6 Pour Over Coffee Brewers Perfect For Your Daily Grind

iStock.com/Probuxtor
iStock.com/Probuxtor

There’s a bit more to making a high-quality cup of coffee than picking out the perfect beans. There's the right water, that magic ratio of water to coffee—and the right equipment. For the past decade, baristas, both professional and aspiring, have been gravitating toward manual, single cup coffee-making methods. The biggest perk of brewing manually? Having more control over the process means that you can brew the perfect cup, regardless of what that means to you.

Whether you’re into the infusion method of coffee brewing (in which ground coffee is fully immersed and steeped in water, like tea) or percolation, more commonly called the “pour over” (in which water is continuously poured over the ground coffee), there's a manual coffee brewer guaranteed to upgrade your morning cup.

1. Hario V60

Pouring water into a Hario V60 brewer to make coffee
Hario, Amazon

The Hario V60’s lightweight feel, ease of use, and ability to produce quality coffee have made it a mainstay in specialty cafes and home kitchens all over the world. Hario, a Tokyo-based company, launched their first home product in 1949—a glass filter coffee syphon. Since then, Hario has received a number of design awards for its products, but the V60 has become its crown jewel.

Shortened from “Vector 60”—referring to the 60 degree angle of its side—the cone-shaped Hario V60 is a dripper known for its inner coiled ridges and large open-ended bottom. It's a design that helps provide a uniform extraction, as the spiral ridges guide the water to naturally agitate and seep through the coffee.

Get it on Amazon for $19 and at these other retailers:

2. Chemex

A Chemex brewer and box
Chemex, Amazon

In From Russia, With Love (1957), Ian Fleming writes:

Breakfast was Bond's favourite meal of the day. When he was stationed in London it was always the same. It consisted of very strong coffee, from De Bry in New Oxford Street, brewed in an American Chemex, of which he drank two large cups, black and without sugar.

That’s right. One of James Bond’s favorite gadgets was no more than an ordinary household coffeemaker—the Chemex. The manual brewer utilizes the pour over method of brewing coffee, which produces coffee that is much richer, more flavorful, and smoother.

In 1941, Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, a German chemist, invented the Chemex coffeemaker. Though it was originally marketed as a useful wartime device, the brewer has since been turned into a permanent fixture at many museums and galleries, including the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, and even the Smithsonian. It's considered one of "the best-designed products ever made," as Inc. magazine declared in 2014.

Get it on Amazon for $41 and at these other retailers:

3. Kalita Wave

A Kalita Wave brewer
Kalita, Amazon.

The Kalita Wave is unique in that it’s among the very few pour over devices with a flat bottom. (Most—like the aforementioned V60 and Chemex—are cone-shaped.) The Kalita Wave looks like a Hario V60 that’s been cut in half; it has the same convex opening and angled walls, but its bottom is a flat floor with three tiny holes drilled into it. This design allows for a smooth, intense extraction.

Get it on Amazon for $23.

4. AeroPress

An Aeropress brewing kit
Aeropress, Amazon.


No brewing device has captivated the coffee industry like the AeroPress. Need proof? There’s even a World AeroPress Championship. The competition functions independently of the World Barista Championship and Brewers Cup, a distinction that no other brewing device can claim.

Invented in 2005 by Alan Adler, the AeroPress was designed to create the strongest, smoothest, most flavorful cup of coffee in the shortest amount of time (about one minute, according to its inventor). The device uses the saturation method of brewing, in which grounds are fully steeped in water inside a plastic cylindrical container. A plunger is then inserted into the top of the chamber, creating a vacuum. Then, the user presses down on the plunger, using air pressure within the device to compress the extracted coffee through a mesh filter.

The AeroPress is most similar to a French press, however, it shouldn’t be confused for one. There are a few big differences between the two devices. First, the AeroPress uses a disposable paper filter (or a reusable stainless steel mesh filter), which removes most of the coffee solids. A French press, on the other hand, uses a coarse wire or nylon mesh filter. Secondly, air pressure is used to extract the coffee by pushing air trapped in the chamber through the coffee grounds. With the French press, the mesh filter acts as a plunger that pushes the ground coffee through the water. Last, the AeroPress requires a much shorter brewing time and produces a much cleaner cup of coffee (free of the sediment that French presses are notorious for).

Get it on Amazon for $32 and at these other retailers:

5. Siphon Filter

A glass siphon filter brewer
Hario, Amazon

It may look like something straight out of the laboratory of a mad scientist, but the siphon filter is a popular staple in kitchens across the country. (It even made an appearance in a famous scene from the hit TV show Breaking Bad.) Besides espresso machines, siphon filters—also referred to as vacuum pots, Florence siphons, or French balloons—may be the most elaborate coffee brewers on the market. They require close attention and quick, careful technique on the part of the user, but the reward is often worth the extra effort.

