The pour over or filter method is generally regarded as the best way to taste coffee. It’s easy to see why once you’ve had a taste of a fresh pour over coffee and it can be difficult to revert to an automated drip when you’ve upped your brewing game like this!
To maximize this brewing method, you’ll need the right coffee maker to help deepen your existing knowledge. Or just make your daily cup more flavorful.
Below we run through our picks for the best pour over coffee maker, but if you’re in a rush, here’s our favorite:
Alternatives At A Glance
Why Buy A Manual Pour Over Coffee Maker?
As mentioned above, the pour over is regarded by coffee enthusiasts as the best way to experience coffee.
While the espresso is also popular, it can be too intense on its own. More and more of us prefer it used as a base, rather than the primary way to produce a flavorful coffee cup.
On the other hand, while the cold brew is delightful in its own way, the lack of heat during brewing leaves some of the flavor bouncing acids behind. As a result, there’s a chance that you won’t be able to perceive some flavors that were intended to be showcased.
On the other hand, a manual pour over coffee maker lets you adjust the grind, the water temperature, and technique so that you can draw certain flavors out according to your preferences. Even the speed and angle that your pour in will affect the taste of your cup of coffee. Yes, there’s a right way to do your pour!
Manual pour over coffee makers are also great to have around because they will never break down unless you literally shatter them…Oops!
During the early days of my coffee career, the espresso machine we were using malfunctioned right when I opened the shop. We had to shut it off until servicing arrived. For the entire day, our regulars had to adjust their usual orders. The result? We converted a lot of people from espresso-based coffee to pour over-based. Permanently.
At the end of the day, a manual pour over coffee maker is excellent as the main brewer if it’s just you, but it’s also great as a backup. It will largely depend on how much you enjoy doing the brewing process yourself. As a bonus, you will understand the concepts and principles of coffee better by doing things manually!
The 7 Best Pour Over Coffee Makers 2021
So you’ve decided to try out the pour over method of brewing coffee. You could also be in the market for a new filter brewer. Are you looking for high quality? Speed? Consistency? These are only some of the questions you’ll need to keep asking yourself as we go along this article.
Remember that when it comes to figuring out how to prepare the best cup of coffee for you, your knowledge will be just as important as the coffee maker. Coffee makers are supposed to make your life easier and your process more straightforward. A pour over brewer should simply help you make better coffee for yourself first, and for a few others around you second.
Let’s take a look at a few that are at easy to use in different levels, but deliver quality coffee nonetheless.
Japanese manufacturer Hario is one of the most recognizable names in coffee worldwide. You take for granted the caliber of their craftsmanship because they’re so easily accessible.
From purchase to after-sales service, they are fast and reliable. I only have good memories and experiences brewing with the Hario v60, and that’s got to be a good thing, right?
- Ceramic aids heat retention
- Highly durable
- Doesn’t need unique paper filters
- Many color choices available
- Requires more brewing skill for consistency
- Not for you If you brew more than 6 cups per batch
If you brew a single cup at a time, this brewer will suit your coffee demand. But if you average more than 6-7 cups per brew, there’s a pour over brewer out there better suited for your needs which we’ll run through shortly.
Nonetheless, all in all, this is a solid pick. It’s easy to use if you know what you’re doing. A bonus is you have a lot of materials and colors to choose from. You can go with a ceramic dripper all the way to stainless steel and glass!
The Kalita Wave is another one of those brewers you’ve probably seen in a shop used for a pour over coffee. Pour overs stand out, especially in small shops, because of how different the pace is when you make a cup.
The process is mesmerizing when done right from the set up to how the barista (or you!) seems to pour with deliberateness and care.
- The dripper design introduces a bit of immersion to your coffee grounds
- The filter’s designed to minimize chances of over-heating ground coffee beans
- It’s easy to achieve consistency vs v60
- Excellent price point
- The wave filter isn’t as accessible as the usual cone filters
- Limited brew batch capacity
With its trademark wave filter, not everyone knows that it was created for a specific purpose: temperature control.
