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My first brew with the Kalita Wave

Written by . Published on under the Coffee category.

A ceramic Kalita Wave sitting on a black mug on a kitchen countertop

I ordered a Kalita Wave on Christmas Day, as well as a gooseneck kettle and the accompanying filters for the Wave. I have been brewing with the Aeropress, a hybrid immersion brewer, for months, and I wanted a change. I know there is a wide range of pour-over options and I wanted to start to dip my toe into one. I chose the Kalita Wave for its design. Because the Wave has a flat bed, the device is less susceptible to clogging to due fines migration. This is when fines flow to the bottom of the filter and plug up the holes – only 10-20 microns large in filter paper – thus reducing the flow of water.

I brewed my first cup with the Kalita Wave this morning, about an hour after my equipment arrived in the mail. But first I had to clean all of my equipment. I am going to rinse my Kalita immediately after use and give it a full clean in soapy water at the end of each day, too. I use this routine with my Aeropress and I find it works better than cleaning the device fully after every use. Now, onto the brewing experience.

I got started with a few blunders. I ruined a filter paper because I did not pull it out of the packaging correctly. I shall need to look up how to remove a Kalita Wave filter from the stack in which the filters come. Perhaps I should remove filters from the outside instead of the inside. I managed to get a filter out on my second try with some frustration. I also forgot to rinse the filter before using the device. This is important because rinsing the filter reduces the amount of lignin in the final brew. Lignin is responsible for the papery taste you may experience in a coffee if you do not prewet your filter.

As I reflect on my brew, I realise I forgot to preheat all of my devices. This is because I wrote my recipe down in terms of when I needed to pour. I forgot about all of the additional preparation, like preheating my mug and prewetting the filter. I was more focused on getting the pouring right. To prepare, I did watch a few brew guides on YouTube and read a few recipes. But most of my notes were about the pouring process instead of the preparation. There’s always next time.

My recipe, sourced from the Drop Coffee website, called for 16 grams of coffee to 260 grams of water. This dose is slightly higher than my usual but I am not yet ready to tinker around with my recipe. When I started using the Aeropress, I similarly followed a recipe word-for-word until I got used to the device. I should note that this recipe does not yield 260 grams of water. This is because coffee grinds retain some water during the brewing process. Also, I stopped my drawdown after about 30 seconds which meant that some water did not make its way into the final cup.

I started with a 50 gram bloom. This was over twice the weight of the grounds and I found to be sufficient to saturate all the grounds in the brewer. I did go slightly over this bloom because I am still getting used to the flow of the gooseneck kettle. While the flow is very intuitive – it is easy to tweak the flow with immediate feedback – my experience with kettles is restricted to regular water kettles and the occasional tea kettle. I found that I was pouring fast which made it difficult to hit my numbers exactly. But this was not a problem in the end. The coffee tasted great.

I poured water in 50 gram increments. Well, as close to 50 grams as I could get. The reality is that I went over in every case. I decided to use this approach because I am not yet ready to try a more continuous pour. The technique where you pour in increments is called pulsing. It is important to pulse consistently so that the level of water in your brewer stays the same throughout the brew.

The water did draw down through my filter somewhat quickly. I suspect this may be down to grind size but I am not going to make a change. I need to make a few more coffees to practice my technique and see whether this is indeed an issue. My water did not flow so fast as to completely dry the bed of grounds but I did feel toward the start that this was likely.

After pouring the last of my water, I waited about 30 seconds. I then moved my Kalita Wave onto the ramekin which I usually use for weighing beans. It looks like I will need to wash this ramekin after every brew now. I need somewhere to put my Wave after brewing and the ramekin is just the right size. I suppose I could use another mug but that would involve bringing out yet another piece of equipment onto my kitchen counter as I brew a cup.

The final cup tasted delicious. The coffee had a sweetness I have been unable to fully unleash with my Aeropress. The brew was clear and easy to drink. Surprisingly, the coffee was ready to drink as soon as it had brewed. This is because there was a lot of temperature loss in my brewing. I forgot to preheat my mug and my brewer. My new gooseneck does not heat water up electrically and I do not want to use my stovetop so I just pour water from my kettle into the gooseneck. This will cause a decrease in temperature but I suspect that if I preheat my Wave and mug I should not see such a big temperature loss. Nonetheless, the final coffee tasted delicious

I am new to the Kalita Wave and pour-over. I think I did a good job for my first brew. Mistakes were made. I also made a mess when I removed the Kalita filter from the Wave while I was going to put the filter in the bin. But I now know what I need to do to make less of a mess and control the temperature better in my next brew. I liked the cup profile of the Wave and it is really forgiving. I exceeded my increments every time and yet I was still able to make a delicious cup of coffee. My water drew down quickly but that was just an observation. I have not brewed enough pour-overs to know if the speed was really too fast. I am looking forward to making my next cup already and learning from my initial mistakes.

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