Food & Drink The Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers for Brewing Coffee Like a Pro

21:51  25 march  2022
21:51  25 march  2022 Source:   epicurious.com

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I am that guy with multiple coffee brewersFrench press, drip coffee maker, and yes, several pour-over rigs. I will not apologize. But pour-over is my go-to coffee brewing method, because it provides more than a caffeine jolt. It’s really a little ritual that I perform every morning to start the day on the right foot. Some people exercise, some people have a breakfast routine, and some just get started working from home with no ritual at all (how? why?). For me, it’s gotta be a cup of pour-over coffee.

As pour-over’s popularity has expanded further and further beyond the core of hardcore coffee nerds, more pour-over equipment has popped up from lots of different brands, which is a double-edged sword. For coffee drinkers, the barrier to entry is already higher for pour-over than other methods, and having too many options in brewers can be all the more overwhelming. That’s where Team Epicurious comes in. I assembled a tasting panel and tested a dozen pour-over coffee drippers, making cup after cup and carafe after carafe of coffee in order to determine which performed best. Read on to see the top picks; for details on how I tested, and what to look for in a pour-over coffee brewer, scroll to the bottom of the page.

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Table of contents

Best pour-over coffee maker overall

Best thermal carafe set

Best double-walled carafe

Best single-cup brewers

How we tested

Factors we evaluated

Other pour-over coffee makers we tested

What do you need to make pour-over coffee

The takeaway

Best pour-over coffee maker overall: Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker

A stalwart among pour-over coffee aficionados, and probably most people’s first pour-over brewer, the Chemex coffee maker is best for anybody wanting to break into this brewing method. Chemex brewers are great for making a large amount of coffee, and are among the simplest to learn how to use for consistent brewing. The proprietary filters help trap oils from the beans, which reduces some of the unpleasant bitter flavors that can overwhelm an otherwise more delicate, nuanced flavor profile. We brewed different amounts with all of the multi-cup models we tested, and the Chemex produced some of the best coffee each time. Each brew was full bodied without feeling oily or heavy, and tasters could each pick out at least one of the tasting notes advertised by the coffee roaster. It didn’t matter if we brewed two cups or six: The brews were consistent each time. Cleaning up is easy, since most Chemex models can be placed right in the dishwasher once you remove the wooden collar, and the company recommends simply swishing hot soapy water around inside the carafe and rinsing as an alternative method.

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Then there are the aesthetics. The brewer itself has been around awhile, but it still feels as stylish as it is approachable, with an hourglass shape, wooden collar, and leather tie. It’s the sort of thing you can keep on the countertop at all times. Chemex makes three types of brewers: the classic one, glass handle models that come with a handle instead of the wooden collar, and a handblown version. The classic and glass handle brewers come in a three-, six-, eight-, and ten-cup size, while the handblown line comes in three-, five-, eight- and 13-cup sizes.

  The Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers for Brewing Coffee Like a Pro © Provided by Epicurious

Chemex 8-Cup Glass Pour-Over Coffee Maker

$46.68.00, Amazon

Best thermal carafe set: Ratio Eight Thermal Carafe and Dripper

Although it's a fairly new company, Ratio has made a name for itself with high-quality, stylish drip coffee makers that hold their own against industry titans like the Technivorm Moccamaster, so it’s not surprising that their pour-over coffee brewer is also a contender. In fact, their drip coffee machines are specifically designed to simulate the pour-over process—this dripper and carafe set is compatible with their drip machines, but can also be used independently so you can brew coffee without the machine. The insulated carafe itself is compatible with the single-serve Hario V60 and Kalita Wave brewers and can be purchased on its own if you’re just looking for a way to keep your coffee hot for longer periods. The dripper can also be used on its own over a mug. Mix and match with Ratio to your heart’s delight.

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The quality and consistency of brew is on par with all of the winning brewers, but what really stood out was the performance of the carafe. Ratio advertises that the carafe keeps coffee hot for up to 90 minutes, but we found that it was consistently closer to two hours each time we tested. That time was increased by an additional hour or so when we preheated the carafe by filling it with boiling water. The thick porcelain construction of the brewer portion of the set also helps keep the coffee hotter, so your drink won’t lose much heat during the brewing process. Ratio recommends using Chemex filters with the dripper, which is what we used. The thermal carafe is not dishwasher-safe, but we found it very easy to hand wash, following the same procedure as we did for the Chemex. Ratio recommends hand washing the porcelain dripper, as well, though they say it can be placed in the top rack of the dishwasher.

