Last Updated on June 27, 2021 by smiling-coffee-snob
After making a name for themselves with their coffee kettle, the Stagg X is Fellows attempt to improve the coffee brewer. Like Fellow’s other products, the Stagg X is well designed, minimal and meant to impress. But, the real question is whether it makes good coffee—coffee better than other brewers—or it just tries to get by on its looks.
This Fellow Stagg X Review will help you figure that out for yourself. Over more than six months I’ve brewed many coffees and compared similar brewers to see what’s better and what’s not. To help you figure out if this is the brewer for you, I’ll go over what I like about it and compare it to my main two recommendations.
(Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. However, the links are affiliate links and if you buy something I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you).
Fellow Stagg X Review: What is the Stagg X?
The Stagg X is a tall, thin, flat-bottomed brewer with ten holes and a center bump. It’s made out of double-walled stainless steel and covered in a matte black finish that’s cool to the touch. It uses special paper filters that are very similar to the Kalita Wave filters.
On the bottom, there’s a silicon cover that sits on your glass or carafe without damaging it. The silicon also has three lines that allow air to pass between the carafe and the brewer.
There are two different versions of the Stagg X. One is the brewer by itself and the other is a set with Fellows’ tasting glass and a special carafe. Both come with a drip catcher that connects to the brewer and a funnel to make it easier to add coffee. They also come with filters to start you off
What’s the difference between the Stagg X and the Stagg XF?
While this review is about the Fellow Stagg X, there is another version of the Stagg called the XF. The main difference between the two brewers is size. The X brews one 10-12 oz cup of coffee while the XF brews around 20oz of coffee.
Each one has a tall, thin design, but the XF is notably taller which results in different brewing behavior.
Fellow recommends the X for a slow and steady pour and the XF for filling it all at once and waiting for it to draw down. Besides the size difference, choosing amongst the two is a matter of personal preference.
Fellow Stagg X Review: How’s it compare to the Hario V60?
The Hario V60 is a completely different type of brewer than the Stagg X, but either one could potentially serve as your primary pour over coffee maker.
The V60 is a cone shaped brewer which is much different from a flat-bottomed brewer. The cone shape requires more finely ground coffee and a lot more precision to brew with. Like I mentioned in my full V60 guide, it’s a harder to master but you can get fantastic results once you get the hang of it.
The Stagg X is much easier to use. So, if simplicity is your primary consideration, you will probably prefer the Stagg X. However, there is a much closer competitor than the V60: The Kalita Wave.
How does the Stagg X compare to the Kalita Wave?
The stainless steel Kalita Wave is the closest competitor to the Stagg X. While the two are very similar, there are some notable differences between them.
While both brewers are made out of stainless steel, the Stagg X is double-walled and the Wave is not. This makes the Stagg X dramatically thicker and the double-walled insulation retains heat much better. The outer layer makes it easy to hold the Stagg X, but the Wave is too hot to touch.
The next difference is slight, but important. The Stagg X has a tall, thin design while the Kalita Wave is shorter and wider. Fellow designed it this way to increase contact with all of the coffee grounds.
The Kalita Wave’s wider brew bed, means it’s more shallow. If you’re debating between the Kalita Wave 185 and the Fellow Stagg XF the difference is going to be very noticeable. However, when comparing the Stagg X and Wave 155, the difference is still there but it’s small.
The Stagg X is design-focused both in form and function. The double-walled stainless steel with the black matte finish is beautiful to look at and excellent at retaining heat. The silicone on the bottom protects the carafe or cup you sit it on and also blends seamlessly with the rest of the design.
Additionally, it comes with a funnel to help add coffee grounds and a detachable bottom that can act as a drip catcher after you brew. The drip catcher also has markings to help you measure coffee if you don’t have a scale. All three pieces fit together so they are easy to travel with or store together.
The Kalita Wave is also well designed, but it’s a simpler design. The simple design works incredibly well for a fraction of the cost. And the wider brew bed makes it easy to saturate the coffee grounds evenly.
Does the Stagg X actually make good coffee?
The Stagg X makes excellent coffee. There’s no doubt about that. The real question is whether it’s worth nearly double the price of the Kalita Wave.
This is a little harder for me to answer. So, what I’m going to do is help you determine which one best fits your needs.
Who should stick with the Kalita Wave?
If you want a low-cost option that consistently makes great coffee, you’ll be happy with the Wave. It has become the go-to pour over brewer in cafes all over the world because it’s easy to make great coffee with it.
Even if you don’t put much effort into brewing with the Wave you can still get great results. As I mentioned before, this is one of the few brewers where you can get by without a gooseneck kettle.
What’s great about the Wave is that while you can get good results pretty easily, you can get much better results with more effort. So, if you willing to focus on how you pour, the temperature of your water and use a scale you’ll get fantastic coffee.
Who should go for the Stagg X?
The biggest draw for the Stagg X is the design and the double-walled insulation. In terms of sheer performance, I’d say the Stagg X is slightly easier to use and has all the advantages of the Wave plus a little extra.
If you want to easily make great coffee without much effort, you could use the drip cup to measure your coffee and the funnel to add it with ease. If you don’t want to use a scale, this would simplify the process. You could also get by without a gooseneck kettle. I’d say this is a little easier than with the Wave because of the thin design.
If you have a gooseneck kettle and scale, you’ll get even better results with the Stagg X. The double-walled insulation is the most notable difference from the Wave. This makes it a lot easier to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the brewing process. At first, you may need to adjust your water temperature down a little bit, but after you get the hang of it, it’s more consistent.
The other difference is how well it holds in heat. In practice, this means that you will probably want to have your water temperature a little lower compared to other brewers. This will vary from coffee to coffee though. With really lightly roast coffees hotter is usually better so it’s a nice benefit.
How to brew with the Fellow Stagg X
Using the Stagg X is similar to other flat bottomed brewers. As I mentioned, the Kalita Wave is the most similar brewer, but the Stagg X is taller and thinner. The biggest thing that stands out to me is that it’s easier to cover the coffee with water so you can do a slow and steady pour.
I find that the best results come from either one slow, steady pour or multiple small pours. I’ll offer a multi-pour recipe below.
- Grind 20g of coffee and heat 320g of water
- Set your Stagg X on top of a carafe or mug on a scale
- Add your coffee and tare the scale
- Start the timer and slowly pour 50g of water
- After 30 seconds pour 70g of water
- Add another 50g of water when the timer hits 1 minute
- At 1:30 add another 50g of water
- Pour another 50g when the timer hits 2 minutes
- Your final 50g pour will be at 2:30
- Gently swirl the brewer to flatten the bed and let it finish draining
Ideally, you should finish in 3-3:30 minutes, depending on the coffee. Water temperature will depend on the coffee you are using. Generally, very light roasts should be just off the boil and the darker the roast the lower the temperature. This really depends on coffee and your preference though. The final taste should be your ultimate judge.
Putting it all together
So, when it all comes down to it, the Stagg X is a fantastic brewer, but it’s not necessary for everyone. For many people, the Kalita Wave is a better option. Not because it’s a better brewer, but because it’s more than enough.
I guess you could say the same thing about most of Fellow’s products. They are a very design-focused company that makes beautiful coffee gear for a specialty coffee crowd. If that’s not you—or not who you want to become—then their gear is probably more than you need.