Pour-over brewing gives you complete control over the brewing process and is the best method for extracting subtle, nuanced flavor notes from the beans.
These manual brewers are also portable and affordable, letting you make delicious coffee anywhere and on any budget.
In this buying guide, we’ll review the best manual pour-over drippers and give you some tips on how to brew a perfect cup.
The OXO Brew Pour-Over Coffee Maker is one of the only manual pour-over brewers you can use correctly without a gooseneck kettle.
It uses an auto-drip water tank that regulates the water flow and distributes it evenly across the grounds for full flavor extraction, with scale markers so you can easily get the right coffee-to-water ratio.
The ribbed dripper walls and included lid help regulate the water flow and temperature throughout the brew.
A ceramic dripper like this Hario V60 retains heat better than plastic and stain or absorb flavors as readily. That makes it the perfect material for a home pour-over dripper if you want the best coffee flavor.
Like all Hario V60 drippers, it uses a spiral ribbing pattern that allows the grounds to fully expand during the bloom, unlocking more of their delicious flavor.
The Primula Brew Buddy is the best pour-over dripper for traveling and camping. Its plastic and mesh construction is super-lightweight and won’t break if it gets dropped or crushed in your bag.
A fine mesh filter is built in, sparing you the waste, expense, and hassle of buying paper filters. When you get home, it’s easy to wash by hand or in the dishwasher.
The Bodum Pour Over Coffee Dripper Set comes with a metal mesh filter and a mug to brew into. Unlike most drippers that just sit atop a mug, this dripper firmly attaches to the rim, so you don’t need to worry it’ll slip off and make a mess.
Since it’s made of plastic and stainless steel, it’s more durable than a glass or ceramic dripper, is easy to clean, and generates less waste than drippers that use paper filters.
This 2-pack of Melitta Ready Set Joe drippers is an excellent value for larger households, cafes, or anyone who wants the option of making two pour-overs at the same time.
They’re easy to use, too, with convenient viewing windows on the base so you can track your pour better in opaque mugs. The tall ridges help prevent dry spots for full, even extraction across the grounds.
Melitta has an option for single-person households, too. This Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Cone Brewer uses the same black plastic as the model above but sized to fit the more common #2-sized filters.
It still has a broad base and viewing windows that make it easy to brew into any mug without a mess. A full pack of natural-paper filters is included, too, so you can get right to brewing when you open the box.
The Yitelle Steel Pour Over Coffee Dripper is a two-piece set, pairing a permanent metal mesh filter with a stainless steel cup stand. That makes it one of the most durable pour-over drippers out there.
It’s also a great option for traveling because it’s shatter-proof, rust-proof, and doesn’t need paper filters. Those who like a rich, strong brew will appreciate the taste of the coffee from the Yitelle dripper since it allows more of the coffee’s natural oils into your cup.
The double-layered filter that comes with the Bartelli Paperless Pour Over Coffee Dripper keeps all the sediment and grounds out of your cup while letting all the flavor oils through.
Its 18/10 stainless steel base directs the coffee straight down into the cup, no mess, drip, or run-off. Both pieces can be washed in the dishwasher and are made of high-quality metal that won’t rust or corrode.
The Kalita Wave can be used to make anywhere from 16-26 ounces of coffee in a brew, a larger capacity than you’ll get from most single-cup drippers.
The dripper is made of heat-treated glass and resists stains and absorbed odors better than plastic drippers. The stay-cool base lets you safely move the dripper during and after brewing without burning your fingers.
The Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper is another great option for those who want to brew a larger cup. Its open-base design lets you track your brew so you don’t overfill the cup.
The ceramic dripper keeps the water hot through the entire brew and has a ridged inner surface to ensure the water fully saturates the grounds, giving you a delicious cup of coffee every time.
If you brew the same beans on pour-over and automatic drip, the pour-over version will taste better—more balanced with stronger flavor notes and a smooth body. It has a longer extraction time than automatic drip thanks to the pulsed pouring technique but with more thorough filtration than methods like French press. The result is a full-flavored but sediment-free cup.
Another benefit of pour-over brewing is that it puts the barista completely in control. The use of a filter gives you more freedom to adjust the grind level, and you can adapt the coffee-to-water ratio, water flow speed, and temperature to match the beans you’re using. It takes a bit of extra time and effort, but it’s worth it for anyone who wants the best flavor from their coffee.
The most important thing is that you use fresh, high-quality beans. Pour-over is renowned for bringing out all the flavors that are in a bean. That’s what you want if you’re using good coffee, but it also means you’ll taste all the bitter or sour notes from stale, over-roasted, or low-quality beans.
It’s also key to use whole-bean coffee rather than pre-ground. The most important stage in pour-over brewing is the bloom, where the grounds are saturated to release the flavors and improve extraction and you’ll often see bubbles and foam on the surface of the coffee.
This is caused by carbon dioxide and other volatile compounds escaping from the bean, pushing flavorful oils and acids out on their way. Most of these volatile compounds dissipate within 15 minutes of grinding, so you won’t get a full bloom if you use pre-ground coffee.
Roast level is another important consideration. Most people will prefer a light or medium roast. Many of the acids in beans that give them their fruity or floral notes are lost when the bean is dark-roasted. This can lead to a cup that tastes flat, bitter, or burnt when brewed on pour-over.
As far as the specific variety or region of the bean, that’s mostly a matter of personal preference. Coffees from Costa Rica, Colombia, and Mexico can be a great place to start since they tend to have a balanced flavor profile that’s not overly acidic. Those who like fruity and floral notes will usually love African beans, especially those from Kenya and Ethiopia.
The great thing about pour-over is you can experiment with different beans and find the ones you like the best. Most coffee shops will let you buy in half-pound quantities or less if you want to get an assortment of different beans to try.
The ideal coffee-to-water ratio for pour-over is 1:17 (1 gram of coffee for every 17 grams of water). That translates to about 20 grams for a 12-ounce cup or 26 grams for a larger 16-ounce cup.
Weight is the most accurate way to measure coffee. It’s worth it to invest in a kitchen scale if you’re already investing in a full pour-over set-up. If you don’t have a scale handy, though, you’ll get almost the same ratio using 1 teaspoon of grounds for every 3 ounces of water (4 teaspoons for a 12-ounce cup).
The exact right grind for pour-over depends on the filter style and the beans you’re using. A medium-coarse grind is recommended for thicker natural paper filters, like those used for Chemex, and can also taste excellent in a metal mesh filter. White paper filters typically do well with medium to medium-fine grind levels.
If you’re not sure what grind size is best, start with a medium grind similar to what you’d use for automatic drip. You can then fine-tune the grind size based on how it brews. If it brews too quickly, grind the next batch finer, and make the grind coarser if it brews too slowly.
That depends on what you consider to be a “regular coffee filter”. Most pour-over drippers are cone-shaped. They can use the same filters as automatic drip brewers with a cone-style brew basket but the round flat-bottomed filter used by most drip machines won’t fit.
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A Beginner’s Guide to Pour-Over Coffee Brewing
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