a Chemex isn’t as important here since we’re just trying to get everything in as fast as possible. For this reason, it’s more of an immersion brew, like the Toddy. Most of your extraction is going to come during the contact time with the water.

At the 30 mark, we’re going to pour in 400g of water, which is about an 18:1 ratio. We like to be between 15 and 18:1, keeping in mind you can always play with the ratio based on your taste. Once you’ve hit 450g, you can put the top on and keep an eye on the timer.

When it comes to the Clever, the specs are all over the board. What I’m showing you is a basic way to get started, knowing you can play around with your variables: grind size, drain time, amount of coffee (though I wouldn’t recommend it), etc.

Your total brew time will be about 4 minutes, but we’re going to start the draining around the 3:30 mark. Once you’re there, put it on top of your mug and let it drain! At the 4 minute mark, pick the Clever up, dump the filter in the garbage and enjoy!

On that note, the cleanup for this is very easy. Hand washing, using a bottle brush or sponge is recommended, but if you’re using the same type of coffee over and over you can just rinse it. Make sure to depress the valve on the bottom!

Michaela (MJ): Missy is wondering what types of coffees work best in a Clever? 

Matt: We generally recommend the same types of coffees that you would use for a French press, so a medium to dark roast. Of course, light roasts work, but some of the flavors don’t come through as clear as a Chemex.

MJ: Courtney asked if you can taste a difference between a Chemex and a Clever? If so, what is it?

Matt: Absolutely. The biggest difference is that the Chemex yields a much cleaner cup with a light mouthfeel and will let the delicate coffee flavors, acidity and brightness shine. The Clever has more body and is closer to a French press in that sense in terms of noticing a difference in the cup. Because of the filter, it’s slightly more oily, but still not as clean as the Chemex. 

On that note, one cool thing about the Clever is that it’s very versatile. I love it because you can brew loose leaf tea on it and steep it there. Pay attention to the water temperature, because different types of teas brew at different temperatures. For example: for a green or oolong, you want your temperature between 175 and 185, but if you’re doing a black or herbal tea, the water can be boiling. Just keep an eye on the thermometer for both!

If you’re switching from tea to coffee or vice versa in the Clever, make sure to wash with soapy water or use a cleaner like the one we carry, since the plastic will absorb some of the flavors. Since plastic is more porous than glass, it will lightly stain over time too.

MJ: Merissa sent in a question! She’s wondering how you use a spoon to extract the coffee.

Matt: There’s lots of ways to do this, and each roaster has different tips. We like to see the bloom, others don’t. As we mentioned in previous videos, having a spoon is going to increase your extraction and speed it up. Some people like to lightly stir the coffee at the 30 second mark. Using a spoon is like when you stir sugar and water in that it speeds the process up. Another way we’ve tested is that when you’re approaching the end, you can stir it up a little. One advantage to this is that it reincorporates the fines prior to the drip out, so they won’t clog in the bottom of the filter. If your filter is dripping slow, try giving it a little stir and it will drip out faster. That’s a coffee pro question, good one!

MJ: Jonathon asked if you recommend the #4 Filtropa filters for other brewers.

Matt: If a brewer takes a #4 filter, yes. They make a bleached and unbleached one, but the number is based on the filter size. Melitta is very comparable too, and we’ll be carrying them soon. With both, just remember to fold in the ends before putting them in! Granted, these filters won’t be pulling out as much as a Chemex would per say, but they’re great filters.

Well, that does it for this week’s episode! Thanks for joining us, take care!

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