Bee House Coffee Dripper
How to Choose a Manual Drip Coffeemaker
In theory, a pour over coffee maker is a simple piece of gear. With no moving parts or advanced technology, these manual brewers don’t have the features or complexity of electric coffee makers. But there’s more here than meets the eye. Especially when you’re looking to find the best pour over coffee maker for you.
Even seemingly subtle changes in design can have an impact on how the brewer works and ultimately, how your coffee tastes. There’s a reason that this coffee maker is so popular with home brewers who love to experiment.
Whether you’re new to brewing or just want to change things up a bit, here are some things to think about before buying a pour over coffee maker.
|Bee House Coffee Dripper||
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|Chemex Classic Series||
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|Melitta Single Cup Pour-Over Brewer||
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|Kalita Wave Stainless Steel||
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|Yitelle Stainless Steel Cone Dripper||
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|Coffee Gator Pour Over Coffee Maker||
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|Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker||
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|Blue Bottle Ceramic Coffee Dripper||
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- 2, 4 cups
- #1 (2 cup), #2 or #4 (4 cup)
- 3, 6, 8, 10 cups
- Chemex filters
- 2, 4 cup
- #2 (small), #4 (large)
- 1-2 cups
- #2 filter
- Stainless steel
- 2, 4 cups
- Kalita filters
- Stainless steel/silicone
- 1-2 cups
- Glass/stainless steel
- 2, 3, 6 cups
- Glass/plastic/stainless steel
- 4, 8, 12 cups
- 1-2 cups
- Blue Bottle filters
Types of pour over coffee makers
Making pour over coffee might be best associated with a standard cone coffee filter, but these brewers actually come in a couple of different shapes. These shapes change the way that the water flows through the brewer, determining both the ease of use and the taste of the coffee (1).
Cone-shaped brewers probably have the steepest learning curve. To evenly saturate the grounds, you’ll need to pour in a spiral motion, letting the coffee drain between pours. It takes a little extra effort, but it does mean you have incredible control over the brew.
Flat bottom or wedge-shaped pour overs are considered more forgiving. The water has a chance to spread through the grounds, smoothing out any inconsistency in how the water is poured.
You’ll also need to decide if you want a standalone dripper or a complete pour over kit. A dripper, which sits on the cup of your choice, can be great for traveling or for making coffee for one. Pour over kits include both the dripper and a carafe, and are generally made for brewing larger batches.
The size of your brewer will often go hand in hand with the type of pour over coffee maker you choose. Stand-alone coffee drippers are more limited in how many cups you can brew at once, with a maximum of around four cups (4 oz each).
For anything more than that, you’ll need to upgrade to something with a built-in carafe and a larger filter. These pour overs can make up to 12 cups, but they’re best for a crowd rather than multiple cups for a few people, as these glass carafes won’t keep your coffee warm. Adding this amount of coffee grounds will change the rate of flow, so you might need to experiment with grind size and your pouring technique.
In your quest for the best pour over, you’ll notice that these coffee makers are made from a few different materials: ceramic, glass, stainless steel, and plastic. Just like the shape, these materials each have their pros and cons and situations that they’re best suited for.
Which materials, then?
Ceramic pour over coffee makers are a popular choice and for good reason. Ceramic is non-reactive, so there’s no chance of it imparting any unwanted flavors in your coffee. It can be slow to come up to temperature, but has excellent heat retention, especially if preheated. Ceramic is breakable, so it’s not so suitable for travel, but it’s not as fragile as glass.
All-glass pour over coffee maker is usually one that includes a carafe. It makes an elegant serving vessel and allows you to monitor the amount of coffee brewed. The downside is that it doesn’t retain heat as well as ceramic, and is the most prone to breaking of all the materials. Look for those made of non-porous borosilicate glass, which has better heat resistance.
Plastic is your best bet if you want to take your coffee maker on the road. Plastic pour overs are lightweight, cheap, and won’t break if you drop them on the floor – though they may break down over time. They come up to temperature quickly but aren’t great at retaining it. Some people also complain that there is a faint plastic taste, and you might have concerns about the chemicals used in the construction. If you do opt for plastic, just make sure you choose a brewer that’s BPA-free.
Stainless-steel pour overs are the most durable option and an excellent choice for the outdoors. Like porcelain, stainless steel is non-reactive and has good heat transference properties. Some stainless steel pour overs work in the way that ceramic brewers do, but others comprise both the cone and the filter, which leads us to…
Your pour over coffee maker provides the hardware for your brew, but in many cases, you’ll need filters to go along with it.
