- Pour-over coffee allows you to brew an excellent cup of coffee with precision — and all it takes is a bit of know-how and a few pieces of gear.
- We've rounded up the very best gear you can buy to brew a perfect pour-over cup at home, including a pour-over cone, a glass server, a gooseneck kettle, a cone and carafe combo, and a scale with a timer.
Some baristas and coffee enthusiasts make the pour-over method look painstaking, but it's actually quite easy once you get the steps down. It does require more attention than a drip maker, but this is actually the main benefit of the pour-over cone. It gives you control over all variables of the extraction process, letting you adjust everything from the water temperature to the pour (a good gooseneck kettle is ideal for this) so you can tweak your routine to suit your palate.
A few buying notes: When looking for a good pour-over cone, stay away from plastic. Even "BPA-free" plastic is likely unsafe when exposed to high temperatures. And while the pour-over method is generally easy to do, some makers are more newbie-friendly than others, and some use unique filters that can be hard to find locally (the highly popular and oft-recommended Hario V60, while a solid cone, can be very fussy and uses proprietary filters). Our recommendations are dead-simple to operate and don't use expensive or hard-to-find filters.
All you need to make a cup of pour-over coffee is your cone (which can sit right on the rim of your cup), a filter, some grounds, a mug, and hot water. However, if you're serious about your coffee, then you're going to want some other gear to complete your pour-over kit, so we've also picked out a few must-have accessories as well as a handy two-in-one cone/carafe combo as an alternative to our top pick.
Here is the best pour-over coffee gear:
- Best pour-over cone: Kalita Ceramic Coffee Dripper
- Best pour-over coffee server: Hario V60 Glass Server
- Best pour-over cone and carafe combo: Bodum Pour-Over Coffee Maker With Permanent Filter
- Best pour-over kettle: Fino Pour-Over Coffee Kettle
- Best digital scale and timer: Cozy Blue Digital Coffee Scale with Timer
Prices and links are current as of 7/17/20. We replaced our pick for the best digital scale because our previous pick went out of stock. We also streamlined our slide of related buying guides.
The best pour-over cone
Kalita might be the unsung hero of pour-over coffee making, and it's much easier to make a great cup of flavorful, well-extracted coffee with it.
When you're on the hunt for a good pour-over cone, there are a few things you want to focus on: materials, ease of use, filtration system, and extraction quality. Our recommendation: Avoid plastic altogether (yes, even the "BPA-free" stuff) as it can leach unwanted compounds into your drink, especially when heated. Lead-free ceramic and glass, on the other hand, are totally safe and will deliver a clean-tasting cup of coffee.
You'll also want something that's easy to use. Cone drippers may seem like a no-brainer, but some — most notably the well-known Hario V60 — can be surprisingly fussy, requiring a lot of babysitting during the extraction process. This is a hindrance, especially in the morning before you're had your cup of caffeine. Some drip cones also use unique filters that can't be found in stores and must be ordered online, which can become an expensive and unnecessary hassle.
Proper extraction is easily the most important factor for good-tasting coffee, and pour-over coffeemakers are not all created equal when it comes to teasing out those hidden flavors. Some drip more cleanly than others and some extract more evenly. There are a handful of excellent and highly regarded pour-over cones available today, but the one that meets all of our criteria for excellence is the Kalita 102.
This hidden gem is made in Japan of thick and sturdy glazed ceramic. It's comparatively heavy, and if you've ever handled other glass or ceramic drip cones like the Hario V60, then the Kalita 102 will make those feel anemic. It's got three drip holes at the bottom (compared to the one or two drip holes found on similar cones) and shallow ridges in the cone's walls that help to deliver full, even extraction, and it uses standard Melitta-style paper cone filters which you can find at your local store.
I've been using the Kalita 102 for a couple years now, having replaced my old Melitta cones after deciding to ban plastic from my kitchen. It couldn't be easier to use and produces a great-tasting cup of coffee without me having to sit there and fuss over it.
The three holes in the bottom do lead to a quicker extraction time, but this is easily mitigated by using a finer grind which will slow the water down a bit if you feel it's necessary.
Pros: It's easy to use without requiring too much attention, it does a fine job of extracting flavors from your coffee, it's thicker and sturdier than other cones, it's made in Japan of lead-free ceramic, and it uses standard cone filters that are inexpensive and easy to find
Cons: No cutaway "viewing window" in the bottom of the cone to monitor the mug's fill level
The best pour-over coffee server
If you prefer to make a full pot of coffee at once, then a good carafe like the Japanese-made Hario V60 glass server is a great solution.
Pour-over cones are typically used to make a single cup of coffee at a time. You place the cone on top of your mug and filter the extracted coffee right into the cup, using a new filter each time. If you're like me (or any other coffee lover), however, you probably make more than one cup in the morning, and a small carafe is nice to have so you can make a whole pot at once, save some time, and reduce paper waste.
