Clever Coffee Dripper

Clever_Coffee_Dripper4_1 WEB.jpegI'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. --Tim Hollosy Clever Coffee Dripper $21 Don't forget to comment over at Cool Tools. And remember to submit a tool!


  1. I went to a cafe & ordered an iced tea that came hot in a similar device along with a big glass of ice. The tea one is more cylindrical with a big basket for loose leaf tea. It was the pretty much the best iced tea ever.

  2. So little money, so many ways to make coffee! I’m going to try this.

    I find that I make the best coffee with a cone, followed by my Chemex flask, followed by my French Press. I’ve often thought I could make better coffee in the French Press if I invested in a better model.

  3. “To brew coffee you add a paper filter…” paper? paper?? are you mad Mr-or-Ms Cool_Tool?! might as well filter one’s precious coffee through the explosive diarrhea of satan himself as suffer all the hideous dioxins, lignans, and yes… tannins, that swarm in paper products. for shame! no more Cool_Tooling for you until you return with a proper turnip twaddler. now.. go!…g’wan… go! ((the nerve of some people… -sigh-))

    1. Paper hasn’t been bleached with solutions containing significant amounts of dioxins for many, many, many years. A quick pre-rinse with hot water gets rid of most of the other stuff (and yes, I am a working chemist, as a matter of fact).

      1. @anonymous to @anonymous to @anonymous, well I’m a PhD chemist working for the FDA and I can tell you that there remains all sorts of bleaching agents and other low level toxins that elute out of many brands of coffee filter.

        …and since I’m covering my butt anonymously like you, I can tell you most of those coffee filters with the worst toxicity come from China.

        (geez man, it’s impressive that you’re a “working chemist”, but when did you last do HPLC on food products so that you can make such uninformed statements?)

  4. I have one, they are great, ease of a cone, but nicer coffee (pour in boiling water, wait four minutes, set on cup). The spring is just some mushy silicone rubber bits.

    I like it, I got mine at Sweet Maria’s, the roast your own coffee place in Berkeley, CA.

  5. Sigh. Yet another means of feeding my last remaining chemical addiction.

    Life was so much easier when all I had to do was cook up and inject.

  6. This looks like a variation of the Intellatea: large area for brewing with a spring-loaded stopper for draining into a cup through a filter.

  7. Are you stalking me? I have been all over the internet looking for one of these! THANK YOU!

  8. Not that it makes any difference in the actual working of the device, but I particularly like that it’s even simpler than Cool Tools suggests — it doesn’t use a spring loaded stopper, but is instead powered by nothing but gravity!

  9. should be healthier than French press too–just be sure to pre-rinse the paper filter to get out the nasty flavor.

    maybe its already been mentioned on here, but if not, try a search for kahweol and cafestol on google. coffee grounds are believed to increase LDL synthesis, which isn’t everything there is to heart disease, but it’s a start…

  10. I just pour the coffee through a second time in a regular Melita cone. Seems to pick up the most guts of the beans that way because by the time it’s done, the coffee is running out very thin.

  11. it is a shame it is plastic – I prefer my coffee BPA free. Wish it was glass or ceramic…still a good idea and hopefully they will launch a non-plastic version.

    1. Good thing they polymerize that BPA to turn it into plastic before selling it to you, then! Do you think water’s dangerous because the hydrogen might explode?

    2. Anon: A ceramic model was announced at this year’s SCAA show. Should be available for sale by the end of the year.

      I will also attest as a coffee pro that the clever is possibly the greatest single cup brewer on the market right now for the average civillian.

      We like to get super fussy with our coffee, and a lot of us forget that the average consumer doesn’t care about the minute differences in the cup with changes in brew temps and agitation levels. The clever has the highest good cup/low effort ratio, and it’s cheaper than your average Mr. Coffee, too.

  12. I use something like this for tea. Brilliant little device. So much better than bags and such. You haven’t had Earl Grey until you’ve had Rishi’s loose leaf. Even the best bags (and quite a bit of expensive loose tea) taste like friggin’ plain Lipton by comparison.

  13. Yes, well, hmmm. For a while I paid extra for gourmet coffee, and I could tell it was different but I couldn’t tell exactly what the difference was. Then they sent me instructions. One item was to only taste four flavors at a time because after four sips you couldn’t tell one coffee from another. Well, that was the end of my gourmet period. I was not going to pay extra if they officially admitted that nobody could actually tell the difference.