Paper – Paper filters are by far the most common that you’ll encounter. These are designed to be used once only and thrown away with the used coffee grounds after brewing. As well as holding your grounds in place, paper filters also keep all the fines and oils out of your brew – giving it the crisp, clean taste that pour over coffee is known for (2).
Paper filters are available in bleached and unbleached versions and come in different sizes for different capacity brewers.
Among brewers that use paper filters, you’ll find that some models require their own branded filters. While these are tailor-made to get the most out of the coffee maker, they can be more expensive and harder to find.
Permanent stainless steel – An alternative to single-use filters is to buy a coffee maker with a resuable filter. This stainless steel mesh isn’t as fine as paper and will allow more oils and microparticles to flow into your cup for a richer, more full-bodied brew. If you do want to experience a lighter brew from time to time, you can always add a paper filter as well.
Metal filters cut down on the waste that goes along with using paper filters, but it makes cleanup a more involved process. Most of these filters will be dishwasher safe, but they might need some extra scrubbing to unclog the finer grounds.
To get the most out of your pour over coffee’s flavor, you’ll probably need to invest in a few extra items. They’re not all essential, but they’ll take your brewing from hit and miss to something more like science.
Grinder – This is the most essential piece of kit for brewing good pour over coffee. The shape of the coffee maker combined with the grind size is what determines the rate of flow, and how your coffee is extracted (3). With so many different types of brewers, there’s no one grind size that fits all. You could need anything from a medium-coarse to a medium-fine grind, so invest in a good grinder for pour over coffee.
Gooseneck kettle – With a pour over coffee maker, the “pour” is key. Your hot water needs to be added slowly and steadily to the ground coffee, and a regular kettle just won’t cut it. The unique design of a gooseneck kettle makes it easier to control both the rate of flow and the direction of the pour.
Scale – For the most accurate results from the brewing process, both the coffee grounds and the water should be measured by weight and not by volume. You’ll also find this is the case if you start following particular pour over recipes. This not only helps you to experiment with ratios but brewing coffee onto a scale can also help you develop the correct pour technique.
Thermometer – Regardless of the technique you use, coffee beans need to be brewed with the right water temperature, around 195–205 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a workaround for this though – just wait for 30 seconds after the kettle has boiled and you’ll be in the sweet spot.
Best Pour Over Coffee Makers in 2021
Taking into account all of the things above, we’ve rounded up models for all tastes and skill levels. Here’s our pick of the best pour over coffee makers on the market, and why they made the grade.
The learning curve required to make pour over coffee is often what puts people off trying this brewing method, which is what makes the Bee House coffee dripper so good. It might look like many other pour overs, but it’s designed to be incredibly simple to use. The wedge shape and two drip holes help to even out the extraction over the coffee bed, even if your pour isn’t a steady one.
This pour over creates an incredibly crisp cup of coffee that has a well-rounded sweetness and minimal bitterness.Tech Gear Lab
It’s extremely satisfying to get delicious coffee time after time, especially first thing in the morning when you might lack the patience for advanced techniques.
We love that the Bee House works with standard filters. As well as being cheaper to use in the long term, you can pick these filters up at ost grocery stores. It’s available in a much wider range of colors than other drippers (10 at last count), so you can select the perfect look for your kitchen.
Compared to its competitors, you’ll probably find the Bee House dripper smaller than most. Even if you only plan to make one cup at a time, you might want to consider the larger size, as well as checking the diameter of your favorite coffee cup – it will fit only cups with a maximum diameter of 3.75 inches.
The Chemex would have to be one of the most famous pour over coffee makers. Even if you’ve never used one, the all-glass coffee dripper stands out among other models, landing it a place in the Museum of Modern Art.
This pour over was created by a chemist, so the design has a purpose beyond pure aesthetics. The Chemex coffee maker produces a very different brew compared to any other pour over coffee dripper, thanks in part to the special filters required. These thick filters slow down the rate of flow, while at the same time filtering out more of the oils and microparticles. The result is a cup of coffee that’s both very clean, and with a well-developed flavor profile.
That said, the Chemex isn’t for everyone. It’s not particularly forgiving, so you’ll need to put some time in to master the brewing process. It’s also the least portable option on our list. The design that makes it such a nice display piece in your kitchen also makes it both too fragile and too large to travel with.
When is a pour over not a pour over? When it’s a Clever Dripper. This brewer might look like many others you’ve seen, but it has a unique feature that means it behaves more like an immersion coffee maker.
The base of the dripper has a valve that retains the coffee in the cone during the brewing process. This means that the water is in full contact with the coffee grounds, as it would be when using a French press. The strength is determined by the brew time, after which you open the valve, and the brewed coffee flows into your cup.
