Beginner's Guide: The Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker Setup | Brewers & Kettles
Finding a Good Pour-Over Coffee Maker / Brewer
Walk into a non-chain coffee shop lately, and you're likely to see some new stuff behind the bar. Namely, transparent glass carafes and strange funnel shaped objects. What might look like a chemistry set to some is actually the latest (and best) trend in coffee: pour-over.
The pour-over (or pourover) movement centres around taking coffee back to its basic components: beans and hot water. Rather than weak brew percolated through an appliance, the water goes directly from kettle to grounds to cup. You control all aspects of the brewing process, creating a cup specific to the drinker.
But what is the best pour-over coffee maker? With a brewer, kettle and various filters, there are several aspects that you can mix and match. That said, I'm hoping to help you narrow down a couple of good choices.
This article will look at a few of my favourite pour-over brewers / drippers. Some come with carafes, others do not. Once that's done, I'll cover the unique kettle (and why it's worth considering).
Ready? Let's get started.
What is pour-over coffee anyway?
So in case you stumbled across this article by chance: what's the big deal with this method of brewing? Drip is drip, right? What is pour-over coffee, and why all the fuss?
The movement originated in Japan, and it has spread across the globe for a specific reason: it results in a fantastic, uniquely flavoured drink.
Unlike the soft and blandly bitter taste of drip, or the dark intensity of espresso, pour-over coffee brewing is best compared to french press flavour-wise, with it's own unique twist. It draws out flavour notes that are floral, fragrant, earthy and often even slightly sweet.
The components you need are as follows:
- A good pour-over coffee brewer or dripper (different names for essentially the same thing)
- A filter for the dripper, usually paper
- A carafe or pot (though some prefer to drip directly into a mug
- A special type of kettle (optional, but highly recommended)
Unlike standard drip, where the water is dumped over the beans and allows to flow through, a pour-over brew requires gradually adding fresh water and allowing it to drip through slowly. This way the filter doesn't flood, and the brightest flavours are released. I won't go into details on pour methods here, other articles do it more justice.
Chemex: One of the absolute best pour-over coffee makers around
When it comes to pour-over coffee brewing at home, Chemex is a perfect brand in my eyes. They have created a line of pour-over friendly carafes and filters which make the perfect cup a simple task.
This decanter is beautiful, with wood accents in the handle and transparent glass throughout, so you can monitor the wetting and brewing process.
That wood is doubly handy, as it allows you to pick up, move and pour without scalding yourself.
Unlike other setups, you don't need to balance the pour-over coffee dripper over the rim of another vessel. That means you can't drip directly into your cup, but you'll have far fewer disastrous tips and spills.
The all-glass housing means your coffee won't leach other flavours or chemicals into the brew. Glass is inert, and therefore ideal for this process.
The cone-shaped opening is designed to fit with Chemex' brand of paper filters, which do an exceedingly excellent job and make cleanup a breeze.
It comes in a variety of sizes. Personally I find the 6 or 8 cup carafes to be most practical, but it all depends on your habits.
The Chemex is a fantastic pour-over coffee maker and brewer with excellent reviews, and certainly deserving of the top spot on my list.
Grosche Austin: A good, versatile pour-over coffee maker with steel filter
If you're operating with a slightly lower budget, there are some great brewers and drippers to consider. This one, by Grosche, is a solid choice for several reasons.
It has the standard beaker shape to it, with a cone-shaped opening at the top and a good pouring spout. It also has a protecting sleeve around the neck to prevent burns, a vital addition, since these things can get hot!
The big thing this pour-over coffee pot brings to the table is the stainless steel filter. Unlike paper, which can absorb a small amount of the solubles during the brew process, the stainless steel filter allows everything through but the grounds. It's reusable and much easier to clean than a french press.
There isn't much more to say! Grosche has created a solid offering here, and it's one of the best coffee makers for pour-over that I've come across.
Tanors: The best single cup pour-over coffee dripper around
Sometimes you don't want to make a whole pot. If all you need is a single cup to get you out the door in the morning, consider the Tanors single cup dripper.
It's made out of ceramic, rather than glass, which makes it a bit sturdier. It's conical and has a large opening at the bottom. It sits on a platform which allows you to perch it on top of any cup or mug (or decanter, for that matter.)
It also features a coffee cup-like handle to easily remove or adjust it.
You'll notice that the inside of the cone has a unique swirl, which helps feed the water through without sloshing or splashing. The ceramic construction insulates the water, leaving it hotter in your cup and allowing for a better brew.
It is meant to be used with a paper filter.
Brewing a flavourful cup each time, the Tanors is a top quality pour-over coffee maker that you should put on your wishlist. It's worth having even if you have a larger, decanter-style setup.
Why bother with a pour-over coffee kettle?
You probably have a kettle at home. It is possible to use what you already have, but I'd highly recommend investing in a unit that's tailor-made for the style.
Why is that? The main thing that a pour-over kettle brings to the table is control. With a long, curved neck and a smaller opening, you get an extremely precise pour. No splashing, no drips, no leaning the kettle way over to get the dregs from the bottom.
That's exactly the kind of control you'll want. The more control you have over your water, the more accurately you can control the end product.
It's kind of like running shoes: you can technically run in anything that covers your feet, but runners will make the experience a lot easier and more enjoyable.
Hario: The perfect kettle for your dripper
The Hario V60 is a perfect example of what you're looking for. It has a long, thin neck that will provide a perfect, even stream of hot water.
The neck attaches low, near the base of the kettle. That means you don't have to tilt it way over to get the water flowing. What's more, it works on induction, gas or electric stoves directly. It holds around 3 cups of water maximum (or around 800ml.) If you're hoping to brew larger pots, opt for a larger size.
I hope you enjoy delving into this hobby, it'll be a fun ride! Thanks for reading.