Buying Guides

Kalita 102 vs Kalita Wave: Which Brewer Reigns Supreme?

Curious about the ideal pour-over setup? Compare Kalita’s 102 and Wave brewers and elevate your home brewing game. Your next cup awaits!

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Which of Kalita’s brewers deserves a spot on your countertop?

The Kalita 102 and the Wave are pour-over drippers from the renowned Japanese coffee manufacturer. To cut to the chase — both are solid, and both make great coffee. However, both have features and quirks that might sway your decision towards one or the other.

I’ve used these models at home and in a cafe for many years, so I’m here to share my two cents. Read on for a pour-over brewer showdown!

Kalita 102 vs Kalita Wave

Key Takeaways

  • The Kalita 102 is an entry-level, wedge-shaped pour-over dripper that’s affordable and user-friendly, using readily available #2 filters, ideal for beginners.
  • The Kalita Wave 185 boasts superior build quality and finishes, as well as consistent brews with its flat-bottom design, but comes with a higher cost and harder-to-find proprietary filters.
  • Both models can brew 2-4 cups, and while they offer different aesthetic and practical experiences, each ensures a quality pour-over coffee with similar results in the cup

Demystifying Pour-Over Drippers

What, you’ve never done a pour-over in your life? Well, it just happens to be a fantastic way to make a tasty cup of brewed coffee. This technique involves carefully pouring hot water over coffee grounds placed in a filter nestled inside the brewer.

This manual process allows you to tailor your brew precisely to your preferences, from the temperature of the hot water to the way you pour it. Things can certainly get complicated, but we’ve got you covered with our full guide here. Or you can stick to a simple recipe!

However you want to approach it, the core of this brew method is the venerable pour-over dripper. These come in many shapes, sizes, and finishes. They also brew quite differently, depending on the construction of the brew path. Here are a few types:


As the name suggests, this type of pour-over dripper looks like a wedge with the edge cut off. It looks a bit like the brew basket of an auto-drip coffeemaker and may even use compatible filters.

These are usually finished with small drain holes (anywhere from one to three) located centrally along the brewer’s narrow inside base. The Kalita 102 is a great example of a wedge-shaped dripper.

Kalita 102 Multiple

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Flat-bottom drippers are similar in concept to wedge-shaped ones and resemble a cone with the pointy tip cut off. ‘Flats’ also use small drain holes like the 102, but the more symmetrical shape helps promote even and consistent brews.

One issue with this shape is that the paper filters are a bit specialized and may be harder to find. The Kalita Wave is an example of a flat-bottom dripper.

Kalita Wave December


Conical types swap out those tiny drain holes for a larger singular opening. Brewers like these are more efficient at brewing due to the faster drain time, but you might need a special goose-neck kettle to slow down the water flow.

Conical brewers use filters similar to wedge-shaped ones, except with the pointy tip intact. One of the most popular brewers using this construction style is the Hario V60.

Hario V60 Top

Kalita 102 Coffee Dripper

If you’re just getting your feet wet with pour-over brewing, few drippers are as straightforward as the Kalita 102. This Kalita is a great pick for the budding barista who wants to add some pizzazz to their coffee-making routine.

The model number means we’re looking at the 2-cup model, which can brew 2 to 4 small Japanese-sized cups of coffee. There are the smaller 101 and the larger 103 and 104 models, but I’d say the 102 is the “Goldilocks zone” of the lot. Kalita seems to think so too — it’s the size that’s available in the widest variety of materials and colors.

The brewer’s wedge-shaped design features tiny raised ridges on the inner walls that give the paper filter a bit of lift during the brew. And speaking of those, this dripper uses the standard #2 paper filter, like you’d use for small auto-drip machines.

Kalita 102 Top

Things We Like

  • Inexpensive and well-made, from a reputable manufacturer
  • Available in multiple colors, material finishes, and sizes
  • Filters are affordable and easy-to-find

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Your pouring game has to be on point
  • The ceramic model is quite heavy — watch those cups!
  • How the handle of the (expensive) copper variant gets uncomfortably hot when brewing

Kalita Wave 185 Coffee Dripper

The Wave costs about two to three times more than the Kalita 102, depending on the model. And what do we get for the price premium?

For starters: a flat-bottom affair that mimics the brewing characteristics of an ideal “flat bed” extraction. The dripper’s shape and filter work together to promote evenness and consistency throughout the brewing process. Now who doesn’t like a great cuppa with minimal fuss?

The Wave also features improvements in build quality across all models. Insulated wood-tone handles, removable bases for the glass models, and at least three Special Edition material finishes mean something good-looking and functional on your brew bar.

