Want to make the best pour over coffee? We have got your back. When we say that the pour-over brewing method is the one used at big cafes, we have a reason behind that. The reason is that it is the simplest way to make coffee, yet it provides some really great flavours that you will not get from a machine. Want the best results? A good dripper is a way to a delicious cup of coffee. For consistency and ease of use, we discovered that the Kalita Wave 185 Dripper is the one. If you are looking forward to making a great and delicious cup of coffee, we recommend using a grinder, scale and kettle.
Want to enjoy a cup of delicious coffee with a consistent and balanced flavor? The Kalita Wave is among those best drippers we tried out. All credit goes to its flat-bottom design to easier water drainage, making it convenient for newbies to get the consistent flavor every time. Guess what? You have the option to get Kalita Wave in three types of materials: glass, ceramic and stainless steel. With all the perks, there is one setback: although this coffee dripper is easy to purchase online, its patented filters are pretty expensive than regular, wedge-shaped Melitta ones. Also, you may have difficulty finding wave filters in local stores. Oh, and don’t forget to check out the best electric kettles for your water.
If you are looking forward to enjoying further the essence and feel of your pour-over coffee, the Hario V-60 Coffee Dripper (Size 02) is the one to get your hands on. Once you get comfortable with the technique, you are en route to having more fun with the dripper’s conical shape. Undoubtedly, the Hario V-60 Coffee Dripper gives a cup of coffee with intricate flavours like that of Kalita’s. Besides, Hario V-60 requires a little time to practice skills in order to make the best coffee with consistent flavor. Just like Kalita, this coffee dripper also has its own filters; however, the best thing is that they are easily available at coffee shops and online as well.
You don’t want to rush to special coffee stores to get coffee filters? Do you prefer ones that are easily available at every store? End your search right here, as the Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper does pretty good in that area. Though, during testing, it brewed a cup of coffee with less complexity, it is the most convenient one for newbies out there. As far its filters are concerned, this coffee dripper uses #2 Melitta paper filters, which are widely available everywhere.
Among our picks for the best pour-over coffee brewers, we would also like to make a mention of the Chemex Six Cup Classic Series. Want to brew a few cups of coffee at a time? Let us tell that it will prove to be a good choice for y’all. Also, if you are particular about designs, go for it. The Chemex was a creation of a chemist, Peter Schlumbom back n 1941. It is also included in the Museum of Modern Arts as a permanent collection. There is a built-in carafe, and it passed or tests, too. On what basis? Because this coffee dripper succeeded in brewing coffee with a consistent flavor. Unlike other coffee filters that are available easily, this coffee dripper uses patented filters which are not available everywhere. However, you may easily purchase them online or from high-end coffee stores.
There is a reason to trust us and here’s why
For 2020, we researched various guides on coffee brewing. We also took help from several coffee blogs, like Dripped Coffee and the Coffee Chronicler. To grasp the ideas, we also had discussions as to the best way to brew a pour-over coffee with different coffee pros in New York and Boston. Back in 2016, during our testing phase, we consulted with a famous author and coffee expert, too. All these coffee enthusiasts and professionals initiated their opinion on the best pour-over gear and techniques.
Making the best pour-over coffee
First of all, we have talked much about pour-over, but the question is that what exactly is pour-over? Is this is a method or a coffee name? Pour-over is a method. It brews small batches of filtered coffee by pouring hot water over fresh coffee grounds. The best part is that the dripper and the included filters control the water flow and extract maximum flavour from fresh coffee grounds. However, the flavor of coffee doesn’t only depend on the dripper and filter; the techniques you use play a major role here. If you want a consistent and well-balanced flavour, you will have to make sure about the precise ratio of coffee to water. Plus, you also need to keep a note of coarseness of coffee, water temperature, and your pour speed.
Once you get the hold of the right method, you won’t find pour-over coffee brewing method complex anymore. It is a simple technique to make your cup of coffee delicious and flavourful. There are many recipes and guides online on how to make the best cup of coffee. However, a majority of recipes suggests making a cup of delicious coffee includes 25 to 30 grams of coffee grounds and 400 grams of water for a 12-ounce brewed cup. As far as the grounds are concerned, coffee should be medium-fine.
The temperature of the water should be somewhere between 196 and 203 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature you decide to brew your coffee at will be based on your preference. Coffee grounds with delicate roasts don’t require high temperature. To get maximum extraction of flavour from the grounds, you need to pour hot water in a spiral motion from the centre to the edge, every 40 to 50 seconds. A 12-ounce cup of coffee takes about three minutes to brew. Guess what? You can control all of these variables. But you will need a few more things along with a coffee dripper. A full pour-over dripper pack has the following tools:
A carafe to brew your coffee. There is also an option to use a Mason jar or even your coffee cup. Some coffee drippers feature built-in carafe.
