Preparing pour-over coffee is a relaxing way to start the day and allows you to take an active role in making your coffee. Pour-over coffee creates an elevated taste that’s different from drip coffee due to the unique brewing process that allows for more of the coffee’s natural oils and unique flavors to shine through. We made this guide to help you find the perfect pour-over coffee maker for your needs. Start your day off right with these recommendations.
Why buy a pour-over coffee maker?
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you probably already own some sort of coffee-making device, so a pour-over coffee maker may not seem like a worthwhile investment. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, however. The pour-over method is ideal for enhancing the coffee’s natural smell and flavor, especially if you tend to drink flavored coffees. The taste of single-origin coffees, in particular, is known to benefit from the pour-over method. New coffee drinkers may also appreciate pour-over coffee makers for this reason as well.
Additionally, some people appreciate the greater level of control offered by a pour-over coffee maker. Unlike electric coffee makers, a pour-over model allows you to pick the exact water temperature, how fast or slow you pour the water through your coffee grounds, and your pouring style. Others simply find the process enjoyable or soothing, similar to French presses but less time-consuming.
What should you look for in a pour-over coffee maker?
- Capacity: Consider the pour-over coffee maker’s capacity so that you aren’t left holding an empty mug before you’ve had your fill. Thankfully, many pour-over coffee makers come in various sizes so that you can find an option that suits your needs. There are also many great single-serve pour-over coffee makers on the market for those who love coffee but try not to drink it to excess.
- Filter: The type of filter you use can make a huge difference in taste. While paper filters are convenient and easy for cleanup, some find that the final product suffers from the filter soaking up the natural coffee oils. And you’ll have to constantly buy new ones when you run out. Metal filters allow these oils to come through in the coffee, resulting in a taste many prefer, but the cleaning process can be more time-consuming. However, this also means they’re eco-friendly since they’re reusable. Cloth filters generally fall somewhere between paper and metal filters for taste and cleaning care. Some pour-over coffee makers are compatible with different types of filters so that you can use the type you like best.
- Portability: Glass pour-over coffee makers can be taken on trips or to the office but are riskier than more durable options since they are much more fragile. However, some brands offer shatterproof versions for such occasions. Ceramic is also a viable material that is thicker and less fragile, though it’s not 100% shatterproof. If you will be taking your pour-over coffee maker with you while camping or traveling, a lightweight and durable option that can be safely carried in your backpack or pocket is likely your best option.
How many different types of pour-over coffee makers are there?
There are two main types of pour-over coffee makers: the typical countertop models and smaller portable ones.
A classic pour-over coffee maker tends to resemble a vase in shape, with a circular lower half and a funnel-shaped upper half. The filter rests securely in the top half and holds the coffee grounds as you pour, while the coffee you produce fills up the lower half. Then, once you’re finished making your coffee, all you have to do is remove the filter and serve yourself. These types of pour-over coffee makers often come with some sort of grip around the neck to ensure they’re easier to grasp and to protect your hand from the heat.
Most portable pour-over coffee makers are funnel-shaped or cone-like; they’re essentially the top half of a countertop model. Some are ring-shaped with a built-in, net-like filter. These work the same as a countertop pour-over coffee maker, except that they rest on top of your coffee mug to brew your coffee directly in the mug instead of in a separate container. Since they’re much smaller and are most commonly made out of metal, silicone, or plastic, they’re great for camping, traveling, or taking to the office. You can use one of these models at home if you have limited storage or countertop space, too. Just keep in mind that, due to their compact size, they can’t make more than a cup or two of coffee at once.
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Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker
This pour-over coffee maker features a classic, clean design and non-porous borosilicate glass construction.
Pros: If quality is your priority, try this premium pour-over coffee maker. The borosilicate glass is non-porous and resists odors and chemicals, thus eliminating bitterness throughout the brewing process. The result is coffee so pure it can even be chilled and reheated without compromising the flavor, so you can get multiple uses out of its impressive 40-ounce (8-cup) capacity. The neck of this pour-over coffee maker is thinner than that of many similar models, making it easier to grip and pour. The grip is made of wood and can be removed if desired. You can wash this pour-over coffee maker by hand or in the dishwasher.
