Best Pour Over Coffee Maker of 2020
The Bee House Ceramic coffee dripper is a staple in countless cafes, and for a good reason. This coffee maker produces an exceptionally clean cup with well-rounded sweetness and minimal bitterness. The fine paper filter helped cut down the amount of oil on the surface of our brew dramatically, adding to that clean and juicy flavor. The ceramic construction is also flavor neutral, and once preheated, does an excellent job of retaining heat. To top it all off, the flat-bottomed cone filters that fit this dripper are widely available at most grocery stores.
Like most pour over drippers, the Bee House comes with a bit of a learning curve and needs some additional equipment to achieve a great cup every time. We highly recommend that anyone using this coffee maker regularly invest in a gooseneck kettle and a kitchen scale. This dripper is also comparatively fragile and has a tab handle instead of a more secure loop design. Overall, we think this pour over coffee maker is a fantastic option for anyone willing to invest a little more for the very best cup.
The Kalita Wave makes a clean cup with a well-rounded flavor and very little bitterness. The flat-bottomed design of this dripper guides the water to more evenly saturate coffee grounds and effectively makes up for shortcomings in the user's pouring skills. This is an ideal design for newbies who want to learn how to make a perfect cup of pour over coffee but don't want to waste a bunch of bad cups in the process. The lightweight metal construction of this dripper also makes it durable for beginner users and makes it travel-friendly.
While the Kalita makes a darn tasty cup of coffee, it fell slightly behind its conical, paper-filtered counterparts in how much sweetness it was able to bring out. You're also going to want to invest in a scale and gooseneck kettle to get consistent results from this dripper. We recommend this pour over coffee maker to anyone wishing to learn how to make excellent pour over coffee with a bit less of a learning curve.
The Clever Dripper is a unique redesign of the traditional coffee dripper. It features a mechanism that stops the flow of liquid until it is placed on a cup or other vessel. This method is a combination of traditional pour over coffee and an immersion method such as a french press. Water is added all at once and then stirred after the coffee has had a chance to bloom, making it forgiving and straightforward enough to use a regular tea kettle or even a pot to pour your water. We appreciated the consistency of the results from the Clever. The coffee was clean, well-rounded, and had a ton of sweetness. This coffee maker is also durable and forgiving enough to travel with, and even to use while camping.
While the Clever Dripper brought out some excellent flavors in our coffees, it also brought out a bit more bitterness than some other models. Additionally, the plastic construction is not the best for retaining heat during the brewing process. These minor drawbacks aside, this coffee maker is an excellent choice for those looking to take the guesswork out of their morning coffee.
The Chemex coffee maker has been a staple in homes and cafes alike for several years. Its sleek design and excellent flavor quality satisfy coffee connoisseurs of all types, and its eight-cup capacity makes it perfect for households with multiple coffee drinkers. The Chemex-branded filters are extra fine and did an excellent job minimizing the amount of oil floating on top of our coffee. The Chemex also has a one-piece construction, making it convenient to brew and serve from the same carafe.
The first drawback to the Chemex pour over coffee maker is that it uses specialized filters that can be a bit difficult to find. Unless you're lucky enough to have a specialty coffee shop that sells them nearby, you'll probably have to order the filters online. Second, similar to other cone-style pour over drippers, there is a bit of a learning curve before you can achieve a consistently delicious cup of coffee, and you'll need a gooseneck kettle and scale to do it. For households with more than one coffee drinker who prioritize quality and flavor, we think the Chemex is an excellent choice.
The Bodum Pour Over features a glass carafe with a washable metal cone filter for brewing. We enjoyed how simple this dripper was to use and its ability to make coffee for more than one person at a time. The washable metal filter eliminates the need to keep a supply of paper filters on hand and is easy to clean. Further, the rubber collar is easy to remove, and the whole thing is dishwasher-safe. The Bodum also comes at a great price, making it that much easier to take your coffee game up a notch.
The Bodum Pour Over fell short in taste quality and durability. For those who enjoy a more substantial mouthfeel, this coffee maker is still an excellent choice. However, if you are looking for the signature clean cup of pour over coffee, you may want to go for a dripper that utilizes paper filters. The metal filter let a lot of oils and sediment through, which produced a glossy sheen on top of our coffee and some sludge on the bottom. As for durability, the glass construction does not bode well for situations where it might get knocked over or dropped.
The Primula Brew Buddy is an affordable, pocket-sized, durable little dripper that takes a lot of the guesswork out of coffee brewing. While we always recommend using a kitchen scale to ensure that your coffee to water ratios are accurate, this little guy does not need a gooseneck kettle or perfectly-tuned pour to produce good results. It utilizes a mesh filter attached to a plastic ring that is large enough to rest on the rim of almost any cup. Because the filter sits down inside the cup and submerges the grounds, water can be added all at once with any type of kettle or pot. The Primula cut down on bitterness quite a bit and produced a pleasingly sweet cup of coffee.
