Clever Dripper Brew Guide (3 Recipes for Beginners to Experts)


Clever Dripper coffee maker sitting on a wooden background

The Clever Dripper is one of my favourite brewers. Here we have three excellent and very different brew guides to share with you.

A lot of online coffee brewing guides are a little daunting if you’re not a coffee expert. We appreciate that not everyone is as obsessed with coffee as we are, so the first recipe has been adapted into three groups:

The second and third recipes are for the more adventurous. The second is from Nick Cho and is a little whacky, and the third is by Berg Wu and is definitely obsessive.

The beginner

What you’ll need

Step 1:

Fold both the side and bottom edge of the paper filter and place inside your Clever Dripper. This just makes it fit easier.

Step 2:

Rinse the paper filter with hot water. Empty the water into your decanter or mug to preheat it and then discard.

Note: Paper tastes yucky. If you’re not convinced, give it a go just this once and take a sip of the rinse-water. I’m sure it’ll make you a convert to rinsing.

Step 3:

Boil your water. Let the water come off the boil for 30 – 60 seconds.

Step 4:

Add four tablespoons of medium ground coffee to the Clever Dripper.

Step 5:

0:00′. Start your timer. Fill the Clever Dripper with water to within half an inch of the top. Place on the lid and leave to brew for 2 minutes and 15 seconds.

Step 6:

2:15′. Remove the lid and give the floating coffee (known as a crust) a gentle stir or two so that it falls to the bottom. You shouldn’t see any floating coffee.

Step 7:

2:30′. Place the Clever Dripper onto your decanter and let the coffee drain through.

Total time should be around 3:15′.

This recipe has been adapted to be a little weaker than a lot of coffee aficionados are used to by using a little less coffee. A common complaint from beginners is how strong coffee geeks take their coffee.

The enthusiast

What you’ll need:

  • Clever Dripper (size L)
  • Coffee
  • Filtered water
  • #4 paper filter
  • Kettle
  • Digital scales
  • Decanting vessel or large mug
  • Tablespoon
  • Timer

Brewing parameters:

  • Dose: 28g
  • Grind: medium
  • Water: 420g
  • Coffee to water ratio: 1:15
  • Total time: 3:30′

Step 1:

Fold both the side and bottom edge of the filter and place inside your Clever Dripper.

Step 2:

Rinse the paper filter with hot water. Empty the water into your decanter or mug to preheat and then discard.

Step 3:

Boil the kettle and allow the water to come off the boil for 30 – 60 seconds.

Step 4:

Add 28g of medium ground coffee to Clever Dripper.

Step 5:

Place Clever Dripper on scales and tare.

0:00′. Start your timer. Fill the Clever Dripper with 420g water. Place on the lid and leave to brew for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Note: Make use of the coaster as the Clever Dripper always drips.

Step 6:

2:30′. Remove the lid and give the floating coffee (the crust) a gentle stir or two. You shouldn’t see any floating coffee.

Step 7:

2:45′. Place the Clever Dripper onto your vessel and let the coffee drain.

Total brew time should be 3:30′, give or take 10 seconds. If it has taken too long, your coffee is ground too fine. Shorter, your coffee is ground too coarse.

Give your coffee a stir and enjoy.

The expert

What you’ll need:

  • Clever Dripper (size L)
  • Coffee
  • Filtered or bottled water
  • #4 paper filter
  • Coffee grinder
  • Kettle (gooseneck optional)
  • Thermometer
  • Precision scales
  • Digital scales
  • Decanting vessel or large mug
  • Tablespoon
  • Timer

Brewing parameters:

  • Dose: 28g
  • Grind: medium
  • Water: 420g
  • Water temperature: 96°C (205°F)
  • Coffee to water ratio: 1:15
  • Total time: 3:30′

Step 1:

Fold both the side and bottom edge of filter and place inside your Clever Dripper.

Step 2:

Rinse the paper filter with hot water. Empty the water into your decanter or mug to preheat and then discard.

Step 3:

Heat your water to 96°C (205°F).

Step 4:

Grind 28g of coffee on a medium setting.

Note: For best results, weigh your coffee after grinding too. Grinders often retain some of the grounds.

Step 5:

Place Clever Dripper on scales and tare.

0:00′. Start your timer. Fill the Clever Dripper with 420g water. Place on the lid and leave to brew for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Note: Use of the coaster as the Clever Dripper always drips.

Step 6:

2:30′. Remove the lid and give the floating coffee a gentle stir or two. You shouldn’t see any floating coffee.

Step 7:

2:45′. Place the Clever Dripper onto your vessel and let the coffee drain.

Total time should be around 3:30′.

Remember to give your coffee a stir to avoid stratification. Enjoy.