    For years I brewed a normal amount of grounds in one fourth the normal amount of water. After twelve hours I filtered out the grounds. Then when I wanted a cup I would mix one part syrup with three parts water and nuke it. I used the cheapest coffee I could find and I and all my friends thought my coffee was just fine.

    Now I brew one cup at a time, with a paper filter, no equipment except a funnel. (And I didn’t pay twenty one bux for the funnel!) And you know what? It still comes out just fine. I mean, it’s coffee, just what I wanted. If you can’t tell the difference, why pay the difference?

    1. The same applies to most gourmet foods, audiophile equipment, name-brand clothing, etc. Certainly better quality than the cheapest stuff, rarely significantly different than the stuff with normal prices.

  14. Maybe I am missing something: Wouldn’t using a paper filter mean the paper was absorbing the very oils one is trying to release into the cup?

  15. I use a Coava Kone and a Chemex, and until I can afford a $2K espresso machine that’s all I’ll ever need. Well, maybe a nice burr grinder is my next acquisition. And that Hario pour over kettle…

  16. I’ve been using one of these from Sweet Maria’s twice a day on average for over a year now – it’s awesome.

    This thing, paired with a decent burr grinder (my capresso infinity was great until I upgraded to a Rocky) can make awesome coffee. Pair it with good beans and with a small amount of trial and error, you can pull all the nuances out almost as well as you could with your chemex but without having to stand there with your $75 hario beehive kettle for 4 minutes.

    Use flannel or gold if the paper taste bothers you. Personally, I am fine with rinsing the paper ones.

    Oh and it’s made from BPA free plastic.

    Side note to Alvis: don’t pour boiling water into your polymerized BPA plastic and expect not to get any on you. You can taste it a mile away. Ever own a Nalgene bottle and leave it in the sun?

  17. If you want to avoid paper filters, you might want to try the Kaffeologie Pourover Filter. It’s two layers of fine stainless steel mesh stitched together with Argentium sterling silver wire.

    Haven’t tried it myself, so I can’t vouch for it. And of course a mesh filter probably won’t absorb oils the way paper does.

    They make models for Clever, Hario, Bee House and Chemex.

    (And does anyone actually know what plastic the Clever Dripper is made from? Polycarbonate seems an obvious guess, but I have autoclavable lab equipment that looks like polycarbonate that’s actually polymethylpentene – PMP, aka TPX – that would seem like a good choice for food equipment, and would obviate any BPA issues.)

  18. *Sigh*

    BPA is a plasticizer, and is not part of the polymer structure. A plasticizer acts as a sort of pseudo-solvent to decrease the crystallinity of the polymer. It doesn’t migrate easily, but it does migrate.

    Also, even before people started hoohahing about regulation, all manufacturers of plastic with operations in the United States voluntarily stopped using it to pre-empt regulation. This was in November 2009.

  19. To make french-press-like coffee with the melita single filter: Pour ground coffee into mug A with boiling water. Let it steep. Pour grounds and water through the melita over mug B. Drink.

  20. Is everybody here born yesterday?

    You can get a Cona all-glass-on-glass vac pot without any exposure to paper or plastic like you’re at a grocery store checkout. And neither any metal pretending to be paper.

    SweetMaria’s has been selling them for decades. Cleanest cup of coffee you can make at home.

  21. Re paper filtering out oils: After years of not using it,, making camp coffee, french press, and filtering through tea strainers, I switched on the advice of a friend, and dropped my cholesterol from 280 to 200 by this single change in my diet.

    Search and read about cafesole. There are ample studies demonstrating that you really don’t want it in your body. Paper filters take it out. Every doctor I’ve spoken to doesn’t know this.

    Fiends of mine who are genuinely insane about their coffee insist for the right flavor you’ve got to have paper, AND that you have to rinse the filter first with hot water to get the taste out, which I don’t do. They just barfed at the smell of my brown recycled paper filters, too. They swear by the Clever.

    Me, I just drink it for the buzz, not the taste, use a Melitta filter, and cheap coffee, so I’m a real coffee low-brow, but I can’t ignore my blood test results.

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