How to brew a Kalita Wave
The Kalita Wave first appeared in coffee shops in the United States in 2012. The drip-coffee-style machine comes from Tokyo company Kalita, which has been in the coffee business since the 1950s. With its glass design, the Kalita Wave not only looks good, but it also makes amazing coffee! It’s also available in various metal finishes too.
While the pour-over or drip method is nothing new, people are always looking for new ways to make their coffee. The Kalita Wave provides coffee fanatics with just that! Its unique design, with a flat-bottomed brew bed, made it an instant hit in homes and coffee shops all over the world.
What you need to brew a Kalita Wave
As with any coffee brewing method, preparation is key. There are a few things to prepare before you start brewing. Some are optional, but we recommend having all of these ready to brew the perfect cup of coffee with the Kalita Wave.
- Kalita Wave (of course!)
- Kalita Wave coffee filters
- Fresh ground coffee
- Hot water
- Your cup of choice
- Scale (for measuring coffee)
- Stirring utensil
The first step is to prepare your coffee. You’ll want the grind to be just a little finer than sea salt, so not too coarse and not too fine. How much you use will depend on how much coffee you want to make, but we recommend a ratio of 1:16. This means 25g of coffee for every 400g of water.
You should also get your hot water up to temperature at this stage. You’re looking for around 205oF/96oC. Too hot and your water will over-extract your coffee. Too cold and you’ll have an under extracted brew, and neither of these are delicious!
You can then add your filter to your Kalita Wave if you want to rinse it, but this isn’t essential. You then want to preheat the Wave and your decanter by pouring some of your hot water through it. Then, empty the decanter and put the Wave with a filter back on top and add your coffee.
Note that you can stick your Kalita Wave directly onto your cup if you prefer. This is ideal for producing just one cup of course, but you’ll need a decanter if you’re making more than one cup.
Place your decanter/cup with the Wave on the scale and hit the tare button. Tap the side of the Kalita Wave gently to flatten your bed of coffee and get ready to pour!
With your water at the right temperature, you want to pour twice the weight of your coffee to saturate the bed coffee let your coffee bloom. As you do this, start your timer. Allow the coffee to bloom for 30 seconds, to ensure even water dispersion.
Then, pour more water over the coffee bed in concentric circles. You can take the water level to about halfway up the filter. Let the coffee/water slurry level lower slightly before adding more water in small, regular amounts. This is called pulse brewing and is a good way to ensure even dispersion for a more consistent cup of coffee.
You want to have added your full amount of water (400g per 25g of coffee) by about the 3-minute mark. If you need to, give it a stir, and then by about 3 and a half minutes your brew should be complete!
Your coffee bed will ideally be flat when you’re done, with no big peaks or troughs in the coffee. This takes a bit of practice though, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time!
Remove your filter, give the decanter a swirl and serve up your delicious coffee!
Things to bear in mind while brewing a Kalita Wave
Keeping a consistent flow rate
The Kalita Wave requires you to maintain a consistent flow rate through the filter. This will ensure you keep things at a constant temperature, while also getting optimum extraction.
If your water level is too high, your slurry will drain much faster. This will also dissipate heat more quickly, and this usually isn’t what you want. Instead, keep your water level low, and this will maximize your contact time between the coffee and the water.
This is especially important if you’re making a large batch of coffee. A lot of coffee with too short a contact time will yield under extracted coffee.
So, keep an even flow rate with pulsed pouring. Don’t let the water level get so low that the ground coffee is exposed. Just be patient and keep things constant.
This way, you’ll make a great cup of coffee every time!
The wavy filters
The filters that come with the Kalita Wave can also present some (easy to resolve) issues.
They’re nice and wavy, which maximizes surface area. However, this means they can often end up spaced quite unevenly.
You can usually solve this by holding the filter in place with your hand and pouring a little water through it before you start brewing. This should keep things in place, and it will be a natural result of rinsing your filter if you choose to do so.
Play around with it
Coffee making is definitely more of an art than a science.
You’ll find that different grinds lead to different flavors, while different flow rates also have a big effect on the end result.
Play around with grind size and water temperature, along with the brew time, to find what works best for you!
And if you find yourself needing any coffee to brew on your Kalita Wave, we've got you!