The 10 Best Pour Over Coffee Makers
October 22, 2018: Removed Wilbur Curtis Commercial due to complaints about malfunctions. Removed Coffee Gator Standard due to availability issues. Added the Coffee Gator Brewer because of its environmentally friendly design and quality construction.
Not Too Hot
You then pour hot water over the grounds as quickly as you see fit.
A pour over coffee maker works by settling something that looks a lot like a funnel on top of either a coffee pot or a single mug.
I remember my first cup of coffee pretty clearly. I was eight or nine at the time, and my Nana (my maternal grandmother) had just whipped up a pot in her stove-top percolator. I used to love to watch the percolator come to a boil, as it was stainless steel throughout with the exception of a little glass knob at the top of the lid. When the coffee boiled, you could see the bubbles splashing around through the lid.
The problem with percolator coffee, however, is the problem you’ll find with a vast majority of automatic coffee makers: they don’t give you control over water temperature. Ask anyone in the know, and they’ll tell you that as soon as your brewing water exceeds 205˚F, you’re going to burn the coffee. If you’ve ever had coffee at an all night diner in New Jersey, you've tasted why this is a problem.
When you elect to go with a pour over method for your coffee brewing, you gain distinct control over your water temperature, provided you don’t just throw boiling water over the beans. Ideally, your water temperature should be between 195˚F and 205˚F to get the most flavor out of your java. With a pour over method, you can take the temperature of the water, or set an electric kettle to cook your water to a specific temperature before you begin to brew.
A pour over coffee maker works by settling something that looks a lot like a funnel on top of either a coffee pot or a single mug. First, you pop a filter into one and fill it with coffee. You then pour hot water over the grounds as quickly as you see fit. Different pour times and different spreads of water over the grounds are said to alter the flavor by palpable degrees, so you can fine-tune your brew in ways no other method allows.
Pouring Over The Options
Pour over coffee brewers are kind of like Christmas trees. They’re all more or less the same shape, and they all serve the same function, but the size and materials of each can make a significant difference in your selection process. There are a couple of automatic pour over coffee makers on our list, and those we can think of like synthetic trees, but more on that later.
Something like this would be great in a crowd of diverse tastes.
The most important variable for you to consider when evaluating pour over coffee makers is your audience. Some of the finest pour over units we've reviewed here only make a single serving at a time, and that might not be enough. Conversely, there are pour over machines on our list that can service the multitudes.
If you're making a cup for yourself or for somebody else, and you really want to impress them both with the flavor of your coffee and with your knowledge of the brewing process, a single serve pour over is the way to go. One of the better-rated pour overs on our list actually has four individual stations, each dedicated to a single cup. Something like this would be great in a crowd of diverse tastes.
For the less discerning groups, you can utilize a pour over coffee maker that collects your brew for service in a pot. Some of these come with pots of their own, and they're designed specifically for use with this pot alone. Other pour over units are more universal, allowing you to fit it to any given receptacle, provided it's heat-safe.
Getting back to the mechanical pour over makers on our list, they do a much better job than the cheap, drip-style coffee makers we discussed above, and their quality compared to those units is undeniable. Among aficionados of the bean, however, these would have a hard time passing muster, especially against the more refined single-serving pour over coffee makers that populate the hippest coffee houses out there.
Coffee Gone Blotto
There are filters in this world that do very little, that are filters in name mostly and in action barely. Then there are filters whose purpose is clear and whose efficacy is undeniable. Cigarette filters belong to the former group, as well as–some would argue–the filters on Instagram. Aquarium filters and coffee filters, on the other hand, belong to the latter group.
Today, the Melitta brand still forges forward as one of the leading producers both of coffee filters and of pour over coffee makers.
The history of the coffee filter is tied inexorably to the history of pour over coffee brewing. In 1908, German entrepreneur Melitta Bentz grew tired of cleaning up after linen coffee filters that would have been more at home in the former category above, as they did little to reduce the bitterness of her coffee. Her percolator did even less of a job. So, after a few rounds of material research, she used a nail to punch a bunch of holes in a piece of tin and she lined that with a sheet of blotting paper from her son's schoolbook.
The following year, at the 1909 Leipzig Trade Fair, Bentz and her two sons sold more than 1,200 coffee filters, launching their business into legitimacy. Today, the Melitta brand still forges forward as one of the leading producers both of coffee filters and of pour over coffee makers. And, while the advent of automatic drip coffee machines dampened the business, coffee purists have recently reemerged demanding the more careful brew that only a pour over can provide.