Carafes aren't exactly high-end items or alien technology and all you really need is something that's well-made and works for your needs. Almost every popular pour-over coffeemaker brand offers its own server, and admittedly, they're all pretty similar. Our pick is the Japanese-made Hario V60 owing to its clean-pouring design, nice handle, various size options, and low price.
Most pour-over cones have wide bases that will fit on top of the carafe so you can make your coffee right into it, but I also regularly use the V60 server when I make a full pot of French press coffee. The Hario V60 glass server is both microwave- and stovetop-save so you can heat up your coffee or keep it warm, and I like to fill it up during or after brewing (depending on which method I'm using that morning) and place the carafe on the burner at the lowest heat setting to keep the coffee hot.
The V60 has a comfortable D-shaped handle that feels very secure and shields your fingers from the hot glass. It also comes in three sizes: 12, 20, and 27 ounces, with measurements printed on the side of the glass. They're in metric, but cup delineations are also shown, with one "coffee cup" measuring four ounces. Two or three of these "cups" will likely fill larger American mugs. If you regularly enjoy making two or three mugs of coffee at a time, then the 27-ounce (800-milliliter) size is the one I recommend.
One drawback with the V60 carafe's design is that the lid is made of plastic so that it can "flex" to securely snap into the opening at the top. This is hardly a deal-breaker and there's an easy fix: Just remove the lid before pouring so your hot coffee doesn't come into contact with the plastic.
Pros: It's made in Japan, it's microwave- and stovetop-safe, it has a secure and safe handle design, it pours cleanly, and handy cup and milliliter measurements are printed on the glass
Cons: It can be tricky to get larger hands through the narrow opening to clean the inside
The best two-in-one pour-over cone and carafe combo
For a two-in-one drip cone and server, look no further than the Bodum pour-over carafe that combines two of your most important coffee making tools into one beautifully designed package.
If you pretty much always make multiple cups of coffee at a time and want to dispense with the separate cone and carafe altogether, then a two-in-one pour-over system might be a better option for your personal setup. This design combines a drip cone and a glass serving pot with a wood, cork, or plastic sleeve wrapped around the neck of the carafe for safe and easy handling.
Chemex makes a very popular pour-over carafe, but it's a bit expensive and requires its own proprietary filters which can be hard to find in stores, something that might defeat the purpose of opting for a "hassle-free" two-in-one coffeemaker in the first place. Our recommendation is the Bodum pour-over coffeemaker, a great (and cheaper) alternative to the Chemex.
Bodum is best known for its excellent French presses, but the company also makes a wide variety of popular pour-over tools and other coffee accessories.
Made in Portugal, the Bodum pour-over carafe is crafted of durable borosilicate glass. This type of glass is specifically designed to tolerate heat, specifically the shock of suddenly coming into contact with very hot liquid, which can cause inferior materials to crack due to the thermal stress. This is important not only for pouring water that's right off the boil but also for keeping the coffee warm on the stove when you need to.
It's dishwasher-safe as well, although regular hand-washing after every use is recommended so no funk gets left behind to taint your brew.
The Bodum pour-over coffeemaker comes in four sizes. I personally recommend the 34-ounce model, as it's the perfect "Goldilocks" size: It's not too big, not too small, and not too expensive. It's available with a variety of different neck sleeves, including an attractive cork option for those of you who prefer a more traditional look similar to the Chemex.
Of course, the most important feature is its ability to make great coffee, and the Bodum pour-over carafe does this beautifully and easily. It also comes with a steel mesh cone that's marketed as a permanent filter, but I recommend keeping paper cone filters on hand just in case, as the mesh can let water through rather quickly with coarser grounds which might result in weaker coffee.
Nonetheless, the Bodum pour-over coffeemaker turns out fantastic well-extracted coffee when used properly, and it's a very handy — not to mention inexpensive — alternative to a separate cone and carafe setup.
Pros: Made in Europe of durable heat-resistant glass, it comes with a permanent mesh filter but can also be used with paper filters, it has an attractive yet utilitarian combination design, and it's an excellent value
Cons: The included metal mesh cone may still require a paper filter with certain grinds
The best pour-over kettle
Made in Japan of rust-resistant stainless steel, the Fino gooseneck kettle gives you complete control over the most important part of the pour-over coffee making process: the hot water extraction.
If you're intent on mastering the pour-over method, then you need a dedicated kettle for it. I know what you're thinking: "Can't I just use my regular kettle?" Well, sure you can. So long as you can control the pour so that you're adding water in a slow circular motion, your plain old kettle might work well enough. But a "gooseneck" kettle is still better, as this design makes it much easier to regulate the flow of water and is considerably more precise when pouring.