  The Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers for Brewing Coffee Like a Pro © Provided by Epicurious

Ratio Eight Thermal Carafe and Dripper

$125.00, Ratio

Best double-walled carafe: Fellow Stagg [XF]

We’ve seen double-walled cups from companies like Bodum for quite a few years, and this feature is meant to help maintain the temperature of whatever liquid is in the glass without the quasi-industrial look of something like a thermal carafe. So we weren't shocked to see multiple double-walled glass models in our search for the best pour-over setup. While they're not as effective as the thermal insulated carafes at keeping coffee hot, we found that the double-walled models kept coffee hotter for longer than their single-walled competitors (like Chemex) did.

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Fellow has made a name for itself since launching with a Kickstarter in 2013, and is known for minimalist designs on high-performing coffee brewers, kettles, vacuum-sealing storage containers and coffee grinders. Fellow’s pour-over coffee brewer was the only one that we tried that featured a cylinder shape instead of conical or wedge-shaped brewers. Because of this unique shape and flat bottom, the water had just a bit longer to saturate the coffee grounds and extract more flavor than other models. That isn’t necessarily a winning attribute on its own—though it does make this model easier to use for beginners since you don’t have to worry as much about aiming the water as you might on something slightly more advanced like the Hario V60.

The Stagg makes two large cups of coffee, so it's good for a couple that requires just one cup per person to get going, or for one person who needs a little extra boost. Either way, the double walled construction helps keep the coffee warm, though if you need more coffee than that kept hot, the Ratio Eight Thermal Carafe is probably more your speed. This brewer won points for the fact that the dripper comes with a gasket at the bottom to help secure it to the carafe. This seal also helped maintain the temperature of the coffee as we brewed.

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If weighing grounds on a kitchen scale is not something you’re ready to do, but you still want the pour-over experience, this brewer comes with a ratio aid that uses dots to mark how much medium-grind coffee you need to brew a single serving or two servings. The carafe itself has similar markings so you know when to stop adding water. It’s not a perfect system since volume and weight don’t always correspond, but it’s definitely helpful for those mornings when getting the scale out is just too much. Both the dripper and carafe should be hand washed.

  The Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers for Brewing Coffee Like a Pro © Provided by Epicurious

Fellow Stagg [XF] Pour-Over Coffee Maker Set

$99.00, Amazon

Best single cup brewers: Hario V60 & Kalita Wave 185

The Kalita Wave made it easy to achieve consistent results owing largely to the flat bottom of the dripper. On more conical models, like the Hario V60 or Chemex, the water has to flow through a finer point, and so spends more time in the grounds around that point. That means you have to aim the water a bit more precisely with those models, to ensure full extraction from all of the beans. With the wide, flat base of the Kalita, you don’t have to worry about that as much, making it a little simpler to use overall. One minor headache though, is that you have to use specially-shaped Kalita filters, which aren’t quite as ubiquitous as, say, the Chemex filters or wedge-shaped Melitta filters that are available in many grocery stores. Fortunately, Kalita filters are available online. The Kalita Wave 185 can brew up to 12 ounces at a time, and comes in glass, stainless steel, and ceramic, all of which are dishwasher-safe.

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a cup of coffee © Provided by Epicurious

Kalita Wave

$65.00, Amazon

The Hario V60 performs just as well as the Kalita Wave, but takes a bit more finesse to use. Like the Kalita and Chemex, the Hario requires specific coffee filters and, like the Kalita, its filters are best found online. The biggest advantage that Hario has over all of the above winning brewers, including the Kalita Wave, is that it comes in a plastic model that costs a mere $12 at the time of writing, making it the most affordable option by a wide margin. Like the Kalita, the Hario V60 also comes in stainless steel, ceramic, and glass, for those wanting more substantial options.

  The Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers for Brewing Coffee Like a Pro © Provided by Epicurious

Hario V60 Ceramic Coffee Dripper

$22.2.00, Amazon

How we tested

We brewed a batch of coffee in each brewer according to the capacity of that brewer, using a ratio of 16 grams of water per one gram of freshly roasted coffee beans from Broadsheet Coffee Roasters. The coffee we bought comes from Kapchorwa, Uganda, and Broadsheet advertises it as having notes of strawberry, grape candy, and raspberry jam, so we looked for those flavors in the final brew. The beans were ground in a Baratza Virtuoso+ to ensure a consistent medium grind.

Each time we brewed, we saturated the grounds and allowed them to bloom for 30 seconds before proceeding with the brewing process. Each brew was then tasted by a small panel to see if we could detect the tasting notes advertised by the roaster. We did multiple brews per dripper to see if each dripper brewed consistently.

