As a coffee lover, I ALWAYS want a great brew.
What I don’t always have, is the TIME or to make good coffee via a manual pour-over for myself each and every time I want one; which is often! Fortunately, if your coffee needs are the same as mine, an option already exists that is seemingly half-barista-half-machine.
The solution is an upgraded drip coffee making marvel, known as an automatic pour over coffee maker. In this article, I will be sharing some factors you may want to focus on as you consider what could be the best automatic pour over coffee maker for your needs.
To start here’s our top pick:
Alternatives at a glance
5 automatic coffee makers worth considering In 2021
Buying your next (or first) automatic pour-over coffee maker can lead to an overwhelming choice of options, I’ve looked at the best options out there and found five machines worth checking out.
Examine them relative to your wants and needs, and decide on your own. And remember, use room temperature mineral water when brewing and coffee grounds made from the best beans you can find to enjoy your coffee-making experience fully!
Capacity: 64 oz
Brew Strength Control: 3 settings
Temperature Adjustments: 3 settings
Brew Ready Alert: Yes
- SCAA Home Brewer Certified
- Pre-infusion capability
- Temperature control
- In built thermal carafe
- Coffee “flavor strength” control feature
- Display longevity concerns
- Takes up lots of space
Coffee just tastes different on an SCAA certified machine.
The Cuisinart is one such machine that has built-in pre-infusion, and flavor strength control for when you have guests who like their coffee intense and dark. It’s a safe choice should you choose to automate making your pour over coffee.
Best Feature: Coffee “flavor strength” control feature for experimenting with recipes.
Capacity: 48 oz
Brew Strength Control: 1 setting
Temperature Adjustments: 1 setting
Brew Ready Alert: Yes
- Pre-infusion capability
- Showerhead is designed for even dispersion of the grounds
- Warming plate is separate from the main heater to avoid over-extraction
- Alert tones to signal start and end of coffee brewer cycles
- Programmable brew cycles
- Water temperature is sometimes cooler than advertised, not ideal for pour over coffee
- Glass carafe
This is a good-enough first foray into automatic pour-over coffee brewers. You can dabble with pre-infusion, still have evenly soaked grounds, with a lower than boiling brew temperature.
Added features to convince you are the separate heating element for the carafe to keep it warm (but not extracting at such a high rate while sitting), and the programmable timer if you want to be greeted by hot coffee right when you wake up.
Best Feature: Programmable timer for those who want coffee to awaken their senses bright and early!
Capacity: 60 oz
Brew Strength Control: 3 settings
Temperature Adjustments: 3 settings
Brew Ready Alert: Yes
- Adjustable brew temperature
- Pre-programmed brew modes/methods
- Has an SCA-approved pour-over coffee mode
- Durable stainless steel carafe
- Patent-pending thermo-Coil heating system
- Adjustable pre-infusion/bloom time
- Has trouble brewing in small batches
- Inconsistent (sometimes low) brew temperatures
- Some issues with post-brewed coffee cleaning and machine maintenance
This automatic pour-over coffee maker ticks all the right boxes!
The steel carafe is excellent for those clumsy pre-caffeine hands, and it even boasts a pre-programmed setting for SCA-standard coffee. With all of its capabilities, the size becomes just right inside your kitchen or office.
I especially liked the fact there are so many adjustments you can make with this brewer. Want a longer bloom time? Check. Need a higher than average temp? Check…And the list goes on!
Best Feature: The fully customisable brew capability results in unique cups of coffee according to your preferences!
- SCA certified pour over coffee maker
- Brews at ideal coffee temperature (197-205 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Showerhead designed for even water dispersal on coffee grounds
- Preset timer for programming brew times/cycles
- Display indicator for coffee maker status and freshness
- Some concerns over build-quality
- Single dial interface longevity
- Pour over machine size too big for small counters
This is a good-quality batch-brewer.
In that it produces a cup of coffee for a lot of people in one go. Pour over coffee is time-consuming to do in big batches, and this is a 9-cup machine, SCA certified solution to remedy that problem.
The single-dial control panel makes it easy to use, while you can rest easy that it operates within ideal brewing temperature ranges.