Cons: Though still not as costly as an electric drip coffee machine, this model is much more expensive than many similar products. And despite its higher price, you don’t get a reusable filter, extra paper filters, or other handy accessories with your purchase. Due to its shape and design, it’s only compatible with the company’s personalized paper filters, so you’ll have to go to the trouble of ordering and purchasing them separately.
Bottom Line: Chemex is a familiar name to coffee lovers, so it is no surprise that they’ve made a glass pour-over coffee maker that has a clean, timeless design and produces flavorful coffee. Although this isn’t the best pour-over coffee maker to travel with, it’s still quite durable and won’t break easily if tipped over. As long as you don’t mind paying the higher cost for the higher quality, this pour-over coffee maker will be an asset to almost any kitchen or morning routine.
Bodum Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Permanent Filter
This product features a permanent coffee filter for smooth, nuanced coffee.
Pros: The main benefit of this pour-over coffee maker is that it comes with its own reusable filter, eliminating the need to constantly throw away and repurchase paper filters. That filter is made of tough stainless steel mesh, ideal for a device that regularly comes into contact with water. The filter and coffee maker are dishwasher safe for a much easier clean. The carafe has some subtle but attractive detailing on its heat-resistant glass body as well.
Cons: This is a bit more complex than most pour-over coffee makers. It has more pieces and a few extra steps, per the instructions, which makes it a bit more difficult to put together, use, and clean than others. The neck is thick and not as comfortable to grasp, especially for those with small hands.
Bottom Line: For budget-savvy coffee lovers who like the style of the Chemex but not the price tag, the Bodum Pour-Over Coffee Maker is an amazing substitute. This pour-over coffee maker comes with an easy-to-clean permanent filter and makes 8 cups of delicious coffee. It’s dishwasher safe and sits securely on flat surfaces thanks to its bottom-heavy design, making it a great value for its price.
Coffee Gator Paperless Pour-Over Coffee Brewer
The built-in handle on this glass pour-over coffee maker allows you to pour and serve your fresh coffee more easily.
Pros: Unlike most other pour-over coffee makers, this glass model comes with a built-in, cool-touch handle attached, plus a small spout, so as soon as your coffee is finished brewing, you can more easily lift the vessel, pour, and serve it. Besides the coffee maker itself, it also comes with a stainless steel mesh filter that’s washable and reusable, so you don’t have to constantly buy and throw out paper filters. The glass construction is heat-resistant and BPA-free and makes the coffee maker look more sleek, elegant, and timeless. It’s dishwasher safe for easy cleanup, and the funnel-like shape means that brewing your coffee should be an almost entirely mess-free process.
Cons: This model is designed to be a single-serve coffee maker, so it’s not ideal for office settings or large batches. The glass body means it’s more fragile and prone to breaking, and it doesn’t retain heat super well, so you’ll want to quickly transfer your freshly brewed coffee to your mug. And the included metal filter, while reusable, isn’t the best, as some finer grounds may slip through.
Bottom Line: This pour-over coffee maker and its built-in handle offer a simple, elegant, and effective brewing solution, providing a customizable coffee experience without the need for paper filters. While its fragility and smaller capacity may not suit everyone, it’s a nice option for single coffee drinkers seeking a high-quality cup with minimal mess and easy cleanup.
Stanley The Camp Pour Over Set
This sturdy yet colorful pour-over coffee maker was designed specifically with camping in mind.
Pros: While it may look quite different from a typical pour-over coffee maker, never fear; this model is more than capable of producing tasty, flavorful coffee, giving you the same level of control over your morning cup of joe than more traditional pour-over coffee makers provide. It was designed mainly with camping in mind, though there’s no reason you can’t use this model as your daily home pour-over coffee maker too. That said, its durable stainless steel body does make it ideal for camping, able to hold up to the rigors and elements of the great outdoors. And the top and bottom can be easily separated for more convenient packing. The bottom half of the coffee maker also doubles as a coffee cup, so you don’t have to pack or bring along a separate one, especially since the mug section is insulated to keep your coffee hot longer—an extra useful feature when you’re out in the wilderness and don’t have access to a microwave. It also comes with a reusable metal filter, eliminating the need for paper filters, and the entire set is dishwasher safe for convenient cleaning (once you return home).
Cons: The breather hole can lead to potential burns if filled too full when the lid is on, so be extra careful when the coffee maker is full of piping hot coffee. The built-in filter’s effectiveness may vary, as some customers have noticed small particles sifting into the coffee, and while this coffee maker is generally easy to clean, you may have difficulties cleaning off all the grounds, especially when camping or using finer grinds.
