Last Updated Jan 2020 – Keurig machines might be convenient, but an electric pour over coffee maker will make much better coffee. Brewing experts will tell you that there are lots of variables that control how good your coffee tastes, including the temperature of the water, the extraction time, and how it’s filtered. The most important variable, however, is how good the coffee itself is.
While you can jury-rig a Keurig with a custom filter to take freshly ground high-quality coffee, it still won’t do quite as good of a job with all of the other factors as an automatic pour over coffee maker.
In this article, we’ll talk about top electric pour over machines, a handful of manual options, and how to get the most out of them. If you want easy, delicious coffee to start your day off, we’ll give you both simple, no-hassle options and more involved setups that give you more control over your brew.
The Best Pour Over Coffee Maker – Starting Off Simple
The Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker isn’t electric, nor is it automatic. Instead, it’s a simple tool that gives you the power to make your pour over coffee the way you want it. Because a machine doesn’t do anything for you, the Bodum gives you the power to pour the right temperature water at the right speed and pattern. This can have a pretty noticeable effect on the coffee that comes out of the permanent filter.
There’s a reason we’re starting out by talking about this coffee maker, and that’s because this is the device all of the electric machines are trying to emulate.
A good electric pour-over coffee maker is essentially doing the same job of this Bodum, except that it pours the water for you. High end electric machines will even have options to change the pattern or the rate at which they pour hot water over the grounds, mimicking the choices that you make when you use this manual machine.
Pour over coffee makers work on a very simple set of principles.
You place carefully ground coffee inside of a filter, get a container of hot water, and pour the water on top of the coffee. The water slowly trickles through the coffee, absorbing lots of flavor, and drips down into the container that you’ve placed below.
A manual pour-over setup has just a few parts. It’s got a container to catch the finished coffee, a funnel to hold the filter, and a contraption to keep them together. There’s not a lot else.
The Bodum coffee maker does a good job of providing you with high-quality parts that cover all three roles without charging you a lot. You’ll find some other brands that make coffee makers that are functionally very similar while being two or three times as expensive.
The most important part of all of this is the funnel for the filter. Bodum has effectively killed two birds with one filter basket by including a filter of stainless steel mesh that can be used again and again. This enables you to skip a paper filter entirely, which is good for the environment, your budget, and even your time, since serious coffee enthusiasts will often spend a few seconds washing their filters before they begin. It’s a nice, subtle improvement over many competing models.
While this means you theoretically can’t use a super fine grind, that’s not normally a thing you want to do with a pour-over machine anyway. Pour over coffee relies on careful control of your grind to ensure that the water drips through the coffee at just the right rate. If you do want to go nuts and experiment with some finely ground coffee, simply place a paper filter on top of the built-in mesh.
The other components are simple, durable, and efficient.
The carafe is made out of the same stuff that’s in Pyrex, giving you a crystal-clear look at your coffee while boasting impressive heat resistance. The funnel is built right into the top, ensuring you’ll never lose anything. A small beak helps you pour coffee accurately without any spillage, and a collar of heat-resistant material keeps your hand safe while you pour.
Overall, this device does a great job of scratching your pour-over itch, although you’ll have to do the pouring manually. It’s cheap, effective, and can produce some incredibly high quality coffee. If you’d like that coffee to be made for you, however, you’ll want one of the automated pour over machines below.
Pour Over Coffee Machines – Automating Things Right
The GCM4900 automated pour-over brewer tries to mimic the functionality of the manual-style pour-over coffee maker while adding convenience. While it’s slightly small as far as mechanized coffee machines go, it’s able to create two or four cups of perfect pour-over coffee at the touch of a button. This means you can set it up, walk away, and come back to incredibly well-extracted flavors in your cup.
The primary innovation of the GCM4900 is the way it pours water. Rather than having a fixed spigot that mindlessly drowns your coffee grounds in water, it’s got a special rotating nozzle that reproduces manual pour-over techniques.