The benefit to this method is that it makes brewing with the Clever Coffee Dripper a lot easier, particularly if you’re new to pour over. All the water is added at once, so you don’t need to worry about your pouring technique, or investing in a gooseneck kettle. Unlike a French press, you get a sediment-free coffee thanks to the paper filters. This method also separates the grounds from the coffee immediately after brewing, reducing the risk of over extraction (4).
To learn more about how these brewing methods compare, check out our guide to French press vs pour over.
The Clever Coffee Dripper isn’t as cheap as a standard pour over, but it’s light enough to travel with, and filters are readily available. It’s also somewhat versatile – you can use this as a regular pour over by leaving the valve open during the entire brewing process.
This cheap, plastic dripper might not look like much, but in fact, it’s a very important part of coffee history. The Melitta was the first-ever pour over coffee maker, invented in 1908, and the reason that Melitta paper filters continue to be the standard (5). Of course, the original wasn’t plastic, but modern materials make this so much more travel-friendly, durable, and affordable.
The design is a familiar one: a wedge-shaped brewer with a single hole for water flow. The dripper hole is a little smaller than others, which helps to produce a richer brew but can lead to over extraction if you’re not careful.
Plastic does have some downsides, such as the lack of heat retention, but if you’re alright with this, you’d be hard-pressed to make a decent cup of pour over at a better price. This budget model comes in plastic only, but Melitta does make ceramic versions too, as well as brewing kits with ceramic, glass, or thermal carafes.
The Kalita Wave pour over is instantly recognizable for its rippled sides, which give the brewer its name. These waves are designed to reduce the contact between the filter and the dripper, improving both the flow of the coffee and heat retention.
What you can’t see from the side view is that this is a flat-bottom brewer, and at the bottom, you’ll find three drip holes rather than one. These elements help to prevent channeling, meaning a more even extraction regardless of your pouring technique.
Due to the Kalita Wave’s shape, you can only use the brand’s own cupcake style filters, so you’ll need to factor this into the cost. The ridged shape of the filters is vital to the brewing process, so be careful not to flatten them. If you are traveling, they’re best stored inside the Wave itself.
The Japanese coffee dripper does come in other options, including glass, copper, ceramic, and full brew kits with carafe. However, we like the stainless steel version for its easy cleanup and durability. This won’t break, so you can throw it into a backpack for camping, and then put it straight into the dishwasher when you get home.
This handy bit of gear is ideal for anyone who wants a simple option for travel. The Yitelle stainless steel pour over serves as both cone and filter, so there’s no need to buy separate paper filters. This makes it ideal for cutting down on paper waste too.
There are other paperless stainless steel cones on the market, but the Yitelle has a couple of features that makes it stand out from the pack. First is the double mesh filter. This catches more of the finer grounds and ensures that your coffee flows directly to the drip hole at the bottom and doesn’t leak out the sides.
We also like the silicone ring around the base, which prevents it from slipping. This is incredibly useful when you’re brewing outdoors and don’t necessarily have a stable place to put your cup. There’s also a heat-resistant silicone tab on the side of the cone, so you don’t burn your fingers when you’re holding or removing it.
If you do end up brewing with a finer grind of coffee, you might notice that the mesh becomes clogged. If a spin in the dishwasher doesn’t solve the issue, then a quick scrub with the included cleaning brush should do the trick.
Coffee Gator has a reputation for high-quality products with good customer service, so getting its full pour over kit at the same price as a ceramic dripper is a pretty good deal no matter how you look at it. You’ll also save on ongoing costs thanks to the permanent stainless steel mesh filter.
The Coffee Gator paperless pour over coffee maker consists of a glass carafe and a permanent cone-shaped filter, which can be easily removed with the cool-touch silicone grip. You can opt for an all-glass model with a handle for pouring, or a glass with a silicone collar that allows you to grip the carafe around the middle. Both versions are fortunately dishwasher safe.
The stainless steel filter does mean that you’ll get a more full-bodied brew than with other brewers, but you do have the option to add a paper filter if you’re using beans that warrant a crisper finish.
If you’re on a budget or want to travel light, you can buy just the filter cone. This will work in the same way as the Yitelle, but without the stand, you’ll either need to hold it as you brew, or use a cup deep enough to avoid the bottom of the cone sitting in the dripped coffee.
Pour over coffee makers have a somewhat leisurely brewing process that makes them perfect for an indulgent coffee break for one. But with the right coffee maker, you can produce coffee in larger amounts with the same effort required for a single cup.
