Kalita Wave 155 vs 185 – What’s the Difference?

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The Kalita Wave is a pour over brewer that is easily recognized by its distinct waves or ridges descending down its sides. Its unique design also features a flat bottom which allows for more even extraction and water flow. The Wave is offered in two different sizes: 155 and 185. You may be wondering what the difference is between the Kalita Wave 155 vs 185. In this post, we’ll go over the brewing capacity of each size. Plus we have some brewing tips to get the most out of your Wave.

Kalita Wave

Kalita Wave 155 vs 185

Brewing capacity

The main difference between the Kalita Wave 155 vs 185 is the brewing capacity. The Kalita Wave 155 is ideal for brewing 1-2 cups or 8-16 ounces of coffee. And the Kalita Wave 185 is ideal for brewing 2-4 cups or 16-24 ounces of coffee. For most coffee drinkers, the smaller size should be sufficient.

But if you frequently brew for more than one person, the larger size might be worth having because it’ll save you a little time versus brewing multiple individual cups.

Price difference

The Kalita Wave comes in two sizes – 155 and 185. The 155 option is ideal for 1-2 cups of coffee and the 185 is for 2-4 cups of coffee. The 155 is about 33 USD depending on the retailer and the 185 is 50 USD. The Kalita brand filters are around 14 USD (100 pack) for the small size and 20 USD (100 pack) for the large size.

These prices are for the metal Kalita Wave, which is their most popular version. They also offer glass and ceramic drippers which are about 20 USD each. Note that the design of the glass and ceramics drippers is different from the metal Wave. As such, results might vary with each of these. But if you’re just starting out with pour overs and want to try a cheaper option first, it’s something to consider.

As far as price, the Kalita Wave is on par with other popular brewers such as the Chemex and the Clever Dripper. However, compared to some other pour over brewers such as the Hario V60 or the Bodum, the metal Kalita Wave is a bit more expensive. Even so, the Wave is still a reasonably priced brewer.

Kalita Wave pros and cons

Pros

The Kalita Wave has a unique design that features ridges or “waves” descending down its sides. It’s cone-shaped like other pour over brewers but it has a flat plate with three small holes at the bottom. The different design isn’t just for aesthetic purposes. 

The flat bottom allows the coffee grounds to settle in an evenly distributed manner which allows for even flow of water and better extraction. The Wave provides a consistently good cup of coffee and it’s easy to use for beginners. 

The Kalita Wave is also pretty small so it’s easy to travel with. In addition, it’s made of metal so you can toss it in your luggage and not worry about it breaking. Plus it’s compact enough to not take up too much space on your counter.

Cons

The biggest con of the Kalita Wave is in the filters. The Wave requires a specific “wavy” filter that you probably won’t be able to find in store with the same ease as other filters such as Hario V60 or Chemex filters. Your best bet is to order them online.

Because of the small drain holes and flat bottom, the Kalita Wave has a slight tendency to become clogged which results in a slower draw down. A simple fix is to give the grounds a gentle stir.

Tips for a better brew

Below are a few tips to get the most out of your Kalita Wave:

  • Allow the coffee to “bloom”. If you’re not yet a pour over aficionado, the bloom happens when you pour a a small amount of water into the brewer first and wait. You’ll see the grounds swell and bubbles rise to the surface. Essentially what this does is release the gas (CO2) in the coffee grounds. By releasing the CO2, the water is better able to extract the flavors from the coffee.
  • Rinse the filter first. This is a good tip for any pour over brewer, not just the Wave. Before adding your coffee grounds, place the filter into the brewer and a mug or carafe underneath the brewer. Rinse the filter with a bit of hot water and allow the water to drain into the mug. Then discard the water and start brewing. Rinsing the filter will remove any paper flavor in your coffee that comes from the filter. It also preheats your brewer.
  • Like we mentioned earlier, the Kalita Wave requires a specific “wavy” filter. A common complaint of these filters is that they sometimes lose their shape when they’re taken out of the package. This can make it hard to get them placed right in the brewer. Use a spare coffee mug or buy a cheap one to store your filters in. This will allow them to retain their shape.

Final thoughts

The main difference in the Kalita Wave 155 vs 185 is the brewing capacity. The 155, which is ideal for 1-2 cups of coffee, is perfect if you’re brewing just for yourself. If you frequently make coffee for multiple people in your household, the Kalita Wave 185 will brew up to 4 cups of coffee. Whichever one you choose just depends on your needs and how much coffee you’re wanting out of your brewer.