The Primula Brew Buddy was a bit messy to use. You need either a spoon or something with a funnel-shaped spout to get the coffee grounds into the filter without them ending up all over the outside plastic ring. Additionally, because the mesh filter sits down inside your cup and submerges the grounds, you need to hold it up out of your cup for a bit to allow the remaining water to finish dripping through. The resulting cup has a heavier body, more oil, and more sediment than is typical of pour over coffees. For this reason, we recommend this coffee maker for drinkers who prefer a bolder cup and are looking for something affordable and travel-friendly.
The Hario V60 Dripper is a pour over classic and a device by which countless coffee professionals swear. This pour over coffee maker produces an exceptionally clean, sweet cup with almost no bitterness. The ceramic construction retains heat well once it has been preheated, and does not impart any unwanted flavors to your brew. The V60's conical paper filters are also very effective at cutting down the amount of oil that makes it into your cup.
The Hario fell just short of our top spot simply because its filters can be difficult to obtain. You'll likely need to purchase them from a specialty coffee shop or order them online, since most grocery stores don't carry them. To produce consistently delicious cups with the V60, we also recommend a kitchen scale and gooseneck kettle. You simply won't have the control and accuracy necessary with a standard kettle and volume-based pouring. Overall, the Hario V60 is an excellent pour over coffee maker, and will more than satisfy anyone willing to invest the time.
The Bonmac Dripper is a flat bottomed, cone-shaped ceramic pour over coffee maker that works great with standard Melitta filters that are available at almost any grocery store. This dripper made a clean tasting cup with minimal residual oil on top and allowed virtually no sediment to pass through. We like the closed-loop handle that makes moving the Bonmac around a bit more comfrotable and secure. The heat retention qualities of the ceramic construction also contribute to a well-balanced extraction and overall delicious cup of coffee.
Learning to make a great cup with the Bonmac is a fairly involved process, and, for this reason, it fell behind in our ease of use metric. You'll want to invest in a gooseneck kettle and kitchen scale to achieve consistent results. Further, the method for using this pour over coffee maker involves pouring water in four equal increments over two minutes, meaning you need to stay with it and babysit your brew the whole time. We think the Bonmac Dripper makes a killer cup of coffee and is an excellent choice for the user who doesn't mind a little extra effort.
The Cafellissimo Paperless is a metal cone dripper that can be placed on top of most cups or carafes to brew a single cup into whatever vessel you prefer. The filter is integrated into the dripper and eliminates the need for separate paper filters. After knocking spent coffee grounds out of the Cafellissimo, it was very easy to either wash by hand or pop into the dishwasher. We love how convenient this dripper is and that its metal construction is durable enough to take along on your travels.
The Cafellissimo Paperless fell behind other models primarily in the taste metric. The metal filter simply isn't fine enough to catch oils and sediment that contribute to a more bitter and heavier cup. The top of our coffee bore a striking resemblance to an oil slick. While we don't recommend this dripper for coffee drinkers searching for a classic clean pour over cup, it is undoubtedly a convenient and appropriate option for those who enjoy heavier-bodied brews.
The Coffee Gator Paperless pour over coffee maker features a beautiful looking design with a washable, reusable stainless steel mesh filter that nestles into the top of an hourglass-shaped carafe. We liked that the carafe has a closed-loop handle for secure pouring and that both the carafe and filter are dishwasher safe. The laser-cut filter also did noticeably better at filtering out oils and sediment than other paperless filters in our test. We also appreciated that it is easy to double your coffee recipe and make two cups at once with this dripper.
While the Coffee Gator indeed produced a cleaner cup than other paperless filters, it was still a bit muddy and bitter when compared to a traditional paper-filtered pour over. Further, the hourglass shape of the carafe is difficult to clean thoroughly without a bottle brush or dishwasher. We also felt the need to take extra care when handling this coffee maker because the glass is very thin and delicate. The heavy brew this dripper makes is not for the person seeking a classic, clean cup of pour over coffee. However, if you enjoy a heavier brew and are looking for something that can make two cups at once, the Coffee Gator could be a good fit.
The Melitta Coffee Cone is a classic fixture in almost every grocery store and many kitchens. This dripper is super lightweight, affordable, and uses the same flat-bottomed conical filters utilized by many other similarly shaped drippers. Using this dripper is simple but is made better with the help of a gooseneck kettle and kitchen scale.
What we didn't like so much about this dripper is its plastic construction. It does not retain heat well, resulting in an uneven extraction as water can cool more quickly while in contact with the coffee. Additionally, the material imparted a distinct plastic flavor to our brew. The final result was a cup with hints of bitterness and very little sweetness. For these reasons, we think most people will be better off with a different coffee maker.
The Munieq Tetra Drip is an unconventional pour over coffee maker. It features three separate pieces that can store completely flat when not in use or snap together quickly to form a triangular dripper that is compatible with cone filters. This coffee maker is an excellent option for a dripper that can be stored flat in a kitchen drawer or take up minimal space in a camping pack. Furthermore, the design is compatible with and stable on a wide variety of cups and bottles.
