Like many simple, yet ingenious household ideas the drip coffee filter came out of one housewives’ daily frustration. Melitta Bentz, mother of two and baker of the world’s best apple strudels—okay, I made that last part up—lived in Dresden, Germany and was tired of constantly having to clean the bottom of her coffee pot full of coffee grounds.
In 1908, She thought to herself there must be a better way and when she decided to use a piece of paper over the perforated bottom of a brass pot she knew she had done it—she had finally succeeded in saving time to enjoy what was probably her favorite part of the morning. Now, as coffee technology has advanced and science has interfered with the simplicity of the past cup of coffee; we’ve been introduced to the paper, cloth and metal filters of the modern pour over coffee method.
What Makes the Pour Over Method Unique?
The pour over method quickly stole my heart as soon as I began to practice its almost meditative process, but it wasn’t just the simplicity of the process that drew me in. No there was much more that the pour over had to offer, and there were many different methods to help you make your own cup.
Not only were there three different filters to choose from for pour over coffees—paper, cloth and metal filters but there are also six different devices to decide between. If you’re truly an expert in coffee, you probably have one of each buried somewhere in the far reaches of your cabinet.
Types of Pour Over Coffee Makers
There’s a number of different pour over coffee maker styles. Let’s look at each of these below.
Design: Three main parts: wood collar, glass decanter and cloth filter. A hoop keeps filter set in place
Grind: Fine-to-medium grind setting
Technique: Place divot in center of grounds, wet a small amount of coffee (10%), rest for 30 seconds and repeat slowly pouring in circular motion.
Advantage: The complexity of flavor each cup of coffee will have because of the cloth filter
Design: A cone-shaped dripper with spiral edges along sides with large opening in bottom
Grind: Fine-to-medium grind size setting
Technique: Rinse filter and place inside cone, make divot in center of coffee grounds—target center and wet all coffee, rest 30 seconds and repeat
Advantage: The thin filters make the paper taste that these can produce minimal—the spiral ridges are able to evenly extract flavors well
Design: A wedge-shaped filter cone with ribs on inner walls. It fits on most mugs, Hario and Kalita servers. The bottom is flat with two small holes
Grind: A coarser grind setting than the V60
Technique: Fold edges of filter and set inside dripper, rinse with hot water. Add coffee and wet lightly (10%), rest for 30-45 seconds and continue. About 4-3 rounds of pouring with 3-minute brew time for average batch
Advantage: It’s a great device choice for beginners that want to learn the process since the two holes allow for a slower drip process and it still produces a clean tasting cup of coffee
Design: Two main parts: a pour over filter cone and a glass decanter that allows ultra-thick paper filter to set against walls
Grind: Medium-to-medium-coarse grind setting
Technique: Rinse the filter and add coffee grounds, using hot water to even wet all grounds. Rest 30-45 seconds and pour in slow, controlled motion. Entire method should take about 4 minutes, swirl Chemex a few times and set back down
Advantage: The Chemex produces the best tasting coffee because it allows water to move through it slower than any other device choice
Design: Metal cone-shaped pour over filter designed to be used in Chemex servers. Tiny laser-cut holes keep grounds separate
Grind: Grind setting between what you would use for the V60 and the Chemex filters (If all else fails go medium.)
Technique: Rinse filter with hot water then add ground coffee. Gently tap edges to even bed, pour 10% evenly across coffee and wait 30-45 seconds. For 1 minute pour in slow, circular motion then pour directly in middle. Finish at 3-minute mark
Advantage: It’s the environmental filter that adds even more appeal to using the Chemex. Also, the flavor that the Kone produces is out of this world.
Design: Four parts made of porcelain: cylindrical brew chamber, server, dispersion plate and lid. Requires no filters.
Grind: A medium grind size setting
Technique: Run hot water through entire device, add ground coffee to brew chamber. Leave lid off and add boiling water, aim for the center. Add about 10% of water evenly. Pour slowly keeping consistent and you should finish at the 3:30 mark
Advantage: The device encourages even flavor extraction and the dispersion helps users create a consistent pour
What are Some Cons of Switching to the Pour Over Coffee Method?
The pour over coffee method is all about timing and consistency—it gives users the ability to create an amazing flavorful coffee, but it comes at a cost. It’s probably one of the most difficult methods to get right and it does take a lot of practice. Another con is that the filters are pricey so if you’re looking for a cheap alternative this probably won’t be it.
How Are the Brewing Techniques of Other Machines Different?
