Have you seen baristas using the intricate pour-over method and fancied getting in on the action at home?
Well, you’re in the right place. Today, we’ve got a comprehensive guide for you outlining everything you need to know about this fascinating traditional approach to brewing coffee.
First, the good news. You won’t need to spend a great deal if you’re looking for a pour-over coffee maker. The simplicity of this brewing method with a basic dripper and carafe arrangement, means there’s no need to outlay a fortune.
While the essential equipment is cheap, the accessories can start to push the price up. To get the best out of your pour-over coffee maker, you’ll need a scale to measure your coffee and a thermometer for gauging the water temperature. Failing this, use a gooseneck kettle with a thermometer baked in. This type of kettle is also central to achieving the slow, controlled pour you’ll need to master for pour-over. Beyond this, it pays to invest in a great grinder so you can blitz your beans directly before brewing.
What’s not so encouraging for some beginners is the steep initial learning curve involved. Today, we’re here to demystify the whole process of pour-over, though. By the time we’re done, you’ll know exactly what you need to get started with this flexible and enjoyable brewing method. You’ll also have a clear idea of how to make great pour-over coffee and an insight into the very best gear at your disposal.
Before we push ahead with our reviews of the 10 best pour-over coffee makers, a glimpse at the various options you’ll be confronted with…
- I. Our Top Picks for Pour Over Coffee Makers
- II. Types of Pour-Over Coffee Makers
- III. Paper Filters or Permanent (Metal) Filters?
- IV. Some Gear You Need For Making Pour-Over Coffee
- V. The 10 Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers
- VI. What Grind Size Do You Need For Pour-Over Coffee?
- VII. Guide to Making Great Pour-Over Coffee
- VIII. FAQs
- IX. Conclusion
I. Our Top Picks for Pour Over Coffee Makers
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
Hario V60 Ceramic Pour-Over Coffee Maker Our #1 Pick
Chemex Classic Series (6-Cup)
Kalita Wave 185 Dripper
Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer
Permanent Filter: Bodum Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Permanent Filter: Coffee Gator Pour-Over Coffee Dripper
Hario Woodneck Drip Pot
Beehouse Small Coffee Dripper
Kalita Glass Wave 185 Dripper
Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer
II. Types of Pour-Over Coffee Makers
The first basic choice you’ll need to make concerns the type of pour-over coffee maker.
- Pour-Over System with Built-In Carafe
Using a dripper typically gives you just enough coffee for one. If you’re catering for a large family, you should opt for one of the machine that drips directly into a larger carafe so you won’t spend your entire morning chained to a coffee dripper.
Once you’re clear on the type of pour-over set-up that makes most sense for you, you need to double down on the issue of filtration…
III. Paper Filters or Permanent (Metal) Filters?
When it comes to choosing which type of filter to use, there’s no right or wrong answer.
You have two broad choices to make:
- Permanent Filter
- Disposable Paper Filter
The purpose of the filter you’ll be using is to keep residual coffee grounds out of the end product in your cup. After all, who wants a mouthful of sediment?
A permanent filter is typically made from a fine metal mesh.
You can use these filters for pour-over coffee as well as for cold brew.
There are cheaper versions of these filters available made from lightweight plastic.
Here at La Mano Coffee, we’ve been using a stainless steel permanent filter from Barista Warrior for some time. The key with this type of filter is to clean it regularly. If you skip this, you’ll find that after just a couple of months, the filter becomes clogged, tough to clean and results in super-slow brewing times.
So, if you’re going for a permanent filter, stay on top of maintenance.
A pair the models we review today come with permanent filters – the Bodum and Coffee Gator coffee makers – but there’s no user feedback readily available for either of these.
Stick with our advice, then: clean little and often and everything should be fine.
Alternatively, use a paper filter instead…
Disposable Paper Filter
This type of filter is made from crepe paper.
You insert paper filters into the brewer’s coffee basket. This usually sits above the pot or carafe.
The semi-permeable filter functions as a makeshift strainer. The filter holds the solid coffee grounds while allowing liquid coffee to make its way through.
