The pour-over method of making coffee is like fly fishing: It’s more artful, more pure, and it delivers more satisfaction when the result is in your hand, even if it takes a bit more work and knowledge.
Pour-over coffee means you — wait for it — pour hot water over coffee grounds in a filter over a cup or carafe. Doing it directly by hand ensures that the water permeates all the grounds, best releasing the full flavor and antioxidants stored in society’s favorite stimulating bean. It also doesn’t over-saturate the grounds, which other brewing methods can do and which makes the coffee more bitter or acidic. Ask your favorite local barista, and they will affirm it’s true: The pour-over makes the perfect cup.
Beyond the art, the pour-over is, in general, cheaper than fancy electric coffee makers or complex espresso machines (which can take training to operate). While the pour-over requires some grace to master, it’s no harder than, say, frying a perfect egg. Figure out how to do it, and you can enjoy a fine cup of coffee anytime you want. And yes, there are fancy pour-over machines that replicate the process, but in this case, we're talking about the purest version of the form.
So the only question that remains is not if you should purchase a pour-over coffee maker, but which one is best for your needs and style. Read on. We have you covered.
Clean, pure, simple, and beautiful, this Chemex maker will take the place of any other device you use for your java fix. Pop in a filter, carefully pour over the hot water and let it drip through the paper filter. You can be confident this system will deliver a pure, complex brew — Chemex is the original pour-over carafe, dating back to 1941 when chemist (thus the brand name) Peter Schlumbohm introduced his improved way to extract flavor from those caffeinated beans, and his family is still running the Massachusetts-based company. The lab-quality glass is easy to wash and can be popped into the fridge to turn your warm pour-over into cold brew, too.
The Crowd Pleaser
This beautiful set includes a 34-ounce glass carafe, big enough to provide four 8-ounce cups (the brand claims eight 4-ounce, but that’s a small portion for core coffee drinkers) of Joe to the whole gang (or one gig-economy overachiever on deadline). Even better, it features a permanent stainless steel mesh filter versus the more commonly-used disposable paper filters, which cost money, create waste, and degrade the taste. It not only makes a better brew but also makes it look classy with the lovely carafe and cork collar sitting on your kitchen counter. Best of all, the whole machine rings in at less than you would pay for four cups of coffee at a trendy café.
The Work of Art
Bialetti is the company that, in 1933, first produced the Moka, that metallic double-chamber coffee pot ubiquitous in households across Italy and on display in the Museum of Modern Art. The brand brings the same artful design and coffee connoisseurship to its pour-over makers. On the practical side, the borosilicate glass in this beauty will not crack from sudden temperature, changes and the handle is heat resistant, so you won’t burn yourself when pouring out the six cups brewed through the steel double-mesh filter.
Can’t live without your pour-over fix? This ceramic, single-cup pour-over dripper delivers that perfect hit of dark magic no matter where you may roam as long as you have grounds and hot water. The ceramic makes it easy to handle since it doesn’t conduct heat, and it pops right in the dishwasher when you need to clean it. Designed to fit on top of your favorite travel mug, it’s the perfect pour-over maker for a camping trip or even just to keep around the office.
The Pour-Over Cup
This lovely single-cup brewer from Japan is a favorite of the coffee cognoscenti. No wonder—the stainless steel dripper looks classy in any kitchen, and it delivers a cup of coffee full of rich flavor. And while you can take it on the road with you, the higher cost and overall aesthetic are best suited as a suave accessory for those newly remodeled countertops. The real selling point is the triple-hole design in the bottom, which allows the coffee to take its own sweet time to percolate through the grounds and into your cup.
This ceramic Japanese single-cup dripper—which looks like it would be at home in a zendo—is sure to impress your friends and colleagues when you whip it out to prove that making a cup of coffee is as much an art of presentation as it is skill. Made of heat-resistant ceramic that helps keep and even temperature as the grounds absorb that hot water, it looks like bamboo. Don’t think it’s all style, however; the flutes around the edges actually make it easier to administer an even pour, essential for getting the most out of the grounds.
The Chemex is a beautiful and practical pour-over maker, but the cost of all those Chemex filters starts to add up—and it feels wasteful. Here’s the solution. This stainless cone fits Chemex makers and functions just as well as those paper filters (perhaps better since it allows more of the coffee’s natural oils to filter through into your cup). Best of all, you will never go to make your precious pour-over and be stymied when you find out you forgot to buy more filters.
One of the more neglected aspects of the perfect pour-over is having your water heated to the right temperature (in this case, 205 degrees Fahrenheit). This kettle comes with five preset temperatures for different hot drinks, including the 205-degree setting for the perfect cup of coffee. It also has a warming mode that keeps water within five degrees of your preset temperature, so you can whip up another cup without boiling more water.