How does a siphon work? In short, science. A siphon is made up of two stacked chambers—the bottom one filled with water and the top one filled with ground coffee—suspended over a heat source (usually either a Bunsen burner or stovetop). By heating the bottom chamber, pressurized vapor forces the water to rise into the upper chamber, where it is mixed with the ground coffee. After a while, a drop in vapor pressure allows gravity to take over the process, and the brewed coffee drops back into the bottom chamber through a filter that divides the two chambers.

Get it on Amazon for $73 and at these other retailers:

6. CLEVER COFFEE DRIPPER

A clear plastic Clever coffee brewer
Clever, Amazon

The Clever Coffee Dripper is a cone-shaped brewer (similar to the Chemex or Hario V60) that functions like a full immersion device (such as a French press or Aeropress).

The ground coffee rests inside of the cone-shaped chamber while water is poured over it. A rubber stopper at the bottom of the chamber restrains the water from passing through, keeping it contained in the chamber. After a few minutes of saturation, the user places the dripper on top of their cup, which opens the stopper to release the now-brewed coffee into its intended container. The result is a full-bodied cup of coffee that has very little sediment and features a much richer flavor profile.

Get it on Amazon for $22 and at these other retailers:

ThinkGeek Is Merging With GameStop, and Everything is 50 Percent Off Right Now

ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek, that beloved destination for nerdy goods like Star Trek bathing suits, Game of Thrones doormats, and astronomy-themed jewelry, is moving. While the site isn't going out of business, it is merging operations with its parent company, GameStop, and shutting down its website in the process. "After this move, you will be able to shop a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com via a ThinkGeek section at GameStop," the site explains. And that's good news for you, if you're looking for a bargain. 

ThinkGeek is clearing out inventory by offering 50 percent off everything on its website. That includes 20-side-die-themed waffle makers, constellation lamps, unicorn wall sconces, and more. There are whimsical goods and apparel designed for fans of everything from Doctor Who to The Avengers to Star Wars to J.R.R. Tolkien to Harry Potter to Firefly to Pokemon. Love Funko POP! figurines? ThinkGeek has you covered. What about Super Mario Bros.? Heck yeah. This would be a great time to search for a Halloween costume.

Here are a few things that we would buy if we were you, but there are more cool designs available than we could ever highlight here. 


This 34-ounce TARDIS French press coffee maker is just $20.


ThinkGeek has a bunch of pop-culture themed wallets, but this Star Trek one is extra cool. And it is now just $10. (The NASA one is also great.)


This constellation backpack is out of this world. It's just $24 with the discount.


For $7.50, it's hard to resist this Mario-themed soap dispenser. Add a Mario-themed toothbrush holder to really make getting ready in the morning fun. If you're all about that bar soap, there's also a soap dish.


Wrap yourself in happiness with this Bob Ross-themed blanket that is just $17.50.


If you want to wear your fandom, this Harry Potter Deathly Hallows necklace set is an attractive choice. They're just $7.50 for two.


This handsome Mars watch doesn't have typical hour and minute hands. The moon Phobos orbits the Red Planet as the minute hand, the moon Deimos is the hour hand, and a miniature Mars rover takes the place of the second hand. It's a steal at just $20. 


When it's filled with hot liquid, this Game Boy mug changes from a blank screen to an image of Mario rescuing Daisy. It's only $7.50.


Several '90s cartoon-themed lunch boxes with puzzles are on sale, including ones celebrating Rocko's Modern Life, Hey Arnold!, and Rugrats. The puzzles that come inside the tin lunch boxes are 500 pieces. At less than $5 each, you should go ahead and buy all three.

Shop the sale here using the code MOVINGDAY until July 2. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the sale, all purchases are final, and you'll have to pay for shipping.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

10 Surprisingly Cheap Items Everyone Should Have in Their Kitchen

iStock.com/4kodiak
iStock.com/4kodiak

When shopping for certain kitchen gadgets, sometimes paying a little extra is worth it. But there are plenty of supplies that can greatly improve your cooking skills without hurting your wallet. Some of the most essential tools to have in your kitchen are available from quality brands in the $10 to $30 range. If you want to take your food to the next level on a budget, these are the products you should own.