All you need to do is pop a scoop of coffee grounds in the filter then pour your water over the grounds. As water passes through the filter, it can absorb all those delicious flavors and aromas so you end up with a magnificent cup of brewed coffee.
Paper filters come in two main variants:
Treated with oxygen and chlorine, bleached filters are white.
Unbleached filters are made from natural, untreated paper.
These filters are normally off-white with a slight brown tinge.
The only real difference between these filters is the coloring and the fact unbleached filters are better for the environment.
If you’re looking for paper filters, here are some great options…
Available in size 01, 02, and 03, you can buy these Hario paper filters in boxes of 40 or 100.
These square paper filters come in packs of 100 giving you reasonable value and maximum convenience.
These 185-sized paper filters are available as 100 packs. Although delicate, this filter is remarkably efficient.
100% chlorine-free, these size 04 Melitta paper filters come as 3 x 100 packs so you won’t need to keep hustling out for supplies.
Now you can at a glance the two main options you have for filters, how do they perform?
Permanent Filters vs Paper Filters
- Brewing Methods
- Removing Oils
- Removing Sediment
- Ongoing Costs
You’ll use disposable paper filters for drip brewing methods. Whether you’re opting for an automatic drip coffee maker, a dripper like we review today, or an Aeropress, it’s drip all the way when you go the paper filter route.
Permanent filters give you the chance to make much more than just pour-over coffee. They also work well for French presses, Moka pots, and percolators. Vietnamese coffee uses a metal filter called a phin.
Coffee grounds kick out oily substances known as diterpenes. A disposable paper filter will stop these oils from entering your coffee.
A permanent filter doesn’t have the ability to block these oils and they are known to contribute toward bad cholesterol. If this is an area where your doctor has told you to exercise caution, we’d strongly suggest you use paper filters.
On the flipside, you’ll lose the special flavor imparted by these oils.
Paper filters are the most effective when it comes to keeping sediment out of your cup. Almost all coffee grounds are trapped and there are no holes for sediment to escape through.
Paper filters reduce clean-up to bunching your filter and throwing it in the trash.
With metal permanent filters, you’ll need to ditch the coffee grounds then clean the filter. You won’t need to do anything beyond rinsing it with warm water, though.
The fact you can reuse metal filters cuts running costs to an absolute minimum.
Although you will need to factor in the cost of replacement paper filters, this doesn’t amount to much shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
IV. Some Gear You Need For Making Pour-Over Coffee
With those fundamentals in mind, you should consider the other kit you’ll need if you’re serious about committing to pour-over coffee.
Here’s the gear we would recommend you accumulate if you want to experiment successfully with pour-over coffee:
- Gooseneck Kettle
- Coffee Scale with Timer
Regardless of the type of brewing method you’re using, you should always buy fresh coffee beans and grind them directly before brewing. The flavor and aroma of coffee degrades rapidly so you’ll enjoy superior results by grinding before brewing.
With 18 grind settings to choose from and a travel unit ideal for use on the road, this represents a straightforward method of grinding without kicking up any noise in the process. You will need to put in a little effort but you’ll find this worthwhile when you taste the coffee in your cup.
A more popular choice is to use an electric grinder.
One of the most powerful models on the market, the Baratza Encore is an award-winning beast offering you 40 grind sizes to choose from. This will give you the capacity to handle any brewing method you put your mind to. Hardened alloy steel burrs are long-lasting and slice your coffee beans without smashing them up or overheating them.
Another rock-solid choice is the classic OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder. Although you only get 15 settings with this model, you’ve got all main bases covered in a striking and commanding unit built to stay the distance.
Do yourself a favor and get started on the right foot by grinding your beans right before brewing.
If you want to make your life easier when you’re attempting to pour water slowly in concentric circles – key to mastering the pour-over method – you should invest in a gooseneck kettle and that’s half the battle won.
This OXO Brew Adjustable Kettle is expressly designed to streamline the pour-over method and it comes keenly-priced considering what you get for your money…
The dedicated pour-over iteration of this kettle comes with a timer baked in. While this might seem unnecessary, making great coffee hinges on getting the temperature just right (between 195F and 205F) and this all-in-one solution means there’s one less piece of kit you’ll need floating around.
