Picks

The Best Pour-Over Coffee Setups for Your Home, According to Baristas

A good cup means starting with the right tools.

Chemex coffee makers at the Everyman Expresso coffee house July 31, 2012 in the Soho section of New York.
STAN HONDA/Getty Images

Making pour-over coffee first requires the right setup. Specifically, you need three things: a pour-over coffee maker (sometimes called a manual drip coffee maker), a pour-over kettle, and a scale, in order to keep track of the coffee bean–water ratio. But with so many different coffee makers, kettles, and scales out there, it can be hard to know which pour-over gear makes the best coffee. You might be tempted to go with the most recognizable name in pour-over coffee makers: Chemex, which is a great option. But we wanted to know if there were Chemex alternatives that were a little less expensive but worked just as well.

So we talked with coffee experts from Manhattan’s Black Fox Coffee and Brooklyn’s Variety Coffee Roasters about their preferred pour-over coffee setups and the gear they say makes the perfect cup.

Kris Wood, Co-Owner, Black Fox Coffee

Brita pitcher.

“The most important factor that everyone overlooks is water. If your water is clean and has the right combination of minerals, you’re going to get a delicious result. New York water is very clean, but it picks up a lot of particles from the old pipes. A water filter is absolutely necessary if you’d like to achieve café-quality coffee at home. Brita does a good job; just make sure the cartridge is fresh.”

BUY: Brita Soho 5-Cup Water Filtration Pitcher
$19, Amazon

Hario V60 pour-over kit.

“At Black Fox we use a Hario V60, and the extraction it delivers is even and consistent when used with skill. Plastic is best, as it does not retain heat. Having your water at the consistently hottest possible temperature will ensure consistent extraction from brew to brew. There are three main things that affect extraction when brewing at atmospheric pressure: grind particle size, contact time of water to coffee, and temperature of water.”

BUY: Hario V60 Pour-Over Kit
$20, Amazon

Hario filter papers.

BUY: Hario Filter Paper for 02 V60 Dripper
$6, Amazon

Bonavita gooseneck kettle.

“We use a Bonavita variable-control temperature kettle, as we brew teas at different temperatures. For coffee, we brew at just off-boiling, as it is a consistent machine, and we know what temperature it’s really at.”

BUY: Bonavita 1.7-Liter Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle
$83, Amazon

Hario V60 scale.

“For a scale at home, I’ve used the same Hario scale for three years, and it’s not missed a beat.”

BUY: Hario V60 Coffee Drip Scale/Timer
$37, Amazon

Mike Jones, Director of Retail, Variety Coffee Roasters

Abid coffee dripper.

“If you want to make great coffee at home, you should aim to eliminate as many variables as possible. Therefore, any product or method that enables you to achieve a repeatable outcome will inevitably yield the best results. For this reason, I think the Abid Clever Coffee Dripper is the best manual coffee maker for home use. The Clever is a mix between a full-immersion brewer like a French press and a traditional pour-over cone. You use time as a brew control. You can use grind as a control by timing how long it takes to drain, and make adjustments if you want it stronger or weaker. The best part is that, due to its design, these steps are measurable and repeatable—you can steep the same amount of time, measure how long it takes to drain, and do the same thing every day without having to overthink it.”

BUY: Abid Clever Coffee Dripper
$23, Amazon

Melitta coffee filters.

BUY: Melitta 100-Count #4 Natural Brown Super Premium Coffee Filters
$7, Amazon

Hario electric kettle.

“The best pour-over kettle is the Hario Buono. This kettle has been the industry standard for years, and for good reason. It’s cheaper than other options, pours perfectly consistent, looks nice on your stove top, and is super sturdy.”

BUY: Hario Electric Buono Kettle
$72, Amazon

American Weigh Scales pocket scale.

“The best scale for home use is the AWS-SC-2KG Digital Pocket Scale. For [about] $20, you get an incredibly durable and highly sensitive scale that measures to the tenth of a gram and is only four inches squared. Can’t beat that.”

BUY: American Weigh Scales AMW-SC-2KG Digital Pocket Scale
$24, Amazon