The Bonavita Immersion Dripper: The Most Underrated Manual Brewer

The awesome thing about manual coffee brewers is that there are so many great options out there and everyone’s got a favorite. But once you get past the staples like a French press and pour over cone, it’s hard to know which brewer should be next on your list.

So if you’re looking to upgrade your coffee setup, let me help you narrow it down by introducing the Bonavita Immersion Dripper.

The Bonavita Immersion Dripper is a sort of hybrid brewing device; part French press, part pour over brewer. Similar to its closest competitor, the Clever Dripper, it’s an immersion brewer that uses a paper filter. This means that you get a coffee with body and taste similar to that from a French press, but without all the sediment or “sludge,” as so many of us call it.

The Immersion Dripper looks a lot like a standard porcelain pour-over cone with a large base attached. It has a plastic switch that controls a valve to restrict or allow the flow of coffee.

Brewing Directions

  1. Start by placing it atop your favorite mug or vessel.
  2. Drop a #4 filter into the brewer
  3. Rinse the filter if you’d like (I do)
  4. Combine your coffee and water the way you would a French press.
  5. Give it a stir
  6. Cover the brewer with the lid
  7. Wait until your brew time is up and slide the switch.
  8. The valve will open and your coffee will begin draining into the cup just like any other pour over brewer. 

Pros

Ceramic over Plastic: The Immersion Dripper is ceramic instead of the plastic used by the Clever Dripper. I’m a fan of this for a number of reasons.

  • Better heat retention means that your coffee will stay at a consistent temperature while it’s brewing.
  • It’s a bit heavy, so it feels more durable and likely to stand up to wear and tear better than the plastic alternative. Especially considering a lot of people report that the Clever becomes cloudy over time. I know that’s more of an aesthetic issue but I do also think that the Immersion Dripper’s ceramic build looks a lot sharper.
  • The ceramic is super easy to clean. Just toss out the paper filter and rinse. You can also run it through the dishwasher. However, I try to avoid most detergents on my brewing devices.

No need for a precise pour: Because it’s an immersion brewer, it’s a suitable choice for anyone who doesn’t have access to a gooseneck kettle. Or maybe someone like myself, who dropped theirs and completely broke the handle off. With the Immersion Dripper, there’s no need to stress about pouring in counter-clockwise circles or anything like that. Just pour, stir, and wait!

Sliding Valve with Rubber Stopper: Controls the flow of water easily and the rubber stopper creates a tight, leak-proof seal. Bonus: if you want, you can leave the sliding valve open and use your Immersion Dripper like a Melitta-style pour over cone.

Wide Base: Thanks to the wide base on the dripper, it will fit atop your larger mugs or decanters with wider openings. 

Cons

Hard to Reach Areas: I’ve yet to encounter a problem, but with the mechanism underneath, there seems to be a few hard to clean places where water can collect. Since I don’t want to put my brewer in the dishwasher, I wonder if this will pose a problem later.

Potentially Weak Slider: A lot of reviewers on Amazon claim that the plastic on their Immersion Dripper snapped off for no apparent reason. Mine has been going strong with heavy use for about 3 years now but this is definitely worth noting if you’re considering buying one. 

What it Boils Down To:

I started off by just working the Immersion Dripper into my rotation at home but after a while I noticed myself reaching for it more and more often. Once dialed in, it really makes a consistently good cup of coffee with moderate to low effort. The flavors are deep like that of a French press but with the clarity of a pour over brewer. I love a good French press and don’t mind the resulting sludge but it was nice to have the option to skip it altogether and still get the flavor I seek from an immersion brew. As for the learning curve, compared to other manual brewing devices, the Immersion Dripper isn’t exactly foolproof but it’s pretty close.

The V60, Chemex, Aeropress, and French press might be the heavy hitters, but I believe that the Immersion Dripper remains a criminally underrated brewing device.

Last update on 2021-10-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API