Kalita Wave 155 vs. 185: Which Is the Better Choice for You? 


The Kalita Wave is a coffee brewer that comes in two different sizes, the 155 and 185. While you’re sure you want to own a Kalita Wave, you can’t decide which of the sizes is the better brewer for you. Which should you choose?

Between the Kalita Wave 155 and 185, the latter is somewhat bigger. If you want to brew only single cups of coffee at a time, then choose the 155, but if you want larger quantities of coffee, the 185 is the right choice. It brews two to four cups of coffee at once. 

In this article, we’ll review the Kalita Wave 155 and 185 individually and then discuss how to choose the right coffee brewer for you. You’re not going to want to miss it!  

The Kalita Wave – an Overview

First, for those who haven’t heard of the Kalita Wave, let’s explain how this coffee brewer works, as it has quite a unique design.

The Wave is a coffee dripper that allows you to attach it to a brew stand or brew right into your cup. The materials for the Wave are ceramic, glass, or stainless steel. The Wave has a design with a patented filter and a flat bottom for the coffee bed. 

The shape of this brewer features waves or ridges that move down its body, which is where this drip coffeemaker’s namesake comes from. The ridges have a cone that meets the flat bottom. Throughout the bottom are three holes. 

Then there’s a baseplate, which surrounds the cone so you can put the Kalita Wave over a serving vessel of your choice. An easy-to-grab handle is another feature that’s there for safety’s sake.

So why the holes, you ask? Well, the Kalita Wave isn’t called a drip coffeemaker for nothing. The triple holes allow for water extraction. 

According to Kalita’s website, the Wave filter has 20 waves per side. The filter never touches the bottom, which prevents hot water from pooling up at the bottom of the coffee brewer even if you pour the water in at an angle. 

The area where the water goes in the coffeemaker is known as the Wave Zone. Kalita says that the presence of the Wave Zone will ensure uniformity in brewing as well as a reliable flavor. 

What Is the Kalita Wave 155? The 185? 

The Kalita Wave is available in two sizes, 155 and 185. You can select between the three materials mentioned above for either the 155 or 185 models. Kalita states that the 155 Wave model is designed for producing one to two cups of coffee at a time. The 185 can brew two to four cups. 

Let’s look at the products available in the Kalita Wave line. 

Kalita Wave Porcelain

The Hasami porcelain used to manufacture the porcelain Wave brewers dates back more than 400 years ago in Nagasaki Prefecture (which makes sense considering Kalita is a Japanese brand). Kalita states that even today, this ancient porcelain is still widely used all over Japan.

The 155 porcelain dripper measures 4.33 inches by 4.33 inches by 3.15 inches. The 185 porcelain dripper is 5 inches by 5 inches by 3.43 inches. 

Kalita Wave Metal

The stainless steel Wave is designed for durability with a Tsubame label of quality. The 155 model is 4.45 inches by 4.45 inches by 2.99 inches. Here is the link for the 185 model. This Kalita Wave dripper is 4.57 inches by 4.66 inches by 3.64 inches. 

Besides the stainless steel edition, you can also buy the Kalita Wave in copper, which too passes the Tsubame level of high standards for metal. The measurements for the 155 copper dripper are the same as the respective stainless steel version, and that’s also true of the 185 model

Kalita Wave Glass

That brings us to the Kalita Wave glass brewer. This version features a polypropylene base and a dripper made of heat-resistant glass. The 155 glass dripper is 4.52 inches by 4.52 inches by 3.03 inches. The larger 185 glass dripper measures 4.65 inches by 4.65 inches by 3.66 inches.

You can select from several colors for the polypropylene base. These are black (links above), Cherry Pink, Mango Yellow, and Peppermint Green.

Choosing Between the Kalita Wave 155 vs. 185

Your decision whether to brew your coffee with a Kalita Wave 155 or 185 comes down to one factor: how much coffee you like to drink.

Both sizes of the Wave are identical in practically every other way. You can buy either size in materials like copper, stainless steel, glass and polypropylene, or Hasami porcelain. The 185 is always bigger than the 155 to brew more coffee at once, two to four cups for the 185 versus one to two cups for the 155. 

The price difference between the two Kalita brewers is only marginally different as well. Maybe you can save $20 or $30 by sticking with the Kalita Wave 155 versus the 185. 