Wave paper filters will lessen contact of ground coffee with the coffee dripper walls, directly contacting the hot water. This lowers the chances of over-extraction via extended immersion in high-temperature water. As you may or may not know by now, over-extraction makes coffee bitter. Too much bitterness is never good unless you like terrible coffee.
They had to engineer the Wave this way because with how it is designed, the flat bottom tends to hold water as it slowly exits through the hole and into the server. Hence the semi-immersion added when you brew coffee with this coffee maker.
To experience how different the v60 and the Wave are, try purchasing both. Proceed to brew on both with the same parameters. Decide for yourself which you prefer more and share your knowledge. Pay it forward my friend!
The Clever is the baby of the French Press and a pour over coffee maker.
- A hybrid, clean immersion pour over coffee maker
- The built-in water stopper adds an extra controllable variable that helps illuminate some better-brewing-concepts
- Requires less attention than your standard pour over coffee brewer
- It’s easy to use
- The hybrid characteristic of the Clever may cause you to forget about your coffee while brewing
- Limited to single cup drinkers (at most 2)
You let the coffee steep in the dripper inside a paper filter for a select number of minutes. When you’re happy with the immersion, you simply release the water into your server. It’s like using a French Press and pouring it through a paper filter when you’re done.
In case you can’t imagine the result, it has characteristics of coffee made via French Press, with a cleaner body. This is because the paper filter lets fewer fines pass through than a mesh filter. The fewer particles you have, the “cleaner” it tastes. It tends to be thinner than your usual French Press coffee.
S if you would enjoy a twist in your typical French Press coffee, pour over formats like these are good choices for you. The result is usually a new-but-familiar-tasting cup of coffee.
An essential for any lover of manual brewing. A simple but effective way to brew incredible coffee right at home.
- One of the bigger-batch making pour over coffee makers
- Beautiful design that looks great anywhere it’s placed
- Super clean taste due to thick filter
- Filter is expensive and underutilized if brewing less than 6 coffee cups per batch
- Easy to damage in a busy kitchen
The Chemex was engineered for ideal coffee extraction. From the easy to clean, heat-resistant glass to how the water’s angle drips down through the coffee, you’ll be brewing with a living legend. It’s one of those rare creations that look good and works just as well.
One limitation that I’ve experienced with the Chemex is for the single serve coffee drinkers out there. It uses a specifically sized paper filter, and it’s not cheap compared to other filter types.
Pair this with the fact that it comes in a glass variant, and you can see how it’s a good pick if it fits your style, skill, and requirements. You’re better off starting with a Hario v60 or a Kalita Wave.
If you need to prepare around 4-6 coffee cups, this easily becomes a beautiful, consistent piece of pour over coffee brewing equipment.
- Updated design lets you see your cup’s fill level to avoid spillage
- Produces a flavorful cup of coffee due to dripper design
- Easy to find compatible filter formats
- Requires more skill to use perfectly compared to other dripper types (similar to v60)
- Limited cup capacity can be an issue for some
Melitta is another reliable brand in coffee. For pour over, its overall design and technology is similar to the v60. It makes a mean cup of coffee if you know what you’re doing. If you’re still figuring out how to make your cup of coffee taste great, at the very least, this will leave variables for you to decipher further.
Thankfully, we have the internet and your friendly neighborhood coffee shops for you to learn from. But, will it make the best pour over coffee?
That will depend on a variety of factors outside of the brewer alone. The beans you use, your choice of burr grinder, and of course, your recipe. Remember that the grinder matters more than the coffee maker!
But, all being equal, it makes a great brew!
What’s great about these pour over coffee makers is how many compatible filter types you can choose from. I usually go with the least polished to not alter the flavor of my coffee.
