Why Use A Pour-Over Coffee Maker? (Simple Explanation)
Coffee drinkers have a lot of options when it comes to coffee makers.
Some want the convenience of an automatic drip machine while others enjoy the ritualistic process of brewing with a pour-over brewer.
If you’re looking for more flavor from your morning brew, then using a pour-over coffee maker is perfect for you! Read on to learn more about how these brewers work and why they’re worth trying out.
What is the point of pour over coffee?
The point of pour-over coffee is to control the brewing time, water temperature, and pour rate for a more balanced and flavorful cup. It’s also much cheaper than buying a high-end automatic brewing machine.
Many people feel that pour-over coffees taste better than other brewing methods because they can control the water flow. That helps you expose all coffee grounds to the same amount of water; otherwise, some will be under-extracted and weak whereas others get over-extracted and harsh.
With some practice, making pour-over coffee becomes incredibly satisfying for some aficionados because they see them as an opportunity not just to drink good coffee but also to be involved in the process of making beans taste great.
Is pour-over coffee the same as drip?
Pour-over coffee and drip both pass water through beans suspended in a filter (usually paper, but sometimes metal). The difference is that drip uses a machine to pour the water, whereas pour-over uses manual control with a kettle.
In other words, they’re just automated versus manual ways of achieving the same thing.
One subtler difference is cheap drip makers usually spray all the water in one place and don’t have any flow rate settings. That makes truly even extraction impossible.
High-end drip coffee makers do a good job of dispersing water evenly, and some even let you change the flow rate/pattern. But they’re quite a bit costlier than a simple pour-over cone and kettle.
Is a pour over coffee maker worth it?
A pour over coffee maker is worth it if you enjoy the process of making coffee as much as you enjoy the result. If you want a great filter brew without much hands-on effort, then consider a high-end automatic coffee maker instead.
They’re costlier, but they’re the easiest way to get a nice cup. They’re also great for larger batches.
However, all methods will give better results if you understand a) how extraction works and b) how to adjust it. Whether that’s by changing your grind size, your pouring technique, or your drip maker settings, it all involves the same principles.
Ultimately, you can think of drip coffee as a habit and pour-over as a habit with a hobby attached. I enjoy the hobby aspect, which makes pour-over brewing worthwhile and satisfying.
Is pour over coffee expensive?
Pour-over coffee is relatively expensive to buy at a coffee shop. That’s for two reasons. First, it’s manual and small-scale, so each serving takes much more labor compared to automatic brews. Second, it’s usually reserved for special (i.e., expensive) coffee beans that aren’t sold in large enough quantities to justify a batch brew.
But at home, pour-over coffee is not expensive at all. In fact, a decent kettle and pour-over dripper cost much less than a decent drip brewer…and far less than an espresso machine!
Is pour over coffee better than espresso?
It depends on what you mean by “better” since they’re fundamentally different methods. The high-pressure process for espresso yields an extremely concentrated shot, so it’s better when diluted in milk drinks (like a cappuccino or latte).
Pour-over coffee is much lighter and thinner in body, so you can detect more nuances, but the overall flavor isn’t as potent.
However, pour-over is far better in terms of cost and convenience. Espresso requires expensive, complex equipment…and that equipment also requires maintenance. Pour-over brewing is analog and portable.
Can you use any beans for pour over coffee?
Yes, but they won’t all taste good. It’s important to buy whole beans, no more than a few weeks after roasting (but ideally a few days). Grind them just before brewing, using a quality grinder. That keeps the flavor from deteriorating and encourages even, balanced extraction.
I find medium and light roasts work best with pour-over (and drip), whereas darker roasts may taste smoother with immersion brewing, such as French press or AeroPress.
It’s entirely possible to brew great dark roasts with pour-over, too. But it can be tricky to find a grind that’s coarse enough to prevent over-extraction, but fine enough that the water doesn’t pass through too quickly.
Conclusion: the point of pour-over
Pour-over brewing makes it easier to control all the brewing parameters without fancy equipment. This lets you produce nuanced, balanced coffee—and perhaps enjoy the process!
Keep in mind that pour-over and drip coffee are fundamentally the same thing: they drip water onto coffee grounds that are held in a filter. But pour-over is manual (more control, more work) whereas drip is automatic (less control, less work).
The main limitation of pour-over is that larger batches—perhaps more than 4 servings—may require multiple batches.