Manual Mud: The 9 Best Pour Over Coffee Makers

When it came to pass that electricity could be pumped into every home, the first thing we did (being rational human beings) was to throw away our manual coffee makers and seek out electric percolators in order to stop the morning shakes. With just the press of a button, we could now have fresh, hot coffee, so why would we ever go back to the old ways? Well, many have found that pour over coffee makers and other manual methods give more control and offer a better flavor than automated brewing.

A good coffee maker is a simple system. You boil water and then, as the name implies, pour it over your coffee grounds to get your cup of joe. That’s all there is to it. Often the best ones are the ones you design yourself since those can have whatever style you need. A good one basically just holds the grounds in place, doesn’t leak, doesn’t adulterate your brew with its own flavors, and has the right capacity for your needs. If you aren’t feeling crafty and making one yourself, we have the 9 best pour over coffee makers to buy.

Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer

Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer

Pro: Easy to clean
Con: Carafe does not pour clean

Starter Set: You’re not an early adopter and you aren’t quite sure whether or not it’s time to ditch the drip coffee maker and fall in with the refined pour-over crowd. Well, spend a little more than a sawbuck and you can give this a test drive. A BPA-free cone, 30 oz. carafe, filters, and scoop are all included in the package providing everything you need. It isn’t fancy, but with everything easily rinsable to prevent chemical buildup, you’ll be able to get on the bandwagon without creating new headaches for yourself. [Purchase: $11]

Hario V60

Hario V60

Pro: Thinnest filters on the market
Con: Unforgiving of operator error

Even Extractor: Cone shaped coffee makers often tend to do all of their extracting down at the bottom, which means you end up with some grounds being tapped out while others are barely touched. The V60 doesn’t cotton to this and instead uses a ringed cone that keeps the filter away from the sides for a more even extraction that works on the edges as well as the bottom. Complicated coffees with a lot of flavors really pop employing this method, and the extremely thin filters that go along with the V60 help keep paper tastes from interfering. Just be sure you know the best way to use it or prepare for a weak, watery, unsatisfying brew. [Purchase: $15]

Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper

Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper

Pro: Easy to use
Con: Fragile

Lone Ranger: Forget about brewing up a family-sized carafe when all you need is a cup. The forgiving Bee House dripper fits right over the top of your favorite mug. Add hot water and you’ve now got a single-cup coffee maker that is hundreds less than mechanical options. You don’t need a special pouring style to get great flavor, and this little pup can use coarse or fine grounds with equal efficacy. As your pour-fu improves, so too will your brew, but beginners will have the best luck getting a decent cup right out of the gate. [Purchase: $18]

Kalita Wave Dripper

Kalita Wave Dripper

Pro: High flavor extraction
Con: Filters are costly and usually require special ordering

Completely Consistent: Caffeine deprivation can cause all kinds of shakes, which can affect your pouring style and grossly alter the end product when using a one of these coffee makers. To combat this, the Wave has a kindly extraction method that gives you repeated results even when your hangover is keeping you from a perfect pour. The key is not in the device but rather the proprietary filters with their specially ridged system. Expensive and hard to find, true, but also better for capturing every nuanced flavor of your roast with each cup. [Purchase: $20]

Clever Coffee Maker

Clever Coffee Maker

Pro: Tough to break
Con: Does not separate flavors well

Foolproof: Does your palette detect the difference between a northern French roast and a gauche southern blend? Then don’t get the Clever Coffee Maker. This is intended for strength and simplicity over sophistication. You’re not going to capture the hint of fruity zest or whatever nonsense someone put into your precious grounds. Instead, you’re going to be able to pour-and-forget with this model. Made of BPA-free plastic and a nice 18 oz. in size, this is so damn easy and rugged that it could be your camping coffee maker or favorite travel companion. [Purchase: $22]

Hario Drip Pot

Hario Drip Pot

Pro: Clean flavor
Con: Non-disposable filters require more maintenance

The Elegant Option: Rather than using pedestrian paper filters, the Drip Pot (aka Woodneck) uses a cloth bag suspended by a wire frame. This style keeps it away from the sides entirely and provides a more polished cup without the risk of papery taste ruining your roast. Fine grinds work best in the Drip Pot with complex, layered flavors coming through loud and proud. You’ll need a little more patience to use this properly but the results are nothing short of astounding. The overall use is not dissimilar from a cold brew coffee maker and can create a rich, mellow blend that works iced as easily as hot. [Purchase: $24]

Chemex Classic Series

Chemex Classic Series

Pro: Reduces oil
Con: Slow brew time

Options Abound: Forget that this glass decanter looks more like a showpiece than a coffee maker. With sizes ranging from 3 to 10 cups, you’ll be able to easily find the right choice for your household needs. Using thicker filters, the flavor is extremely clean, reducing oils to the bare minimum and highlighting the lighter, higher flavors of beans with sweet overtones. Movement is slower through the process giving the saturation phase more time to draw out every savory hint and hidden wonder. It’s fairly forgiving of impatient pours, but prep and brew times are both extended. [Purchase: $45]

Walkure Bayreuth Kaffeemaschine

Walkure Bayreuth Kaffeemaschine

Pro: Dispersion plate
Con: Lengthy, involved setup

Premium Blend: German engineered, the Bayreuth has a shallow bed in which the grounds lie for more exposed surface area and deeper extraction. A dispersion plate helps move water evenly over the grounds to undercut operator error and irregular pouring. Made entirely of porcelain you’ll find better heat retention than any other brewing method so that when it’s ready, no reheating is required. Cleaning is simple, but setup takes a lot of practice as you rinse and find the ideal temperature for your particular mix. A lack of transparency means practice and the occasional peek are key to learning to pour properly. [Purchase: $105]

Poppy Pour-Over

Poppy Pour-Over

Pro: Automatic
Con: Simulated pour-over brewing

Coming Soon: Unwilling to sacrifice the convenience of a drip coffee maker just to get the superior flavor and versatility of a pour-over model? Then rest your lazy bones with the Poppy Pour-Over. All the slothful features you could possibly want from a standard machine with a pour-over state of mind. A built-in burr grinder ensures freshness, a 50 oz. reservoir keeps your water ready to go, and an app complete with timer ensures you can hit the snooze again and again. Change the water temperature, brew time, grind size, and other variables with a tap and a swipe on your tablet or smartphone. [Purchase]

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