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Tiamo Drippers

April 29, 2012

Tiamo is a Taiwanese-based company that specializes in knock-offs of more expensive Hario and Kalita gear. I'm not aware of any reviews of Tiamo drippers, so I thought it might prove useful to somebody if I were to provide one.

I purchased a small ceramic Tiamo flat-bottom dripper ($17.50, from Orphan Espresso) that is meant to mimic the Kalita Wave size #155 dripper. Kalita ceramics are manufactured in a historic section of Japan, and the build quality is very good. But since Kalita doesn't manufacture a small flat-bottom dripper in ceramic, I took a chance on the Tiamo. I have not been disappointed.

One of the main criticisms of the Wave is that it is expensive. A small dripper costs between $30 and $35, where the comparable Hario and Beehouse models cost around...$17.50. The Tiamo, then, is priced in line with the main competing dripper-styles out there. 

As for performance--the Tiamo, as far as I can tell, performs exactly the same as the Kalita. And if you're wondering--which you  probably aren't--how the steel, glass, and ceramic models compare, the quick answer is, The Same. Pick whichever one tickles your aesthetic fancy. I feel like the shiny steel version looks too much like a pimped-out toy spaceship, the glass is too clinical. Clean white ceramic is juuust right.

So, Tiamo = Kalita performance-wise. Next logical question is, how does the Kalita perform? Why the flat-bottom, the fluted filters, etc?

As far as the fluted cup-cake filters go...the theory is that they use air as an insulator in order to keep the coffee bed warmer than a Beehouse or Chemex would. I'll test this out one day. For me, aesthetics are big here. The "bloom," where the coffee "flowers/flours ;-)," looks like a flower in the Kalita/Tiamo filter. Really really cute.

More important is the way that the Tiamo-Kalita sets up the coffee bed. It's aggressively vertical, especially in the small version, almost like an espresso puck. I've found that this promotes consistently even extractions. The Hario v60 is a bit of a pain in this respect, the Beehouse is better, but I like this style best.

Criticisms? Filters are expensive, about 15 cents a pop for the white ones, which are cleaner than the browns. So each cup is about 10 cents more expensive than it would otherwise be, but this is the beauty of coffee-it's quite affordable as far as luxuries go. AN EXTRA 10 CENTS A CUP. Oh no! I can accept that shortcoming :-D 








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