I’ve used this manual drip cone for a year now. It adds yet another twist to the seemingly simple task of brewing coffee. I’ve used the previously reviewed Melitta cone as well as everything from the previously reviewed Aeropress to a French Press.
This drip cone is, well, clever. It combines the ease and cleanliness of drip brewing with the long extraction of french press brewing. The difference is a spring loaded stopper on the bottom of the cone. To brew coffee you add a paper filter, coffee and hot water. Instead of placing the cone over your cup immediately, the spring loaded stopper keeps the coffee inside until you place the cone on a mug to lift up the stopper and drain your brew.
This difference allows you to directly control the immersion time of the brew to your taste. The result is a wonderfully rich and full cup of coffee. Previous versions were lacking one key feature: a lid, and required you to place a plate or saucer over the cone to keep the coffee hot while it brewed. The newer version is perfect with a built in lid.
I didn’t think I needed yet another tool for brewing coffee, but I’m hooked on the Clever Dripper now.
The Clever Coffee Dripper works like the other previously reviewed cone filter drip coffee makers except for one variation: it also acts as an immersion brewer. A simple gasket on the bottom of the Dripper enables the brewer to immerse the water and coffee together for as long as they would like before they begin the process of filtering.
In my opinion being able to control immersion makes for a superior cup of coffee compared to other available methods. I used the previously reviewed Aeropress for several years, and find that I prefer the Clever Coffee Dripper for my daily coffee ritual. I even prefer the cups that I have made to the cups that come out of the sophisticated (not to mention expensive) Clover machines, but that could be my own desire for strong coffee not being met by the barista who uses the machine.
There are different opinions about the amount of coffee, immersion time, amount of water, and water temperature that make the ideal cup of coffee. I find that I prefer a very strong cup, and use less water then recommended per gram of coffee, and immerse the coffee and water together a bit longer than recommended on Sweet Marias. A scale + grinder + clever dripper can get you brewing amazing coffee at a very affordable price point with the added bonus of complete user control over the brewing process.
[Note: Sweet Maria's has put together a tip sheet (PDF) for using the clever coffee dripper that explains some of the chemistry behind extraction. -- OH]