Moreover, it is important to use fresh and good quality coffee beans, regardless of your preference for blends or single-origin coffee. If you like to have a brewed cup of super-oily dark roasts, pour-over is not the preferred brewing method to go after. Or even if you are using cheap, pre-ground coffee, it is a no.
If you are using an auto-drip coffee brewer for your cup of coffee, the multistep and gear-intensive method will be a challenging one. But once you get the hold of it, pour-over is the simplest and inexpensive method to make a flavorful and tasty cup of coffee. The major advantage of using the pour-over method to brew your coffee is that you can control all the variables and mould the taste as per your buds and liking. If you are more of an experimental person, pour-over coffee dripper is a great deal to buy, as you will discover more options to make your coffee interesting.
How we picked
Following is the list of factors we considered while testing pour-over coffee drippers.
Size: Size is the main factor, for sure. We looked at what quantity of coffee grounds a pour-over coffee dripper could hold. This definitely matters because it will give you an idea as to how much coffee are you going to have in the end. And let us tell you that we only put those drippers on the list that are able to brew 12 ounces of coffee. However, few on this list like Chemex are big enough to give you several cups of coffee in one go. But none of these drippers was able to give a volume like that of an electric dripper.
Shape: Generally, a pour-over coffee dripper comes in three different types of shapes: conical, flat-bottomed, and wedge. To suggest the best, we put all three of them to test, keeping a check on how each type produces coffee in terms of flavour and also the drainage from the filter. After testing, we finally came to the mutual ground and picked our favourite pour-over dripper – Kalita Wave. The main reason for choosing this coffee dripper is its shape and the convenience it provides to saturate the coffee grounds uniformly before drainage for a consistent taste.
With the help of our testing, we have discovered that paper filters are better than reusable ones with stainless steel mesh. As we learnt earlier that most of the coffee drippers on this list use only propriety paper filters, which are easily available. Though it is pretty challenging, it is certainly not a deal-breaker, as you have the option to buy all those paper filters online. But we know that there are different types of people, and there might be some of you who will prefer convenience. Don’t worry, we have something for you guys, too. The Bee House coffee dripper is compatible with any type of filter that is available at all grocery stores.
We usually advise using white paper filters rather than brown. The reason is that brown paper leaves coffee with paper-like taste, which, we know, is a big no for coffee enthusiasts, right? But if you are not a coffee aficionado and your taste buds accept coffee with any flavours in it, or even if you can’t tell any difference, brown paper, unbleached ones, are reasonable and also, eco-friendly because they do not need much processing.
Majority of coffee drippers feature ceramic, glass, plastic, or metal. Among all of them, ceramic and plastic are known to be better insulators than the other two. Though insulation depends on the material thickness. Why are we mentioning insulation? Well, it might not be an important factor to consider for those who are average coffee drinkers. But if you are a coffee freak, it matters a lot because even small changes in temperature can have an impact on the flavor of the coffee.
We tested drippers that feature all four materials, and we have come to the conclusion that the majority of people wouldn’t fell any difference. And just on the basis of that, we didn’t let go of any dripper. But yes, we did mark those drippers with a bonus point that are available on the market in different materials. Because it is just cool to have an option to choose the material as per your preferences. Also, it is also important based on your usage. How? You will prefer metal or plastic dripper if you are planning to travel, or if you are picky about looks, you might go for a ceramic dripper.
All in all, we have put 15 drippers to test and considered multiple.
How we tested
For this year’s tests, we decided to go for two types of coffee with every dripper. Blue Bottle Coffee’s Bella Donovan blend (a darker medium roast) and Café Grumpy’s Kenyan Gatuyaini (a lighter, brighter single-origin roast). Testing the two of them made a comparison better. Also, it was easier to track changes and complexity of flavour each dripper is able to offer.
Oh, so are you wondering about the recipes we tried out during the testing phase? Well, we decided to give our coffee recipe a go. Also, we took the experts’ recommendation into consideration, too. Though we did our own experiments with the ratios, the approximate quantity was around 28 grams of the Bella Donovan or 26 grams of the Gatuyaini to around 400 grams of water. We also carried out single-serving tests too. The ratio we kept was 19 grams of Bella Donovan to 315 grams of water. We played around a little with temperature too.