It was challenging to pour into the triangular shape of the Tetra, and because this coffee maker has distinct corners, it is easy to miss some coffee grounds during pouring. The flavor of the coffee from this dripper was quite pungent and almost spicy. For these reasons, we think there are much better options for homebrewers, but the Munieq Tetra Drip could make an excellent addition to your camping or travel gear.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead tester for all things coffee is Michelle Powell. With over a decade of experience in the specialty coffee industry, Michelle has participated in the competitive barista circuit, managed cafes, trained with the likes of Four Barrel and Blue Bottle Coffee, and taught classes on manual brewing as well as espresso. Michelle has tested hundreds of kitchen and coffee products for TechGearLab. She brings a unique understanding of professional quality standards balanced with consumer priorities to the table in her evaluation and analysis of products.
After exhaustive research of today's marketplace, we purchased 12 of the best pour over coffee makers to bring in for our extensive side-by-side comparisons. When creating our test plan, we focused on the three metrics that we think are most relevant to a great dripper: taste, ease of use, and durability. We evaluated taste by brewing cup after cup of coffee, utilizing the same ratios and water temperatures, all while following brew guides religiously. We drank all these cups of coffee, back-to-back, to get an accurate head-to-head comparison. In our ease of use metric, we paid close attention to the processes involved in both brewing and cleaning up. Do you need more specialized equipment to achieve a consistently good result? Is it messy or hard to clean? Finally, we considered how durable and travel-friendly each dripper is.
Analysis and Test Results
We put the best pour over coffee makers to the test and evaluated them side-by-side on three metrics: taste, ease of use, and durability.
In our taste metric, three coffee makers tied for the lead: the Bee House Ceramic, Chemex, and Hario V60. All of these drippers produced an incredibly clean cup with a well-balanced flavor, lots of sweetness, and very little bitterness. There was a distinct visual difference in the brew from these coffee makers compared to the rest of the lineup in the amount of oil left floating on top. Further, all three of these had such effective filtration that there was virtually no sediment left at the bottom of our cups.
The Chemex produced ever so slightly more bitterness than the V60 or Bee House, but the difference was negligible. The Bee House dripper also set itself apart because it brewed a cup with so much flavor and sweetness that it was almost juicy to our palates. The Hario V60 held steady with its superbly clean cup and impressive balance of flavor.
For second place in our taste metric, we had another three-way tie between the Bonmac, the Clever, and the Kalita Wave drippers. The Bonmac produced a clean cup to rival our winners but fell just shy with a touch more bitterness than we would have liked. The Clever's unique combination of pour over and immersion styles resulted in a smooth cup with some fascinating bright and sweet flavors, but was still a bit more bitter than ideal. Finally, the Kalita Wave yielded an incredibly smooth cup with almost no bitterness, but lacked a little bit in sweetness.
Ease of Use
Leading the pack in our ease of use scoring were the Bodum, the Coffee Gator, the Cafellissimo, and the Clever Dripper. After an initial small blooming pour, the brew guides for all of these drippers recommend adding water in a steady, controlled pour all at once. This single pour method cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend babysitting your brew and make for a more streamlined overall experience.
The Bodum did particularly well in this metric because of its large capacity, ease of cleaning, and washable stainless filter. The rubber grip collar was easy to remove and can even be tossed in the dishwasher along with the carafe and filter. The Coffee Gator earned high marks for similar reasons, but we specifically appreciated the closed-loop handle. Because the glass on the Coffee Gator is relatively thin and delicate, having a secure handle enabled us to move this brewer around and serve from it with steadiness and confidence.
The Cafellissimo dripper is unique in that it is merely a laser-cut, stainless filter with a handle, and a built-in lip that allows you to set it on top of whatever container into which you want to brew. We appreciated the simplicity of this design, and eliminating the need to hunt down specialty filters made our overall brewing experience much more straightforward. Finally, the Clever Dripper, with its one-of-a-kind design, took all the guesswork out of coffee brewing. You don't even need a gooseneck kettle to make a delicious cup with this thing. Further, we loved that this dripper seals once it is lifted off your cup, making the trip to the garbage can or sink clean and drip-free.
Topping out in durability scores are the Kalita Wave, the Cafellissimo Paperless, and the Munieq Tetra Drip. All three of these utilize very different designs but are constructed entirely out of metal. We loved the durable materials and the closed-loop handle on the Kalita Wave. The handle allowed us to move the dripper around quickly and securely, which is especially important when it's full of freshly-brewed coffee grounds.
The Cafellissimo also features bulletproof construction and a design that doesn't require any extra moving parts, minimizing the likelihood of breaking it. This thing can handle being dropped, knocked over, or tossed in a bag without any problems. Perhaps the most durable option in our entire lineup, the Munieq is made of three separate metal sides that slide together to form a triangular dripper. These sides can be taken apart and laid against each other, enabling the dripper to be stored completely flat. For this reason, this dripper is an excellent option for situations such as camping and backpacking, where other drippers would be cumbersome or likely to break.
We hope that this comprehensive analysis of the best pour over coffee makers on the market equips you with the right information to choose the right dripper for your needs. Whether you are looking for the very best taste, the most convenient option, or the most convenient way to brew a hot cup of coffee while traveling, we've got you covered.
— Michelle Powell