The kettle will automatically stop after 30 minutes of warming for your peace of mind.
As with all aspects of the pour-over method, the amount of effort you put in will be reflected in the quality of the coffee in your cup. Also, by eliminating guesswork from the equation, you’ll find it a breeze to replicate your brew time after time.
The other area where precision counts is when you’re weighing out your coffee grounds. For that, you’ll need an accurate scale…
Coffee Scale with Timer
If you attempt to size up your coffee grounds by volume, you might be in for a nasty surprise. All coffee beans are varying densities. What looks roughly comparable in terms of volume could be wildly different when it comes to weight.
Why leave things to chance when this Hario Scale and Timer is so reasonably priced?
Measure out your coffee in 0.1g increments then harness the timer to ensure you get the perfect pour-over coffee every time.
With your arsenal of equipment assembled, it’s time for the main event.
Choose from this display of the finest pour-over coffee makers money can buy…
V. The 10 Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers
1. Our #1 Pick: Hario V60 Ceramic Pour-Over Coffee Maker
To kick off our pour-over coffee maker reviews, the enduringly popular V60 from industry giant Hario.
What makes this dripper so good, though?
Well, you’ll be spoiled for choice with a broad spread of alluring designs. You can also get this dripper in all main sizes from 01 through 03.
The design of this classic dripper included spiral ribs enabling your coffee to expand perfectly. The cone shape brings out the very best in fruity or floral coffee.
There’s a hole you can manipulate to regulate water flow and dial in your brew just the way you like it.
This pour-over coffee maker proves conclusively that you don’t need a fancy super-automatic espresso machine to enjoy top-tier coffee at home. Stripped-down Japanese simplicity gives you fantastic control and an unparalleled user-friendly experience.
2. Also Great: Chemex Classic Series (6-Cup)
The hugely popular Chemex Classic Series comes in a broad spread of sizes:
You can also opt for a classic jug or one with a handle so you’re truly spoiled for choice.
The borosilicate glass gives you slightly more durability while also repelling odors and chemical taint that can spoil your drink.
You’ll need to use Chemex bonded filters so factor in the ongoing cost of these paper replacements. You should also be happy about the environmental impact of using so much paper before committing to purchase.
The classic design works well in traditional or modern kitchens.
If you have leftover coffee, feel free to pop the Chemex into the fridge. Cover then remove and reheat at your convenience. You can also keep your Chemex warm by placing it onto a glass stove top or gas flame. Ensure both are at low heat.
3. Kalita Wave 185 Dripper
The 185 Kalita Wave dripper is simple but supremely effective.
- Stainless steel
The flattened bottom of this dripper works in harmony with the propreitary Wave filter and a design featuring 3 holes to give you a consistently great extraction.
The 185 size of this model is roughly comparable with Hario’s 02.
Several tests have showed relatively little difference between the glass, ceramic, and stainless drippers when it comes to heat retention. Choosing between the models is as much as anything about aesthetics and durability rather than the quality of the coffee in your cup.
You won’t get any filters included so make provision for these so you can get going straight out the box. Note that these filters lose their shape easily. Store them carefully and use a light touch when rinsing them.
4. Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer
Only true coffee specialists tend to produce pour-over brewers and Melitta is one of the big guns serving up a powerful pour-over system. With over a century in the business, they bring all that experience to bear on this nimble brewer capable of returning exceptional coffee in every carafe.
This complete package gives you a decent range of accessories to complement the brewer itself.The scoop and filters give you a couple less things to worry about when you’re on the buying trail.
Just fold up your Melitta filter and pop it into the cone pour-over brewer provided. Put this over the carafe. Scoop in your freshly-ground coffee then pour your heated water over the grounds in the circular motion required to make great pour-over. Remember: the slower the better with this brewing method so do not rush.
If you want a more hands-on approach to coffee than you could get from a single-serve machine, we’d strongly recommend popping this pour-over brewer on your shortlist.
