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What is a Pour Over Coffee Maker? The Full Guide!

Drinking coffee is a very straightforward thing. However, the way you prepare your cup of Joe can greatly vary. You can use a traditional drip coffee machine, a quirky French press or even a pour-over brewer. But what is a pour over coffee maker in the first place?

A pour-over coffee maker is a brewing device that typically comes in a cone-like shape that relies on infusion instead of immersion (in the case of a French or an Aeropress).

Pour-over brewers have a filter inside which acts as a funnel for the hot water that’s poured over it (hence the name).

These coffee makers are typically inexpensive and they’re made of glass for the most part, although ceramic, plastic and steel models are available as well.

And while the particular design and shape might vary, pour-over brewers share the same fundamental philosophy of pouring hot water on top of ground coffee in a filter.

This particular brewing technique is meant to bring forth the real flavors of the coffee grounds for a more genuine coffee experience.

So it’s no wonder that this is the preferred brewing method that you’ll find in many specialty coffee shops across the globe.

How Does a Pour Over Coffee Maker Work?

Pour-over coffee makers work based on the infusion brewing method, namely the ground coffee is soaked in hot water.

More specifically, this is how a pour over coffee maker brews java:

  • Hot water is poured over the ground coffee inside the filter
  • The water dissolves and extracts as much of the coffee grounds as possible
  • The extracted coffee then flows to the bottom of the brewer as ready-to-drink coffee

This method also means that the pour-over process is also sometimes labeled filter coffee or even drip coffee, although the latter is typically associated with electric coffee machines.

And while the philosophy behind pour-over is incredibly simple, the exact brewing time can vary, depending on the pour-over model used.

Some variations have multiple holes and funnels, which affects the speed at which the water flows through the pour over brewer.

How Many Types of Pour-Over Coffee Makers are There?

There are 3 types of pour over coffee brewers on the market:

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1. Flat-Bottomed

The facts ⇒ Ideal for beginners; More even extraction; Delivers a rich and full brew; More forgiving in terms of grind size.

Flat-bottom pour-over models are certainly the most beginner-friendly pour-over brewers.

In this type of pour over, the water is dispensed through 3 small holes, instead of 1 big hole as in the cone-shape variants.

This, in addition to the larger surface area, help flat-bottom brewers to achieve a more consistent saturation and more even extraction.

Moreover, you don’t need to be so meticulous when it comes to grind size, while these flat-bottom models also tend to deliver coffee that’s generally fuller and richer.

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2. Cone-Shaped

The facts ⇒ The most common type; Still beginner-friendly; Lots of brewing recipes available; Medium grind is recommended; Requires greater precision.

This kind of pour-over brewers is perhaps the most popular and widespread one out there.

Cone-shaped units are also quite beginner-friendly, although they require a bit more precision and concentration while pouring the water.

That’s because the water is drained from a single hole, which calls for a more precise and steady pouring in order to achieve better extraction.

Another factor to consider is ground size, as this is what determines the rate of the water flow due to the cone-like design.

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3. Wedge-Shaped

The facts ⇒ Sits between the other 2 in terms of functionaltiy and flavor; Available with 1 or 3 small holes.

Wedge-shaped models can be considered the middle-ground between the more popular flat-bottomed and cone-shaped variations.

These pour-over brewers are also known as fan-shaped or slit bottom coffee makers.

Wedge-shaped units typically come with a single-hole design, reminiscent of their cone-shaped counterparts.

However, the hole itself is much smaller and what’s more interesting, you can even find wedge models with 3 small holes (just like in a flat-bottom brewer).

What are the Most Common Materials Used in Pour Over Brewers?

Glass, ceramic, metal and plastic are the most popular materials used in pour-over units.

Note that each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses so here’s a more in-depth look at all 4:

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1. Glass

Pros:

  • Very stylish
  • Blocks outside odors

Cons:

  • More prone to breaking
  • Not optimal at retaining heat

Glass models are definitely the prettiest and arguably the most desirable ones for aesthetic reasons.

They’re stylish and no one can deny the fact that having a glass pour-over brewer on your kitchen counter will add a touch of elegance and poshness.

And while glass might break more easily, it does a great job at preventing any odors or residue from creeping into the coffee inside.

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2. Ceramic

Pros:

  • Provides excellent heat insulation
  • Won’t absorb external odors

Cons:

  • Not as sleek as glass units
  • Typically heavier

Ceramic is another highly-popular material that provides similar benefits to glass variants.

It doesn’t impact the flavor of your java while also being a brilliant insulator to keep your coffee sufficiently hot.

These units are also typically heavier and thicker, although that helps them to be sturdier.

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3. Metal

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Highly durable

Cons:

  • Doesn’t hold heat so well
  • Might potentially impact the flavor

Metal pour-over models are a great option if you value durability highly.

Not only that, but such units are also quite lightweight and thin, making them a compact and sturdy proposition.

Unfortunately, a metal unit can have a negative impact on the flavor of your coffee by giving it a sort of metallic flavor.

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4. Plastic

Pros:

  • Very travel-friendly
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Not as visually pleasing
  • Might leach chemicals (if made of poor plastics)

Plastic models are ideal if you plan on using your pour-over during traveling.

These units are super lightweight while providing heaps of durability as well.

However, it’s worth mentioning that you should always opt for BPA-free versions since when in contact with hot liquids, plastic can leach chemicals.