This may not seem like a compelling reason to buy a new kettle just for your pour-over kit, but baristas and coffee enthusiasts alike swear by gooseneck kettles for this type of extraction because you have much more control. After all, the whole point of the pour-over method is to be able to fine-tune all variables of the brewing process, and considering that flavor extraction takes place during the pour, it's easy to see why a good kettle is so important.
Hario makes popular pour-over kettles but it produces these in both China and Japan, with the quality between the two being vastly different — and which one you'll get when you buy it online is a crap-shoot. There's another Japanese maker that offers a great gooseneck kettle, however, which gets our full-throated recommendation. Like Kalita, Fino is a lesser-known brand that gets lost in Hario's looming shadow, but it makes coffee making products that are just as good (if not better) and less expensive.
Gooseneck kettles all follow a pretty similar design pattern with a long, thin spout extending out and upwards from the bottom. The Fino kettle doesn't re-invent the wheel here, with its snake-like spout slowing down the water so you're getting a nice focused stream.
It's ideal for performing the slow circular pour that's necessary for proper extraction in a drip cone. Too much water coming in too quickly will over-agitate the grounds, while a slow, deliberate circular pour is necessary to ensure all the coffee is coming into contact with hot water for full extraction.
The Fino gooseneck kettle performs this task perfectly, and its large handle is comfortably angled to keep your hand away from the hot metal and to let you see what you're doing as you pour.
Pros: Excellent stainless steel construction, the large angled handle keeps your hand away from the hot kettle and makes it easy to see what you're doing, and the gooseneck spout offers great control and a precise pour
Cons: The stainless steel still requires proper cleaning and drying to prevent corrosion, and it does not whistle so it should not be left unattended while heating
The best digital scale and timer
Thanks to its precise measurements and built-in timer, the Cozy Blue Digital Coffee Scale with Timer makes it easy to achieve professional-quality pour-over coffee right in your own kitchen.
If you're a connoisseur who really wants to attain pour-over perfection, then there's one final tool you'll need in your setup: a good digital scale. Consider it a perfectionist's tool — it's not something you absolutely need, especially if you're getting great results from your drip cone already. But if you want to really dial in that perfect recipe, or if you like to keep a number of different roasts in your rotation (each of which will likely favor its own grind, temperature, and extraction time), then a drip scale is exactly what the coffee doctor ordered.
Basic digital kitchen scales are a dime a dozen, but one that's designed for coffee making will have an additional timer that lets you calculate the exact bloom and extraction times for your particular brew. Our top pick is the Cozy Blue Digital Coffee Scale with Timer, which boasts as a handy built-in timer that's purpose-built for the job. The scale gives you fuller control over two important flavor variables: the amount of grounds you're using and the steeping time.
It's easy to see why a scale is useful for making coffee, as one of the most important factors in getting the right taste to suit your palate is the amount of grounds you use per cup. Different roasts will require different amounts to achieve your preferred tastes. Usually, dark roasts require fewer grounds as they extract flavors more readily, while you may benefit from using more grounds when teasing flavors out of lighter roasts. What might seem a little less useful at first glance, however, is a timer.
Unlike with a French press, you're not directly controlling the steep time when using a drip cone – the water simply flows through as you pour. What lengthens or shortens your extraction time is the ground size, which you can alter if you're grinding your own beans.
A timer lets you see how long it takes a certain grind to fully extract so that you can find that perfect sweet spot for your roast. This also lets you time the "bloom" (when you first add hot water to soak the grounds, letting them release CO2 before you start the pour).
The Cozy Blue digital scale makes all of this much simpler, offering precise metric and Imperial readouts as well as a tare function. The backlit display is easy to read and the tempered glass top is heat- and water-resistant.
Pros: Measures in 0.1 ounce/1 gram increments, features a built-in timer, has a large backlit LCD display and heat-resistant glass top, calculates tare weight, offers a great suite of features for the price, and it comes with a two-year warranty
Cons: Silicone mat has ridges which can hold onto spills if not rinsed quickly
Check out our other coffee gear guides
The best espresso machines
Investing in an espresso machine might be a daunting prospect, but if you're regularly hitting up Starbucks, it might pay for itself a whole lot quicker than you think. These are the best espresso machines you can buy.
The best French presses
One of the most popular brewing methods is the French press, which lets your coffee grounds swirl around in boiling water to brew before you push the plunger down and pour the coffee right into your mug. These are the best French presses.
The best stovetop espresso machines
One of the most humble and effective machines for making a strong cup of coffee is the stovetop espresso maker also known as the moka pot. It's also an easy way to start making espresso at home. These are the best stovetop espresso machines.
The best coffee grinders
Freshly ground beans simply make for a better cup of coffee and a good grinder will grind your beans to a uniform size so that you get the most out of your beans. These are the best coffee grinders.
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