Last update on 2021-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
You don’t need fancy coffee makers, programmable functions, or a ton of intense machinery that takes the fun out of the process—you’re a minimalist who enjoys saving money, and loves the intimate taste of a hand-poured, personally brewed cup of coffee.
A manual drip coffee maker gives you all of the control over the quality of your coffee, without industrializing the process and losing that connection with the very thing you rely on every single morning.
The best pour over coffee maker will fit your lifestyle, counter space (though that’s not a hard bill to fit), as well as guidelines of being sturdy and inexpensive, all at the same time.
Getting a hand grinder and a non-electric pour over coffee maker is a surefire way to not only save on that energy bill, but get a personalized cup of coffee every single morning.
We can’t tell you what works best for you, but we can show you the top five manual pour coffee makers on the market based on rigorous research and analyses, and let you choose from there.
Our Reviews Of The Best Pour Over Coffee Maker
Chemex Classic Series Pour Over Coffee Maker – BEST OVERALL
Hand pour coffee is something you either get behind, or you get out of the way, and nobody embraces this unique way to make coffee quite like Chemex.
The whole concept of these units are simple, but Chemex found a way to make them fantastic.
First of all, there’s a wooden guard in the center of the hourglass-like basin. This allows you to grab it comfortably and pour after the coffee has completed steeping.
In total, the reservoir is about 40 oz in total, allowing for eight separate five-ounce cups of coffee.
Chemex made this with borosilicate glass, meaning it doesn’t absorb anything.
It’s not going to retain coffee flavors over time, which is really useful if you like to experiment with a ton of different bean roasts and roasted flavors.
Glass will hold onto oil though, so clean this often, and with gentle care.
- Size: Eight-cup unit
- Volume: 40 oz
- Material: Glass
- Filter Needed: Yes
- Extra Features: Wooden heat guard
ParkBrew Pour Over Coffee Maker Kit-RUNNER-UP
Glass is the theme here, because pour over coffee makers are rarely made out of anything else.
ParkBrew managed to make this more durable than your standard glass unit, by introducing 25% thicker glass to the entire thing, including the attached handle for easy pouring.
They also don’t want you to go through a bunch of paper filters, so you’ve got a metal filter that can be rewashed and reused for as long as you have the unit.
It even comes with a small plastic handle so you aren’t burning your fingers as you try to remove this from the top.
There’s 27 oz of capacity in total, which makes about six small, rounded cups of coffee.
If you’re like us, this could be a two-person system for a couple of large cups, but the choice is up to you.
ParkBrew prides themselves on helping in reducing coffee-related waste with this simple system, and we have to say, it’s certainly effective in doing so.
- Size: Six-cup unit
- Volume: 27 oz
- Material: Glass
- Filter Needed: No (includes reusable)
- Extra Features: Attached handle
Brim Pour-Over Electric Coffee Maker – BEST ALTERNATIVE
Okay, we know that it kind of goes against what pour-over coffee makers are, but would you just look at it?
It’s glorious. Brim gives you a separate water chamber that heats up, and pours over your coffee for you. Sure, it takes a bit of the guesswork out of it, but that’s why we love it.
It simplifies the process and still gives you the same taste of pour-over coffee.
The bread and butter of this unit is the heated base, which stays at the perfect brewing temperature, and drops to about 170 F for thirty minutes to maintain a good warming temperature.
After that point, it shuts off so the coffee doesn’t get a stale flavor.
One thing is a bit odd, though. They include a laser-etched filter, but you still need their paper filters to get the job done.
It’s not what we expected, and it means you have to purchase their specific filters in order to fit the cone-shaped design of the permanent filter.
They advertise “No filter needed,” then include them and show them in the photography, so it’s a bit confusing.
- Size: Eight-cup unit
- Volume: 40 oz
- Material: Glass, metal
- Filter Needed: Yes
- Extra Features: Auto shutoff, temperature control
Cuisinart CPO-850 Pour Over Electric Brewer
It’s the perfect mesh between a manual pour-over unit, and an electric drip feed.
You get the high capacity of a drip feed system, but you’re still getting the great taste of pour-over coffee.
