The Hario V60: A versatile ceramic pour-over maker at a fraction of 25$leq$ 25 $le$ 5$oz
If you’ve been wanting to give pour-over coffee a try without making a huge investment, at less than $25, the handsome Hario V60 is a nice option. Able to brew up to 10 ounces at a time, this cone-shaped ceramic dripper features spiral ribs that allow more room for the coffee grounds to expand. It includes one large hole, which means the speed at which you pour your water will affect the flavor more than the Kalita.
To help determine which pour-over maker you should add to your coffee-making routine, we rounded up eight highly rated and reviewed models to put through the wringer. We tested six flat-bottom- and cone-shaped versions and two larger all-in-one carafe-style designs, ranging in price from about $14 to $50. They varied in materials and coffee production, whether it was with a single pour or a series of filters.
With three drip holes, the Kalita Wave enables more easily and evenly saturated coffee grounds. A rich and robust single cup of coffee was produced by the maker which was easy to clean.
It took just 2 12 minutes from our first pour of water to brew our coffee, until the last cup came out of our mug. All the while, the temperature of the brew stayed nice and hot ( at 160.5 degrees), topped only by the Chemex in heat retention. Setting up the Kalita is as simple as removing it from its box and giving it a soapy rinse.
The Melitta pour-over dripper: Fast, inexpensive, see-through plastic cups for brewing hot and cooled coffee and filters
For those looking to just dip their toes in the pour-over coffee pool, Melitta’s inexpensive, easy-to-use plastic cone-shaped version is a great starter option. It is available in black or red and has a clever design that allows you to see into the cup during the brew process. Producing drip coffee and filters since 1908, Melitta’s dripper gets high ratings on Amazon with reviewers praising it for being dishwasher safe, lightweight and allowing you to see into the cup. Where it falters for us, though, is the plastic build, which makes it feel far less sturdy than glass or ceramic models, causing us to stress out that it would tip over while pouring our hot water. The coffee flavor was not as strong as it could have been and it did not impress us.
The OXO brew’s plastic tank holds up to 12 ounces of water, and is clearly marked with lines. There is no need to worry about getting the swirl just right in order to allow enough time for the grounds to bloom and settle.
This well-made coffeemaker makes coffee that is light, delicious and strong. The all-in-one model is a great alternative for a couple or small group, it can brew up to eight cups at a time.
Quality of brew: We noted how the coffee tasted after being brewed, including whether it was overly bitter or weak, if flavors or acidity existed that shouldn’t be there, and whether too much — or not enough — heat impacted its taste.
It all looks simple but it takes practice, experimenting and additional tools to perfect pour-over, which is much smaller than a cereal bowl.
We use an electric tea kettle, but many experts recommend a long- neck version for better control. You can, of course, use pre-ground coffee beans, but for the best, freshest flavor, you’ll want to use a burr grinder (we used the Breville Virtuoso) on whole beans right before you’re ready to start. If your grinder doesn’t feature a built-in measuring system, you’ll need a digital kitchen scale to control the amount of grounds used. If you are not sure if you are using enough or too little water to brew your cup, you may need a glass measuring cup.
The National Coffee Association recommends serving fresh coffee at 180 to 185 degrees, while a study in the National Library of Medicine suggests 140 degrees, plus or minus 15 degrees, to be the ideal temperature for drinking coffee. And, finally, we sampled each brew, drinking the coffee black and noting its taste, intensity and whether any extra flavors showed up that shouldn’t be there.
We didn’t notice much of a difference in heat temperature among the models. The Chemex was hottest, but the others were all in the same range. They took about two minutes to brew, not including the two larger-capacity carafes.
First, the things we like about this inexpensive option: With a wide base, it fits nicely on oversized coffee mugs. The stainless steel mesh, cone-shaped design means there’s no need to buy paper filters. It takes just over two minutes for it to brew some of the hottest coffee from the drippers we tested. It is dishwasher safe and comes with a handy cleaning brush and a spoon as well as a lifetime warranty.
We looked at the criteria for whether or not a paper filter was needed, the criteria for when a paper filter was required, and the criteria for if it was specific to the model. The availability of those specific filters was also looked at.
