I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time experimenting with manual brew methods. In the first iteration of the Midnight roastery I had two Ikea nightstands set up on top of one another in a single car garage and spent hours in there roasting, brewing, tasting, and hearing colors from all the caffeine. There is a notebook under my bed with thousands of journal entries logging cups of coffee I have brewed. And the culmination of all this brewing has been the simple conclusion that I love the Clever Dripper.
The Clever Dripper is a mix between a French press and a pour over cone. To brew with the Clever, simply scoop medium “drip” grind coffee into a paper filter inside the cone, pour your hot water into the cone with the grinds, let sit for a few minutes, set on top of your cup and watch as your delicious brew flows into your mug.
The most enticing attribute of using an automatic machine is the simplicity. We all sacrifice some level of quality and ritual by tucking the Melitta cone or Moka Pot into the back cabinet in exchange for the single “brew” button on our Mr. Coffees. But that is what makes the Clever Dripper unique as a manual brew method, it’s incredibly easy to use. When you’re making a pour over you have to worry about how fast you’re pouring the water, you have to be careful to not pour water down the side of the filter, sometimes the filter just indiscriminately breaks and, in any case,, you’re stuck with a shitty cup of coffee. The worst cup of coffee I’ve ever had was a Chemex brew of what was an award-winning coffee from El Salvador. I did everything right and it still just tasted awful for what felt like no reason. Using a Clever Dripper, that just doesn’t happen. It has the minimum number of variables you can have for a manual brew method. If you are buying pre-ground coffee at the store most of it is ground to what a Clever uses anyway. It is made of a BPA-free plastic that retains heat very well, unlike a big ceramic pour over cone. Without much more effort than a Mr. Coffee you end up with a strong, flavorful cup of coffee.
As specialty coffee continues to march towards lighter roasts, it is becoming increasingly harder to find coffees that have a big body. The “body” of a coffee represents the texture and more tactile elements of the liquid. It’s also referred to as mouthfeel. Body is the way the coffee sits on your tongue, and it’s one of my favorite attributes of a coffee. If I wanted a light, tea-like beverage I would just drink tea! Strong and full-bodied are two of the most important parts of a balanced coffee.
The Clever Dripper provides the big body and heavy mouthfeel that a French Press might yield, but with a cleaner flavor profile because of the paper filter. The immersion style of brewing wherein the coffee grounds and water infuse together extracts different attributes than pouring water on top of coffee grounds. The process results, in my experience, with a much stronger cup with lower acidity and a big, tasty body.
Using the Clever Dripper could not be any easier, and the whole Midnight mission is to make it easy to enjoy high quality coffee. That mission informs our green sourcing, our roasting style, the way we package and ship, and the way we encourage you to brew at home. Even on the busiest morning, scooping water and pouring coffee into the Clever cone and letting it brew while you make your breakfast is completely doable. And if you put the same amount of coffee with the same amount of water for about the same time, your coffee will taste the same every time.
As someone who has made a lot of really good coffee- and a lot of really bad coffee- knowing my cup will taste good day after day mean the world to me.