Best Feature: Preset timer for programming your coffees as you need them!
- Superb coffee taste
- Multiple settings for hotplate temp
- Robust copper heating element
- Unique design
- Very expensive
- No alert to let you know its ready
If you’re a real coffee lover you will have heard of Technivorm.
This brewer can prepare a 40 oz pot within 6 minutes via a copper heating element which is built to last. Coffee blooms via its unique 9 hole outlet, leading to a strong dark cup of Joe.
The advanced brew basket allows you to remove the carafe without drips of coffee and the entire machine separates easily for quick cleaning…Ah relief!
Given it has quite a few unique and moving parts you’ll be happy to hear it comes with a 5 year warranty as standard so you can invest in the machine knowing you’re covered.
Learn more about this brewer in our detailed Moccamaster review if you’re on the fence about it!
Best Feature: 100 minute timer post brew turns off the hotplate to avoid burnt coffee.
My favorite of the bunch is the Cuisinart coffee maker.
It fits the bill and brews the perfect pour-over coffee that is extra hot, ready for pairing with a thermos to keep you going on your commute to work!
The ability to control the temperature of the brewed coffee and the warming pad to your liking kept me coming back to the Cuisinart.
Although if you want premium design the Technivorm is well worth its price tag too.
Now that we’ve had a run of some of the best coffee makers that recreate ideal parameters of the brewing process, I hope you have a bit more knowledge and clarity on how to choose a pour over coffee maker for you.
Whether it’s a beast that lets you control brewing temperature, or a good-looking machine on your kitchen counter, I hope you get to make great tasting brewed coffee.
Hot brews are fun to pour on your own, but if you can rest easy, knowing that your top-quality coffee grounds are being treated right by your automatic pour over coffee maker, you can enjoy every cup of coffee the same as always.
Keep reading if you want to learn more about machine specifics via our buying guide below:
Deciding what’s the best auto coffee maker for you
I’ve narrowed down the most specific features for you to consider when choosing a coffee maker best suited for your needs.
These are what I feel should be your main focus of all the specifications and machine jargon that can be thrown at you.
Capacity and Size
Your decision to look into buying an automatic pour-over maker is partly the result of working backward: a good coffee as a result first, and an examination of the process and time needed to make one second.
From this, ask yourself: Am I making at home? How many cups do I/we usually consume per batch brew? Given my average number of cups a day, how many times am I willing to brew for myself/everyone else? Do you enjoy hot coffee? Or are you okay with drinking lukewarm-to-cold coffee?
Thermal vs glass carafe
Drip coffee makers usually have hot plates that keep glass carafes hot.
The problem with this? Drip methods have tasty cups because they allow some oil and some fine sediment to enter into your cup. The right amount gives your coffee a pleasant body and flavor.
But to keep heating the liquid will lead to those fines over-extracting. Coffee grounds sitting at a consistently high temperature tend to increase in bitterness.
This is why thermal carafes usually come with a good pour-over coffee maker. They slow down the cooling process of your coffee. Hot drinks will stay hot for 4-6 hours on average while preserving as much of the tasty flavors of the freshly brewed cups as scientifically possible.
These thermal carafes are usually insulated, or drop resistant, so that is an added side-benefit.
As mentioned above, most of us are in the market for a pour over coffee maker because of our lifestyle and coffee preferences. Not all of us have time to pour coffee slowly over grounds in and in-and-out spiral.
To those of us who have only been exposed to drip coffee machines with an on-off switch, can you imagine being able to PRESET your coffee brewer to make you coffee at EXACT times of the day?
Yes, there a pour over coffee maker can have preset options. These include time, temperature, and even the brewing process for some! All of these will be shown in digital displays (we live in the future!) that we can glance at from time to time while letting the automatic pour over process run its course.
durability and warranty
While it’s good to focus on the nitty-gritty of the brewing process, and how a machine takes over this aspect, I would be remiss in failing to bring up practical considerations as well.
Are the parts good quality? Is the machine well-built? Do things slide in-and-out smoothly? What corners can break, and how easy will it be to look for parts to replace broken ones?