Whacky: Nick Cho’s Gold + Paper + Clever

For this recipe, you’ll need a Cores Gold Filter. This is an interesting method which I’ve used myself with good results. By lifting out the gold filter, you effectively end the brewing process, and the draw-down time is a lot quicker at around 15 seconds.

The only downside is that the last 10ml or so of coffee will take an age to filter through due the coffee fines being compacted together. I suggest ending the filtration once it’s blocked, forgoing the last 10ml.

What you’ll need:

  • Clever Dripper (size L)
  • Coffee
  • Filtered or bottled water
  • Cores Gold filter
  • #4 paper filter
  • Coffee grinder
  • Gooseneck kettle
  • Thermometer
  • Precision scales
  • Digital scales
  • Decanting vessel or large mug
  • Timer

Brewing parameters:

  • Dose: 21g
  • Grind: medium
  • Water: 336g
  • Water temperature: 96°C
  • Coffee to water ratio: 1:16
  • Total time: 4:00′

Step 1:

Fold both the side and bottom edge of the paper filter and place inside your Clever Dripper. Place the Cores Gold filter inside too.

Step 2:

Rinse the filters with hot water. Empty the water into your decanter or mug to preheat it and then discard.

Step 3:

Grind 21g of coffee to medium.

Note: For best results, weigh your coffee after grinding too. Grinders often retain some of the grounds.

Step 4:

Place Clever Dripper on scales and tare.

0:00′. Start your timer. Fill the Clever Dripper with 65g water in a circular motion.

Step 5:

0:45′. At 45 seconds, add the remaining 270g of water, again pouring in a circular motion. Place on lid and leave.

Step 6:

3:30′. Lift the lid and pull out the gold filter, allowing the water to flow through.

Step 7:

3:45′. Drain. Stop draining when the paper filter becomes clogged (last 10ml or so).

Total time 4:00′.

Remember to give your coffee a stir to avoid stratification. Enjoy.

Obsessive: Berg Wu’s sauna method

This recipe is quite unique and won the World Barista Championship in 2016. It’s a mixture of pour-over and immersion.

It’s great for aromatic, light roasts from Ethiopia or Kenya. Please note that this is for the size S Clever Dripper. You can always scale-up if you own the larger size.

What you’ll need:

  • Clever Dripper (size S)
  • Coffee
  • Filtered or bottled water
  • #2 paper filter
  • Coffee grinder
  • Gooseneck kettle
  • Thermometer
  • Precision scales
  • Digital scales
  • Decanting vessel or large mug
  • Timer

Brewing parameters:

  • Dose: 16g
  • Grind: medium-fine
  • Water: 240g
  • Water temperature: 80 – 97°C (176 – 207°F)
  • Coffee to water ratio: 1:15
  • Total time: 3:15′

Step 1:

Add paper filter and rinse with hot water. Empty water into your decanter or mug to preheat for 10 seconds. Tip out water.

Step 2:

Place Clever Dripper on decanting vessel to open the valve.

0:00′. With water at 97°C (207°F), pour 50g in a circular motion to bloom the coffee.

Step 3:

0:30′. Now pour in another 100g of water at 97°C (207°F) in a circular motion.

Step 4:

Add cold water to the kettle to bring the temperature down to between 88 – 93°C (190 – 199°F).

1:00′. Add another 50g of water.

Step 5:

Add more cold water to the kettle to bring the temperature down further to between 80 – 85°C (176 – 185°F).

1:30′. Lift Clever Dripper off the decanting vessel. Add the last 40g of water.

Steep for 20 seconds and drain by placing the Clever back on the decanting vessel.

Total time: 2:15′.

Make sure to give the brew a thorough stir to avoid stratification. Enjoy.

How to clean the Clever Dripper

This is what I love about the Clever Dripper: how easy it is to clean. The only slight annoyance is getting the lower section to thoroughly dry because of the valve’s moving parts. But don’t worry, I’ve come up with a solution.

  • Throw your coffee and filter in the bin.
  • Use a neutral washing up liquid and give it a good scrub.
  • Rinse thoroughly, ensuring you pass water through the open valve.
  • Hold the Clever Dripper upside down for several seconds and give it a shake to get rid of as much water as possible.
  • On your drying rack, place the Clever upright on the plate divider stands to open up the valve. Leave it there in place and it’ll dry thoroughly.

Something I recommended from time to time is to detach the bottom section of the Clever for deep cleaning. This is done by simply pushing on the rubber valve from inside the Clever Dripper.

It’s a good idea to clean the rubber valve to avoid a buildup of coffee oils which can lead to unwanted dripping. Detaching the bottom section is also a great way to dry the Clever, too. To reattach, align the two parts and push gently.

Joshua Milton

Joshua has been passionate about specialty coffee for some 10 years now. He built elevencoffees.com to share what he's learnt over the years so that you can enjoy better-tasting coffee.

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