How do you choose then? Well, if you’re someone who only brews one cup of coffee at home in the morning before you leave for work, then the 185 isn’t necessary. 

Yet that wouldn’t the case if you drink coffee throughout the day and you don’t want to keep brewing new cups every time. Then you’d want the 185 over the 155. 

Can You Use the Kalita Wave 155 or 185 Filters Interchangeably? 

Regardless of which Kalita Wave brewer you choose, you’re going to use Wave filters, which we talked about earlier. The filters almost look like giant cupcake cups, adding to the whimsy that is using the Wave. 

With your purchase of either the Kalita Wave 155 or 185, you’ll get a pack of filters. You can also buy replacement filters through Kalita’s website, on Amazon, or wherever you buy your favorite coffee supplies.

Could you use 155 filters in the 185 Kalita Wave or vice-versa? No, you can’t. The Wave filters are designed to fit a specific brewer size. If you put a 155 Wave filter in a 185 Wave brewer, the filters are going to be way too small.

The Wave filters are designed not to touch the bottom of the brewer so water can freely move out of the Wave coffeemaker. This also protects the coffee grounds until they’re brewed. Yet with so much space since your coffee filter is too small, lots of bad things would happen.

Whereas before, there’s an optimal amount of airflow for the brewing process, a filter that’s too small would create more than enough airflow. This can interrupt how the Kalita Wave works, leading to a cup of coffee that doesn’t taste exactly how you expected.

You also wouldn’t be able to brew as much coffee at a time despite the size of the 185 Kalita Wave because the 155 filters can only handle so many coffee grounds. Overpouring them could cause the filter to collapse. 

What if you tried to put a 185 Wave filter in a 155 Kalita Wave brewer? Now you’d have no airflow since the filter would be far too large for the coffeemaker. 

Hot water wouldn’t be able to easily travel through the ridges of the Wave filter and into the Wave Zone, which could result in your coffee grounds get soaked. You would have a very watered-down cup of coffee!

Wave filters should only be used for the accompanying Kalita Wave of that size. You should also not use coffee filters from other brands beside the Wave, as these filters lack the ridges of the Wave filters.

For best results, store the Wave filters in the Wave cone. When kept elsewhere, the filters can become shapeless, which will also impact brewing. 

How to Brew Coffee Using the Kalita Wave

Through the information in this guide, you bought your first Kalita Wave. Admittedly, you’re not sure how to use it. In this section, we’ll explain, going step by step. 

Kalita states it should only take three minutes to brew coffee with their drip coffeemaker. The first step is to rinse the Wave filter, which is supposed to get rid of any papery taste. We’ve seen some users state that this step isn’t necessary since the Wave filters are thin anyway. 

We’ll let you be the judge! Try brewing in the Kalita Wave with and without rinsing the filter and see which you prefer.

Next, add 3 tablespoons of finely-ground coffee to a clean mug or carafe. Kalita says the texture of the grounds should be like table salt. Then place your Wave filter, positioning it so the bottom of the filter is flat. 

Put your Kalita Wave 155 or 185 over the mug or carafe, taring the scale until it reads zero. Pour in your hot water, at least 60 grams. The water should be boiled to 250 degrees Fahrenheit before pouring, as this will cause the grounds to bloom, aka degassing.

This process causes the coffee to start bubbling. You should then stir the coffee. After 45 seconds of brewing, pour 200 more grams of water, doing so in a spiral to integrate the ingredients. 

Keep adding water in small quantities, such as 25 to 50 grams at a time, until you reach 375 grams of water about two minutes into brewing. If you see any dark spots in the coffee, submerge them with your spoon until they disappear. 

Then pour and enjoy! 

Final Thoughts 

The Kalita Wave is a drip coffee brewer that comes in two sizes, the 155 and 185. For those who enjoy single cups of coffee at a time, such as in the morning before work, the 155 suffices. If you regularly gulp down at least two cups of coffee before getting your day started, the bigger 185 size should work well for you.

Although brewing coffee in the Kalita Wave is more effort-intensive, you can control the entire brewing process to ensure you get your coffee just how you like it. That’s why the Kalita name is a favorite among coffee lovers! 

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