- The elegant pour over coffee dripper design makes it look good on any shelf
- Similar to the Kalita Wave, there’s an element of immersion added with how the dripper is supposed to work
- Lots of compatible filter types available
- A bit easier to stay consistent with this type of pour over coffee maker
- Limited coffee cup capacity per batch brew
- Still requires a level of skill for users
This coffee maker has similar specs and results with the Kalita Wave. The built-in immersion helps flatten your coffee bed and therefore increases evenness of the extraction.
It’s not totally on autopilot. So like all other pour over coffee makers and methods, a certain amount of skill and understanding is required to maximize the use of your coffee making arsenal.
Bodum to me is a brand that makes good-looking equipment.
While this brewer looks a lot like the Chemex, the stainless steel filter is a bit of a game-changer. Now, if that’s good or bad is dependent on you.
- Permanent filter is environmentally friendly
- Decent sized brewer for multiple cups
- Nice design
- Coffee quality is different with a stainless steel filter (good for some, not suitable for others)
- Longevity of some of its parts are in question
Coffee that goes through fine stainless steel filters tends to be thicker because of the oil that seeps through. The resulting brew is in the area between French Press coffee and paper-filtered pour over coffees.
If this sounds like your jam, this is a modern tool with a classic design and a hybrid result. An interesting pick either way.
Spend time working on your pour, purchase a good burr grinder, find some good beans, and use mineral H20. Those should get you on the right path as you dabble into the wonderful world of pour over coffee!
The Pour Over Buyer’s Guide
If you’re decided on which coffee dripper to get by this point, it’s easy to start daydreaming about the best coffee for pour over that you’ll be purchasing next. Before you get carried away, allow me to bring up a few more considerations to make sure that you make the best purchase for your brewing needs.
The best thing about a pour over coffee dripper is that you can use the same beans but come up with different results with each cup of coffee you make. With this in mind, try to understand as many variables as you can to maximize your next coffee investment.
What To Look For When Buying A Pour Over Coffee Maker
Similar to most buying decisions, it’s good to start with your personal coffee preferences. We will tackle these in more detail shortly.
After you look inwards, your next step is to look at the brand AND model reputation. Some of these come out in customer reviews. See which comments you relate to, or give high importance on. Remember to take these with a grain of salt. Uninformed buyers or brewers also comment on reviews, so talk to or read from experts to confirm facts – or just read Sip coffee and have your digital barista take you where you need!
After these considerations, most importantly, keep brewing!
This takes some self-awareness. Do you drop equipment fairly regularly?
Perhaps a non-breakable coffee brewer will lengthen the lifespan of your investment. A glass brewer will feel like disposable tissues to yo. Do you have clumsy or very young people around? You’d need a shatter-resistant option for sure. Glass things and toddlers don’t mix.
Another simple consideration is how you want your brew bar to look. While pour over coffee makers generally look great, it’s fair to select one that already fits in with your current set up. The Kalita Wave and Hario v60, among others, have so many makes and colors, so choose the best one for you!
On a technical note, I prefer ceramic coffee makers because pairing paper filters with these produce tasty cups. Just remember to rinse the paper filters with at least one cup’s worth of hot water to get the paper taste out.
The glass brewers I like the most in terms of design, but with so much bar and kitchen activity, glass as a material isn’t the most ideal for my pour over coffee maker personal set-up.
How Many Cups?
Let’s face it. Size matters. In many things. In the world of pour over coffee makers? Definitely.
Think about it in terms of efficiency. No matter how efficient your brewing process is, chances are, you wouldn’t want to do it more than once per coffee craving.
People will rarely want to go through prepping coffee grounds, heating water, and concentrating on executing the best pour to get a great extraction multiple times per craving. Let’s not forget about washing.
If your pour over coffee dripper is too small, your love for brewing will be tested per cup. From washing to cleaning or rinsing the filter, your work just becomes multiplied.
Awareness of the number of cups you brew on average could lower wastage and effort by so much. With the right pour over coffee maker, every time you brew coffee can be enjoyable and efficient.
With so many little nuances to achieve high quality, you will have to select something as tailored as possible to your specific coffee requirements, down to your serving sizes.