With Bella Donovan, the temperature was heated up to 201 degrees Fahrenheit, and with Gatuyaini, the water was about 196 degrees. A bit cooler water and a lower dose for single-origin coffee, like the one we tested Gatuyaini, is recommended. Why? Because single origins are delicate, and they are more delicious when brewed less-concentrated. To ground the coffee, we used the Baratza Virtuoso and set it to 10 to make a medium-fine grind. We were looking for a 12-ounce coffee after blooming the coffee. Not only one, but we brewed several coffee batches out of a single dripper.
We also weighed each pour to make brewing with exact measurements. To be honest, we also ignored the amount of water each pour, just like what the majority of people do it at home, don’t you? Each step we initiated was supposed to track the consistency after each round. Apart from a couple of drippers, the majority of the coffee drippers we put to test yield great cups of coffee. But we made those drippers a priority that yield the most flavourful yet consistent cup of Joe.
How did we judge each brew? We judged and rated each round of brew on the basis of its complexity, flavours, depth, consistency, balance, aftertaste, concentration, and how it goes with milk. We also took note of the average duration to yield 12 ounces of coffee and the consistency with results. For better conclusions, we also invited over a few beginners to taste our coffee and give opinions on what they think of our coffee and pour-over coffee method we tried out with each dripper. In the past, we put the same recipe to test and also invited a few coffee pros and beginners to conclude the results.
Kalita Wave 185 Dripper
The Kalita Wave 185 Dripper is quite friendly in usage, as it makes great-tasting coffee continuously. It also develops the best taste and flavour out of the coffee beans. If anyone cannot handle or use a pour-over method, Kalita Wave 185 Dripper is a good option for them, and among the other tested drippers, this is the best one which can extract great flavours and taste out of the coffee beans.
The Kalita has a flat bottom surface which allows the coffee beans a larger surface for brewing which gives the coffee more balanced and rich taste. Overall the coffee will be fully aromatic and tasty. The most outstanding cups of both the Bella Donovan and the Gatuyiani were brewed on Kalita that captured many kinds of tart and juicy plum, citrus, dark chocolate and a little bit of melon. This range and taste are what people expect when they visit a high-quality cafe, and the best thing is that Kalita can not only replicate those flavours but can give more rich flavour than those. Specifically, when the most renowned and liked coffees were brewed in Kalita, it didn’t only meet the expectations but gave more rich flavour.
Even if a person had any experience in the pour-over method, then Kalita is best and easy for them to use. Kalita will be very helpful and easy to use for the beginners than other coffee brewers because they have to look carefully the amount of water they pour in coffee to give it the best taste and the results. The Kalita requires less attention and water to pour for proper brewing as it has a flat bottom surface which better regulates the rate at which the water is drained. Other drippers such as Hario drain which is a cone bottom dripper requires more attention in pouring water as it directly affects the taste of the coffee. Mastering is the technique of cone bottom dripper is more demanding, yet more stressful but Kalita is the solution as it is less stressful.
Kalita comes usually in stainless steel or ceramics and also glass-made structure. It is based on our personal preferences to pick which material to use for the structure. But before selecting any kind of material, there are many things to be considered first. One of them is the cost, as ceramic made structure cost around more than 10$. The other thing is that Kalita’s glass version is quite delicate when compared with another coffee brewer, yet one glass-made structure has been used in the kitchens for testing without causing any breakage. There is also a small version of Kalita named as Kalita Wave 155, but the 185 version is also a small one but perfect for all types of recipes to try.
Flaws but not deal breakers
There is also a setback of using Kalita 185, which are its filters that involves hassle. Filters used in Kalita 185 Dripper are imported specifically from Japan, that’s why it is costly and difficult to buy as compared to standard filters. Moreover, they are also available on Amazon and any specific coffee shop. Buying once can be used for many times.
The other problem with the Kalita is that it doesn’t have much volume as it cannot handle more amount of coffee which is to be used at a single time. Therefore, more time is required. To avoid the overflow many things need to be considered because, with fresh coffee beans, the bloom from infusion pour could be full. Therefore, whenever you are brewing your favourite coffee beans, many things need to be considered which is the right amount of beans and when to pour as well. Whenever using large amount of roasted beans, pour slowly.
Another issue, people are complaining about is that coffee grounds settle in the filter because it is obvious that ground coffee beans are stuck in the folds of filters hence, cannot be mixed with water evenly. Every inexperienced tester examined this drawback of Kalita. People don’t know about where to pour either in the centre or over the ridges of the filter. But besides all these flaws Kalita’s results are awesome and are far more considerable than its drawbacks.
