We talk a lot about the AeroPress here at Coffee Geek, and we feel it’s well-warranted.
The benefits of brewing with one so drastically outweigh its ease of use, we find it to be a near-perfect innovation in the coffee world.
Having said that, the Clever Coffee Dripper is a device that has won the hearts of coffee enthusiasts around the world for many of the same accolades often given to AeroPress.
It offers simplicity both in its design and use, and produces all-around high-quality coffee.
If you’ve recently found yourself head-first down the rabbit hole of at-home brewing devices in pursuit of a reliably delicious cup of coffee, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll explain the Clever Dripper and AeroPress’ history and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Is there a clear winner amongst them?
We believe there is, but that’s not to say it’s not close, or that personal taste doesn’t play a significant role in establishing the best option. Let’s dive in and take a close look at each!
Clever Dripper vs AeroPress: Some Background on Each
The Clever Coffee Dripper
It combines the simplicity of drip coffee with an immersion brewer in order to extract more from coffee grounds than french press coffee, while requiring very little preparation or attention.
The Clever Coffee Dripper is a “clever” coffee maker (see what we did there) that was designed to give newer coffee lovers an easy way to brew a consistent full bodied cup without requiring a lot of time or knowledge about coffee.
The Clever Dripper is becoming extremely popular among coffee lovers everywhere.
This simple and efficient drip coffee device is designed to make an espresso-like concentration of coffee at a fraction of the cost.
Made of durable plastic, it is easy to clean and is great for single-serving coffee.
The Clever Dripper is manufactured by E.K. International Co., Limited, a Taiwanese company. There are two sizes of this coffee maker, small and large.
Both sizes come with instructions on how to use them.
A large one comes with a lid and coaster, while the small one only includes a lid. Having a lid is important for keeping the coffee warm.
You may want to invest in a second one if you find the Clever Dripper to be too expensive.
The Almighty AeroPress
Ok, ok, it’s really just called the AeroPress, but we couldn’t just leave it at that when it’s being compared to something named “Clever,” could we?
The AeroPress was invented in the early 2000s by a man named Alan Adler, who just really loved coffee and experimented with ways to improve over common methods like the french press and other brewing methods.
The AeroPress is all about pressurizing water and using that power to force extraction from coffee grounds to a much higher degree and with more efficiency than normal.
The first pre-production prototype was actually made from a bicycle pump!
When it hit shelves in 2006, it was a runaway success, and Adler, already age 78 at the time, retired a year after the AeroPress’ launch.
In many ways, one could say the AeroPress was really the first “clever” coffee maker.
The Key Differences
One of the main differences between an AeroPress and a Clever Dripper is their brewing process.
You’ll notice the visual differences instantly when looking at the two, and we’ll bet you’ll have no trouble guessing which is which.
The Clever is an immersion-style brewer, which makes the process of brewing a French press-like coffee easier and more enjoyable.
Its design is similar to that of a standard pour-over brewer but features a valve at the bottom to hold the hot water. Unlike a pour-over, it can brew filter, iced, and even espresso.
This device can also be used to make cappuccinos and lattes, and it is a great way to keep multiple tasks running at once while brewing coffee.
It has a lid to prevent the drips from contaminating the grounds, and it is also lightweight and BPA-free. It can brew both drip and immersion-brewed coffee.
It does not extract the oils from the coffee beans like a traditional drip brewer, so the flavor is less fruity and floral.
The Clever Dripper is not the most elegant brewing device. However, it is made with utility in mind.
The AeroPress on the other hand has a totally unique design that looks like a cross between the top of a food processor and a bicycle pump—and maybe something from the Austin Powers movies…
It’s virtually indestructible and does an incredible job brewing fresh coffee using hot water or cold if iced coffee is more your thing.
The AeroPress is quick and easy to use, but it needs your attention and a bit of prep.
The Clever, on the other hand, gives far less control over your coffee brewing, but it essentially guarantees you’ll get a good cup every time.
Let’s break down the pros and cons of each.
Breaking Down the Pros and Cons
Choosing between an AeroPress and a Clever is not as simple as you might think. They both use a similar process for brewing coffee, but the AeroPress is more versatile.
While an AeroPress is capable of producing an espresso-like brew, a Clever is almost entirely hands-free and upgrades the coffee you’d otherwise get from drip brewers without needing much additional work or prep.
While both of these coffee brewing methods use pressure to enhance flavor, they are both different in some other ways.
The Clever Dripper and the Aeropress are both immersion brewers.
While they both produce good coffee, they offer slightly different brew results. Both focus on making coffee more approachable for regular consumers.
Here’s a brief comparison of the two brewers.