But with unique attributes comes a small price to pay: the filters. Kalita sells proprietary Wave filters that are a bit hard to find in regular stores. Amazon has some off-brand options, but they just don’t work as well as the Kalitas.

Kalita Wave Top

Things We Like

  • Even and consistent brews thanks to the flat bottom construction
  • Great build quality and material design
  • Available in multiple colors, material finishes, and sizes

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Confusing model selection
  • Filters are pricier and harder to find
  • Lack of an inexpensive plastic variant

Kalita Dripper Showdown: 102 vs Wave 185

Dripper TypeWedge-shapedFlat-bottom
Brewing Capacity2-4 Cups
(Max 30g coffee: 500ml water)
2-4 Cups
(Max 30g coffee: 500ml water)
Materials and FinishesCeramic, Plastic, Copper, PorcelainStainless Steel, Ceramic, Glass, Sandstone, Copper
Filters Kalita 102 Filters or
#2 Coffee Filter
Proprietary Kalita Wave 185 Filters
Are Reusable Filters AvailableYes, third-party suppliersYes, third-party suppliers
Standard Brew Time3 minutes3 minutes
Dishwasher SafeYes (except copper variant)Yes (except copper variant and removable plastic bases on some models)
Other sizes available101 (1-2 cups), 103 (4-7 cups), 104 (7-12 cups)155 (1-2 cups)

Similarities Between The Kalita 102 And Wave

Brew Volume

The Kalita 102 and Wave 185 are both 2-4 cup brewers. Expect to make about 16 ounces of brewed coffee in one go. This is perfect for two normal-sized cups, or perhaps a large insulated tumbler.

Brewing Process

The Kalita Wave 185’s flat bottom should ideally give you an advantage in consistent brews. But in practice, I find that both brewers make very similar cups of coffee.

Both the 102 and the Wave have three small-sized drain holes, the latter being a smidge tinier. However, the design of the proprietary Wave filters increases water flow, leading to near-equal brew times between the two brewers.

So despite the difference in shape and filter, you can expect to use your Wave brew recipes for the 102, and vice-versa. Just remember that your grinder’s setting between drippers can vary!

Kalita 102 Wave Pouring

Model Options

If matching your brewer to your bar’s aesthetic is important to you, both the 102 and the Wave offer multiple materials and finishes.

Kalita 102YesYesn/aYesYes (Hasami Edition)n/a
Kalita Wave 185n/aYesYes
(regular and Tsubame Edition)
(Tsubame Edition)
(Hasami Edition)

Differences Between the Kalita 102 and Wave

Filter Flexibility

While Kalita does distribute their filter paper for the 102, just about any #2-size paper filter should work. Suitable brands you might find in your nearby Walmart or Costco are Great Value, Melitta, and Brew Rite. In a pinch, you can also use a larger filter size (like a #4) without much detriment to your brew.

The same isn’t true for the Kalita Wave 185. While you can creatively fold any filter to “fit”, you need the brand’s proprietary Wave filters, or at least a good third-party alternative to take advantage of its special brewing dynamics. The smaller 155 model also uses more narrow filters that don’t fit its bigger sibling.

Kalita 102 185 Filters

Size Alternatives

If two cups equal too much caffeine, you can opt for the Kalita 185’s smaller 155 sibling. That’s about it.

On the other hand, the Kalita 102 has one smaller size variant (the 101), and two larger size variants (103 and 104), allowing you to do an XL-sized pour-over if you wanted! The biggest size tops up at 12 cups of coffee or about 50 ounces.

In a sensible move, the two largest sizes only come in lightweight polycarbonate plastic.

Consistency Across Variants

If you’ve seen a Kalita 102, you’ve seen them all. The Kalita Wave, on the other hand, has small differences in construction depending on the material variant. Here are a few ones I noticed on the different Waves I’ve used:

  • The stainless steel model has a narrow grip insulated in plastic
  • The Tsubame models use a bent wire grip as a heat-proof holder
  • The Tsubame models have a slightly different base shape, which makes them drain a bit faster than the standard steel variant
  • The bottom ridges on the porcelain and glass variant are more pronounced than those of the stainless steel model
  • The glass model has a removable plastic base

Which One Should You Get?

Before you splurge for either of these, take a peep at our comprehensive brewer guide to see if the pour-over lifestyle is for you.

For entry-level seekers, it’s hard to make a case against the Kalita 102. It’s affordable, looks classy, and the filters are incredibly easy to find. The plastic version especially is a lot of brewer for very little money.

If you’re up for something unique and a bit more premium (filter fuss included), the Kalita Wave 185 will surely jazz up the joint thanks to its wider range of finishes and special models. The cherry on top? Consistent brews cup after cup.

Happy Caffeinating!

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