With models that range up to 12 cups (51 oz), the Bodum pour over coffee maker has got you covered when it comes to brewing for a crowd. The Chemex is also known as a good batch brewer, but the Bodum’s ease of use takes the pressure off if you’ve got guests waiting. The permanent stainless steel filter also eliminates the need to mess around with paper.
This does affect the taste of the coffee, however. Don’t expect the same clean body that you’ll get from the Chemex, even if the two brewers have a similar design. Stainless steel mesh, no matter how fine, is not going to filter out the coffee’s natural oils in the way that paper does. The Bodum pour over is best suited to anyone who wants a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee (or 12).
Blue Bottle is actually best known as a coffee roaster, so when it came time to make its own equipment, you can be sure they took the taste of the resulting brew very seriously. The brand’s ceramic coffee dripper comes after a year of research in conjunction with engineers, as well as expert ceramicists in the Japanese village of Arita where it is produced.
Like the Kalita Wave, the blue Bottle dripper features interior ridges, which keep the water away from the sides and flowing towards the dripper hole. In this case, there’s only a single hole, but it’s not prone to clogging and has a consistently speedy flow rate.
…we’ve found this dripper to outperform other flat-bottom drippers in terms of both taste and consistency of brews.Project Barista
While it might look similar to some other ceramic brewers, the subtle differences in design make it easier to get a great cup of coffee out of the Blue Bottle brewer.
Just as with other brewers that use proprietary filters, you’ll have to think about the cost and availability to decide if it’s worth buying.
Using a manual drip coffee maker is one of the best ways to experiment with variables in coffee brewing. Each model has its own strengths and quirks, but the Bee House coffee dripper ticks a lot of boxes to make it our best pour over coffee maker. It’s easy to use, well priced, and the use of standard filters makes it very accessible. The fact that it looks good doesn’t hurt either.
Cloth filter is a type of reusable filter for pour over coffee makers. These can either be included as part of the brewer, or used in the place of paper filters. The benefits of a cloth filter are mainly to do with reducing waste. Unlike paper filters, which are single-use only, a cloth filter will last around 100 brews before it needs replacing (6). Cloth filters will also produce a different tasting coffee than other filters. The cloth filters out both microparticles and coffee oils, resulting in a clean, sweet cup.
The healthiest way to brew coffee is with any method that uses a filter that will remove the coffee’s oils. People who drink filtered coffee are shown to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Other ways to make your coffee healthier include brewing with high-altitude beans, which are richer in antioxidants (7).
The best beans for pour over brewing are traditionally those with complex flavor profiles, such as single origins and light roasts. The pour over brewing process, especially when using paper filters, can bring out the subtleties in these beans. But don’t be afraid to experiment if you love a darker roast or bolder taste – just make sure you always use freshly roasted beans. For a great place to start you can read our guide to the best coffee beans for pour over.
- Makela, K. (2019, August 8). Filter Basket Shape – Does It Make Difference? Barista Institute Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/karoliina-makela/august-2019/filter-basket-shape-does-it-make-difference
- Oden, G. (n.d.). The Differences Between Paper, Cloth, And Metal Coffee Filters. JavaPresse Coffee Company. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://www.javapresse.com/blogs/enjoying-coffee/paper-cloth-metal-coffee-filters
- Hyslop, J. (2021, September 6). How Grind Size Impacts Pour Over. The Coffee Folk. Retrieved from https://thecoffeefolk.com/pour-over-and-grind-size/
- Immerse Yourself in Coffee Flavor – About Immersion Coffee Brewers. (2014, May 5). Blackout Coffee Co. Retrieved from https://www.blackoutcoffee.com/blogs/the-reading-room/immerse-yourself-in-coffee-flavor-about-immersion-coffee-brewers
- Dempsey, J. (2021, March 5). From yuck to yum: A brief history of pour over coffee, featuring the inimitable Melitta Bentz. Eight Ounce Coffee. Retrieved from https://eightouncecoffee.ca/blogs/news/from-yuck-to-yum-a-brief-history-of-pour-over-coffee-featuring-the-inimitable-melitta-bentz
- Reusable Coffee Filter Care. (2021, February 20). Ware. Retrieved from https://www.wareavl.com/blogs/news/reusable-coffee-filter-care
- Braff, D., & Kennedy, K. R. (2021, August 6). How to Brew the Healthiest Cup of Coffee. EverydayHealth.Com. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/how-to-brew-the-healthiest-cup-of-coffee/
Husband, father and former journalist, I’ve combined my love of writing with my love of coffee to create this site. I love high end products, but write all my content with budget conscious coffee enthusiasts in mind. I prefer light roasts, and my normal brew is some sort of pour over, although my guilty pleasure is the occasional flat white.