It would be beneficial to look at service centers near you that can serve as fail-safes for the future. Sometimes, warranties hint at the expected lives of the coffee brewer. Read up on the manufacturer as well.
ease of cleaning
For the drip machine and the pour-over coffee machine, you end up cleaning the same parts: brew basket, carafe, and water reservoir.
Keep in mind that it’s the FREQUENCY of cleaning that must be worked on. Coffee brewer parts usually only need to be cleaned THOROUGHLY with just hot water when done regularly, right after brewing. Soap tends to have a taste that sticks, so unless there is milk or sweeteners involved (in the carafe, NEVER in the reservoir), it’s only a last resort.
Next is using white vinegar to get rid of calcifications brought about by hot water, making minerals harden on certain parts of the machine. This should ideally be done every 100 cups MADE. For both drip and pour over coffee makers.
There’s way more to cleaning these machines than just pouring clean water to rinse coffee grounds off of the brew baskets.
How do you make the best pour over coffee?
Below are three pillars I usually consider when looking at any sort of coffee equipment. We all want to simplify without taking an ounce of quality away at the end of the day. This is, after all, coffee that we’re talking about.
One of the pillars of making excellent coffee via the pour-over method is the consistency–of the roast, the grind size, and the extraction overall (fresh filtered water AND beans).
While the roast consistency is generally out of our control, fortunately, we can find suppliers that we trust to remedy this coffee brewing concern.
Next in the topic of consistency is ensuring that the coffee grounds are evenly ground. You can do this by using a burr grinder, not a blade-type. This results in a more even grind and is just AS IMPORTANT as a good coffee maker for home brewers like us in making a great cup of coffee.
Last, but certainly not least, in terms of a need for consistency, is extraction.
Pour-over coffee is the best way to enjoy premium coffee beans, so I don’t blame you for falling in love with it. It has the perfect body for clearly tasting flavor notes with every cup when done right. While it looks simple enough, many specifics go into best practices when executing the pour over method.
This is why offloading some of these responsibilities and entrusting them to well-designed, well-crafted, machines, could benefit any coffee connoisseur a lot.
There are days when the art side can wait while the functional side takes over.
For example, a certain angle of pouring lets the water flow out at the correct pace to cause ideal agitation and immersion time. Appropriate pauses are needed to let the coffee grounds soak AFTER you wet them EVENLY.
Immersing them too long means you poured too much water too fast, and too little means you’re pouring too slow. The same goes for too much agitation. And while grind size affects this part of brewing as well, wouldn’t it be great to just focus on THAT when you make your coffee? While you need to heat your water with maximum precision every time, wouldn’t it be great to put that on automatic, or better yet, assign it to an automatic coffee maker?
This is where finding the best automatic pour over coffee machine comes in. It takes practice and muscle memory to consistently make good coffee, but wouldn’t it be great to have that as an option, rather than your only way of making good coffee at home?
Let’s get on with the second important factor when considering switching to a good pour over coffee maker: saving time.
If time is gold, coffee is liquid gold
We make space in our day-to-day for things that are important to us. We shuffle around needs and wants in a way that usually elevates our moods, or gets us going. Coffee is a want that we have reclassified ourselves as a need. This is why, as a hobby, or as the top of our priority lists, it has a huge potential effect on how our day starts, or how it can be improved (or ruined).
We boil water with a thermometer and adjust as we transfer containers. We clean each separate piece of equipment, manually. More work and more room for error with each cup.
Selecting beans, grinding, and brewing all take time and focus away from your other daily tasks as well if you want to maintain quality. But if there was a way to make coffee how you would make it on your best days, or with Specialty Coffee Association parameters, wouldn’t that be a step towards simplifying your day but maintaining an essential aspect of it?
Imagine having a barista make your coffee each and every time for you, while you go about other tasks.
However, some of us enjoy the journey just as much as the destination. And so as you hypothetically assign these things to robot coffee maker, how do you maintain that personal aspect? That human element and feeling of you deepening your coffee journey?
The brewing process and brew temperature are carefully designed in pour-over coffee makers to deliver as promised in the temperature control gauge. The best automatic pour-overs, though, either allow users to change brew temperatures or have a preset process using professional parameters.
