What Are The Differences Between Drip and Pour Over Coffee Brewers?

Written by: Garrett Oden

differences between drip and pour over coffee

Have you ever thought that pour over coffee is all a bunch of mumbo jumbo? I know I was a major skeptic for a while. A big reason I wasn’t a believer was because I couldn’t see the difference between pour over brewers and drip coffee pots.

They both have water poured over coffee grounds. They both let gravity pull the brewed coffee down. They both make a clean cup of coffee.

But despite similar mechanics, drip and pour over coffee brewers actually produce very different results. Appearances, in this case, are very misleading.

There’s a reason pour over coffee is taking off in cafes and homes across the world. People are waking up to the benefits of pour over coffee, compared to regular ole drip coffee. Let’s look over the main differences between drip and pour over coffee brewers so that you can see for yourself what all the ruckus is about.

Read: The Ultimate Guide To Pour Over Coffee

Coffee Quality

Let’s jump right into the most important aspect: the quality of your coffee.

If you make a mug of drip coffee and a mug of pour over coffee side by side, you’ll instantly see the differences in quality. Assuming you’re using basic pour over techniques, freshly ground coffee, and a proper grind size, the pour over coffee will likely win.

To be fair, top dollar drip coffee brewers can make a great cup of coffee that rivals pour over coffee, but unless you’re willing to spend $200+, that’s not going to happen. Most pour over cones are just $20-30, which makes them a much cheaper path to stellar coffee.

There are a few key things that end up making a dramatic difference when it comes to comparing mid range drip coffee pots and regular pour over brews. Let’s look through these together.

Temperature Stability

Most mid range drip brewers don’t reach the ideal water temperature range for coffee. This, in my mind, is unacceptable, because there’s no question as to what temperature range is best for coffee brewing.

Some drip coffee pots are able to reach the right temperature, but most that do aren’t able to stay that hot, which still impacts your final cup negatively.

Pour over brewers have no control over the water temperature. That part is up to you. It’s extremely easy to put a kettle on the stove till it boils, so you never really have to worry about the water temperature with pour over brewing.

Taking control over temperature stability by boiling your own water is an easy and impactful way to improve your coffee in a way most drip brewers aren’t capable of mechanically.

Read: 5 Things That Ruin Your Coffee

Pouring Style & Consistency

Sadly, most drip pots have terribly inconsistent shower heads. Some areas of the coffee grounds get too much water, but some areas don’t get nearly enough. The result is imbalanced, unsatisfying coffee.

Pour over brewers give you full control over the pouring of the water. You don’t have to rely on a poorly designed spout in a machine, you can pour it exactly how you want and make changes if you need. There’s nothing stopping you from pouring water evenly if you’re holding the kettle.

Once again, taking the brewing process into your own hands means better, more balanced coffee.

The Ability To “Dial In”

Drip pots, for the most part, follow a few pre-programmed actions. Some have customizable settings, but they don’t really empower you to brew better coffee or teach you anything. They’re just gimmicks meant to give you a sense of control.

Read: Why Fresh Coffee Is The Best Coffee

Pour over brewers, on the other hand, allow you to make adjustments as you need to brew better coffee.

  • If you want to add some time to the brew, simply pour a bit slower or use a longer bloom stage.
  • If you want to extract less than the last time you brewed, simply use less water.
  • If you want to use a slightly lower temperature than last time, let the kettle cool for a minute or two longer.

Auto drip brewers keep you from reaching your full coffee potential by disabling you from really being able to “dial in” your brew. But pour over brewers give you all the control you could ever need to make your coffee thrive.

differences between drip and pour over coffee


Drip brewers are generally not made to last. They’re designed to generate sales.

Most are made with plastic parts that easily break or wires that start fires randomly. Despite warnings, many drip brewers ship with the ability to burn down houses. Don’t believe me? Check out these reviews.

And we haven’t even gotten to the mold yet. Auto drip brewers are notorious for harboring dangerous bacteria in hard-to-clean places. Yikes!

Drip brewers just aren’t designed to be tools you’ll use for more than 2 or 3 years down the road. They will eventually just be landfill waste. Sad.

The story is completely different for pour over brewers. They’re designed so simply that you never have to worry about not cleaning them well enough. Most are designed with just one or two parts made of glass, metal, or plastic.

Read: Blades VS Burrs: What Is the Best Type of Coffee Grinder?

Pour over brewers are meant to be buy-it-for-life items. If you take care of yours, it can literally last a lifetime or two. Assuming, of course, that you don’t throw it against a brick wall or run over it with your coffee.

Drip brewers will be replaced and will eat at your wallet. Pour over brewers will most likely never need replacing.

Satisfaction And Reward

Making coffee with pour over brewers is a rewarding experience. The satisfaction of making something delicious by hand is irreplaceable.

And the best part: it doesn’t take much to discover this emotional and mental reward. You just have to allow yourself to invest a few minutes into your morning coffee, rather than leaving it up to a drip brewer.

Read: How Manual Coffee Brewing Can Change Your Life

Brewing coffee manually brings you to a state that drip brewing simply cannot fathom. You find focus in the meditative movements of pouring water. You find clarity in the rich aromas of every step of the journey. You awaken with intentionality as you appreciate that moment that’s all for yourself.

Sure, drip coffee pots are convenient, but they offer nothing more than mediocre coffee.

Pour over brewers offer much more. Stellar coffee, complete control over the brew, a buy-it-for-life coffee brewer friend, focus, gratitude, and clarity.

It may sound like I’ve been trying to convince you to buy a pour over coffee cone. It’s because I am.

I deeply believe that the riches of manual coffee brewing, especially pour over brewing, leads to a better life. You’ll feel peace and calm during that moment, your day will start on a great note, and every sip of your delicious coffee will remind you to appreciate the little things (because it’ll be so stinking good).

If you’re looking to get started with pour over coffee brewing, check out our own JavaPresse Pour Over Dripper. It’ll last a lifetime, is eco-friendly and doesn’t use paper filters, and brews a killer cup.

Happy brewing!