- How To Choose the Best Manual Drip Coffee Maker
- Your Grinder is Still the Most Important Purchase!
- “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That” (How Patient are you?)
- Portability – Where will you Brew?
- Technique Required vs Your Skill Level
- Accessories Required
- Also consider:
- Best Pour Over Coffee Makers 2021
- THE VERDICT: What’s The Best Manual Drip Coffee Maker?
The Best Pour Over Coffee Maker – 10 Picks, Reviews and Buying Guide
Ah, pour over coffee: with just a little skill and know-how, you can achieve a cup of joe that tastes beyond amazing.
First things first: you’ll need to know how to find the best pour over coffee maker for your situation. Here’s our list of the best available right now, and a guide to help you choose the right pour over coffee maker for your needs.
How To Choose the Best Manual Drip Coffee Maker
New to pour over brewing? If so, we’d recommend first reading our beginner’s guide to pour over coffee.
Before you get all excited to join the pour over coffee revolution, consider the following as it will help you make the right choice. But first we need to make something crystal clear:
Your Grinder is Still the Most Important Purchase!
Any barista will tell you that the most important tool in making kickass coffee isn’t the brew method – it’s the grinder (1). Consistent coffee grounds are critical to make this work.
True coffee lovers know that good quality burr grinders are essential for brewing the best cups of coffee possible (2). For something quick and easy that’s also great for traveling, go for a hand/manual burr grinder. But I’d recommend investing in a good burr grinder.
Ok. Now onto the factors to help you choose the right coffee dripper:
“Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That” (How Patient are you?)
We live in a time-poor society. When choosing your pour over coffee maker, think about the overall time that will go into making your coffee. Most pour over coffee methods take on average 3-5 minutes for measuring, grinding, and boiling water, followed by another 3-5 minutes to brew the coffee. All in all, that’s closing in on 10 minutes dedicated to your brew.
Make sure that you know how much time you want to dedicate to making coffee. Some coffee brewers need less time to brew, and some need more. If you subscribe to the BS mantra ‘time is money,’ choosing the wrong coffee dripper will piss you right off.
Portability – Where will you Brew?
If portability is important to you, you need something that can easily fit in your bag and doesn’t need any special tools to brew “good enough” coffee anywhere. You also want to go for plastic or stainless steel coffee dripper. Ceramic and glass pour over coffee makers are great for home use but are way too fragile for constant traveling. Choose wisely.
I’ve created a rating system for portability in each brewer summary below. It’s on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being if your house was on fire and you had to save one thing, this could easily be taken with you. 1 indicates you should leave it behind.
Technique Required vs Your Skill Level
Because pour over is a manual brewing method, there are a ton of variables you need to think of in the brewing process: time of brew, weight of ground coffee, aggressiveness of the pour, water temperature, and other variables can make it challenging to brew the same great-tasting coffee time after time (3).
If you think you’ve got what it takes to brew the best of the best, choose something that will allow you to customize the brew a little more, although it means a higher chance of screwing up while you’re learning. In contrast to this, if you want something that will give you consistently great results without too much effort, go for something a little more forgiving. Yes – you’ll get instructions with each pour over coffee contraption you buy, but in general, those instructions suck.
If you want to master pour over coffee, you’ll need a few extras. Depending on the pour over coffee maker you choose, you can skip a few extras.
A typical pour over setup might include:
- A good gooseneck kettle – most brewers require this but not all
- A serving vessel (for large-batch brewers) – insulated if you need to keep the water temperature hot for a while.
- Filters: some take regular paper filters, others have mesh filters and some require special paper filters that you can only order online. Here’s a list of the best coffee filters.
- If you really want to get hipster, create or buy a pour over stand like one of these.
We’ve made a video about different filter types and how they affect the taste of your coffee:
- How many cups of coffee do you want to brew? Some pour over coffee makers are best for single cup servings; others are best for making larger batches. You’ll see this below in the ‘capacity’ section
- Is the material important to you? It should be as it can make the pour over coffee ritual more enjoyable. I prefer the ceramic coffee drippers from the list below; but you may prefer a glass coffee maker (or plastic if you’re a nomad)
- Choose the right coffee beans – don’t make the mistake of setting yourself up with a nice pour over coffee kit and then ruining your cup of joe by using average beans
Best Pour Over Coffee Makers 2021
It seems there’s a new pour over coffee maker released every week as they gain popularity and traction in and outside of the coffee shop.