Cuisinart’s system mainly shines because of the thermal carafe, which starts keeping your coffee at the perfect temperature from the second it lands inside.
The reflective interior and double wall insulation maintains a good coffee temperature for about forty-five minutes to an hour before quality begins to drop.
Between that and the brewing method, they received an SCAA certification, which meets the quality standards for technical requirements by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
It just means you’re getting something that’s a step-up from the rest. Set it to turn on, let it automatically turn off, and have a field day.
Most of this unit is made out of stainless steel, and while they include a steel brewing basket, you still need to use paper filters.
They provide some of them to you, but they’re oddly shaped and likely only purchasable through Cuisinart in the future.
- Size: Eight-cup unit
- Volume: 64 oz
- Material: Stainless steel
- Filter Needed: Yes
- Extra Features: Thermal carafe, auto on, auto-off
Coffee Gator Pour Over Single Serve Coffee Maker
Last but not least, this is the ultimate compromise between using a single-serve pod system, and you know, actually having a decent cup of coffee.
You can still go through the simple one-two minute process of making pour over coffee, but this way you get to bring it with you no matter where you go.
This is the perfect solution for early morning commuters who don’t have time to mess with a bunch of machines.
The double wall stainless steel insulation provides excellent thermal resistance, so your coffee will retain freshness and a proper temperature for over an hour.
The product says six hours of heat retention, but we both know that the quality drops after about an hour.
It can also hold cold beverages for over twenty hours, so if you’re in the mood for some cold brew, you can set this up in your fridge the night before.
The choice is yours, but either way, you’re in good hands with this simple twenty-ounce unit from Coffee Gator.
- Size: One-cup unit
- Volume: 20 oz
- Material: Stainless steel
- Filter Needed: No (included)
- Extra Features: Thermal properties
Pour Over Coffee Makers FAQ
How to Use Pour Over Coffee Maker?
We’ve all used electric drip feeder coffee makers.
There could even be one on your countertop right now (shh, don’t look at it; it knows you’re going to replace it).
A hand drip coffee maker works entirely differently, and produces a unique flavor that’s a little less calculated, and a lot smoother.
Set up the basin, or the main chamber where your coffee is going to be collected. That’s the main piece that looks like a weird hourglass.
You’ll notice that the center might have a piece of cloth or wood on it (depending on what model you choose).
That’s because you’re going to hold it there when it comes time to pour, provided that there isn’t a separate handle.
You need to heat your water separately in a coffee kettle, and get your grounds ready to go into the filtered basket that will rest on the top of the coffee maker.
We’ll delve deep into actually making it and the importance of doing it right, but that’s the jist of it.
Pour over coffee is faster and less complicated than making a whole pot on a drip feed machine, and doesn’t have the same flavor changes as a percolator.
There’s even single-serve versions of pour over coffee makers so that you don’t have to opt for pods in your Keurig machine.
You won’t be spending as much money on those little plastic tubs of coffee—you’re welcome.
How to Clean a Pour Over Coffee Maker?
Even the best manual coffee maker is going to get dirty, and it’s going to be a chore to clean it. You need a couple of things to clean it properly, especially if you have a glass unit.
First and foremost, get a soft bristle brush. If you can’t find one in the cleaning section of your local store, get a baby bottle brush; that’ll do the trick just fine.
Get some white distilled vinegar, baking soda, and a cotton cleaning cloth.
- Take the soft bristle brush and some soapy water, and gently scrub the entire interior area of your pour over coffee maker. Take a few minutes to rub circles into just about every area, so you can get any and all coffee grease out of the pot.
- Rinse with hot water and inspect. The goal during this step is to get the glass as crystal clear as possible. You may need to go back in with your scrub brush if it’s been a little while since your last cleaning.
- Rinse again until there’s no soap left in the unit. Next, mix baking soda and vinegar together in the glass chamber. Mix in water and whip into a paste, using the bottle brush to coat and scrub the interior. This works to get any residual grease or oil left behind, while completely sanitizing the entire unit.
- Rinse until the smell of vinegar is completely gone (it’s a potent smell). Run some cold water through it one final time, then hang the unit up to air dry.
