Hario Switch vs. Clever Dripper

This article examines the similarities and differences between two popular immersion drippers: the Hario Switch and the Clever Dripper. Both are similar devices and make similarly good cups of coffee. We’ll get into the details to help you make your decision.

Overall, we feel that the Switch will be preferred by more experienced coffee aficionados, while the Clever Dripper is better suited for beginners. But both will give you satisfying results.

Convenient immersion coffee making

Many people think pour over coffee and drippers pair automatically. There is another option you might not have considered—immersion coffee making. Classically, people used a French press as an immersion grinder. Aeropress is another popular immersion coffee maker. Both of these methods can be a bit fussy, so look into getting a Hario Switch or a Clever Dripper to make good coffee easier.

Immersion is easier than controlling the flow into a dripper. With immersion, you pour the water over the coffee grounds, then let them sit for a few minutes. After letting it sit long enough to develop the flavors you want, you allow the water to pour out into the cup.

The flavor from immersion brewing is richer and extracts more evenly from the bean. However, you will like the fine level of flavor control you can get out of a hand-pour. I like immersion coffee makers best because the brew is constantly good. In the mornings, I occasionally slip up and brew a sour cup of coffee with a standard pour over kit. Immersion makes sour and bitter flavors very unlikely. Another downside is you have another part or two to potentially clean.

Two solid immersion brewers

In this case we’ll look specifically at two popular brewers, the Hario Switch and the Clever Dripper.

Hario Switch

It’s no surprise that Hario makes an excellent immersion brewer – the Switch. The Hario Switch brewer is a bit more complex than the Hario V60. You brew the coffee in the upper part, then press the switch on the silicon base (which moves a little ball) to allow the coffee to flow into your cup or vessel.

Where to Purchase the Hario Switch

The Switch is a hybrid coffee maker. If you don’t already own a Hario V60, I would recommend buying the switch because the original dripper is included in the design. The 2 for 1 brewer works in two ways:

  1. The Switch is an immersion coffee maker. It allows you to steep the coffee and then pour it out the bottom at the flip of a (you guessed it) switch.
  2. You can also use this brewer exactly as you would the V60 dripper. Just leave the switch open and the coffee will drip through. Remove the ball if you will be using it as a V60 most of the time.

Benefits of the Hario Switch include:

  • 2 for 1 design
  • Style and reputation of Hario
  • Consistently great coffee
  • Glass is heavier and more appealing

Drawbacks of the Hario switch include:

  • Specialized filters that are harder to find than regular filters
  • It comes only in glass with a silicone rubber base
  • Price (not expensive, but not cheap)

Clever Dripper

The Clever Dripper is a steep and release brewer for those who like their coffee clear. You get a full steep with a paper filter. Add the coffee, add the water, let it steep, and then place the dripper on top of a mug and the gasket automatically opens.

Where to Purchase the Clever Dripper

The Clever Dripper is incredibly easy to use. It is hard to make a bad cup of coffee, making it perfect for coffee newbies. But you have a little less control, so connoisseurs may want to buy the Hario instead.

One important thing to know is that the valve at the bottom of the Clever is triggered when you place it on the rim of your cup. Do not put the dripper on your cup until you are ready to drain it.

Benefits of the Clever Dripper include:

  • Plastic is BPA free
  • Durable, light, and good for travel
  • Uses a standard #4 paper filter
  • Has a lid that covers brewer and keeps warmth in

Drawbacks of the Clever Dripper include:

  • Very little control over brew
  • Only comes in plastic
  • Clean up takes a step longer

A closer examination of the features

Price

The Hario Switch costs half again as much as the Clever Dripper. However, looking over the web, I have found broadly varying prices.

Materials

The Hario Switch is glass and silicone, making it a gorgeous and non-reactive coffee maker. The Clever Dripper is plastic. It’s very hard to break, but does feel cheaper.

Flow Rate

The Hario has a fast and even flow rate. The Clever dripper slows, taking 30+ seconds longer to draw down (2 mins 20 sec compared to 1 min 40 sec). As this draw down time is part of the overall steep, in the end the two end up tasting much the same. You can experiment with how long you want the steep to last before the draw down starts.