The following 10 are still the most popular and best-performing pour over coffee brewers:
The Hario V60 is an iconic pour over method available; you’ll see it being used in cafes around the world. Made in Japan by a Hario (‘Hario’ translates to ‘King of glass’ in Japanese) means the glass or ceramic pour over coffee brewers are of the highest quality – however, they also come in a range of different materials. It requires a meticulous pour over coffee routine, complete with timers and kettles, but boy oh boy is the end result worth it (4).
To see just how worth it, check out our brew guide here or the video below:
With its conical spiral design and triangular paper filters, this pour over coffee maker produces a great cup of joe and is an amazing conversation starter in cafes. Read our full Hario V60 review here.
When you’re looking for a pour over coffee maker but aren’t interested in turning it into such an involved process with scales, manual grinders, and spouted kettles, then consider using the Kalita wave. Of course, we don’t want to discredit this flat-bottom coffee dripper – it’s kickass.
The Kalita Wave was designed in response to the market demand for a pour over method that was uncomplicated, efficient, and addressed some of the extraction issues present in conical designs. Like other pour over coffee makers, you’ll achieve a very clean and beautiful tasting brew (when done right), just with less effort.
The design of the Kalita Wave pour over coffee maker is clever. With its flat bottom, as opposed to conical shaped, it brews with longer steep times and removes some of the margin of error. If that doesn’t make sense to you, it simply means you’ll consistently get a great brew, even with a half-assed ‘in-a-rush’ attempt. Read our full Kalita Wave review here.
The Bee House ceramic coffee dripper is yet another Japanese import with a lot to offer. It comes in two sizes, large and small, so If you’re a home barista without a lot of room to spare in your kitchen the smaller size can be very handy. A huge plus of this coffee dripper (which the V60 and the Kalita Wave can’t offer) is the ability to use any old standard cone coffee filter with it. This is important because if (or rather: when) you run out of filters you can easily find them in a grocery.
It’s wedge-shaped, with vertical ridges along the bottom half of the dripper only and two drip holes at the bottom. The wedge means better heat retention and more consistent contact between the coffee grounds and the water. This means that making coffee with this ceramic coffee dripper, results in an evenly extracted brew with very minimal effort.
The main selling point, however, is ease of use. Forget fancy kettles, forget strict brew time rules – brewing coffee with this coffee dripper delivers a gorgeous brew without the hard work. Read our review of the Bee House Dripper here.
A classic, all-in-one glass carafe coffee dripper that requires your time, a willingness to learn and some medium-coarse coffee grounds. Unlike some coffee drippers on this list, it’s not portable because of its size, but that’s also one of the highlights of this product since you can brew larger quantities of coffee in one go.
The Chemex classic filter is like no other filter you’ve seen before, and it all adds to the magic. The double-bonded paper makes this the thickest filter you’ll come across, and it adds two benefits:
- It will keep the bitter oils out of the coffee for a much smoother cup.
- It prevents the water from flowing through the grounds too quickly – meaning you get the opportunity to taste the hidden flavors of the coffee (without the bitterness)
Fun fact about this brewer: It’s part of the permanent design collection at the Museum of Modern Art. So, having it on your kitchen counter is not only functional but a statement too. All in all you’ll get a very clean great tasting coffee that is balanced and full of body. Perfect for large households, offices, or art snobs. Read our full Chemex review here.
Related comparison: The Chemex vs the Aeropress
The Clever Dripper is the best choice if you’re just getting started in the world of pour over coffee. This pour over brewer is user-friendly, even easier to clean and delivers time and time again, regardless of your skill. The main difference between the Clever Dripper and other pour over coffee makers on this list: a stopping mechanism that stops the coffee flowing until it has been placed on your cup. This allows you to customize your brew based on steeping time, rather than pouring skill. Its available in two sizes: single cup and 4-cup.
Think of a French press, but without the silt or sediment. And, for the price, you really can’t go wrong. Read our full Clever Dripper review here.
