Filter test: Kalita wave vs Blue Bottle vs Washi

We have lots of discussions on different cone shaped filters, like Cafec Roast Level filters, Abaca filters, and Kono filters. But for wave filters, we always set Kalita wave filter as default. In this post, I want to share some thoughts on two other wave filters with comparison of Kalita wave filter.

Washi wave filter
This filter made by paper mulberry bush which its fiber is longer and more intense than regular wood pulp. Washi wave filter has the smoothest surface of the three, with similar thickness of Kalita wave filter. Due to the intense fiber, it can filter more impurities from coffee while still keeping the mellow part. The brew time of this filter is also the longest.

Blue Bottle filter
This is a bamboo-based filter. The surface of this filter is the roughest of the three and it is also the thinnest regarding to thickness. If you saw a cut bamboo before, you will see there are many small holes on the cross section. This is the nature of this plant and it also provide this filter a good permeability. This filter has the fastest flow rate of the three and I am not surprised since Blue Bottle dripper is a single small hole dripper.

Kalita wave filter
The most popular and widely used filter on flat bottom drippers. Made by wood pulp with relatively high (maybe a little thinner than Washi wave filter) thickness. Provide good balance on flavour complexity, cleanness and body.

I try my best to make these three brews under exact same conditions and the result is Blue Bottle(upper right)>Kalita wave(left)>Washi(bottom right), fastest from left to right. Difference is around 20 seconds.

Personal thoughts
These filters have different characteristics, so I use them based on different circumstances.

Washi wave filter provide a full body cup and it can neutralized the smoky and astringency tastes that we usually get from dark roast coffee, but we might not want flavours get affected and its long brew time in light roast coffee.

Blue Bottle filter keeps the acidity quite well and people might like its fast flow rate, but I don’t use it in dark roast coffee much since the flavours lack of mellow part.

Kalita wave filter has a balanced characteristic so I will use it for the first brew to get to know a coffee.

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