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Discussions > Coffee > Machines > Flaw with Kalita...  
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jmm5351
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jmm5351
Joined: 28 Nov 2013
Posts: 7
Location: US
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Thu Nov 28, 2013, 5:14pm
Subject: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

Hi everyone,

First of all let me start off by saying Happy Thanksgiving to all those living in the US :D A colleague I talk to on a daily basis got me into home roasting and different brewing methods. I purchased a Kalita Wave 185 Ceramic style little over a month ago, and I perfected my process. I love that thing. I use the SCAA recommended of 1.63 grams of coffee per fluid ounce of water for most coffees but lighter coffees like Caribbeans I have been using roughly 1.875 grams of coffee per fluid ounce of water. Anyhow the brew ratio I have been using has worked great for me. With the ceramic 185 wave I consistently achieve brew times of right around 3:30 give or take a few seconds.

I recently bought a Kalita 155 Glass style dripper for smaller batches and I noticed something was much different the very first time I used it. I used it another several times and confirmed it is different than my 185 size ceramic style. Obviously I know the 155 has steeper sides, is shorter, and also smaller. Those are obvious. But the not so obvious is I discovered the flow rate of the 155 glass style wave is much faster than my 185 ceramic style. Using the same grind and brew ratio I cannot achieve a 3:30 time with the 155 glass. In fact, I get around a 2:50ish brew time with the 155 glass. You can visibly see the water just flows so much faster through it. After inspecting both the 155 and 185 waves, I have found the issue I believe. I use a thermocouple that has a stainless steel probe to read the temperature of my water I brew with. I can insert the steel probe in the holes of the 155 glass style wave. The probe actually fits perfectly in all three holes. Yes it was a coincidence it fit so perfect. But I cannot insert the steel probe into the holes of my 185 ceramic wave. The holes are noticeably smaller in diameter than the holes in the 155 glass style.

I tried searching for anything related to this topic and could not come up with anything. So I wanted to hear what others thought about this. To me this is a design flaw in the drippers. I wanted others opinions and see if anyone else has experienced this same issue. My 185 ceramic has a slower flow rate due to the holes being smaller in diameter and I can achieve 3:30 times with ease. With the 155 glass style, I only can get around 2:50ish brew times and the coffee tastes weak the flavors are almost non existent.

What is your take on this.
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squaremile
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Joined: 6 Jan 2011
Posts: 84
Location: Portlandia
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Posted Thu Nov 28, 2013, 5:31pm
Subject: Re: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

Interesting observation, but I think the issue here is that it isn't really a "flaw", it's just a difference. If you approached it as an entirely different device you could adjust your method and learn to make exceptional coffee on the 155 with an altered approach. Coffee does not need to be done at 3:30 to be good. So if it didn't taste good, or if you are not hitting TDS or Ext numbers right on, I'd suggest going finer with the grind and changing your rate of pulse pours. Good luck!
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TheSunInsideYou
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TheSunInsideYou
Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 206
Location: NJ and NYC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Breville BES900XL
Grinder: Laranzato HC-600, OE LIDO,...
Vac Pot: Yama 3
Drip: Hario V60, Chemex
Posted Thu Nov 28, 2013, 6:29pm
Subject: Re: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

Less coffee takes less time to extract. The 155 shouldn't be taking you more than 2:50. In fact, I would shoot for a faster brew time.

-Dave-
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jmm5351
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jmm5351
Joined: 28 Nov 2013
Posts: 7
Location: US
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Thu Nov 28, 2013, 7:51pm
Subject: Re: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

squaremile Said:

Interesting observation, but I think the issue here is that it isn't really a "flaw", it's just a difference. If you approached it as an entirely different device you could adjust your method and learn to make exceptional coffee on the 155 with an altered approach. Coffee does not need to be done at 3:30 to be good. So if it didn't taste good, or if you are not hitting TDS or Ext numbers right on, I'd suggest going finer with the grind and changing your rate of pulse pours. Good luck!

