I purchased a Clever dripper last March/April around the same time as my Orphan Espresso LIDO grinder. They seemed like a natural pair and I really wanted to give the Clever a try. It combines immersion brewing (i.e. french press) with a paper filter. You get the body from the longer steeping time using a coarse grind and a much cleaner flavor profile due to the paper filtering. Additionally, Kaffeologie/American Coffee Trader have metal and cloth filters that work beautifully.
It is very easy to use. Heat the brewer up/rinse the filter and steep coarse ground coffee in hot water. When time is up, put the dripper on a mug/carafe of your choosing, and you are left with a delicious cup of coffee. That's the short version! Just like with the Aeropress, there are 101 ways to approach the Clever. You can adjust steep times, grind size, agitation regiments, and water temps.
After brewing, simply dump the filter, wash with hot water, and you are ready to go. Every few brews, I pop the rubber valve out and give it a good cleaning, but I have had no issues with residual oils ruining cups.
My only knock against it is that it feels like a disposable product. It is NOT expensive, so it is really not manufactured to last forever. That is not to say that it will need replacing after a year, but it is plastic... take that for what it is.
Here is my brew method:
I typically brew 18g/300ml to 21g/350ml. You can brew up to 500ml in the Clever, which is perfect for two people! I use Melitta #4 filters, which fit the dripper perfectly. I grind at 22-26 on my Virtuoso, which is similar to coarse sea salt.
- Heat clever up. This also serves to rinse the filter.
- After draining the water and adding the coffee, add 100ml of 200-205 degree water, and start a timer. At this point, I use a flat whisk to agitate the blooming coffee. Just a few stirs.
- Then add the rest of the water. Stir for 5 seconds and place the top on.
- At 2:30, remove the top and place the Clever on your mug or carafe. Simultaneously, stir the slurry for 5-10 seconds. If the grind is in the ballpark, the Clever will finish draining at 4min.
You can tweak the drawdown time and the agitation to your liking. This method is from Jason Dominy - watch his YouTube video on it! I also like doing a 3min steep and 1min drawdown when only brewing 300ml. This is a similar agitation method to the one that I use with my Siphon brewing. In the end, do what is comfortable and tastes good to you.
Also, I find that the Clever does well with a less than perfect grind. Simply, give the Clever more time to drain and agitate much less. Too much agitation with a dusty grind will stall the drawdown.