Many factors dictate how good coffee can be. If you're a frequent brewer, you would always consider the variables you're using such as the grind, coffee-to-water ratio, water quality, and freshness. However, different brewing equipment deploy different variables as well.
Every brewing method offers a different flavor and character. However, two techniques are very similar to each other: pour-over and drip coffee. In this article, we will be going through their differences to find out which one is better.
Differences between the pour-over and drip
Pour-overs and coffee makers are both gravity-brewing methods. With this brewing technique, hot water is poured over (the downward action of falling water is what explains gravity-brewing) a bed of coffee to extract its flavors and then filtered by a paper filter to produce a generally clean and flavorful cup.
Both methods generally undergo the same process in brewing, so what exactly are their differences?
Quality Of Coffee
The most critical aspect of both brewing methods is the quality of the coffee. Suppose you brew using a pour-over and a drip coffee maker side by side. In that case, you will instantly notice their differences in quality.
Brewing with a regular coffee maker, you decide on the grind size and proportion. However, the rate of pour and water temperature is determined by the machine, which is sometimes something that the user cannot program and personalize. On the other hand, you get total control over the entire brewing process with a pour-over. This means that the quality of your final cup is greatly dependent on your hands.
These differences will be discussed as you go through the next numbers.
Temperature Of Water
Most drip brewers cannot reach the ideal water temperature, which may negatively impact the final cup. Water temperature is an essential factor in brewing as it may affect the extraction of the grounds.
If the water is too hot, this may cause over-extraction and bring out the bitterest components of the coffee. If the water temperature is too low, the coffee will undergo under-extraction and result in a sour taste.
Pour overs have no total control over the hotness of the brewing water. However, ensuring that it remains at its most ideal temperature is easier to do. Just make sure the water is off-the-boil (around 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit) and put in a stainless or aluminum kettle to preserve the temperature further.
Generally, controlling the stability of the water temperature will help influence the brewing process. It also improves your coffee's character in a way that most coffee makers cannot do mechanically.
Consistency Of Pour Rate
Drip coffee brewers are more convenient to use as you just let them function by themselves through electricity. However, they have very inconsistent showerheads. During brewing, some areas of the coffee bed get more water while other areas do not. This will result in an imbalanced and unsatisfying flavor.
Meanwhile, pour-overs allow you to have more control over the brewing process. It gives you the freedom to pour precisely how you want, which regular coffee makers lack. As long as you make sure your kettle's water flow is consistent, you will get a better, more balanced end cup.
Durability Of The Brewer
Most drip brewers are not designed to last. Some are made of plastic that can easily break and get damaged. In addition, these brewers are prone to mold and bacteria in the most difficult-to-clean places.
This is a whole different story for pour-overs. They are also designed to be easily cleaned to avoid having to worry about molds and bacteria building up.
Lastly, pour-over cones are generally a lot cheaper than regular drip brewers. Not only that, but they also last longer as long as you take care of them.
The satisfaction brought about by being able to produce a delicious cup of coffee is priceless. Manually making your coffee allows you to discover a rewarding experience that automatic drip brewers cannot. You will be awakened by the aromas and flavors of the coffee and the feeling of accomplishment that you produced a beautiful cup.
Most coffee shops will get you a readily brewed cup from an automatic brewer most of the time. It's quick and convenient as you don't require too much brewing effort with this method. In addition, it's ideal, especially if you need to make a big batch of coffee for a group of people.
Meanwhile, pour-overs may need you to invest more time and effort. Still, it offers much more flavor, character, durability, and affordability. Practice more so that you may be able to consistently brew a good-quality cup over time.
As for me, I would always prefer the pour-over brewer over the automatic coffee maker, as flavor and quality matter to me the most when it comes to a cup of coffee. I also like the thought of having total control over the entire brewing process.
What about you? Which one do you think is better, pour-over or drip coffee?