It’ll even bloom your grounds for you before it goes into full brewing mode. If you’re not familiar with this technique, it involves getting your coffee grounds wet and hot for about thirty seconds before you start pouring water over them full speed. This helps to wake up your grounds and lets them release more flavor into your coffee.
Real pour over technique takes a while.
While an old-school drip coffee maker can bang out a pot at lightning speed, performing a pour-over pour by hand can take upwards of 3 minutes per cup. The Gourmia doesn’t try to rush this. Instead, it maintains a slow, measured pace that ensures proper extraction. Not only does this save you twelve minutes of slowly pouring hot water into a funnel to make four cups of coffee, it also gives you coffee that’s very comparable in quality to something hand-poured by a barista.
One of the best parts of this machine is how flawless its technique is. When you’re making pour over coffee yourself, you might not know the correct rate at which to pour the water. Even if you do, you might get bored, or your arm might get tired, or you might misjudge the angle of your kettle and put in too much or too little water.
The GCM4900 does not have these flaws. It performs the same carefully programmed pouring pattern each time, ensuring that it makes consistent (and splendid) coffee. This means that in many households, this Gourmia might actually make better pour-over coffee than the stuff you make by hand.
There’s only one big downside to the GCM4900, at least as far as coffee nuts are concerned. While Gourmia has elected to use a steel reservoir and a glass carafe, there’s plastic tubing inside the machine that takes the water from the reservoir to the pouring apparatus.
Some people think that hot water and plastic don’t mix, since the water will pick up plastic particles and deposit them in your coffee. This notion is not without merit, certainly, but my palate is not sophisticated enough to detect any traces of plastic in the coffee that this machine makes. In any case, it’s very difficult to find any coffee makers without this flaw, and the amount of plastic tubing is small enough that I feel comfortable overlooking this flaw.
If you’re after a machine that can replicate a hand-poured cup of pour over coffee, the Gourmia GCM4900 is a great choice. It’ll save you lots of time in the morning (or afternoon) by making cups of delicately poured coffee with its perfect automated technique. The Gourmia is affordable, comes with a wonderful glass carafe that you can use to make coffee by hand, and looks quite stylish on your countertop. It’s a wonderful machine that won’t let you down.
While the Cuisinart CPO-850 might lack the special rotating nozzle that’s found in the Gourmia above, it’s got a number of other advantages that more than make up for this omission. Designed to earn the recommendation of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, this automatic pour-over machine has multiple water temperatures and different pour modes to help you get the most out of your grounds.
Serious coffee lovers love numbers, almost as much as they love coffee.
This is because numbers allow them to brew the best coffee reliably. Each strain of coffee has its own ideal brewing time and brewing temperature. Coffee lovers can look up the “correct” numbers for the type of coffee they’re making and ensure that they use the right combination of water, temperature, and time to extract lots of coffee flavor without causing unnecessary bitterness. Experienced coffee lovers will even modify these numbers based on their own personal tastes.
While the Gourmia above might pour in perfect circles, it can’t change the rate at which it pours. It also can’t change the temperature of the water. These are two of the most important numbers to pay attention to when it comes to brewing a flavorful, sweet, and delicious cup of coffee.
This Cuisinart, by contrast, has two temperature settings and three brew modes. This might not sound like a lot, but it really helps when it comes to customizing your coffee to be less bitter or more flavorful.
The other big advantage of this Cuisinart machine is the size. The Gourmia above makes a mere 4 cups before filling the carafe. The CPO-850 makes 8. This is a pretty big upgrade for people who drink lots of coffee or people with full households. Even if 8 cups of coffee is too much for you right now, you can always make less!
Cuisinart’s design team did an amazing job with this automated pour-over coffee maker. Like the Gourmia, it produces coffee that can win taste tests against the stuff you pour yourself. It seems to pour quite fast when compared to hand-poured coffee, taking only a few minutes to fill a carafe. This means that you don’t just get high-quality coffee with less work – you also get it faster.