Hario V-60 Coffee Dripper Size 02
An iconic designed brewer” Hario V-60 Coffee Dripper Size 02” is also an amazing brewer that grounds tasty, aromatic and active coffee that also brews coffee like Kalita Wave. But for using this kind of brewer one should be more accurate and precise in the pouring and brewing process. But on a serious note, Hario could be the best alternate of Kalita that gives a stylish look of pour-over.
The key to perfecting your coffee’s flavour lies in mastering the spiral pouring methods.
Hario can ground different kinds of coffee when it comes to taste. It could lie between good to best. But Kalita has mastered in providing best coffee taste in every pour. Usually, it has been said that sometimes Hario can develop flavours of coffee beans which are alike of flavours developed by brewing coffee beans in Kalita.
Again, if you are brewing coffee beans in Hario you need to master the skills of brewing the beans in it and that is spiral pouring method. When it comes to all other drippers, every dripper requires spiral pouring technique, which is pouring from the centre of the dripper bed and coming towards outer edges. But there is another thing which is that when it comes about to get most complex yet best flavours out of coffee beans Hario has an edge over other brewers as it has more-refined technique. Although it seems easy yet it requires a lot of practice. Some observations have been made which are: once you get to know how to make the first pour, you will be amazed to see the results how the cone filter will give amazing results also containing coffee’s initial bloom. After that, you will get to know how you should synchronise the other pours so that brewer bed does not look bad before completing the whole process. Total drainage should be avoided in all drippers in the pours. But if you are using Hario, you need to be more attentive to the timing and speed of the pours as it has large single central hole in it.
Hario’s design gives a ritualistic feel of pour-overs as it gives more experimentations than other drippers. At first, more attention is needed for each pour, but once a person gets used to it you can use it on a daily basis without any problem in brewing coffee. And after that you can experiment with different coffee beans, amount of water, temperature, grind size and speed and rate of pour. Moreover, Hario’s dripper can hold a larger volume than Kalita which means more coffee beans can be brewed in Hario than Kalita and in less time also. Same as Kalita, Hario is using specific filters which are available online easily and also at speciality coffee shop too. When it comes to the structure Hario comes in four materials including ceramic, metal, a thicker glass than Kalita and also in plastic.
Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper
The coffee dripper gives an affordable, well-rounded and less nuanced coffee. It is a good option for beginners as it is easy to use and compatible with the Melita coffee filters #2, which are available at any good supermarket
Speaking of taste, the Bee House is not full-bodied and doesn’t incorporate flavours the Kalita Wave or Hario or Chemex does. But it’s a good alternative for people looking for easy and compact options for brewing good cups of coffee with simpler yet classic flavours.
Bee House’s winning point is that the filters are easily available as opposed to Hario V60, Chemex or Kalita Wave. For many, the convenience wins over the delicacy of pour-over but not for true coffee lovers who crave for rich, unconventional notes with a surreal end to the flavour. Only Kalita and Hario can bring that out from the coffee grounds.
Chemex Six Cup Classic Series
The Six Cup Series by Chemex yields a great cup of coffee as it is easy to use and brings out an amazing feel to it. Besides being top of the line in our testing session, it created the least amount of mess because the dripper has a dual purpose and can be used as a pitcher. It is the only one that made it our list which produces three 6-ounce cups in one go. As a promise to its heritage, the design hasn’t changed since 1941.
Our last review concluded that Chemex brings out the juicy and fruity notes of the ground and in comparison with Hario and Kalita this year, our verdict hasn’t changed. It’s as good as the other two and gives a balance of flavour. The dark chocolatey notes were quite evident without needing to add an extra bit of coffee grounds and they stayed on the palate for a while and added to the finishing notes. The results are partly due to the thickness of the filters as it traps the oils which prevent bitterness in the flavours. For making six regular cups of coffee, one might need some math to get the ratio right.
A rather new addition to the drippers is the Blue Bottle Coffee Dripper. It is an average option amongst all the drippers we have experimented with since 2017 as it produced coffee that lacked body and consistency in flavours. We wouldn’t recommend trying the bamboo-based filters either because Melitta filters produce far better coffee, but still not as good as Kalita Wave.
Our testers unanimously agree that coffee from both OXO models and Blue Bottle are not good, even though we liked the carafe included in the OXO Glass Pour-Over Set and the dripper as it was easy to use but the coffee didn’t have complex flavours. OXO Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank is not produced anymore, but it was amongst the good designs as it allowed pouring without any fuss which is essential to pour-over brewing. Water is poured into a plastic tank with holes that then poured water on the grounds, this helps control the rate of water poured at any instant. Sadly, all these gave light, under-extracted brew.
Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer single-cup is cheap but gives decent results and it’s great in terms of usability in contrast with wedge-shaped variants.