Looking for a quick, easy and cheap way to make fancy coffee? Look no further than the Melitta Ready Set Joe: the most newbie-friendly pour over coffee maker, and the most inexpensive option on this list of manual coffee drippers. The simple nature of the Ready Set Joe is its strong point – but it’s a double-edged sword; there aren’t any special features to get excited about. You simply put in a filter, put in your grounds and pour the water all in one go.
Easy? Yes. But can you control the final brew? No.
This un-pretentious coffee dripper is (very) cheap, a breeze to use, and portable like the new Wacaco Cuppamoka – meaning it’s a great fit for anyone who likes to camp or travel without baggage.
Important – this is just a cone, as you can see from the image above. You can use the Kone to make pour over as is, but I recommend you try the Kone Brewing system. Able Brewing had a goal to create a sustainable and reusable coffee filter – because don’t we all feel guilty every time we throw out a paper filter? The answer was the Kone filter; a stainless steel filter that allows for more oils than a paper filter, resulting in a fuller-bodied cup of coffee for your dripper.
The Kone filter works with the Chemex and Hario v60. However, you do have the option to purchase it with the Kone brewing system – a super sexy-looking, functional pour over coffee maker inspired by Japanese mid-century design (5).
Because of its conical design, again it is important to stress a steady circular pour pattern. We thought we’d include this here because if you’re going to use any type of manual drip coffee maker, you may as well get a reusable filter!
The Walkure Brewer; it’s the Cadillac of pour over coffee makers. It was designed by a German artist so it combines style with an easy way to brew.
Sure, it costs a bit more than your average manual coffee drippers, but you’ll find the added price is worth it because it delivers a very high-quality brew and requires no accessories (not even filters). I love the Walkure because it’s a true all-in-one system. Just add your coarse ground coffee and hot water; no carafe or filter needed.
The even saturation I mentioned earlier comes from the “dispersion plate” that allows the water to spread out and wet the grounds evenly – ingenious – those Germans really know what they’re doing. First gummy bears, now the Walkure Pour Over Coffee Maker. Danke.
The Woodneck is a glass pot system from Japan that creates small quantities of effing high-quality coffee. Apart from its very Japanese inspired design, what separates the woodneck from the pack is the fact that you use a cloth filter for it. This produces heavy coffee with a lot of depth of flavor – all from a medium-fine grind. It looks and sounds expensive and difficult to use. But it’s not.
The Woodneck represents great value for money, plus it’s easy to use. It comes as a complete system with the mentioned cloth filter, the holder and the serving vessel – all in one.
When it comes time to brew, just add hot water and follow simple instructions. Read our full review of the Woodneck here.
The thing that deters many coffee drinkers from pour-over coffee is the level of skill and the fuss required. With this seemingly simple plastic brewer, OXO has eliminated the measuring and experimenting, as well as the need for any special equipment.
The key design feature that sets the OXO apart is the water reservoir that sits atop the filter. The construction is sturdy enough to take just-boiled water, so there’s no need for a thermometer or even waiting for the water to cool. Unlike with other brewers, you won’t be standing over the coffee slowly pouring your kettle – all of the water is added at once.
Different size holes in the bottom of the reservoir are designed to evenly disperse the water over the grounds, as well as setting the rate of flow. Making coffee really is as easy as adding your grounds, adding your water, and waiting.
If you’re serious about your coffee, you won’t like the fact that you can’t tweak each stage of your brew. But for anyone else that just wants a great cup of coffee without the fuss, this little coffee maker is worth looking at.
THE VERDICT: What’s The Best Manual Drip Coffee Maker?
So, for the burgeoning home barista looking to get into the world of pour over coffee, which one should you choose to help you start your day?
For us, It’s the Kalita Wave Dripper for the following reasons:
- It’s designed to help you achieve a consistent brew without too much technical know-how.
- It’s small, portable and light, meaning you can take it anywhere
- You have more flexibility with grind size due to the flat bottom
- It’s affordable!
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Closely followed by the Hario V60 (however, the Hario requires your pour over skills to be a little more developed, so we suggest starting with the Wave, and graduating onto the Hario V60)… With that being said there is no right or wrong option in the world of pour over coffee – you’d be a fool to try just one as each has its own strong points and leaves you with a different experience and brew.
After reading this piece on the best pour over coffee makers we hope, like us, you’re excited to try more than just one!