What is a pour over coffee maker, paper filter

What’s Better – Paper or Stainless Steel Filter?

Paper filters are generally the better option as they’re much cheaper, while also leading to a more deliberate brew.

In fact, they provide a light and clean brew with a delicate medium mouthfeel.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should totally forget about stainless steel filters.

Here, have a look at the pros and cons of each:

Paper Filters

  • Pros – Less expensive; Superior coffee extraction.
  • Cons – Have to be disposed of after every use (not reusable)

Stainless Steel Filters

  • Pros – Can be used more than once (reusable); Produces fuller and thicker cups.
  • Cons – More expensive; Need to be cleaned after each use.

What is a pour over coffee maker, coffee beans made into ground coffee

What do I Need to Make Pour-Over Coffee?

This is everything that you’ll need in order to make authentic pour-over coffee:

There’s no reason to overcomplicate things since the traditional pour-over brewing method is as amazing as it is.

What is a pour over coffee maker, barista making pour over coffee

How to Make Pour Over Coffee at Home?

Even though there are many different recipes online, this is the most common way of making typical pour-over coffee:

  1. Boil 1 cup (8 oz) or more of water
  2. Grind the coffee beans to a medium grind
  3. Place the filter
  4. Add the ground coffee inside the filter
  5. Pour roughly 1/3 of the water over the grounds in circular motions
  6. Wait 30-4o seconds for the coffee to bloom
  7. Pour the remaining water on top of the grounds with circular motions (in the opposite direction)
  8. Remove the filter or the entire brewer (depending on your model)
  9. Gently stir the freshly-brewed coffee
  10. Serve and enjoy

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How to Clean a Pour Over Coffee Maker?

Cleaning your pour-over brewer is as easy as 1-2-3.

Below you’ll see the cookie-cutter cleaning method and a more sophisticated one when you’re dealing with grime build-up.

What you’ll need:

Method #1 (Works most of the time):

  1. Get a mild detergent (i.e. a hand dish washing soap)
  2. Grab a toothbrush
  3. Start gently scrubbing the surface to remove any dirt and residue
  4. Rinse with clean water
  5. Let it dry

Method #2 (For harder to clean situations):

  1. Grab a denture tablet 
  2. Fill a larger bowl with water
  3. Drop 1 or 2 of the denture tablets inside the bowl
  4. Submerge the pour over brewer in the bowl with water
  5. Leave it overnight
  6. On the next day gently wash it using soap and water
  7. Let it dry

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What is the Best Pour Over Coffee Maker with Reusable Filter?

The best pour over coffee brewer with a reusable filter is the Bodrum Pour Over Coffee Dripper .

It’s very affordable, while also being made of glass, which makes it incredibly attractive.

There’s a permanent stainless steel filter included, unlike many other models that come without a filter, meaning you have to buy it separately.

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On top of the reusable filter, this Bodum brewer also comes with a 12-oz double-wall mug that’s incredibly durable.

Moreover, this pour-over model is dishwasher-safe and it’s made of 100% BPA-free materials.

And thanks to the cork band and clever spout, pouring your coffee is super easy.

FAQ

What is the difference between a pour over and drip coffee?

The pour-over method is considered more special as it delivers a true coffee experience, while drip coffee offers more convenience over complete control of the brewing process.

Another difference is that drip coffee is typically made from drip coffee machines that automate the entire brewing process.

But with pour-over coffee makers, you’ll generally do the whole brewing manually i.e. yourself, which gives you much more control over your brew.

And to put things into perspective, here are the primary differences between the two:

  • Pour-over coffee is considered of superior quality
  • Pour-over brewers are generally easier to clean and mantain
  • Drip-coffee offers greater convenience and care-free brewing
  • The pour-over technique gives you complete control over the brewing process

Regardless of the differences, pour-over coffee is still a type of drip coffee.

Is pour over coffee worth it?

Absolutely, especially if you value a genuine, high-quality coffee experience.

The pour-over process delivers very delicious, light and clean-tasting cups without much if any residue.

Apart from tasting great, pour-over coffee doesn’t rely on any electricity so that your electricity bill won’t go up.

These brewers are also quite compact and they make for a great addition to any kitchen counter, especially the glass variants.

Can I use pre ground coffee for Pour over?

Sure, you can use pre-ground coffee when brewing via the pour over method.

However, it’s always recommended to opt for freshly-ground coffee as it can definitely make the difference in terms of taste.

And on top of that, don’t forget about the right grind size – medium.

Finer grind settings might work too, but a medium grind seems to be the sweet spot for most pour-over brewers.

Is pour over coffee better than French press?

Yes, if you prefer a smoother, lighter and more delicate taste.

That’s because French press i.e. unfiltered coffee packs more of a punch, while also being thicker and bolder.

These are the main characteristics of both brewing methods:

  • Pour over – Lighter; Smoother; No grit; Easier to clean.
  • French press – Bolder; Thicker; Stronger; Compatible with a wider range of grinds.

Eventually, it all boils down to personal preferences since both methods offer very different cups.

Conclusion

Pour-over coffee makers are amazing brewing devices that deliver a truly specialty coffee-like experience.

This particular method gives you full control over the brewing process, making it the preferred brewing technique for real coffee aficionados.

If you’re after a genuine, high-end cup of Joe then you might want to give the pour over method a try.

Now, have you ever made coffee with a pour-over coffee brewer?

And have you already tried the pour-over method?

We’d love to know so drop your answers below!

Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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