Hario Switch Review: The Greatest Immersion Brewer?
Introduced in 2019, the Hario Switch – true to its name – is a coffee dripper that lets you switch between immersion and percolation brewing. Its unique design has appealed to experts and novices alike, so we were excited to test drive it for a full review. We found a lot to love and only a few little complaints. Keep reading for all the details.
Summary: The Hario Switch
- Combination percolation and immersion dripper
- Uses the same glass cone as the famous Hario V60
- Offers coffee brewing advantages for both beginners and pros
The Switch makes by far the tastiest coffee, with the amount of texture and body that parallels a French press but with the clean/crisp aspects of a V60.– Customer
The Full Review Hario Switch Review
The famous Japanese brand introduced the Hario Switch immersion dripper in 2019 to compete with the popular Clever Dripper (1). Like Clever, it gives you the option of either a percolation or immersion brewing process. But unlike Clever, you can easily switch between the two coffee brewing styles while preparing a cup of coffee, hence its name. Keep reading to see what else Hario Switch immersion brewers can do.
Aesthetic Appeal – 4/5
While I wouldn’t call the Hario Switch a work of art, it is a beautiful piece of coffee gear that you can proudly showcase on your coffee bar. And you can add style points by pairing it with a pour over coffee stand.
It is essentially the Hario V60 glass cone with internal spiral ribs set in a unique black silicone rubber base, with a plastic switch on the side. The switch moves a stainless steel ball up and down within the base. When the ball is up, the dripper blocks the water flow; when it’s down, water passes through.
Ease of Use – 4/5
In many ways, the Hario Switch is the ultimate fail-proof dripper.
If you use it in a fashion similar to the Clever Dripper, you are guaranteed a reliably great cup of coffee. It’s as simple as steeping the coffee immersion style for the duration of the brew, then opening the valve to filter the liquid from the coffee grounds. This produces an intensely flavored and complex cup of coffee as you’d expect from immersion extraction, but with the clean cup of a paper filter coffee. You can even use this method for making cold brew.
In contrast, true pour-over coffee can be challenging to master, according to James Gray, the co-founder of Barista & Co (2).
Pour over control is difficult. There are many variables within it and having absolute control can be tricky.
You’ll also find that compared with a standard pour-over coffee, the grind size is less critical with this hybrid immersion brewing method. So you can get away with a less expensive grinder or even with buying pre-ground coffee – though we also recommend freshly ground whole coffee beans for the flavor and coffee quality, if not the size.
Cleaning the Hario immersion dripper is equally straightforward. The stand, cone, and switch all come apart, and the components are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Brewing Control – 4.5/5
The brewing control is where the Hario Switch excels versus the Clever Dripper. While the Clever is often touted as a great brewer for beginners, the Hario Switch is a great coffee brewer for beginners and coffee nerds alike.
The valve opens with the Clever Dripper as soon as you set the brewer on a cup or carafe. This leaves you with only two options. You can either use it as a typical pour-over brewer or treat it as an immersion dripper filtered through paper, as in the recipe described above.
If that’s all you’re looking for, then be sure to check out our Clever coffee dripper review.
With the Hario Switch, you control the hot water flow during the brewing process, using the switch to move the stainless ball up and down.
You can have the switch open during the bloom, close it to start immersion brewing, then open it again to continue as a percolation brewer. It’s this ability to experiment that appeals to coffee experts. With more control, you have more flexibility to dial in the Hario Switch recipe for a perfectly brewed cup.
Coffee Flavor – 5/5
The brewing control described above gives you a lot of options when it comes to coffee flavor, which is what makes this brewer so appealing. You can achieve the fuller mouthfeel and robust flavor of an immersion brew. You can equally enjoy the clean cup and subtle flavors of a typical pour over. Or you can find a perfect blend of the two brewing methods to suit your taste.
The Hario Switch, as with any pour over brewer, is as good as its barista and its recipe. For a bright light roast brew, I like to use slightly hotter water and a finer grind with this dripper. Using a lower water temperature and longer bloom time yielded a deliciously bold dark roast that was sweet and smooth. With practice and dialing in, there is no limit to the cafe-quality coffee flavors you can create with this device.
Portability – 3.5/5
The Hario Switch dripper is good but not ideal in terms of portability. On the positive side, it’s very light, weighing about a pound, so it’s easy to transport. And it doesn’t require electricity; you need a means of boiling water.
It’s great to have on a camping trip, where you can boil water over a fire. But it’s made of glass, so you must treat it with care.
This is not the brewer to toss on a hiking trip in your backpack. But as long as you’re reasonably cautious with your packing, it can be an excellent option for travel.
Price – 3/5
The price is not unreasonable if you think of the Hario Switch as two brewers in one. But it is priced significantly higher than comparable drip immersion brewing options. For example, the Clever Dripper, Aeropress, and the standard glass Hario V60 are about half the price of the Hario Switch.
One reason Clever is so inexpensive is that it is entirely plastic. While not everyone loves brewing coffee in plastic, it may be worth it for Hario to consider a plastic version of the Switch, as they already offer inexpensive plastic V60 brewers. This would lower its cost, but it would also make it more portable. And many people consider plastic coffee makers to have superior thermal properties for percolation brewing (3).
Conveniently, the Switch immersion dripper uses the standard Hario 02 paper filters, inexpensive and readily available.
Things we liked:
- Can choose immersion or percolation brewing
- Filters are inexpensive and common
- Attractive design with glass cone
- Great for beginners and pros
Things we didn’t like:
- Glass cone can break
Don’t Buy the Hario Switch If…
- You’re only interested in immersion brewing: If you don’t enjoy the clean, crisp cup of a paper filter percolation brew, stick with a traditional immersion brewer like a French press.
- You’re only interested in pour-over brewing: Likewise, if you have no desire for the heavy body and complex flavors of an immersion brew, there are some really good pour-over brewers to choose from, including the Hario V60.
- You’re not interested in manual brewing: If you want the flavor of a pour-over but aren’t interested in learning the technique, take a look at the Goat Gina smart coffee brewer. It will cost you a fair bit more, but it’s like having a trained barista make a good cup of coffee for you.
The Hario Switch is a good coffee maker for beginners and coffee experts alike. If you’re new to specialty coffee, it’s a great way to gain experience with techniques and brewing methods while still enjoying reliably excellent coffee. And if you already know your way around a pour over brew, you’ll appreciate that the Hario immersion dripper switch lets you experiment with unique new brewing recipes.
- EPR Retail News Editors. (2019, April 18). Hario Introduces Coffee Dropper With a New Concept – Immersion Dripper Switch. Retrieved from https://eprretailnews.com/2019/04/18/hario-introduces-a-coffee-dropper-with-a-new-concept-immersion-dripper-switch-97436321/
- Burgess-Yeo, S. (2019, March 15). Drip and immersion brewing: A battle of two methods. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/03/drip-pour-over-vs-immersion-the-battle-of-the-coffee-brew-methods/
- Rosas, A.P. (2020, November 3). How Does Your Dripper Material Affect Your Pour Over Coffee? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/11/how-does-your-dripper-material-affect-your-pour-over-coffee/