- Use that cotton cloth to go over the clean, dry glass chamber to remove spots and further inspect the unit. If mistakes were made, this quality assurance check is when they would pop up.
For electric pour over units, you can use the same method for the glass or thermal carafe.
White distilled vinegar and baking soda are completely natural and sanitize just about anything they come into contact with, making them perfect for use in food-safe environments.
Use this method to clean the spray head and tubes of the water chamber as well, just be sure to run water through afterwards to remove the smell and taste.
Why is Pour Over Better?
Many people chock it up to coffee snobs being coffee snobs, but there is a distinct taste difference between drip and pour over coffee.
For one, a pour over brewer usually has a metal and paper filtration system, whereas drip feed units have a couple of pieces of plastic in the way.
That plastic does slightly alter the flavor of your end product. Your pour over brewer has less areas that the water passes through.
Using the best pour over coffee set that works for you will also give you more control over the way your coffee comes out.
The first few times you use a pour over brewer, you might mess up and taint the coffee.
The benefit of a drip system in this instance is more consistency, but that doesn’t mean the coffee is better, it just means it’s structured.
Once you get the hang of using a pour over unit, which only takes about three to five uses, you’ll be able to provide consistency in your morning coffee.
Pour over units don’t require electricity, large amounts of counter space, and are generally made with BPA-free materials.
Not to mention the upfront cost is, on average, cheaper than what it costs to get an electric drip feed coffee maker.
Some of it comes down to preference, and if you can’t tell the taste difference between these two methods, you could roll with whatever you like using.
How Does a Pour Over Coffee Work?
While preference plays a big role here, pour-over coffee is generally better perceived than French press coffee for a few reasons.
Since the grinds aren’t steeping in the hot water for extended periods of time, you don’t get as much of a dark, bold brew.
In a French press, you can use light roast beans and still get extraordinarily strong coffee if you aren’t careful. Pour over systems also leave less dissolved solids in the coffee.
Even though a French press has a filtration system built into the plunger, it does allow more dissolved solids to come through.
These can mimic the consistency of espresso, so depending on what you like, a French press could be a good toss-up between coffee and espresso.
With pour over coffee, it’s easier to control the potency, while reducing your risk of finding floating grinds in your cup.
A French press is designed to push all the grinds down to the bottom, but the rubber ring around the edge often withers, allowing small grinds to escape.
Pour over coffee is more effective in producing smooth coffee.
How do You Make Pour Over Coffee Stronger?
If you have a standard pour over coffee kit that isn’t electric, it’s easy to make pour over coffee stronger. Don’t worry; we’ll provide a solution for both methods.
For manual pour over systems, get your kettle ready with hot water, and pour it over just like you were making a normal cup of coffee.
Don’t put any more grinds in, don’t adjust your settings, just do this. The second the coffee is done, remove the basket and keep the grinds in it.
Pour the coffee into a cup, then replace the basket. Pour the coffee back through the grinds.
There’s a certain amount of surface area on coffee beans, and with pour over coffee, we aren’t always hitting the full amount of surface space.
Drip models that have a designated spray head usually don’t run into this problem, because they’re evenly dispersing water throughout the entire brew basket/layer of coffee grounds.
You could also try evening out your coffee grounds so they are perfectly level before pouring your hot coffee kettle water.
If neither of these options is fixing the problem, gradually increase your amount of grinds for each brewing cycle.
While the most that is recommended is two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water, try upping it to two-and-a-half.
That’s the main bit of advice we would also give to those of you using an electric pour-over system.
Those have a spray head of sorts, so the surface area usually isn’t the issue if the coffee is a bit weak.
You can add more grinds in, but do it slowly so you don’t end up with a bitter brew that you can’t even stomach.
It’s How You Brew It
Take a moment and appreciate the open source brewing method, and take a deep sip of that glorious coffee.
It’s as manual and easy to maintain as it’s going to get, so enjoy the extra money you’ve saved, enjoy the time you’ve spent making your coffee, and never take another sip for granted.
Whether it’s on the camping trip, Sunday mornings, or an afternoon cup in your office, it’s about how you brew it, and how you enjoy it.