Posted November 28, 2013 link

I know it does not need to be brewed at 3:30 but from mostly what I have been able to gather on various forums and videos, a 3:00 to 3:30 brew time is typical for a Kalita Wave dripper. Also Nick Cho uses 3:30 so that is where I started. And right now in the 185 size wave 3:30 brew times are making awesome cups of coffee at my brew ratio I pointed out in my original post. I tried changing my pulse pours and no matter what I do it consistently get around a 2:50ish brew time. The water just flows so fast through the coffee bed. It seems like my pouring has no effect on the flow rate in the little 155 glass style. I can surely say in the 185 ceramic style my pouring greatly effects the brew time.


TheSunInsideYou Said:

Less coffee takes less time to extract. The 155 shouldn't be taking you more than 2:50. In fact, I would shoot for a faster brew time.

-Dave-

Posted November 28, 2013 link


Well I was doing sort of an experiment to see what would happen, and I was baffled. I should clarify more what I did. I normally do 26.08 grams of coffee for 16 fluid ounces of water. I use that brew amount every time in my 185. So I just wanted to see what would happen with the same formula in the 155. I used exactly the same brew amounts in the 155, I already know this is more coffee grounds than what the 155 was designed for, but I am dumbfounded to why I only get a 2:50 brew time with the same amount of coffee in the 155. The total time is much shorter in the 155 vs the 185. No matter my pour technique I can not seem to slow down the flow rate in the 155. The water just quickly flows through the coffee bed. But since I was using the same amount of coffee and same grind, my initial guess was that the brew time would have been longer in the 155 since the sides are steeper the coffee bed height is taller than the 185. Which would equate to more flow resistance since the water would have to travel trough more grounds. But the times are much shorter. And this is how I discovered the holes are larger in the 155 glass style vs the 185 ceramic style.
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al_bongo
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Posted Fri Nov 29, 2013, 10:38am
Subject: Re: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

TheSunInsideYou Said:

Less coffee takes less time to extract. The 155 shouldn't be taking you more than 2:50. In fact, I would shoot for a faster brew time.

-Dave-

Posted November 28, 2013 link

Does it? Having difficulty getting my head round this in terms of pour over. In terms of simple steep e,g. French press don't see why this should be. Less coffee means  correspondingly less water so extraction sold take the same time.

Does pour over change this relationship?

I too have had good results at this time with 185 and would have assumed that it would be same target time for 155
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TheSunInsideYou
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TheSunInsideYou
Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 206
Location: NJ and NYC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Breville BES900XL
Grinder: Laranzato HC-600, OE LIDO,...
Vac Pot: Yama 3
Drip: Hario V60, Chemex
Posted Fri Nov 29, 2013, 11:09am
Subject: Re: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

al_bongo Said:

Does it? Having difficulty getting my head round this in terms of pour over. In terms of simple steep e,g. French press don't see why this should be. Less coffee means  correspondingly less water so extraction sold take the same time.

Does pour over change this relationship?

I too have had good results at this time with 185 and would have assumed that it would be same target time for 155

Posted November 29, 2013 link

Definitely. But you use also use a finer grind for less coffee. Inversely, when you have more coffee, you coarsen the grind and increase the time. I would use almost 4 min in my Chemex with 35-40g of coffee, whereas I would use about 230-3 with 26-28g of coffee. The more coffee thats piled up, the longer it takes the water to pass through it, which isn't an issue if you use an appropriate grind.

jmm5351 Said:

Well I was doing sort of an experiment to see what would happen, and I was baffled. I should clarify more what I did. I normally do 26.08 grams of coffee for 16 fluid ounces of water. I use that brew amount every time in my 185. So I just wanted to see what would happen with the same formula in the 155.

Posted November 28, 2013 link

That makes more sense. Knowing this, the flow can't be the same because you probably can't attain the proper column of water to exert the pressure necessary to force through the same amount of water in the time frame. The higher the water is in the brewer, the faster it will pass through.