Clever Dripper Pros
A Clever Coffee Dripper is a great alternative to a regular coffee maker, and it also makes good iced coffee. You can use it to make your coffee in mugs and carafes.
While an AeroPress is perfect for steeping coffee, the Clever Dripper uses a patented shut-off system that will stop brewing coffee when the device is removed.
You can preheat it with hot water before brewing coffee with it. This step helps ensure that the coffee is extracted evenly.
The Clever Dripper uses a coarse grind, but a medium grind will work just as well.
The Clever Dripper has many benefits. It removes the need to use gooseneck kettles and be extra careful when pouring your hot water.
Its weight control allows you to brew a consistent, great cup of coffee every time.
For a medium roast or darker coffee, the Clever Dripper is a perfect option. Its lightweight design is an advantage, and it is made of BPA-free plastic.
It is also suitable for pour-overs, as well as immersion brewing.
As a pour-over method, it produces a fuller body coffee than a drip brew.
The Clever Dripper is a great choice for those who want a brew method that is both easy to use and affordable.
It features a shut-off system that dispenses coffee only when you put it on top of a cup.
The Clever Dripper is also easier to clean and has a longer warranty than the AeroPress.
Clever Dripper Cons
While the Clever dripper has several advantages over other similar machines, it lacks a few features common to devices like the French Press.
For example, the Clever requires a medium grind, not the fine grind needed for pour-over.
The bottom of the Clever is also prone to cracking when handled roughly.
Overall, the Clever dripper is better for brewing for one or two people, max.
Another downside is that you won’t be able to enjoy floral notes that are achievable with AeroPress coffee.
It’s also important to note that it won’t extract the oils of coffee as deeply as the AeroPress.
The Clever Dripper is not aesthetically stunning. The design is uninspired, lacking the clean lines and industrial loft vibe of other coffee makers.
While the Clever Dripper is lightweight and made from BPA-free plastic, it isn’t the prettiest coffee maker.
Having said that, if your only interest is functionality and great coffee, the aesthetics of the device probably won’t bother you.
The AeroPress, like the Clever brewer, was designed to make better coffee than a French press while being no harder to use.
But where the AeroPress really shines is in the control it gives you over your coffee.
You can use standard medium ground coffee like with other methods, or grind finer for an espresso-style brew.
The AeroPress will also allow you to capture all the coffee oils if they suit your tastes, while if you prefer not to have them, you can easily swap your filter to keep them out.
The AeroPress is arguably more portable than the Clever Coffee Dripper, and can also be your go-to tool for making cold brew.
It also allows you to customize your coffee’s steeping time, which is something Clever can’t offer.
The AeroPress is overall far more versatile, with settings for immersion-style, espresso-style, and cold-brew brewing.
While the Clever has a single-piece design, the AeroPress is composed of several parts, including a filter cap and plunger.
So cleaning your AeroPress will be a bit more involved, although still relatively easy.
The AeroPress is definitely more hands-on though, and requires prep, measuring, and active involvement to get the coffee you want.
The added control and versatility may not warrant the extra effort for the average coffee drinker who just wants a simple, consistent brew first thing in the morning before leaving the house.
Our Verdict: Just Personal Preference?
If you’re looking for a new brewing tool to make your morning coffee, you might be wondering which is better between these two brewing methods.
As we’ve covered, both have their advantages and disadvantages.
For starters, the Clever Dripper is not commonly seen in coffee shops and uses a paper filter. The Clever Coffee dripper also requires you to change the filter after every cup of coffee.
On the other hand, the AeroPress is more versatile, allowing you to make immersion-style, espresso, or cold-brew. Its clean acidic taste and distinct flavor notes are both notable.
While both brew the same amount of coffee, and both methods leverage pressure to enhance flavor, they have significantly different tradeoffs.
We find it mostly comes down to how particular the coffee you’re brewing.
If you’re a serious coffee lover who doesn’t mind taking a few extra small steps to get a superior cup, the AeroPress is likely for you.
While the AeroPress is more versatile, it’s also more expensive. If you’re a frequent coffee drinker, you’ll most likely want to invest in an AeroPress.
Its design and functionality make it more convenient than the Clever, but it’s worth noting that both brew great coffee.
If you’re looking for a device that’s going to streamline your morning routine while also ensuring you get a very solid cup of coffee every time, with little fuss, the Clever Dripper may be for you.
If you’re reading this and still torn, the good news is neither device is prohibitively expensive, so both may be a good choice for you.
You can rely on your Clever throughout the week or whenever you just need a quick, easy caffeine boost, and when you’re craving a truly exceptional cup, give your AeroPress a go.
Have a strong preference? Let us know what you think and whether you agree with our take. Happy brewing!