Pour-Over Coffee Brewers

Published March 1, 2013. From Cook's Illustrated.

Coffee enthusiasts love manual pour-over brewing devices because they let you control water temperature and steeping time—both key to a good cup.

Overview:

Coffee enthusiasts love manual pour-over brewing devices because they let you control water temperature and steeping time—both key to a good cup.

The most flavorful, aromatic coffee is brewed with water between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, steeped for six minutes, and many people prefer a Melitta cone since it offers control over these variables. The Clever Coffee Dripper is a plastic cone similar to the slightly smaller Melitta, with a couple of improving twists: It has a lid to keep water hotter than the open cone, as well as a shutoff valve that holds back the dripping coffee so that it can steep more fully, as in a French press. But because it uses a regular coffee filter, this device gives you full-bodied coffee without the French press’s sediment. The coffee releases only when you place the cone on a cup, and it stops flowing when you lift it off.

One quibble: The manufacturer claims that the Clever Coffee Dripper can make 10, 15, or 30 ounces of coffee. We brewed 10 ounces with good results; 15 ounces was trickier, as… read more

Coffee enthusiasts love manual pour-over brewing devices because they let you control water temperature and steeping time—both key to a good cup.

The most flavorful, aromatic coffee is brewed with water between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, steeped for six minutes, and many people prefer a Melitta cone since it offers control over these variables. The Clever Coffee Dripper is a plastic cone similar to the slightly smaller Melitta, with a couple of improving twists: It has a lid to keep water hotter than the open cone, as well as a shutoff valve that holds back the dripping coffee so that it can steep more fully, as in a French press. But because it uses a regular coffee filter, this device gives you full-bodied coffee without the French press’s sediment. The coffee releases only when you place the cone on a cup, and it stops flowing when you lift it off.

One quibble: The manufacturer claims that the Clever Coffee Dripper can make 10, 15, or 30 ounces of coffee. We brewed 10 ounces with good results; 15 ounces was trickier, as the amount of fluid lifted the grounds dangerously close to the rim. For 30 ounces you must fill it twice with water, making the first half of the coffee turn out too strong, the second too weak. But for smaller batches, the Clever Coffee Dripper is a success.

The Incred 'a Brew pour-over coffee brewer has a brewing chamber that you fill with ground coffee; you add 195- to 205-degree water and then let it steep. It uses a built-in wire mesh filter (similar to a French press) instead of paper filters. After steeping, place the carafe atop a mug to open the valve that releases the coffee (and closes when lifted from the mug’s rim). The tool produced 2½ cups of flavorful, full-bodied coffee with some sediment, just like from a French press. Using this product means that we’ll never have to worry about running out of filters—a big plus.

One caveat: It won’t work with mugs wider than 3½ inches in diameter, since they won’t engage the valve to dispense the coffee.

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