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In light of my Brewing Coffee Manually challenge, I thought I would review my best-loved dripper and long-time manual brewing companion. The Bee House Dripper.
The Bee House is a ceramic dripper made in Japan. It comes in two sizes, large and small, as well as a variety of colors (ten to be precise). It retails for around twenty dollars. The elegant design and wide availability have made it one of the favorite drippers of the manual brewing world.
What I like about the Bee House dripper
It is made of ceramic
Ceramic brewers are an upgrade from the inexpensive plastic Melitta dripper that I often recommended for the manual brewer who is just starting.
Ceramic is better at retaining heat than plastic. If you are preheating your brewer and brewing vessel, the Bee House helps to keep your grounds and water at a fairly consistent temperature while brewing.
Additionally, some people have serious qualms about brewing with plastic. If you don’t relish the idea of pouring 205 degree water over a plastic dripper and then drinking the results, a ceramic brewing may be for you.
It uses standard filters
Unlike it’s fiercest ceramic competitor, the Hario V60, the Bee House uses standard cone filters. The large Bee House fits a #2 filter (I typically just use #4’s) and the small Bee House fits a #1 filter.
If you run out of coffee filters (horror of all horrors), you can run to your nearest grocery store and find replacement filters immediately. There is no need to wait until your coffee shop opens in the morning or for your online order to come in the mail.
There is an assortment of materials that are used for standard cone filters as well. You can use natural, white, bamboo or even cloth filters. If you are upgrading from the plastic Melitta dripper, you should already have a nice stockpile of the correct filters.
It is dishwasher safe
Enough said about that.
It comes in different colors
I like the white ones, but I can appreciate the fact that people might want to add a little variety into their manual coffee brewing arsenal. The Bee House comes in colors from “Tangerine” to “Pepper Yellow.” Pick one that fits your personally or matches your favorite mug.
It brews great coffee
Most importantly, I have had great results with this dripper. It has made me many memorable and delicious cups of coffee over the last few years.
What you may not like about the Bee House
It is heavier and breakable
This is not a big deal, but if you are looking for something for on-the-go, it might be a reason to rethink the Bee House. The Melitta plastic filter cone is cheaper, lighter and nearly impossible to break on accident.
If you are concerned with brewing with plastic. Consider a lighter, non-plastic dripper such as the Kalita Wave dripper.
The large is pretty small, the small is really small
The Bee House is really not that big. The large is only the size of #2 filters. The small is tiny, I don’t really even use it. I let my daughter play with the small one in her toy kitchen. Here are the approximate dimensions of mugs each size can accommodate.
The small Bee House– The diameter of the mug opening should not be less than 2.5 inches. The outer rim of the mug should not exceed 3.75 inches in diameter.
The large Bee House– The diameter of the mug opening should not be less than 2.75 inches. The outer rim of the mug should not exceed 3.75 inches in diameter.
For comparison purposes, the Melitta dripper I own can fit on a mug with an outer rim diameter less than 4.25 inches.
You should get one
To some of you, I am sure, writing a product review on the Bee House is a little like someone writing a video game review for Super Mario Brothers. It is definitely not a new product and it has been around for a bit. Still, I wanted to recommend it to those of you who are looking for a dripper as well as share why I value it.
The Bee House is a great dripper. It is aesthetically pleasing, functions as well as, if not better than, the other popular ceramic drippers and is the perfect upgrade from the Melitta Ready Set Joe. You should get one.
Do you have something to add to the Bee House discussion? Are there features you love or hate about it? Please share your Bee House impressions and experiences in the comments below.
What are the main differences in the coffee brewed by the Bee House Dripper and the V60? I have heard that the Bee House is easier and also draws out more of the subtle tones than the V60…how would you describe the tastes of coffee brewed by each one?
That is a really good question.
From my experience you can get very similar cups from both brewers. I have not done a ton of side by side comparisons (this is something I would like to pursue and write a post about).
In my opinion the major differences in the two brewers are design and the techniques needed.
For the Bee House, the flow rate is regulated by a few small holes. Grind size and pouring technique will have an impact on extraction and cup quality but not as extreme as with the V60.
The V60 has a large hole in the bottom and thus flow rate is controlled more by the grind and pour technique. This gives you greater control but also more room for error.
If you don’t have a gooseneck kettle, I would definitely recommend the Bee House over the V60.
You can make a great cup of coffee with either. I think what matters the most how often you use the brewer. This will help you dial in a technique that brews a cup of coffee you like.
If you have a V60 I would not necessarily recommend running out and buying a Bee House for a contrasting cup of coffee (or vice versa).
Hope this helps. If I write a post comparing the brewers in the future, I will be sure to let you know.
Thanks so much for the quick and thorough response. As of now, I don’t have either. My coffee obsession is pretty new, although I’ve drank coffee from a coffee shop using the Beehouse for a couple years. I have neither right now and am living in Indonesia at the time, so I won’t begin experimenting until I return home in a few months. I only have an AeroPress and French press right now.
I think I will go with the V60 because it seems like it would be a lot more fun to experiment with and learn the art. Plus the copper V60 looks awesome!
No problem. Let me know when you get one and what you think about it.
I checked out your blog a bit. It looks pretty cool. Good luck on your coffee journey over the next few months.
This is a new reply to an old post so hopefully it finds you well.
As the only coffee drinker in my house, I purchased the small one. I figured it would be a better size for me, and if it’s too small I can simply work on my skills and nail down my technique…
My question: how much coffee would you recommend for the smaller size per pour? I’ve read 31 grams is a good amount for the larger size but I wasn’t quite sure how/if that would scale down to the smaller sized dripper.
I’ve only just come across this one. The Bee House is a very uncommon method in the UK; I’m not sure I’ve seen one in a coffee shop and most of the time I see them in the US. Over here, the Kalita Wave seems to be the favourite alternative to the V60.
Personally, I use a non-branded ceramic filter which is, I believe similar to the Bee House, with three holes in a line along the bottom. It too takes standard filters. I find it more reliable than the V60, although one day I will give my V60 another go.
Now that you have a gooseneck kettle, you should start experimenting with your V60 again. The Bee House (and its cousins) brew great coffee but I would be interested to hear your take on the V60 now that a gooseneck is in the picture.
For those that asked about the differences between the v60 and the bee house, from my experience, the bee house is usually better for a more well rounded cup of coffee. Of course this depends on the grind, the beans, how much water, etc, but the v60 is usually better at pulling out the lighter, brighter notes. For beans that have fruitier notes, the v60 is really good at capturing that part of the flavor.