5. Permanent Filter: Bodum Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Bodum is another of the coffee industry’s heavy hitters. They have a hard-earned reputation for bringing design-centered accessories into your kitchen at a reasonable price-point. That’s not to say Bodum is cheap but overall value is exceptional.
You’ll also slash your ongoing costs with the permanent filters while reducing the amount of non-recyclable trash you generate. This permanent filter comes expressly designed to get the very most from your freshly ground beans so you’ll be rewarded with that perfect golden cup of coffee every time. And you won’t need a costly machine to achieve it thanks to the innovation of Bodum.
Using this pour-over brewer couldn’t be easier. Add some coarsely ground coffee to the filter then pour on a little water. Continue pouring in a slow, circular motion. Refer to our guide for more advice on mastering this technique. As long as you’re prepared to put in a little effort and undertake a slight learning curve, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most flexibile and effective ways of making coffee.
6. Permanent Filter: Coffee Gator Pour-Over Coffee Dripper
Coffee Gator has a committed and growing following thanks to their eye-catching, durable and efficient manual coffee brewers.
Choose from 3 sizes:
Another model boasting a reusable permanent filter, you’ll be able to enjoy your coffee with a clean conscience. You’ll also avoid all those tedious and costly trips to restock paper filters. What’s not to love? As with all decent permanent filters, you’ll also find all the oils, flavor and aroma stays locked in.
If you enjoy French press but find the sediment that makes its way into your cup annoying, you’ll get none of that with the crisp, clean taste from this brewer.
The 100% satisfaction guarantee removes any obstacle from purchase so what are you waiting for?
7. Hario Woodneck Drip Pot
Another solid drip coffee maker up next from Hario. The traditional design of this cotton-filtered gem would set off any kitchen counter whatever your décor. You can choose from a number of finishes to suit.
Luckily, this is not a case of form over function, though.
While the pour-over method can seem intimidating for beginners, all you need to do is take your time and experiment. Once you’re proficient with getting the temperature just right, weighing out the ideal quantity of coffee then pouring using that trademark circular motion, you’ll soon be doing it with your eyes shut. The key benefit of this brewing method is the complete control you retain over all aspects of the brewing process.
The cloth filter can be cleaned and reused. Keep it in the refrigerator between uses.
If you’re looking to perfect the art of pour-over, this is one of the most forgiving ways to learn so why not treat yourself?
8. Beehouse Small Coffee Dripper
Small and delicate, this coffee dripper from Beehouse exemplifies single-serve excellence with a manual flourish.
First thing’s first, this dripper might be fragile but it looks great on the counter. Handle with care and you should have no issues.
You’ll be limited to Melitta or Filtropa filters. Make sure you can source replacements before investing in this dripper. Be clear, too, that you’ll need to buy replacements. If you’re disinclined to go this route, we’ve looked at plenty of brewers with permanent filters for you to choose from.
The ceramic unit allows for the high temperature you need to get that golden cup of coffee.
As long as you don’t mind the capacity, this is a wonderful way to enjoy aromatic coffee made just the way you want it for less than the price of a round of drinks at Starbucks.
9. Kalita Glass Wave 185 Dripper
Anotehr entry from Kalita as we edge to the end of our pour-over coffee maker reviews.
This elegant glass dripper is capable of making up to 4 cups of joe and you’ll need to use 185 filters. This is comparable to the 02 size used by Hario.
The flat bed of this dripper, classic Wave filter unique to Kalita and trio of holes all lead to a top-notch extraction with amazingly little fuss.
At first glance, it’s easy to dismiss pour-over coffee as time-consuming and not worth the effort. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. Ask any group of baristas and coffee aficionados and chances are they use pour-over at home. So the only question that remains is which Kalita will you invest in?
10. Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer
If you like the idea of pour-over coffee but you have a large family to cater for, why not consider this 6-cup Melitta brewer? You’ll got unbeatable brand heritage from one of the forerunners of the pour-over method. While this brewer isn’t the cheapest, you’ll be congratulating yourself if you buy one rather than bemoaning the expense. After all, compared to a coffee machine, these brewers are still keenly-priced.