The pour over method, once you get it down, will probably be as simple as an automatic drip coffee machine, but instead of you getting to manually create the coffee the drip coffee is a machine that takes the hassle out of it. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to be in charge in the boring stuff—cleaning out the coffee grounds from the filter and the glass pitcher. It’s fairly similar to the pour over method since both methods require hot water to run through a filter to extract the flavor from the coffee grounds—it just depends on if you want to be in charge of the brewing method or not.
It’s fairly similar to the pour over method since both methods require hot water to run through a filter to extract the flavor from the coffee grounds—it just depends on if you want to be in charge of the brewing method or not.
If we’re looking at comparing the pour over method to something like the French press—well there aren’t a lot of similarities to the two methods. Both the French press and the pour over servers are similar in that they require coffee grounds and hot water but the filtration process in each is unique. The French press requires the coffee grounds to be steeped in hot water and the pour over server uses paper, cloth or metal filters to automatically filter the coffee grounds and the hot water. Both methods require great timing skills, but they’ll finish around the same time depending on the pour over
Both methods require great timing skills, but they’ll finish around the same time depending on the pour over device you use—pour overs should produce a cup of coffee about a minute faster on average and a much more powerful and flavorful taste than the French press. Of course, this is purely the opinion of one person.
Is the Flavor of Pour Over Coffee Different?
The flavor from a pour over coffee is vastly different than anything your taste buds will ever experience—and the fantastic thing is that each pour over device can extract different flavors from coffee varieties. I’ve found that my favorite types of coffee with the pour over method are the ones containing fruity notes, the pour overs extraction method can pull out a very bright tasting coffee.
Another option here is the different choices for filters because each one adds to that flavor extraction, sometimes the paper filters will give off a bit of a paper taste so I’m a fan of the cloth filter and the Kone. The paper filters are the cheapest alternative if you don’t notice the difference in the cup’s quality or taste then it might be a great choice for you as well. I do have to note that the pour over method is absolutely the best purchase if you’re trying to find a unique cup of coffee full of flavor and great taste.
Is a Pour Over Coffee Machine in My Budget?
The pour over servers are not out of anyone’s price range, but if you’re trying to find a way to save money this one might not rank too high on your list—although the Kone filter has helped eliminate the need for paper or cloth filters cost. I’ve seen a pour over server cost anywhere from $15 to $50, and it really depends on what size you’re looking for and the brand type. The most expensive servers usually also require a certain type of filter, which can also quickly increase their price.
Take for example the Chemex, which is an amazing pour over server but a box of 100 filters can range in price from $12 to $15 and it’s recommended you only use their brand of filters. Also, the Kone was created specifically to use with the Chemex for environmentally conscious people and those looking to save money. If you’re already a fan of the automatic drip coffee machine and must purchase filters anyway this may not be a factor in you purchasing a pour over server to test out.
Is a Pour Over Coffee Machine Truly a Machine for Everyone?
The pour over method is simple when you take out the complicated part of choosing a device and your favorite coffee grounds to use—all you really need is hot water, a filter, coffee grounds and a timer to make the perfect cup of quality cup. I would recommend the pour over to most people because it can quickly create a flavorful and great tasting coffee even if you’re not skilled at measuring ingredients, pouring slowly or keeping track of time.
There are of course ways to make the extraction process work well, but even if you don’t want to learn how to do that yourself you can find a device on the market that will pretty much do all the hard work for you. If you’ve been contemplating getting a pour over server then don’t hesitate any longer and impress your friends and family with this simple little machine.
Best Pour Over Coffee Maker Picks
We’ve covered the types of pour over coffee makers and given a good overview about what makes the pour over coffee maker brew method unique.
What’re our picks for the best pour over coffee makers? There are quite a few good pour over coffee manual machines, but we have a couple top choices we typically recommend to most people looking to get into the pour over brewing method.
Best Overall Choice
Price: Ranges in price from $39 to $47
Lowest Price: $39.30 onAmazon
Features: The design is so perfect that it hasn’t been changed in 70 years and there are a variety of sizes to choose from
Cons: You must buy filters specific to the brand
Colors: The classic series or the glass handle series
I can’t say enough good things about Chemex—they are truly the coffee pour over geniuses that they were 70 years ago. The design concept has gone unchanged because the concept is already so perfect and the wooden collar and leather tie serves as a built-in insulated handle, but if you’re not a fan you could always choose the glass handle option. This design is so perfect that it’s been featured in permanent collections at MOMA and the Smithsonian.
The reason why it’s suggested that you use their specific brand of Chemex filter is that it’s specially designed to enhance the flavor of your coffee for uniform extraction. The specialty fiber filter design also helps keep bitter elements, oils and grounds in their place to reward you with a delicious and clean cup of coffee every time. If you don’t love that idea then how about the various choices for sizes—you’ll be able to serve coffee to your entire family or just yourself without the hassle of trying to find the perfect size.