One strength of manual pour over coffee makers versus automatic ones is portability. Without the need for a power source, you can select a dripper suited for a manual pour over method that fits in with your lifestyle.
If you park your coffee maker at home, a fancy glass finish could work well. If you like a decent single cup while outdoors, then maybe a Hario v60 or a stainless steel Kalita Wave can make that coffee for you. Glass isn’t the best material to bring around in your bag.
Aside from being easy to use, you want a coffee dripper that can withstand a degree of movement during transport. Investing in a camera bag is worthwhile because it comes as padded for delicate parts of a camera. Between your dripper, your cup, your grinder, and your water heater, it’s definitely one thing to immediately consider.
After you decide on the size, design, and the finish of your pour over coffee maker, other accessories like paper filters are easy to make space for.
You might think that this is a surprise-consideration. However, most manual pour over coffee makers are designed for specific skill levels.
For example, brewing with the Hario v60 requires more skill than brewing with a Kalita Wave. It’s easy to see how both seem similar to use on the surface. You put the paper filter, add the coffee grounds, and pour water. There’s more than meets the eye with manual pour over coffee maker options.
The Kalita Wave’s shape introduces a bit of immersion because of the shape of the dripper. This puts less pressure on knowing the ideal pour techniques for good extractions.
The Hario v60 comes in a cone shape. There’s a lot less immersion because the water flows straight down into the server. This option places more emphasis on proper grind size and slight of hand for technique and good extractions.
Must Have Accessories
The potential to make great cups will come with brewing coffee using each manual pour over coffee maker. Brewing bad cups, on the other hand, can quickly occur with manual processes.
Manual methods are fun, there’s more art in them, but naturally also a larger margin for error.
A couple of my personal pillars for brewing good cups of coffee are precision and consistency.
These pillars try to serve as guidelines for you to prioritize, to put yourself in the best position to make good coffee each time you brew. All your accessories should help your best brewing process become easy to replicate.
I believe that high-level brewing isn’t just for coffee shops. With all the good hard work that is put in during farming, processing, and roasting, so much pressure is on brewing to not put everything to waste. To get lazy with one aspect like rinsing your filter would be to waste many peoples’ efforts before you.
Precision is the most important pillar for making good coffee. What accessories are must-haves to increase accuracy in your coffee routine?
A ceramic coffee hand grinder is easy to obtain. This will give you a more even grind size vs a blade option. The grinder is also usually more important than the coffee maker since it interacts more closely with the beans to ensure particle size uniformity.
Next on the precision list is a digital weighing scale. With a maximum capacity of 500g being suitable for home brewing, you should get a variance of 0.5g on average when you weigh coffee grounds. While this helps with precision without a doubt, it also helps with consistency.
The final must-have for precision is a thermometer. It allows you to brew coffee at specific temperatures, allowing you to get the best as you move from roast type to roast type.
Ground coffee brews at different paces depending on water temperature and roast level. Getting a thermometer clearly shows you why you’re tasting what you’re tasting, making your cup of joe easier to understand. This also helps your recipes get easier to replicate.
What are the additional accessories you can invest in to get the best extractions?
Another is finding the appropriate paper filter: the right size and the right shape. Many of us overlook the filter because it doesn’t feel as important as the other parts of your pour over kit.
However, using the wrong filter can be wasteful, and it can ruin what was supposed to be a good extraction. Again, when it comes to topics about filter use, refer to blogs or your neighborhood barista.
The Final Verdict
For my coffee preferences, the best pour over coffee set up for me starts with selecting the Hario v60.
I learned how to make pour overs on this coffee dripper. At least half of my favorite coffees of all time were made using this method. I enjoy experimenting with filter types one after the other. It just works.
With this information about pour overs, I hope you find a similar fit for your needs. To want to drink a good cup of coffee is one thing, but once you start on the best method to make a decent cup, your whole journey changes.
Enjoy, and keep brewing!