Use 04-sized conical filters and you’ll need to do little but pour with a practiced and precise motion to get the very best from those coffee beans.
The porcelain carafe and brewing cone give you great aesthetics matched by powerful performance. You should add this pour-over coffee brewer to your arsenal if you want to fuel up the whole family in style.
With our reviews put to bed, you should now have a wide variety of top-tier solutions if you’re looking for fantastic pour-over at home.
Before we round out today, we’ll touch on the correct grind size for pour-over along with an easy guide to making coffee using this traditional and rewarding brewing method.
VI. What Grind Size Do You Need For Pour-Over Coffee?
As you’ll see from our snapshot guides below, the precise grind varies depending on which pour-over coffee maker you’re using.
As a general benchmark, the finer the grind, the shorter the contact time you’ll need between water and coffee.
Anywhere from medium through to medium-coarse works well. We’ll outline specifics below for each of the main types of dripper.
VII. Guide to Making Great Pour-Over Coffee
Now you’ve got all your equipment assembled, how do you go about making the best pour-over coffee?
Luckily, it’s really not that tough once you start experimenting so don’t be afraid to dive in!
Note: If you’re looking to fine-tune the variables of brewing, you’re best advised to focus on changing only one element at a time. That way, you can be clearer about changes. Once you’ve got everything dialed in, you’ll be able to replicate the brew every time with ease.
So, let’s get started.
What You Need
- Burr grinder
- Slow-pouring kettle, ideally a gooseneck kettle
- Fresh coffee beans
What To Do: The Foundation of Pour-Over
- Grind up your beans directly before brewing. As a rough benchmark, use 60g of coffee grounds for every 1 liter of water. Scaled back down, this equates to 1g of coffee for every 16.7g of water. Ratios are expressed as 1:15 or 1:17 etc. You should experiment gradually until you have this ratio perfectly in line with your tastes. Use a scale to measure out your coffee. Trying to guess or to gauge by volume is inaccurate since coffee beans are varying densities so you’ll end up with an imprecise start to proceedings if you skip the scale.
- Heat your water. The best temperature band for making coffee is 195F to 205F. Again, don’t be afraid to fine-tune this to your exact preference. If you don’t have a thermometer, boil the water then allow to sit for 30 seconds. This should give you water ideal for making that golden cup of pour-over coffee.
With these basics in place, how you proceed varies depending on the type of pour-over brewer you’re using. We won’t give you an exhaustive breakdown of every dripper on the market or you’d be here all day. We’ll look at how to use the following pour-over makers:
- Bee House
- Kalita Wave
The main variation when it comes to making pour-over is the length of the brew time. We’ll give you a brief snapshot of each of the above 4 drippers with some concise instructions to help you get great pour-over the easy way.
This ceramic-bodied dripper uses 02 or 04 filters.
A cone dripper, the Bee House comes with a flat bottom and a pair of holes for the coffee to flow through. The viewing window allows you to monitor proceedings as you go.
Bee House drippers are ideal for beginners and you can find filters easily rather than being locked into proprietary filters that can be tough to source.
- Use a medium grind and use enough coffee as outlined above for the amount of water you’ll be using
- Fold the seam of the filter and insert into the brewing cone. Rinse this with hot water
- Add your coffee and start your timer
- Once 30 seconds have passed, start adding the remainder of the water
- Pour slowly using circular motions. This great video shows you clearly how to pour. All it takes is a little practice. Ensure the water remains roughly an inch below the top of the brewer
- Allow all the water to flow through the brewer with total brew time approximately 3 minutes 30 seconds
Chemex brewers come in borosilicate glass and you’ll need Chemex bonded filters.
The unibody brew body and decanter look stunning and you can choose from a range of sizes (3, 6, 8, and 10-cup) and you can select a model with a handle or a wooden collar.