We had a similar issue with consistency at work. The previous trainer had set-up a system of 2min brew times with a fine grind and a high dose. The result was a cup we could make quickly that would satisfy our customers. While I thought this was a less than perfect system, in order to attain this, we had to do an insanely fast, aggressive pour, dumping over 350g of water in about 20-25s. If you didn't pour fast enough, the water didn't reach its peak in the filter early enough, which meant that the brewing would take longer. Keeping the water as high as possible for as long as possible was of absolute paramount importance. What we do now is a slow pour, stepped back a couple numbers coarser on the Tanzania, aiming for a 230-3min brewing time with slightly less coffee.

My point is this: If you want to stick with your same method, you should decrease the amount of coffee and fine the grind a tad. This will allow for an almost identical extraction with less coffee. If you want to stick to the same amount of coffee, the 155 is not really suitable, so I would stick to the 185.

-Dave-
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al_bongo
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Joined: 26 Aug 2008
Posts: 450
Location: Scotland
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: Solis 166/Iberital MC2
Vac Pot: Cona
Drip: Chemex/Melitta
Posted Fri Nov 29, 2013, 1:43pm
Subject: Re: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

The Suninsideyou says "Definitely. But you use also use a finer grind for less coffee. Inversely, when you have more coffee, you coarsen the grind and increase the time. I would use almost 4 min in my Chemex with 35-40g of coffee, whereas I would use about 230-3 with 26-28g of coffee. The more coffee thats piled up, the longer it takes the water to pass through it, which isn't an issue if you use an appropriate grind."

You see I wouldn't use a finer grind. One of the reasons I like the Kalita wave is because it uses coarse ground coffee with a long extraction time. Like the OP I too would have thought I could maintain the same grind size and brew time with the pour in the smaller version, other wise you could just use the bigger one.

You can use a finer grind and a quicker pour in the 185 but this isn't as successful in the cup at the Wrecking Ball/Tonx method.
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jmm5351
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jmm5351
Joined: 28 Nov 2013
Posts: 7
Location: US
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Fri Nov 29, 2013, 3:41pm
Subject: Re: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

al_bongo Said:

Does it? Having difficulty getting my head round this in terms of pour over. In terms of simple steep e,g. French press don't see why this should be. Less coffee means  correspondingly less water so extraction sold take the same time.

Does pour over change this relationship?

I too have had good results at this time with 185 and would have assumed that it would be same target time for 155

Posted November 29, 2013 link

I 100% agree with this al_bongo Said. I was actually just saying this exact thing to my co-worker a few days ago. I also said less coffee means less water. And the brew ratio I use, and I assume most use, is very linear. So the extraction time should be roughly the same no matter how much coffee/water you have.


TheSunInsideYou Said:

Definitely. But you use also use a finer grind for less coffee. Inversely, when you have more coffee, you coarsen the grind and increase the time. I would use almost 4 min in my Chemex with 35-40g of coffee, whereas I would use about 230-3 with 26-28g of coffee. The more coffee thats piled up, the longer it takes the water to pass through it, which isn't an issue if you use an appropriate grind.



That makes more sense. Knowing this, the flow can't be the same because you probably can't attain the proper column of water to exert the pressure necessary to force through the same amount of water in the time frame. The higher the water is in the brewer, the faster it will pass through.

We had a similar issue with consistency at work. The previous trainer had set-up a system of 2min brew times with a fine grind and a high dose. The result was a cup we could make quickly that would satisfy our customers. While I thought this was a less than perfect system, in order to attain this, we had to do an insanely fast, aggressive pour, dumping over 350g of water in about 20-25s. If you didn't pour fast enough, the water didn't reach its peak in the filter early enough, which meant that the brewing would take longer. Keeping the water as high as possible for as long as possible was of absolute paramount importance. What we do now is a slow pour, stepped back a couple numbers coarser on the Tanzania, aiming for a 230-3min brewing time with slightly less coffee.

My point is this: If you want to stick with your same method, you should decrease the amount of coffee and fine the grind a tad. This will allow for an almost identical extraction with less coffee. If you want to stick to the same amount of coffee, the 155 is not really suitable, so I would stick to the 185.