I mentioned plastic tubing as a downside in the Gourmia above. If you’re the sort of person that avoids that sort of thing, you’ll definitely want to steer clear of this Cuisinart. Not only is the tubing plastic, the reservoir is plastic as well, meaning your heated water will be literally sitting in a plastic tub.
Again, most people think that you’ll be fine as long as you clean out your coffee machine every once in a while, but it’s worth noting that there are some people who say they can taste a difference.
The Cuisinart CPO-850 is perfect for people who like more options with their coffee as well as people who like more coffee. The increased capacity and additional brewing options help give it an edge over the Gourmia where control and quantity matter. It’s a great addition to any household that wants to compete with the local barista by making incredibly high quality coffee with their very own automatic pour-over coffee machine.
How To Use A Pour Over Coffee Maker – Tips For Delicious Java
The benefits of pour over coffee mostly stem from the fact that you’re in control of all the variables. You can control the temperature of the water, the amount of water you use, the rate at which you pour, the grind of your coffee, and the type of coffee you use.
The most important tip for making manual pour over coffee is to keep a journal and write down what combination of variables you use for each cup. Record how much you like the cup and gradually build up your journal over time. After a few days, you’ll get a feel for how you should be doing things to make the cup of coffee that’s perfect for you.
In order to get you started, here’s a quick rundown of how I like to make pour-over coffee.
1. Begin heating water to your desired temperature, often just short of boiling (about 200 F).
2. Grind your beans of choice. It’s okay to use pre-ground beans, but you’ll get coffee that tastes worse. Think of coffee beans like eggs. When you break them, all of the flavor starts to spill out. By grinding your coffee and using it immediately, the flavor hasn’t had time to dry out. Start with a coarse grind if you’re unsure on what kind of grind to use.
3. Pour a bit of hot water through your filter and into your cup (or carafe). Swirl it around and then dump it out. This warms everything up (which keeps your temperatures more even), ensures that everything is clean, and helps ensure that your filter doesn’t affect the flavor of your coffee.
4. Assemble your coffee grounds in your filter. If you’re not used to making “serious” coffee you might be surprised at how much you should use – it’s something like two scoops per cup from a normal sized coffee scoop. A lot of people use less, of course, but you should know that the “recommended” amount is quite a lot.
5. Pour just enough water over the coffee grounds to get them wet. This is called “blooming” the coffee. It’ll warm the grounds up and start the process of releasing aromatic flavors. After you can see the coffee grounds puff up and they smell wonderful (usually about thirty seconds afterwards), it’s time to start your pour.
6. Gradually cover the coffee grounds in water and then stop pouring. Once the water level starts to recede, do this again. It’s a multi-step process that’s more akin to a pulse than a continuous stream.
You don’t want the water level very high over the grounds, since then water will simply flow out of the sides of the filter without encountering coffee, and you don’t want water to be too far below the top of the grounds, either, because you want to make as much coffee as possible. Try to pour in a circular pattern to evenly put water on top of all of your coffee grounds.
7. If you’re using a carafe, stop when it’s fairly close to full. If you’re using a single cup, on the other hand, you might want to measure your water to ensure you don’t spill any. The filter and coffee grounds will harbor deceptively large amounts of water, meaning you’ll probably overfill your mug a few times.
One simple trick to combat this: simply pull out the mug you want to drink from and put something else below your filter.
Incredible Coffee With Incredible Convenience
Pour over coffee is like normal coffee, but better. Having more control over every step of the process allows baristas and coffee enthusiasts to deliver a superior cup of coffee that’s positively bursting with flavor. While pour over setups (like the Boudum above) aren’t too difficult to get going, they take a lot of time, knowledge, and attention to use.
That’s where automatic pour over coffee makers come in. Both the Gourmia and the Cuisinart above can produce multiple cups of near-perfect pour over coffee at the touch of a button. By relegating the task of pouring water to a machine, you can skip out on most of the drudgery and still get a cup (or eight) of perfect coffee to enjoy. It’s a win win situation for any coffee lover!