Pour over coffee brewing methods have started to become increasingly popular with home enthusiasts. Gone have the days when simply pressing a button on your auto-drip coffee maker would be enough to satisfy your senses and deliver that much need hit of caffeine.
Today, coffee lovers want to control every variable in the brewing process, from the grind, water temperature, and steep time, to create a cup that’s suited to one’s preferences and highlights the unique traits of the coffee beans.
I made the switch a few years ago from an automated coffee machine to coffee pour over, and I’ve never looked back. Sure, it’s a bit more hands-on, and in some cases, you’ll have to babysit your coffee brewer, but hey, that’s all part of the fun – you’re in control!
With home baristas around the globe finding a new love for pour over coffee, some older extraction methods have been resurrected as well as a few newer pour over coffee makers have hit the brewing scene.
In this article, I’ve spent a good 30-hours researching the best pour-over coffee brewers that are the favorites with high-street coffee shop baristas and home coffee enthusiasts alike.
Pour Over Coffee Maker Brewing Tips
If you’ve never experimented with coffee pour over it can be a bit daunting at first, especially if you’re transitioning from a push button brewer. Below I have listed a few tips and suggestions for the beginners.
Remember, it all starts with a solid foundation, so make sure you have the freshest and best coffee beans you can get your hands on. The great thing about pour over coffee is that you can tweak and play with the different variables and then adjust to taste. Let’s take a closer look.
For most manual pour over methods, a medium grind is the preferred. Remember always to use a good quality Burr grinder wherever possible; this will help to ensure a consistent grind which in turn will mean a more even extraction.
When it comes to coffee brewing ratios a good rule of thumb when starting out is 60-grams of coffee for every 1-liter of water. Once you get a feel for pour over coffee brewing you can change this ratio and experiment. But be warned this will also affect other factors. Changing any single parameter when brewing will also require a change elsewhere in your setup.
As with any coffee brewing method filtered water is going to be your number choice and boiling your water to around 195-205 degrees, Fahrenheit tends to give you the optimum results with pour over coffee. If you are unsure use water just off the boil (wait for 30 seconds) and that should be just fine or use a kettle with a built-in thermometer like the Coffee Gator Kettle.
Coffee Scale: A good accurate coffee scale is a must with pour over coffee, without this you’ll have to guess how much coffee to grind which isn’t ideal.
Thermometer: Another recommended accessory is a thermometer to ensure your water temperature is correct.
Slow-Pouring Kettle: Lastly, I highly recommend that you invest in a goose neck style pour over kettle unless you have hands as steady as a surgeon?
Best Pour Over Coffee Makers (Top Picks 2018)
Below are the best-of-the-best when it comes to pour over coffee brewing. Each of these brewers requires a different approach to achieve the best-tasting pour over coffee. Some of these will also require a more hands-on approach – simply standing over the brewer and pouring hot water isn’t going to cut it.
But hey, if brewing great tasting coffee was easy, everyone would be doing it! (wink!)
The Kalita Wave has three triangulated holes running through its flat bottom design. Compared to some of the other traditional pour over coffee makers that utilize a cone-shaped bottom, the flat bottom design on the Kalita Wave allows for less turbulence when pouring which in turn encourages a more even extraction.
The Kalita accordion style paper filters are also unique; the design allows the filter to stand away from the side of the filter basket. How is this beneficial? The wavy filter helps with improved temperature stability by using air as an insulator rather that the dripper wall. You can find the Kalita Wave at places such as Amazon.
The Chemex combines a thick paper filter cone with a classic glass decanter. Unlike the above Kalita Wave, the Chemex paper filter sits snugly against the walls of the decanter. Due to the thickness of the paper filters the water flows through the coffee grinds much more slowly making the immersion time longer when compared to alternative pour over coffee brewing methods.
This long steeping time can be beneficial when brewing a tasty cup and is less dependent on the skill of the pourer and is more focused on the other brewing parameters, such as the coffee grind and water temperature.
The V60 looks very similar to the Kalita Wave, however, the V60 has a cone-shaped dripper, not a flat bottomed dripper. The cone-shaped filter has spiral ridges running along the inner walls which all run down to a single opening at the bottom. This unique design helps to keep to paper filter from sticking to the walls, encourages better extraction, and also improves the flow of water.