-Dave-

Posted November 29, 2013 link

Firstly you say if you make a coarser grind you will increase your brew time ? This just goes against everything I know in physics. A coarser grind generally will shorten the brew time. A finer grind typically will increase your brew time. Secondly, you sort of just contradicted yourself there. You said "The more coffee that's piled up, the longer it takes the water to pass through it" and then you say "The higher the water is in the brewer, the faster it will pass through". I agree with both statements. But when I was brewing in the 155 the column of water was an inch or less higher. This should not have made the brew time a whole 40-50 seconds faster. Especially when you consider the first statement you made about the water experiencing a higher resistance due to a higher bed of coffee. The very minimal and perhaps negligible higher water column in this case should have been negated by the higher coffee bed in 155 dripper. To even go further, I can pour practically right on the coffee in the 155 due to it being smaller overall, but on my 185 I cannot get near as close to the coffee bed with my Hario Buono. You would think that would slow the flow rate down even more on the 155. But that was not the case at all. And I know why now it is because the holes are smaller in diameter than my 185 ceramic. I measured them to be sure.


al_bongo Said:

The Suninsideyou says "Definitely. But you use also use a finer grind for less coffee. Inversely, when you have more coffee, you coarsen the grind and increase the time. I would use almost 4 min in my Chemex with 35-40g of coffee, whereas I would use about 230-3 with 26-28g of coffee. The more coffee thats piled up, the longer it takes the water to pass through it, which isn't an issue if you use an appropriate grind."

You see I wouldn't use a finer grind. One of the reasons I like the Kalita wave is because it uses coarse ground coffee with a long extraction time. Like the OP I too would have thought I could maintain the same grind size and brew time with the pour in the smaller version, other wise you could just use the bigger one.

You can use a finer grind and a quicker pour in the 185 but this isn't as successful in the cup at the Wrecking Ball/Tonx method.

Posted November 29, 2013 link

Again I agree with everything you just said. The Kalita Wave is very forgiving when choosing the grind size. Kalita Wave's does best with a coarser grind. I have experimented using medium grinds and did not appreciate the coffee as much when I used a coarser grind. Either way though, I don't understand why the holes are larger in the 155 glass vs the 185 ceramic I have. The 185 ceramic, when using the exact same brew ratios, makes much better coffee than the 155 glass does. I have no control over the flow rate when I use the 155. But I do have control of flow rate when I use the 185. I am tempted to buy a SS 185 Wave to see if the holes match my ceramic. From watching Nick Cho's video, it does appear to have the same flow rate as my ceramic respectively.
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TheSunInsideYou
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TheSunInsideYou
Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 206
Location: NJ and NYC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Breville BES900XL
Grinder: Laranzato HC-600, OE LIDO,...
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Drip: Hario V60, Chemex
Posted Fri Nov 29, 2013, 5:57pm
Subject: Re: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

You're misunderstanding what I'm saying. I didn't say that making the coffee coarser increased the brewing time. I wasn't suggesting that coffee defies physics. I said that I coarsened the grind and AIMED for a longer brewing time. This was to compensate for the coarser grind. Also, the smaller kalita is smaller and steeper, and therefore makes the bed similar to the 185 in depth. It's not exactly the same, but the effects are similar. Let me liken this to a Chemex: With a 6-cup, you have exactly the same resistance as the 8-cup, because the only real resistance is the filter. But you would never be able to use 50g of coffee effectively in a 6-cup, whereas in an 8-cup, it's doable. The difference there is headspace for the water. But when you lower the dose, you would also shorten the extraction.

-Dave-
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TheSunInsideYou
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TheSunInsideYou
Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 206
Location: NJ and NYC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Breville BES900XL
Grinder: Laranzato HC-600, OE LIDO,...
Vac Pot: Yama 3
Drip: Hario V60, Chemex
Posted Fri Nov 29, 2013, 6:13pm
Subject: Re: Flaw with Kalita Wave Drippers
 

jmm5351 Said:

I also said less coffee means less water. And the brew ratio I use, and I assume most use, is very linear. So the extraction time should be roughly the same no matter how much coffee/water you have.

Posted November 29, 2013 link

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're suggesting that 1g and 100g of coffee should extract in the same time in your kalita? 20g in a kalita 155 should finish at 3:30 just as 35g should?

-Dave-
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