Pick Your Pourover: Comparing and Contrasting the Most Popular Models

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BY EMILY MENESES
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Featured photo by Julien Labelle via Unsplash

Ah, the pourover—this tried-and-true form of brewing is sacred in the specialty-coffee world. While automatic brewing devices provide speed and convenience, the pourover gives you the chance to become more involved in the process: You can experiment with techniques and recipes, and adjust your method based on your preferences. There are many pourover devices on the market, and it can be hard to sift through all of them to decipher which one is best for you. Today, we’re exploring three of the most popular devices—the Hario V60, Kalita Wave, and Chemex.

A Hario V60 is a white cone with a flat brim on the bottom that allows it to rest on a cup or vessel. It has ridges that circle into a single hole at the bottom, and a handle for grip.
The V60 allows for ample experimentation and is a great choice for home brewers who feel ready to try out different recipes. Photo by Julien Labelle via Unsplash.

Hario V60

The Hario V60 is arguably the most notorious pourover device in the specialty-coffee world. With its 60-degree conical design and ribbed spiral pattern, every aspect of the V60’s design aims to allow for optimum extraction, deliver a clean flavor profile, and create room for ample experimentation. Depending on your grind size, coffee-to-water ratio, water temperature, and speed of water flow, you can coax a multitude of subtle flavors and tastes out of your coffee.

Another great thing about the V60 is that it’s available in different materials—metal, ceramic, plastic, and glass—making it flexible based on your unique needs and budget. For example, you may want to get a plastic V60 for camping or traveling, or a copper one for better heat retention and extraction when brewing at home.

The V60 also comes in several sizes, from one cup to three cups, giving you the freedom to brew for multiple people at a time. For baristas and café owners, the V60 is also an ideal choice to have on bar at a cafe because of its relatively quick flow rate.

The Kalita Wave, seen here, has no ripples on the side, but is rounded, conical clear glass. It sits on a plastic base that will fit onto vessels.
Compared to the V60, the Kalita Wave is beginner-friendly—ideal for those still perfecting their pourover technique. Photo by Austin Park via Unsplash.

Kalita Wave

Like the V60, the Kalita Wave makes for a bright, balanced, clean cup.

However, there are some key differences to take note of. While the V60 features a conical design, the Kalita Wave has a wide, flat bottom and three small holes, rather than one large hole at the center.

The Kalita Wave’s design grants the brewer more control over the evenness of extraction and also helps prevent channeling—the uneven flow of water that may result from pouring water too quickly or irregularly. This is why (compared to the V60) the Kalita Wave is more beginner-friendly; its design makes it a bit more forgiving and ensures a consistent brew each time.

The Chemex is shaped like an hourglass with a flared conical top and rounded bottom. It doubles as a serving vessel, so a pitcher underneath is not needed. It has a wood handle around the middle of the hourglass shape.
The Chemex is notorious for its stunning design and ability to hold up to eight cups at a time. Photo by Conor Sexton via Unsplash.

Chemex

Everyone can agree that the Chemex is stunning—but beyond its aesthetic, the brewer offers a multitude of alluring benefits. This pourover device was invented in the 1940s by American chemist Peter Schlumbohm, who wanted to create an alternative to the percolators that were popular at the time.

What makes the Chemex special? It serves as both a pourover device and a carafe. Capable of holding up to eight cups at a time, the Chemex is also ideal for those brewing for larger groups.

Like the V60, the Chemex has a design that can make it a bit finicky; its large opening and deep V-shape make other elements, such as pouring method and grind size, extremely important. However, the Chemex does use a thicker paper filter, which helps contribute to a cleaner taste.

Choosing the Right Device For You

When comparing the V60, Kalita Wave, and the Chemex, the V60 is best for those who like a clean, bright cup, trust their pourover skills, and feel ready to experiment with different recipes.

Like the V60, the Kalita Wave leads to a clean cup but is more beginner-friendly—great for those who are still perfecting their pourover technique. The Chemex is a great choice for those who prioritize aesthetics and often entertain large groups. When it comes to easy cleanup, the V60 and Kalita Wave are the way to go.

Stay tuned for future installments of this series, where we’ll explore even more pourover devices.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Based in Los Angeles, Emily Meneses (she/her) is a writer and musician passionate about culture and collective care. You can regularly find her at Echo Park Lake, drinking a cortado and journaling about astrology, art, Animal Crossing, and her dreams.

Source: Barista Magazine

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