Grind

While you can experiment, the Clever Dripper works to peak form with a medium-coarse grind. You have more wiggle room with the Hario, start with a medium grind and adjust from there.

Flavor Profile

With immersion coffee, the paper filter grabs up much of the oils, making the coffee bright and clear while maintaining full body. You can create a greater range of flavors with the Hario Switch. Overall, the Hario makes a heavier coffee that is bright and sweet. The Clever Dripper coffee is always clean, crisp, and smooth.

Cleaning

Both of these coffee makers are easier to clean than the alternatives (French press and Aeropress) which are notorious for taking time to clean. The Hario Switch has a couple more moving parts, but the Clever Dripper suggests a soaking before cleaning. I’d put the two as equal here.

So let’s get down to the crux of it, which should you choose?

The Hario Switch is best for

  • Experienced brewers. The Hario is a masterpiece of design, able to handle a range of brewing experiments.
  • People with small kitchens. The 2 for 1 brewer quality is easier to store than two brewers.
  • Anyone who does not yet have a Hario V60.

The Clever Dripper is best for

  • People new to pour over coffee. The Clever is a great gift as a first “grown-up” coffee maker.
  • People with morning fog. If you cannot pay close attention in the morning, the Clever is hard to mess up.
  • Coffee for two.

How to make a great cup of immersion coffee

Start with a recipe and apply the scientific method. Brew, taste, adjust one variable, and record your results. Change only one thing at a time: amount of coffee, grind, temperature of water, length of steep, etc. This is especially true for the Hario which reacts much more strongly to small changes.

Shorter brew times come with finer grinds. Smaller batch sizes also need finer grinds. If you make sour, thin, weak coffee, you need a finder grind. If your coffee is bitter and harsh, you need a coarser grind.

For the ratio of coffee to water, start with 1 g of coffee for each 15-17 g of water.

Heat your equipment before you get started. A cold brewer or mug will change your coffee for the worse. Wet the filter before you add the coffee, this makes the coffee clearer and lessens the drawdown time after brewing.

The water temperature should be between 195°F–200°F (90.5°C–96°C), but others pour water straight from boiling (212°F/100°C). You can cool to any temperature lower than that with a longer brew time.

Hario Switch Recipe

The Hario Switch offers a maximum choice of brewing methods. This recipe puts the device to best use, combining both the immersion and drip qualities of the brewer.

Ingredients:

  • 15 g medium ground coffee
  • 240 g hot filtered water (around 200°F)

Directions:

  1. Place the filter into the Hario Switch. Pour hot water over it until the entire filter is wetted. Pour that water out, and you are ready to start.
  2. Add coffee to the coffee maker. Pour in 40 mg of hot water and let it bloom for 40 seconds. Gently stir that water being certain the grounds are saturated.
  3. Pour 100 g of water on the wet grounds and let steep for 30 seconds.
  4. Place the coffee maker on the cup or carafe. Open the switch on the bottom, allowing the outflow to start. Pour the final 100g of water into the coffee maker, as if you were doing a pour-over.
  5. Throw away the filter and rinse the coffee maker with water.

Total brew time 3 – 4 minutes.

Clever Dripper Recipe

This is the recipe to make the standard Clever Dripper coffee. Even if you get the numbers and times a little off, your coffee should still taste good.

Ingredients:

  • 27 g medium-coarse ground coffee
  • 400 g hot filtered water ((around 200°F)

Directions:

  1. Fold the edges of the filter and wet it with hot water. Release any extra water from the bottom of the brewer.
  2. Wet the coffee with 50 g of water and let it bloom. This will release gas that gets into the beans when roasting. Mix the coffee with a stirrer.
  3. Pour the rest of the water (350 g) into the Clever Dripper. Place top on to hold in the heat.
  4. Steep for 3:30 minutes, then set Clever on server and begin drawdown. The coffee will continue to extract as the drawdown happens, taking about a minute. (Although many people report different drawdown times.)
  5. Throw away the grounds and the filter, rinse out the Clever Dripper, and fill it with water to soak.

Total brew time 4 minutes, 30 seconds

James Hoffmann Clever Dripper Recipe