From your choice of bean, to the grinder and kettle, to even using a scale, the key to brewing great coffee comes down to controlling your variables. The method and device you use to brew are just as important - and, for the most control and cleanest flavor, the pour over method is hard to beat.
With a pour over brewer, you can manually bloom your coffee to help release gasses that can sour the coffee’s flavor. To do so, wet all the grinds (about 30-50g worth) and wait about 30 seconds. Next, continue to add water in 50-80g bursts, let the water drain fully, and repeat until you’ve reached your full water amount (about 500g per cup). If you want to learn more about the optimal bean-to-water ratios for brewing, we covered it more here.
The pour over method results in one of the smoothest cups of coffee and really lets the flavor profile of the bean shine through. That’s why it’s the preferred method at most specialty coffee shops. There’s a variety of brewers to choose from, each with its own unique features, but here are the nine that we recommend.
The Barista's Choice
The Hario dripper gets its name from the 60-degree angle of its cone, which is said to be the prime angle for water to pass through the grinds. This brew angle, combined with the paper filter, leads to an incredibly smooth, sediment-free cup of coffee. For this reason, you’ll find the V60 at most specialty coffee shops around the world and in many a barista’s home as well.
For A Milder Flavor
The Kalita Wave may look the same as the Hario V60, but it has a few key differences. First, the angle of the Wave’s cone is slightly below 60 degrees, meaning the water extracts the coffee slower. Second, the Wave has a flat bottom with three holes - which also slows down extraction. Finally, the paper filter for the Kalita Wave is crenulated (like a wave, hence the name), and that helps maintain the heat of the water while brewing, keeping the extraction consistent. Ultimately, the V60 will draw out a sweeter, brighter coffee, but the Wave will give you a denser mouth-feel and a milder flavor.
The Beginner's Choice
The Melitta brewer is a sort of hybrid between the Kalitta Wave and the Hario V60. It’s conical and uses a V60 paper filter, but the hole at the bottom is much smaller than the one on the V60 (to restrict the brew flow). The brew cone also has ridges, much like the Wave. Melitta’s cone brewer is hard to mess up with, so it’s perfect for a pour-over beginner.
The 70-Degree Argument
Saint Anthony Industries redesigned the Hario V60 dripper to give it a 70-degree brew column. The result is a clean cup of coffee (no texture from grind sediment) and a flavor that’s as smooth as you’ll get.
In 2019, Jia Ning Du of China won the World Brewers Cup with the Origami Dripper and made this relatively new brewing cone mainstream overnight. The main benefits are that the cone accommodates both V60 and Wave paper filters, and its ridged design allows for increased airflow during the brewing process, which creates a more consistent extraction rate. The beautiful design is an added benefit.
For A Sweeter, Full-Bodied Cup
The [XF] dripper uses a steep angle like the C70, but rather than a single hole at the bottom, it has a few smaller holes. This makes the brew time even slower (we recommend grinding your beans a little coarser), which results in a fuller-bodied, sweeter cup of coffee than another dripper would produce.
The Museum Piece
Not many coffee makers can tout being part of a museum’s collection, but the Chemex is one of them. Designed in 1941, this simple, elegant brewer remains one of the most popular drippers on the market. And, much like the V60, its angled dripper is made to maximize water-to-grind contact (and thus extraction). Plus, the Chemex’s paper filters are a lot thicker than the V60′s, which makes for an even smoother cup of coffee.
The Redesigned Classic
Can you improve on a classic? Saint Anthony Industries thinks so. Their G70 dripper takes the Chemex design and steepens the brewing column (the top cone where the actual brewing takes place) to 70 degrees. According to them, this angle improves extraction by increasing the amount of water-to-grind contact.
The Eco-Friendly Brewer
While the Hario Nel dripper looks and brews much like the Chemex, its use of a cloth filter (rather than a paper one) not only reduces waste but also allows finer particles from the grind to pass through. This creates a cup of coffee that feels thicker in body and is almost chewy in texture. The cloth filter requires some extra maintenance (it needs to be rinsed of sediment and stored in water to stay damp), but the metal mesh filter option creates a similar brew without much added work.
We’re recommending these products because we actually use, and like, them. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.