It is defined by its small size, cone shape, lighter filters and a single large hole in the base. Unlike the Chemex, V60 filters are lighter (but should still be washed before use) and allow for a stronger bodied cup of coffee. According to Siemens, who competed in this year’s brewer’s cup with the V60, it’s a bit more difficult to “dial in” than the other brewers. But it is much more versatile. “You have to pay a lot of attention to how much and how fast you’re pouring water,” he said. “Pour intentionally and you’ll be alright.”

Siemens recommends pouring concentrically, starting inside, then slowly working your way outside, then back in. The cone shape brings the same issue of water running down the sides of the brewer and not making contact with coffee as the Chemex, so neither brewer is a pour-and-forget system (spoilers: none are).

Our experts agreed the V60 brews clear, light cups of coffee, but not nearly as light as the Chemex. They also agreed that you’ll taste more classic coffee flavors – chocolate, toffee, honey, nutty.

The V60 varies in price between materials and size, but the model our experts recommended, the ceramic 

The cup of coffee that the V60 produces sits right between the Chemex and the forthcoming Wave — light, but not too light. It’s not ideal if you’re brewing for more than two people, but its small size does allow it to tuck into a suitcase should you want something a bit better than hotel coffee.

Verdict: Our experts each had a different opinion on the degree of difficulty to make a balanced cup of coffee, but after a couple practice runs, I didn’t find it particularly challenging to get a decent cup (again, don’t miss the coffee with the pour). It’s important to note that while you can brew directly into your chosen mug with the V60, if you’re brewing more coffee, you’ll need a carafe that holds heat reasonably well.

Kalita Wave

Pour-Over-Coffee-Systems-gear-patrol-Kalita-slide-1-v2

Unlike the Chemex and V60, Kalita’s Wave brewer isn’t cone-shaped; it has three drip holes instead of one. This changes things more than you’d think. The flat-bottomed brewer ensures the all water that’s poured over it, one way or another, interacts with the coffee grinds. Water sloping down the sides will run into the coffee before it can reach the holes in the base. Combine that with the lightest filter of the bunch and the extended water-coffee interaction time, the Wave produces a cup of coffee with the strongest body of the three.

 Siemens won the 2017 Brewer’s Cup using a Kalita Wave and says the brewer is the most user-friendly and forgiving of the three, but it’s not completely without flaws. “I find it requires a lot more manual agitation than the others. The coffee isn’t as easily moved by normal pouring, and you can get really wonky coffee if that happens.”

(Onyx Coffee Lab’s Kalita Wave instruction video demonstrates what Siemens means when he says agitation — stirring the grinds with a spoon during brewing or more heavy-handed pouring.)

It’s super small size is a strength and weakness — its small and light enough to work as a coffee option for hiking, camping or regular travel, but its short height means making more than 2 cups at a time will be a stretch.

The Wave comes in ceramic and glass, but the stainless steel model, which is the most used by the pros.

Verdict: The Wave is the easiest brewer to nail down quickly. The compact size makes it a poor choice for making large batches, but it’s perfect for one- or two-person households, outdoorsy people or frequent travelers. Two of our experts said it was the most user-friendly, while the third said it was second.