The Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker – The Winner Is Not Chemex

These are perhaps fighting words… every coffee lover has a strong opinion and there is no real right address to as to what the perfect pour-over coffee maker is. But, I too am going to try to tackle this big matter.

This is a comparison of the most popular manual drippers to find the perfect pour-over coffee maker. We compare cost, portability, materials, consistency and more.

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How to Choose a Manual Drip coffee Maker

I will chat about some of the more popular manual drip-coffee makers. I will analyse these drippers considering the following:

  • Budget
  • Brewing experience/knowledge
  • Amount of crafted coffee produced (single or multi serve)
  • Filter or no filter
  • Brand awareness/preference
  • Portability
  • Materials
  • Consistency
  • Brewing time

 After I have done this we will announce a winner that ticks the many boxes. Consuming said that, the winner isn’t necessarily going to be my personal favorite, but more on that later…

What is pour-over coffee?

I’m sure the majority of of you who are reading this understand what pour-over is, nevertheless for the select group of you who perhaps have heard of pour-over, are interested in getting into home-brewing but don’t in truth have any previous understanding or experience, I’ll run over the recipe quickly here again.

The Brewing Method

Truly, a pour-over coffee maker is a manual drip-coffee maker, where the barista controls all of the factors involved in coffee making, the the majority of critical of these factors being water flow. Instead of water being added to coffee automatically by a machine, the barista (or you) adds the water.

This means that the quantity, water flow, direction etc. can all be controlled for optimum extraction. I’ll explain why this is so important in a little. If you want to read a more in-depth analysis for pour-over brewing, you can read our article on how to make pour-over coffee at home. It’s a ideal tutorial that will give you knowledge beyond a humble recipe.

Why is it so popular?

Pour-over is very popular among coffee enthusiasts, which is a little strange considering the brew time and preparation is nearly five times longer than that of espresso coffee.

As you guys probably understand if you are regulars here on the site, espresso is our favorite way of guzzling coffee at Coffee brewing Methods due to the reality that we like the concentrated, strong notes that are normal of espresso coffee. However, a number of, or dare I even say many, coffee aficionados prefer a cup with brighter, more acidic notes. For these makes, pour-over is in fact the ultimate procedure for coffee preparation. 

For a light to medium roast African coffee, there is basically no other way to prepare it that comes close. It is also much easier and cheaper to make an perfect coffee at home with a pour-over coffee maker than with espresso coffee.

The Hario V60 is, mostly, the industry fundamental in coffee shops. When I say pour-over, is it probably what comes to mind first for the majority of people. It is more convenient for specialty coffee shops as it is designed to make single servings (though it comes in three sizes). This is an advantage for specialty coffee shops due to the reality that they are normally brewing with different beans depending on the order.

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The V60 comes in a variety of materials (plastic, glass or ceramic) and colors depending on choice. My favorite material is ceramic. You can preheat the ceramic V60, and this will help you maintain a excellent brewing temperature.

It is also not too expensive, considering the brand recognition. 

The V60 features one big hole at its base for filtering. This indicates that coffee requires to be ground much finer with a V60, otherwise the coffee passes through too quickly and it is under extracted, creating this brewer great for those who like their beans finely ground.

The angle for pouring is also really good with a V60 compared to taller, bigger manual drip-coffee makers, allowing for total pouring control. A V60 is convenient, portable and easy to clean. It uses specific V60 filters that are extremely thin and compliment the fine grind. This is a potential disadvantage, but, as you can’t utilize the basic filters you would buy in a Grocer’s that are drastically cheaper. The V60 is likewise not truly suitable for beginners – there is a little of method involved in pouring that takes a bit of practice. Read a good review on the V60 here.

While the V60 is the go-to pour-over coffee maker in coffee shops, Chemex is the normally the first option for coffee lovers who brew at home.

The Chemex is rather basically a work of art (it is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York) and extremely is an investment piece for your home. The humble glass design with the wooden hand guard is unparalleled in my opinion.

It is always crafted from glass, the most incorruptible material, that will never affect the taste of your coffee, no question how several years you keep your Chemex. It was invented in the 60s and has been an industry fundamental ever since, for good reason. I spotted it not so long ago on an old rerun of Friends from the early 90s!

It is fantastic for hosting and brewing for multiple people. It comes in a variety of sizes, beginning at a 3 cup and going all the way up to a 12 cup capacity. Even though you can brew a single caffeinated drink with the smaller Chemex designs, it is not truly designed for single servings. It is also not actually portable. The facts that it is crafted of glass, for multi-serve and with specific filters mean that it is one of the more expensive pour-over coffee makers to buy.

