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

Photo: Prima Coffee

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.

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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