Best Budget Choice
Price: Ranges in price from $20 to $30
Lowest Price: $14.60 on Amazon
Features: Heat-resistant glass coffee server that can be used in the microwave
Cons: It’s small and can only produce about two standard size cups of coffee and the directions are in Japanese but can be found online in English
Colors: Red or brown
If you’re looking for a starter set that won’t break the bank, then look no further than this Hario V60 set. You’ll get to learn with one of the best pour over brands on the market and since this item is widely popular there are lots of guides to get you started. You might just discover that the pour over method is the way to a perfect cup of coffee and if you’re not a fan of the plastic design you can always upgrade to the ceramic to replace it once you’ve gained a little experience.
You probably won’t have to replace the carafe that comes in this set—but if you’re looking to really add to the quality in the extraction process spend a little of extra money on a gooseneck kettle, especially if you’re planning on becoming a pro at using the pour over method. This starter set should last you for a good while though if you’re just looking for something to learn with.
Best Premium Choice
Price: Ranges in price between $40 and $60
Lowest Price: $39.99 on Amazon
Features: Stainless steel cone filter and large glass carafe to hold your delicious coffee
Cons: This set is heavy, weighing just under 5 pounds but that’s mostly due to the large concrete slab that acts as a base for the set
Colors: Concrete series
If you’re looking for something functional and stylish than Osaka always seems to have you covered in the coffee market—I’m especially a fan of this concrete series model because of the matching handle and base. If you’re looking for a nice conversation piece that can also produce coffee with an out of this world flavor than this is the set for you.
I have to mention that the metal filter that comes with the brew set is a wonderful addition—not only do you not have to worry about buying anymore filters, but you also get a filter that’s simple to clean and use. What more could a coffee lover want from their machine? If you’re not a fan of the concrete series, Osaka also has some very beautiful natural wood choices to choose from. The brand has something for everyone.
Brewing Guide: Tips and Tricks for the Pour Over Server
- If you’re using fresh coffee beans—then this is the time to do it because the pour over method can extract even the most minimal notes from your favorite roasts. I’m a fan of the fruity notes because of the bright tasting coffee it produces with the pour over.
- The first step is to bring about 20 ounces of water to a boil. If you’re using a filter or any of the devices that require a pre-heat than add a bit of hot water to get the process started.
- The grind process is extremely important with your device choice so be sure to find which grind setting you should be using and once you’ve completed that you’re good to measure about 3 tablespoons of coffee to grind up.
- You’re going to want to now place your filter in the dripper. If you pre-wet the filter be sure to remove any excess water from the rest of the carafe or container. Okay, if you thought adding the coffee to the filter was fun just wait until you see what’s in store next.
- You’re going to want to begin to cover all of the coffee grounds with a small amount of water (about 10% of the entire volume) now find a timer and start a 30 second time. While you’re waiting those 30 seconds you’ll notice that the coffee grounds are creating a bloom effect that’s extremely important for the extraction process.
- After you have waited those 30 seconds you’re going to want to begin pouring water into the center of the grounds, pour slowly in a spiral motion toward the outer edge and repeat. The goal here is to sink the grounds and create a sort of turbulence that “stirs” the coffee. Allow about a minute for this to happen.
- The mixture of water and coffee should be dropping to the bottom of the filter so you’ll want to begin the same spiral pouring pattern to repeat the process once more for about 20 seconds.
- This third pour should drop once more which allows you to add the fourth and final pour. This pour should take about 20 seconds in total and you’ll find that the entire process takes about 3 minutes. If you’re using a Chemex give it a stir and then pour yourself a nice quality cup of coffee and enjoy your masterpiece!
Pro Tip: I wish someone would have informed me of the importance of a gooseneck kettle—and if may not seem like a big deal but I promise that it will completely change the way you think of the pour over method. When I first started making my coffee with the pour over server I kept producing this lackluster coffee and so I knew that something had to be missing. It turns out that my old kettle was making me have sloppy pours that weren’t being timed right. I’d like to say that having the right kettle seriously can make or break your pour over coffee’s flavor. Good luck and happy brewing!
Conclusion: The pour over coffee is an amazing and unique way to impress people, but it’s not just used for that and once you’ve tried a cup of coffee using this method you may throw out every other machine in your house.
I am being dramatic, but it’s important to note that the pour over method is great for anyone because of the ability to make your own decision on a variety of the aspects relating to your coffee: device type, size and even the filter type can all affect your coffee flavor and once you’ve had the opportunity to experiment or research all the varieties you’re sure to find one that caters to your every need. Once you go pour over you’ll discover what a clean cup of coffee should really taste like and you’ll never regret switching over to this method!