The Chemex uses specific filters that are thick with tiny filtration holes, so a medium course grind is necessary. The brewing time takes a little longer, but you get an ultra clean caffeinated drink at the end that is extremely flavourful due to the fact that of the extended contact with the beans. The glass is thick and durable, especially in the bigger models and, according to this review, nearly indestructible, unless you drop it. However, I have broken a 3 cup Chemex when I was cleaning the counter-top. That’s a story for another post though!

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For a more detailed opinion, check our Chemex review, where we go into the finer details, and we show you why home baristas enjoy it.

Kalita Wave Manual Dripper

The Kalita Wave is another industry fundamental and is an ingenious bit of engineering that was invented to try and solve some of the user-friendly problems that are linked to the V60. It has two features that make is much easier to brew a consistent cup with less method essential.

The first of these is the flat base with three smaller holes. This function ensures that the water flow is consistent, even with an inconsistent pour.

The second role is the filter itself which, in my opinion, is the perfect pour-over coffee filter on the market. Its wave design (where the name originates from) keeps the coffee away from the edges of the coffee maker.

This achieves two things. To start with, when the coffee is kept to the centre of the cup there is much less likelihood that the coffee will channel and that the water will be in contact with the coffee on the edge less than the coffee in the middle, thus yielding an uneven extraction.

Keeping the coffee away from the edges likewise serves to insulate the coffee, keeping it hotter for longer. This is something that is very important for most coffee drinkers. The only disadvantage of these filters is that they are really delicate and easily damaged if used or stored incorrectly. Like the V60, the Kalita is convenient, easy to clean, portable and comes in a variety of different materials.

It is likewise cheaper than the V60 but still has ideal brand recognition in the coffee industry. More about the Kalita Wave here.

Melitta Ready Set Joe

This is again a pour-over that has been invented to solve some issues connected with the other single-serve pour-over makers.

Essentially, it is cheap (just $6) and can be used with any non-branded filter. It is not the prettiest equipment, nevertheless if you are looking to get into home-brewing without breaking the bank, this isn’t a bad option.

It is quick, convenient, easy to brew and portable. Getting a decent caffeinated drink from this little guy is extremely achievable.

Bodum 11571-01US

Like the Melitta for single serve, this is the industry’s respond to to the Chemex and again, tries to solve some of the problems connected with the Chemex. The first of the two major differences is that this manual drip maker is cheap. If you are on a tight budget but are more interested in batch-brewing or you have a big family who all enjoy coffee, this is a good option.

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The second feature is that it contains a permanent, metal filter. There are other filterless pour-overs on the market but this jumped out as being the perfect. This feature is the one that has earned the a lot of attention. 

There are lots of coffee lovers who much prefer utilizing a permanent, metallic filter instead of a paper filter. This is due to the fact that with a metal filter there is absolutely no paper taste found in the cup of joe. It also is primarily courser than a paper filter and allows more coffee properties into the cup.

Nevertheless, there are numerous disadvantages outlined in this review from Honest Roast Coffee, and they don’t even talk about the dodgy name! The glass is flimsy and breakable so it probably won’t last long. The permanent filter is likewise fiddly, difficult to remove and difficult to clean. Plus, I personally can’t help sensation that it is just trying and failing to be a Chemex.

And the Winner Is…

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Before the big reveal, nevertheless, we are going to hand out some consolation prizes.

Best coffee shop pour-over

The obvious winner for perfect coffee shop pour-over is the Hario V60. It is ideally suited to a coffee shop and a barista with a bit of brewing experience.

Best Home-Brew

You guessed it, our best home-brew pick is the Chemex. The Chemex is a wonderful design piece to have in your kitchen, it produces beautiful coffee and is excellent for families and for home entertaining. The longer brew time and the truth that it is not portable make it generally less suitable for coffee shop brewing. You have likewise probably guessed that is my personal favorite pour-over coffee maker!

The Perfect of the Best…

For me, taking into account all the factors, the clear winner for the perfect, PERFECT pour-over coffee maker is… The Kalita Wave! It is suitable for professionals and beginners alike. It is cheap, it is stylish, it is innovative, it is portable and it in truth does tick all of the boxes. This is the pour-over I would recommend first if I was asked so for me it was an easy call to make.

In conclusion

The real observation from writing this post is that there is no messing with the classics! New pour-overs come onto the market every year to try and compete, however the reality of the issue is that there is no competing with the big three. For pour-over, it’s gotta be V60, Chemex or Kalita, and that’s all there is to it!

An article inspired by the idea published at Coffee-Brewing-Methods.com, where you can read other coffee brewing tutorials, equipment buying guides, and coffee beans reviews. You can check the original article here.

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