1. Wooden Spoon; $15 for Three

Three wooden spoons
OXO, Amazon

There are many fancy kitchen utensils available to home cooks today, but the best type of spoon for cooking is one that’s been around for centuries. Wooden spoons have several advantages over spoons made from metal or plastic: They don’t conduct heat well, they won’t scratch the bottom of your expensive pan, and they won’t leach chemicals into your food. They’re also just as durable as they are versatile. Wood is naturally antibacterial, and if you care for your spoon properly, it will last you through countless meals. OXO sells a set of three different wooden spoons for under $15. (We also like OXO's single corner spoon, which is sold out on Amazon right now—but you can still get it from Bed Bath & Beyond for $6.)

Buy it: Amazon

2. Silicone Mat; $25

Silpat with macarons.
Silpat, Amazon

Neater than cooking spray and less wasteful than foil or parchment paper, silicone mats are essential for home cooks and bakers. These reusable mats turn any surface into a nonstick surface. When a baking sheet is lined with a silicone mat, temperamental items like cookies slide off in one piece. The mats are also easy to wipe down and can survive thousands of baking sessions. They can also make cleanup easier when roasting savory items like vegetables and chicken wings.

But it from Amazon

3. Kitchen Shears; $20

Kitchen shears.
Apogee Culinary Designs, Amazon

Quality knives are vital in the kitchen, but no collection of cutting tools is complete without a good pair of scissors. A home cook needs kitchen shears for butchering jobs, like spatchcocking a chicken. Kitchen shears are also useful for trimming pie crusts, snipping herbs, and even cracking open lobster claws. And unlike decent chef’s knives, a great pair of shears can cost as little as $20.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Digital Scale; $18

Digital kitchen scale.
Etekcity, Amazon

If you’re serious about baking, invest in a kitchen scale. Baking is all about precision, and it’s hard to be precise when working with measuring cups and spoons. A digital scale, however, can measure your flour and sugar down to a fraction of an ounce. It’s also great for making recipes written in metric units. (Say, if you're cooking from Great British Bake Off recipes.)

Buy it: Amazon

5. Mortar and Pestle; $25

Mortar and pestle.
Fox Run, Amazon

A bulky mortar and pestle may seem antiquated in today’s modern kitchen, but it’s necessary if you want to take your cooking to the next level. Some spices—like fennel seeds, cardamom, and peppercorns—taste much better freshly ground than they do out of the jar. Using a mortar and pestle is also the key to making professional-tasting sauces and condiments, such as aioli, pesto, curry paste, hummus, and guacamole.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Box Grater; $12

Box grater.
Cuisinart, Amazon

Think of a box grater as more than a basic cheese grater. Each of the four sides serves a special purpose, from slicing to zesting. You can use it to shred potatoes for latkes, grate nutmeg for desserts, or slice zucchini for ratatouille. Of course, the cheese-grating capabilities alone are worth it if you like to make mac and cheese at home.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant-Read Thermometer; $27

Instant-read thermometer.
Lavatools, Amazon

There are many tricks you can use to gauge if your meat is cooked properly, but none are as foolproof as an instant-read thermometer. The tool makes cooking steak, chicken, and roasts much simpler and less stressful. It’s also essential for deep frying food or making candy like caramel at home. Sometimes an extra minute of heat is all it takes to push an ingredient from perfect to inedible, so the time it saves you compared to analog thermometers is definitely worth the price.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Citrus Juicer; $15

Citrus hand juicer.
Zulay Kitchen, Amazon

Fresh citrus juice is superior to the packaged stuff, but squeezing halved fruits by hand can get messy. With a manual press juicer, you can add bright, acidic notes of lemon and lime to your meals without stinging your fingers. This tool also catches the seeds for you, making squeezing citrus juice over your food almost as easy as squeezing it from a bottle. Even if you don't use it often while cooking, it's an essential component of any good bar cart.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Locking Tongs; $13

Pair of locking tongs.
OXO, Amazon

Bare hands are underrated tools in the kitchen, but some jobs just can’t be done without tongs. If you’re flipping hot meat on the grill, tossing wings in buffalo sauce, or serving pasta, you’ll need a decent pair of locking tongs to keep your hands clean and unburnt. Fortunately, durable, stainless steel tongs with smooth, pinch-free locks are easy to find for less than $15.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Cast Iron Skillet; $15

A cast iron skillet
Lodge, Amazon

Cast iron skillets seem like they should be expensive. They’re heavy, long-lasting, and they make food taste amazing. Steaks, potatoes, and hamburgers all benefit from the material’s unique heat-conducting properties. But you don’t need to blow your paycheck to own this tool chefs swear by: Some of the best cast irons available cost less than $25. As long as you care for it properly, buying a cast iron skillet is one of the cheapest ways to improve your cooking.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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