It’s brew time. We pulled up our stopwatch app to keep track of how long it took to brew the coffee from the first pour to the last drip, with shorter brew times scoring more points.
Before starting work on a machine, we looked at how easy it was to use, including whether the design was easy to understand or if any additional steps were needed.
For this category, we mentioned how easy or hard it was to set up each coffee machine, whether its parts felt sturdy or weak, or if standard use could cause damage to the parts.
Build quality: We observed the materials each brewer was constructed of — metal, plastic, ceramic/porcelain — and how those materials affected the brew.
Like the Hario, the Bee House, also made in Japan, is elegant in white ceramic (and also comes in blue, brown and red). It features holes in the base that let you see how much coffee has been prepared without lifting it from your cup. When it was placed on top of a wide-mouthed mug, it didn’t work well because of the oblong bottom.
The Bodum pour-over carafe: A high-quality, low-sustaining, all-in-one coffee
The coffee it produced, meanwhile, ranked high among those tested, resulting in a nice, clear and light flavor that was not at all bitter and had a good mouthfeel. We also appreciated that it doesn’t require its own special filters and can be used with Melitta No. 2 filters (you can get 600 filters for about $20 on Amazon and find them in most supermarkets). We tried a cloth filter and found it did a great job for those that hate filters.
Available in sizes ranging from 12 to 51 ounces and three colors, we opted for the 34-ounce all-in-one pour-over carafe from Bodum. The Bodum is similar in design to Chemex and at half the price, but it has astainless steel mesh filter. In the long run it will save you money on paper filters, but when it comes to flavor it will probably cost you more than that. We found the stainless steel filters allow small amounts of sediment to seep through into the coffee, causing cloudiness and a slightly bitter taste. The coffee was also on the low end when it came to heat, which means a second cup is almost too cold to drink. Bodum offers a limited warranty on its product, but glass is not covered, which makes it useless. The collar is easy to remove and the whole thing is dishwasher safe. Four cups can be made in about four minutes with it.
But when you get down to it, your coffee’s taste is what really matters and we found not only little bits of grounds in the bottom of our cup, but also a cloudiness and bitterness that canceled out all the good.
The Hario V60 One Pour Dripper Mugen: Instant Pouring of Water over Coffee-Hot Grounds and Drip-Assist
I had asked Hario to let me borrow one of its newer pour over products, including the Mugen and the Switch, as well as the V60 drippers.
The V60 is one of the classics of coffeedom, a ribbed cone with a large intimidating hole in the bottom and a platform for it to sit atop a brewing vessel. The V60 has a unique conical shape. The Mugen—formally known as the V60 One Pour Dripper Mugen—gets its name from a word that my Japanese-literature-professor buddy Ted tells me refers to a concept of infinity or boundlessness. It looks similar to the V60 from the outside, but with less ribbing on the interior wall. This design allows you to pour in a stream quickly but still give the grounds plenty of time to get wet. The Drip-Assist is an accessory that sits on top of a dripper and has sets of holes in two concentric rings, making it easier for beginners to get a more consistent pour. The V60 is a similar device, but with a separator in the bottom that turns the water flow on and off.
Knowing I’d soon speak with some experts, I focused on getting the hang of the V60, using instructions from Jessica Easto’s excellent book, Craft Coffee. I slowly poured water over the grounds, taking time to saturate them and pour in circles to make sure the water flowed uniformly through them. I drained most of the water from the grounds in about three and a half minutes. There are thousands of methods for using a V60, and like Easto’s, most of them are slow, meticulous, and pleasingly meditative. It is neither fast nor convenient. When I poured, I always had her instructions in front of me. in that first cup of French roast, which was strong, smooth, and smoky.
I still had plenty to learn. It would not be the way I’d brew it on mornings if I did not like the idea of pour-over as my contemplative afternoon brew.
I tried it with everything from the high-end beans of Café Con Cé in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Costco Columbian, and the results were always surprisingly good. My preferred method is French press, but pour-over gave similarly excellent results without the sediment or messy cleanup.