- Use a medium to medium-coarse grind
- Pop the Chemex filter into the brewing cone with 3 layers of the filter up against the spout side of the brewer
- Rinse with hot water then discard the water
- Add you coffee and start the timer. Pour roughly 10% of your total water over the grounds to soak the grounds first. Wait 30 seconds
- Add the remainder of the water in stages using a controlled circular motion
- Keep pouring until you hit your ideal brew ratio with total brew time around 4 to 5 minutes
The V60 from Hario is the archetypal cone-shaped pour-over dripper. The spiraled ridge allows for a consistently even extraction every time.
These drippers come in a range of materials including:
- Stainless steel
Here’s how to make great pour-over with a Hario dripper:
- Use a medium-fine grind for the Hario line
- Add your filter and rinse it
- Pour in perhaps 10% of the total water you’ll be using then wait 30 seconds
- Start pouring in the remainder of the water using concentric circles moving from the center outward
- Brew time should be roughly 3 minutes but you can scale this back for smaller brews
Another iconic coffee dripper, the Kalita Wave is named for the proprietary filter that gives you a dripper capable of returning first-class coffee every time.
Here’s how to use this modern classic:
- Use a medium-coarse grind
- Place your filter into the brewing cone and rinse with hot water. Avoid pouring water on the edges of the filter as this design is prone to collapse
- Start your timer and pour a small amount of water in
- After 30 seconds, add the rest of the water for a total brew time of 3 minutes 30 seconds
While we’ve tried to cover everything you might need to know, mastering the pour-over method is all about experimentation and finding what works best for you.
Feel free to use our guidance and to fine-tune it to suit.
Before we round out today, we’ve assembled a handful of the most frequently asked questions about pour-over so you’ve got everything you need in one place.
1) Do I really need a gooseneck kettle for making pour-over coffee?
We wouldn’t suggest a gooseneck kettle is essential but it will certainly make your life much easier. The success of this delicate brewing method rests on your ability to pour the hot water in concentric circles slowly and with absolute precision. We’re pretty confident that if you try this with a regular kettle, you’ll soon understand why gooseneck kettles are staples for pour-over. In our opinion, if you’re taking the time and trouble to get to grips with a tasky but rewarding brewing method, you should make things easier on yourself with a kettle designed for the job at hand.
2) Do I always need a medium grind for pour-over?
You can use gradations on medium depending on the brewer you’re using. Some will require medium-fine while others respond best to a medium-coarse grind. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what best suits then replicate it with ease every time.
3) What’s the difference between pour-over coffee and drip coffee?
To start with, the brewing method is broadly similar. You’ll be allowing hot water to seep slowly through the coffee grounds to extract your cup of joe. Where pour-over is a manual method, drip coffee takes advantage of an electric machine that automatically lets the water drip through. This is much more convenient but gives you far less control. When you use the pour-over method, you can dial in the water temperature, pouring motion, and blooming to completely customize your brew.
4) What’s the best coffee for the pour-over method?
Now, this is entirely personal. Pre-ground coffee will work but you won’t get the same results as grinding fresh beans right before brewing. We would suggest trying a range of pour-over coffee from your favorite coffee shops. Then, try using the same beans at home until you settle on one that stands above the rest.
5) Should I use paper filters or a permanent filter?
Paper filters are easy to dispose of but not great for the environment. You’ll also need to factor in the ongoing cost of replacements. The key strength of a paper filter is the way it keeps the oils out of your coffee, ideal if you have high cholesterol. Permanent filters are more awkward to clean but you won’t need to keep spending on replacements.
You should now be fully equipped to get yourself the most appropriate pour-over coffee brewer in line with your needs and budget.
Once you’ve got your new brewer, if you follow our guidance above, mastering the pour-over method isn’t something to fear. Get stuck in and enjoy the freedom you have to dial in the brewing method to suit.
The pour-over method is a great alternative to a French press with a generally cleaner taste to the coffee. You won’t get the sediment that can make its way into your cup from the French press.
Beyond that, pour-over also works well if you’re a regular traveler since the kit is portable and easy to pop in your suitcase or carry-on.
Bookmark La Mano Coffee as the only resource you need if you want to bring gourmet coffee home without wasting your money on inappropriate or low-quality gear. We’ve got a super-busy month planned out so come back soon!