For example, if I have lightly-roasted beans, I’d want to extract more flavor and therefore brew with water at a higher temperature (up to 203 degrees Fahrenheit). Knowing this, I’d have to heat my water without a machine meant for pour over coffee to 207 degrees Fahrenheit, to account for the 4 degree drop when I pour it into my kettle (coffee kettles are designed to help us pour water at ideal flow rates). I’ll have to repeat and adjust this process for different roast-types.
Also, this is where the usual automatic drip coffee makers have their most significant limitation: brew temperature. A coffee brewer will often brew with water at near-boiling temperatures that tend to over-extract our coffee. A pour-over coffee maker is designed not to make this error.
We usually like our cups of coffee hot, not boiling. Add the fact that we can still explore by either brewing at an optimal brew temp, or selecting the optimal brewing temperature for our beans. There’s still so much left to enjoy apart from the actual, resulting brewed coffee.
Wouldn’t it be delightful to have a coffee machine that works as fast as an automatic drip coffee maker, but is as precise as a barista when it comes to the brewing each and every cup of coffee you have?
what’s the difference between pour over and drip?
When reviewing pour over coffee makers, it’s essential to understand the basics of what is arguably the best way to taste the natural flavors of your beans: pour over coffee.
Pour overs are under the umbrella of drip coffee methods, which basically cover all types of brewing that involve pouring water over ground coffee beans in a filter. So the pour over in itself is less of a different method and more of specialization of a drip machine.
A drip coffee maker usually just heats water, and guides it through a brew basket with beans and a filter, and collects the magical liquid in a pot. A pour over coffee maker does the same thing, but within specific, pre-programmed parameters that make your extractions more calculated and precise.
The combination of brew ratio (it stretches the flavors enough with water to allow you to taste the notes clearly), brew time (long enough to extract acids, sugars, and that elusive umami flavor) plus water temperature (full, ideal extraction) work together to make pour overs tasty cups when done right. This is what the new breed of coffee machines aim to replicate at a more consistent rate and scale.
Automatic Vs Manual
For some, the craft of coffee brewing is a marriage of art and science that requires time and attention to detail. For others, it’s quite simply the gas that gets their motor running on a day-to-day, twice-a-day basis.
The discussion on which suits you better is really dictated by your preference and lifestyle.
Do you love good coffee, and appreciate including manually brewing (grinding beans, heating water to a specific temperature, and pouring to maintain a bloom yourself) into your routine?
Do you need coffee to wake up right, but don’t have the time (or patience) to prepare and clean up?
Do you just need to gulp and swallow without a thought? Is it just like diesel to you?
These are all questions that will lead you to which coffee set-up is best for you at the house or in the office.
(grind) size matters
If you use grounds that are too fine and brew them in water that’s too hot, you end up clogging your basket. The immersion at an elevated temperature will ultimately cause over-extraction. Too coarse, and the water pulses through too quickly, resulting in under-extraction.
These are exactly why grind size matters. Given that only 30% of a coffee bean is soluble, you only have a tiny window to make magic happen.
The perfect pour-over coffee grind size is right in between espresso, and cold brew, which should come as no surprise, given that pour overs are less punchy than espressos and more balanced than cold brews. Taking it a step further in detail, it requires grounds that are coarser than an Aeropress and a bit finer than a french press.
What do all of these things imply? This means that either there are so many things to keep track of daily, OR if you could automate putting all these complicated variables together, wouldn’t that be absolutely amazing?
As you choose your machines, do keep in mind that a decent burr grinder is possibly just as, if not more important than a good machine. If beans are the most critical determinant of how good your coffee can be, grinders are a step closer to your most important ingredient than machines.
It’s generally hard for one to make up for the shortcomings of the other. Consider upgrading in stages! Slow and steady.
automatic pour over all day
If your curiosity has brought you this far, then perhaps you care enough about the quality of your coffee to seek an upgrade over drip coffee makers.
It sounds like you are ready to look at how pour-over coffee machines can be added to your routine to improve consistency, save time, or control more variables.
Keep on brewing folks!