Bonmac ceramic dripper is very similar to Bee House Dripper but it yields fewer cups of coffee.
Clever Coffee Dripper is not pour-over on technical grounds, but it’s included in our review because it yields similar flavours to pour-over. The dripper is sealed from the bottom and for best results, the coffee should be steep for 4 minutes. When the dripper is placed over the mug, the valve opens and the coffee drains, and this takes about 2 minutes. With the instructions followed properly, it produces a decent cup of coffee, but Clever Coffee dripper takes twice the time as compared to pour-over and requires a greater amount of grinds than usual.
Able Brewing Kone Coffee Filters has larger holes in comparison with regular paper filters. These holes in the metal Kone lets sediments pass through and the resulting coffee is a bit sludgy for some.
The Bodum Pour Over like Chemex is a mesh filter and gives similar silty brew. In our experience, sediment-free coffee is a must for pour-over technique and Bodrum had a distinct woody taste to it
Grinders, Kettles, and scales
For making pour-over coffee, there is some additional equipment that you’ll need such as a grinder for fresh grounds, and a dripper as well.
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
From our experience, this is the best burr grinder for brewing pour-over coffee as the grinds are consistent and result in a delicious cup of coffee, and it costs next to nothing
For a freshly brewed coffee that stands out a burr grinder is an essential irrespective of the brewing method. Baratza Encoder yields the best results amongst all our electric grinders and it is among the user’s top choices because of its price point to performance ratio. It is easy to use, and produces the finest grounds.
A simple trick to know which burr grinder is the best is from the adjustment options it has, from coarsely ground to finest whereas a cheap grinder will give out uneven chopped off particles of bean, giving a random distribution of sizes. Our detailed guide can help you decide what fits your requirements the best. Even grinding is a must as otherwise the coffee will not brew evenly. Having said that, a low-performance burr grinder is still far better than a blade grinder.
If you are a true coffee fanatic, you might want to keep your pour-over dripper with you wherever you go, with that we recommend you to invest in a manual grinder. Talking from day in day out experimenting, Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder is the best in the market as it is easy to hold and gets the job done quicker than all the other manual grinder. The stainless steel body is a plus as there’s no risk for cracking in case it falls. In comparison with the electric grinder, a manual grinder is only good for an occasional brewer. For people who rise up every morning with a cup of coffee, we suggest getting an electric grinder instead.
A defining feature of a pour-over kettle is its elongated spout as it gives precise control over the quantity of liquid poured as it gives a greater control over the speed and direction. An electric kettle is an ideal choice for pour-over coffee as temperature control of an electric kettle is next to perfect and pour-over coffee needs it for great taste. No need for a thermometer and an electric kettle has got things covered, it will not let the water heat to the boiling temperature.
From our guide for electric kettles for pour-over coffee, we recommend getting OXO Brew Adjustable Temperature Pour-Over Kettle because it’s easy to use, the controls are user-friendly and allows adjustments of up to 1 Fahrenheit between 140 and 212 degrees. The kettle sustains the temperature of the water for up to 30 minutes. Electric kettle is the fastest way to boil water and its spout lets the water pour in a controlled stream, which is a critical step to getting perfection in coffee making. The kettle comes with a bonus feature of an in-built timer which allows precision even in the timing of a pour.
You can’t get consistency across coffee batches unless you use a digital scale. Our guide to measuring cups of coffee explains why volumetric measurements of coffee grounds are not the best approach. When it comes to achieving perfection, even a gram of extra grounds can make an impact. American Weigh Scales LB-3000 are the most accurate kitchen scales we’ve come across. Amongst all the kitchen scales tested, the accuracy of American Weigh Scales was the most consistent. From the range of basic kitchen scale, Escali Primo Digital Scale is a good option. It reads correct to a gram but will suffice the need for achieving consistency in pour-over coffee
There are kitchen scales designed specifically for coffee as well. They have a built-in timer and some additional features. One of these that we especially liked is Hario V60 Coffee Drip Scale/Timer, it’s extremely light in weight and responsive to slight changes in weight which makes it a convenient kitchen accessory and easier to use than timing pours. It reads correctly to 0.5 grams so it’s not as accurate as of the American Weigh Scales.
In comparison with the OXO Precision Coffee Scale with Timer, the values of the OXO scale filter which makes it slightly difficult to determine the exact value of coffee ground and water. Brewista Ratio Pour-Over Coffee Scale comes with a progressive meter which guides the pouring action but the timings are a bit rigid. Every pour-over has its trade-offs and we are strong advocates of making your own pour-over with some research and some experimenting to know the exact timings and frequency for pouring water.