The best pour-over coffee maker
For richer, bolder-tasting coffee, forgo your drip coffee machines for a slower but more flavorful method of making coffee: the pour over. This process involves pouring hot water into a cone containing coffee grounds that strains directly into a carafe or cup. While it's not as convenient as pressing a button, it allows for more control over taste.
All you need is the right pour-over coffee maker. In this shopping guide, we'll take you through the options of filters as well as other features of pour-over brewers. Our top product pick is the stylish Chemex Classic Series Glass Coffee Maker, which has an eight-cup capacity and thick, durable glass.
Considerations when choosing pour-over coffee makers
First, consider how much coffee you need to brew when selecting a pour-over brewer. Single-cup models consist of a cone that sits atop your favorite mug and brews one cup at a time. Larger models contain a cone and a carafe -- either as one piece or two -- and can brew between two and eight cups at a time.
The pour-over brewer's filter material will influence the taste of your coffee. A filter holder (the cone part) that requires a paper filter (purchased separately) absorbs coffee oils from the grounds and makes for more acidic coffee. Paper filters are disposable and generally compostable, making cleanup easy, but they need to be repurchased when you run out.
Metal cone filters can be easily cleaned for reuse. They have mesh-like openings that allow oils and small coffee particles to pass through for richer tasting, more textured coffee.
Cloth filters produce medium-bodied coffee with a smoother texture. They allow some oils and particles to pass through. Over time the cloth absorbs oil, affecting brew quality, and should be replaced. They also need to be washed after each use.
If you're a pour-over novice, select a filter with fewer, smaller holes. This means the coffee will drip through more slowly, which allows the water to pull more flavor out. For more experienced coffee lovers, larger holes allow for more control.
Pour-over coffee makers are constructed from a variety of materials, which can affect the price, durability, and heat retention of the device.
Glass brewers are stylish, look great on a countertop, and have the advantage of being see-through. On the downside, they're quite fragile.
Metal pour-over brewers are typically made from stainless steel, which is highly durable but can add a metallic taste to your coffee. They may also draw heat from the water.
Ceramic doesn't affect the taste of your coffee and looks stylish like glass brewers but are thicker and heavier -- and opaque.
Plastic pour-over cones are easy to tuck into luggage to travel with, are the least-expensive option, and don't break easily. However, they can leach chemicals and an unpleasant taste into your coffee.
Insulated vs. uninsulated
Insulated pour-over coffee makers feature double walls to help maintain water temperature as you pour. This often results in a thicker design.
Pour-over coffee makers range in price from $5 to $40. Plastic, single-cup brewers are the least expensive, between $5 and $10. The most expensive models start at $20 and cost up to $40; these include built-in carafes and are made from ceramic, glass, or stainless steel.
Q. What kind of filter do I need to use with my pour-over coffee maker?
A. It depends on the material of the brewer. Metal pour-over brewers don't require a filter at all. Glass, plastic, and ceramic brewers require either paper or cloth filters, unless the manufacturer specifies a filter.
Q. How long do these devices take to make coffee?
A. Because the process is multi-step (you need to boil water and grind coffee first), give yourself around 10 minutes to make one serving. Start by gently pouring a little water onto the grounds and allowing 30 seconds for the coffee to "bloom" (grounds will expand and rise as they release gas) in order for the extraction process to begin.
Pour-over coffee makers we recommend
Best of the best: Chemex's Classic Series Glass Coffee Maker
Our take: An insulated glass pour-over coffee maker that's elegant and makes an excellent cup of coffee.
What we like: Built-in carafe has an eight-cup capacity. Glass is thick and durable. Polished wood collar with leather tie is both stylish and practical. No plastic parts.
What we dislike: Requires Chemex brand coffee filters. Pricey.
Best bang for your buck: Melitta's Ready, Set, Joe Single-Cup Brewer (Two-Pack)
Our take: A one-cup brewing cone that's inexpensive and portable.
What we like: Cone fits atop all cup sizes. Made from lightweight and durable plastic that's easy to take on the go. Dishwasher safe.
What we dislike: Requires a separate filter.
Choice 3: Bodum's Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Our take: A stylish pour-over brewer with a built-in metal filter.
What we like: Comes in four different collar choices, including double-walled cork. Good value for the price. Stainless steel filter can accommodate even finely ground coffee.
What we dislike: The lower part of the carafe isn't well insulated and can get hot to the touch.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.