Bottom Line: This unique pour-over coffee maker is notable for its durability and ability to make top-notch coffee no matter where you are. Even with potential lid and filtering challenges, it’s still a great practical option for both home use and camping, thanks to its versatile features and heavy-duty construction.
Primula Brew Buddy Portable Pour-Over
This nifty gadget is eco-friendly and lightweight enough to be carried in your pocket.
Pros: Even by pour-over coffee maker standards, this pour-over coffee maker is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is place it in your favorite mug, put your coffee grounds inside, and pour hot water over it. Since the filter is built into the plastic ring, it fits around the mug’s rim with the filter inside rather than the coffee maker balancing on top of it, making it stable. It should fit most coffee mugs and is dishwasher safe for your convenience. Thanks to the extremely compact size and non-breakable plastic body, this pour-over coffee maker can be easily tucked away into your backpack or even a pocket. And it’s highly affordable to boot.
Cons: As is normal with portable pour-over coffee makers, you can only make one or two cups of coffee at a time with this model. Since the filter’s mesh is so fine, it keeps particles out of your coffee but also takes longer for water to pass through. This model also isn’t microwave-friendly.
Bottom Line: A delicious coffee while camping is wonderful, but lugging your large coffee maker through the woods isn’t ideal. Thankfully, the Primula Brew Buddy Portable Pour-Over offers a portable and convenient means of getting your coffee fix in a lightweight package that slips into your pocket. Though it’ll leave a little more coffee residue in the bottom of your cup, it effortlessly brews a nice cup of coffee wherever you are. Since it doesn’t require a filter, it’s a great way to cut back on waste in the woods and at home.
What’s the difference between a pour-over coffee maker and a drip coffee maker?
The main difference, of course, is that pour-over coffee makers are operated manually rather than electrically. The brewing method is essentially the same, just executed differently.
Pour-over coffee makers offer greater variety in your coffee and more control over the brewing process. Thus, once you’ve perfected the technique, pour-over coffee makers can usually make better-tasting coffee and are less expensive overall. That said, the results from a pour-over coffee maker can vary considerably from cup to cup until you get the hang of the process or figure out what works best for you. They’re also more hands-on and time-consuming, requiring more active attention than simply filling the device and pressing a button.
Basically, pour-over coffee makers offer the potential for a higher-quality cup of coffee (or at least coffee that better matches your personal tastes) as long as you don’t mind the extra time and some trial and error.
How do pour-over coffee makers work?
One advantage of pour-over coffee machines is that they’re incredibly simple to use. They don’t require specialized equipment or even a power source. You can use them anytime, anywhere. All you have to do is place the filter in the opening of the coffee maker or on top of your mug, place your coffee grounds in the filter, and pour a steady stream of hot water through the filter for several minutes. The water extracts the flavor from the grounds as it pours through them, producing your coffee in the bottom half of the coffee maker or right in your mug. That’s all there is to it!
Are pour-over coffee makers dishwasher safe?
It varies from model to model. Many full-sized pour-over coffee makers are dishwasher safe. Portable ones can be, too, depending on what materials they’re made of. Keep in mind that you’ll likely have to remove the grip from it in order to wash the coffee maker safely in the dishwasher. Check a product’s listing to ensure it’s dishwasher safe before washing, especially since full-sized models can be a pain to wash by hand; their shape makes it tricky to reach and properly clean every nook and cranny. Many reusable filters are dishwasher safe as well.
What type of coffee grounds work best with pour-over coffee makers?
It varies slightly depending on which of the two types of pour-over coffee makers you use. For full-sized countertop models, opt for a medium-coarse grind. It’ll make a nice, smooth cup of pour-over coffee without risking particles or debris slipping through the filter. If you have a smaller, portable pour-over coffee maker, stick to a medium-fine grind instead. The flavor will still be nice and smooth, and the coffee won’t take quite as long to filter through.
Though not always the best choice for beginners, a pour-over coffee maker can be a great asset for longstanding coffee lovers. They allow you to play around with the ratio of grounds and water in a way that a regular electric coffee machine doesn’t. While they are a bit more hands-on, many people find the process of brewing a cup of pour-over coffee to be a soothing start to the day. If you want a pour-over coffee maker, these recommendations should serve you well.