Compared to the other pour-over coffee makers the Hario V60 uses very thin paper filters. The thinness of these filters not only allows for a faster extraction but also helps to reduce the “paper taste” which is often left in your end brew from those thicker paper filters.
The V60 is my go-to coffee brewer when I’m making more than 1-cup. The unique design of the V60 yields some of the best tasting coffee I have ever had. Make sure to take a look at this step-by-step V60 brew guide (with pictures!).
This strange looking pour over brewer has a slightly easier learning curve than the above Hario V60, and it’s been designed to fit on top of almost any regular coffee cup. The Bee House dripper utilizes a “wedge-shaped” ceramic filter cone with a ribbed design along the inner walls. This design helps to slow down the extraction and allows for a much more coarser coffee grind which gives someone new to coffee pour over a bit more wiggle room to achieving a great tasting cup.
While the Bee House coffee brewer is considered a cone coffee dripper, it actually has a flat bottom design with two small holes through which the brewed coffee drips through. You can find the Bee House at Amazon.
Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker
The Bodum coffee pour over is very similar to the Chemex but with a much more modern looking design and comes in an array of different colors to suit almost any taste. However, unlike the Chemex that uses thick-paper filters, the Bodum comes with a stainless steel reusable filter. The benefits of a stainless steel filter over paper is that you do not lose any of the essential oils that would otherwise be trapped and lost when using paper filters.
The mouth-blown Borosilicate glass decanter will hold around 6-cups of coffee at a time, making it the perfect pour over method for families brewing coffee in the mornings. You can find the Bodum Pour Over Coffee Brewer at Amazon if you can’t find it elsewhere.
The Hario Woodneck resembles someone’s sock, but don’t let the strange looks deceive you because this brewer produces some great tasting coffee. There are three parts to the Woodneck, a glass decanter, a wood collar, and a sock I mean cloth filter. A wire hoop runs through the cloth filter and suspends the filter over the glass decanter. The design allows for the fabric filter to be kept away from the glass walls which in turn helps to encourage coffee extraction on all sides.
The Hario Woodneck produces some of the cleanest tasting coffee I have had, The thorough filtration through the cloth and the “no paper taste” associated with paper filters will give you one of the best cups of coffee you have ever had. You can find the Hario Woodneck at Amazon.
The classic looking German Walkure comes in four porcelain parts. A cylindrical brew chamber that houses a porcelain grid that filters coarse grounds before then decanting coffee into the server, a dispersion plate that helps to control the direction of the poured water, and a lid that helps to keep the heat locked in. It all sounds confusing, but in reality, it’s pretty simple to use.
For the coffee purist, the Walkure is a must have, everything is made of porcelain, and no extra filters are required to brew an excellent pure tasting cup. Just like the above Kalita Wave The Walkure utilizes a flat bottom brew bed that helps to reduce turbulence and allows for a more even coffee extraction.
Why Even Bother With Using a Manual Drip Coffee Maker?
If you’re buying good quality coffee beans and then using those in your automatic drip coffee machine, you’re not actually getting your money’s worth.
Not only are you wasting your money but you’re also missing out on what those premium coffee beans have to offer regarding flavor. It doesn’t matter what premium beans you buy if you then go and shove them into a Hamilton Beach coffee maker they will taste the same as any other cheap pre-ground coffee.
However, when using the best pour over coffee maker, like one of those listed above you have the ability to hand-grind your coffee, weigh out the correct amount, correctly bring your water to the right temperature, and then thoroughly saturate the coffee. These extra steps will allow you to appreciate your coffee that little bit more.
To understand why manual drip coffee is better you have to take a look at the actual science behind coffee brewing. For example, for the best tasting coffee, the chosen brewing device needs to extract at least 20% of the beans soluble solids. That rate of extraction is determined by how your coffee has been ground, how much water there is, the temperature of that water, how the water is distributed, and exactly how long the coffee steeps.
With an auto-drip coffee maker, you have very limited control of these variables. Sure, you can control the grind size and the water ratio, but apart from that, you’re pretty much reliant on the machine doing all of the guess work for you. The result often tends to be an under-extracted cup that simply tastes weak. If you’re serious about great tasting coffee, a pour over coffee maker is a must have tool in any home coffee kit.
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