For brewers that had insulated walls, or were double-walled, we brewed an additional batch and let them sit for periods of 20 minutes at a time, checking the temperature between each interval to see how long the coffee stayed hot. Finally, we cleaned each dripper and any additional carafes and accessories to see how easy they were to wash.

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Factors we evaluated

How much does it cost?

Cost is always a factor with any piece of kitchen equipment, so we looked to see if having a higher price point was indicative of a better coffee maker.

Is it easy to clean?

We weren’t thrown off if a brewer was hand wash only, but extra points did go to brewers that were dishwasher-safe.

How does the coffee taste?

This was the biggest factor we considered. It was important to us that we be able to detect at least one of the tasting notes advertised by the roaster and for the coffee to be full bodied—not too oily or watered down. While it may seem like using the same water-to-coffee ratio should result in similar results across the board, that wasn’t always the case, as design factors and different filter types came into play.

How hot does the coffee stay?

This was mostly a factor for the double-walled and thermal insulated models we tested, as these features are specifically included to prolong the life of the coffee once it’s been brewed.

Other pour-over brewers we tested

Bodum Pour-Over Coffee Maker: We didn’t really care for the cork collar on this double-walled model, preferring the wooden collar used in Chemex models. The stainless steel mesh filter that came with with this brewer also let too many particles through into the coffee. This model did keep coffee warmer longer than the Chemex did, though.

Espro Bloom Pour-Over Dripper: This brewer had a built-in mesh filter, but also allowed us to use paper filters. We liked the versatility, but found that using the brewer without an additional paper filter led to longer brewing times and over-extraction, causing some unpleasant flavors. Using paper filters eliminated that issue, but rendered the permanent filter mostly pointless. We did like the beaker-like carafe included with this set—a cute nod to how scientific the pour-over process can be.

Melitta Artisan Porcelain Pour-Over Set: We liked the look of the Melitta pour-over set, which came with a bamboo tray, bamboo filter holder, and a porcelain coffee canister with bamboo top, all for a reasonable price. The brewer itself was well made and produced okay coffee. Okay just wasn’t good enough in the flavor department when compared to our winning single-cup brewers.

Asobu Black Pour-Over Insulated Coffee Maker: This brewer lost a lot of points because it claims on the box to keep coffee hot for up to 12 hours, and this wasn’t remotely true in our tests, even when we preheated the carafe.  We did like the no-drip plug it comes with, and were able to bring it with us in the car on a short trip without worrying if it would spill. Some other reviewers have mentioned that the plug doesn’t work, and that the carafe dripped all over, but we didn’t find that in our tests.

Brim Pour-Over Coffee Maker Kit: This Chemex lookalike felt more fragile than a Chemex and replaces the wooden collar with a silicone sleeve. The Brim’s pricetag is similar to a Chemex, but isn’t dishwasher-safe. As with the Bodum brewer, we had trouble with the included stainless steel filter. If this is the style of brewer you want, you’re better off getting a Chemex.

What do you need to make pour-over coffee?

There’s no avoiding the fact that making pour-over is fussier than scooping tablespoons in a Mr. Coffee. Here are a few precision tools to help make your pour-over as good as it can be.

Electric gooseneck kettle

Maintaining precise water temperature throughout the process will make sure the extraction is just right and the gooseneck shape gives you the ability to pour hot water exactly where you want it and nowhere you don’t.

a close up of a pot © Provided by Epicurious

Bonavita 1.0L Variable Temperature Electric Kettle

$100.00, Amazon

Kitchen scale

You’ll notice in our testing we gave a water-to-coffee ratio in grams. If you plan to take pour-over seriously you’ll want to weigh your coffee, so a scale is a must-have.

a circuit board © Provided by Epicurious

Oxo Good Grips Precision Scale

$56.00, Amazon

Burr grinder

All the effort to make pour-over is a waste if the coffee beans aren’t correctly and freshly ground. A good burr grinder will do that. Below is the model we used in testing for this piece, but for more information check out our full rundown of the best coffee grinders.

  The Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers for Brewing Coffee Like a Pro © Provided by Epicurious

Baratza Virtuoso +

$260.00, Amazon

The takeaway

The Chemex is a classic for a reason. If you’re just getting into pour-over, pick up one of their affordable glass brewers and a box of their very effective filters. If you need a single pour-over brew to last for several hours the Ratio thermal carafe will keep it hot, and if you know you’ll only be making coffee for one, the Hario V60 and Kalita Wave performed on the same level.

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