Pour-Over vs. Drip Coffee

Updated: Jun 14

Have you heard of the third wave of coffee?

In the late ’90s and early 2000s, many specialty coffee people were focused on perfecting the pumpkin chai latte. Some young people became more obsessed with perfecting coffee itself.

Finding the best beans in the world, nailing roasts that highlight their best characteristics, then turning them into a perfect shot of espresso.

This movement champions the appreciation of gourmet coffee. Taste, flavor, and sustainability are all preferred over low-cost and standardized characteristics.

Pour-Over vs. Drip Coffee

The result of this new wave of coffee consumption is many specialty brewing methods like pour-over coffee to supplement the classic methods like drip coffee.

Today, we’ll highlight some core differences between these brewing methods. See if you fancy experimenting at home.

Electric drip coffee machine

What Is Drip Coffee?

Drip coffee exploded in popularity during the twentieth century as lifestyles changed and it become a fashion to have a drip coffee at home.

By the later 1970s, most US homes already had drip coffee machines instead of traditional coffee percolators.

Most drip coffee that you will encounter is made in an electric drip machine. The first coffee drip machine was invented in Germany in 1954.

Using drip machines is straightforward. Pop a filter and some coffee grounds in the designated chamber.

The water heats up in the machine until it’s close to boiling.

The steam from this heated water rises through a tube until it reaches the coffee grounds and starts the extraction process.

The hot water solution is then filtered and finished up in the coffee pot.

How is this different from This the pour-over coffee you see dripping through elaborate vessels in gourmet coffee shops, then?

First, a few words about pour-over coffee…

What Is Pour-Over Coffee

Pour-over coffee is one of the most elaborate and demanding brewing methods and one of the most rewarding.

The origins of the pour-over are tractable to Melitta Bentz. She was responsible for inventing the paper filter after brewing coffee using blotting paper from her son’s school notebook.

The premise of pour-over coffee is simple. You use a paper or permanent filter for your coffee grounds. Placing this filter into a funnel or coffee dripper, you proceed with a series of timed pours using a circular motion.

As you’ll see below, you need special equipment to make pour-over coffee correctly.

Now you can see the essential similarity between these brewing methods, and how they differ?


Drip Coffee vs. Pour-Over Coffee

We’ll now explore the main areas where drip coffee and pour-over coffee differ.

  1. Equipment

  2. Flavor

  3. Consistency

  4. Control

  5. Temperature


All you need to make drip coffee is an inexpensive machine and some filters.

For pour-over coffee, specific equipment makes things run more smoothly. To be accurate is vital with pour-over, so get things started by weighing your coffee grounds using a digital scale. Gauging coffee beans by volume is unwise. Beans are not all of the same density.

You should also use a goose-neck kettle with an elongated neck that is ideally suited for the circular motion required for great pour-over. A thermometer will allow you to heat your water to the precise temperature required.

You’ll also need a timer if you want to make a pour-over at home. Some gooseneck kettles accomplish all of the above thanks to an onboard timer and scale.

Beyond all this, you’ll need a coffee dripper, too.

As you can see, pour-over is not something you just decide to make on a whim. You will need to ask yourself if you’re prepared to invest both time and money in mastering this brewing method. I hope you are, you will be glad you did.


Pour-over coffee wins hands-down the battle of the flavor, but why is this?

Well, it hinges on the length of the brewing process or the extraction. With pour-over, the extraction time is much longer, so the coffee has more chances to develop an even more vibrant flavor.


There’s no contest here. Drip coffee is a set-and-forget, done-for-you solution. You can’t go wrong, and you’ll get the same results every single time.

With drip coffee, you’ll initially need to experiment.

We recommend noting down variables in a notebook—only experiment by changing one variable at a time.

Once you have the process down the path, you should be able to achieve consistent results.

The problem is, consistency will always depend on how accurately you pour and time your brew.


Drip coffee doesn’t allow you any control over the brewing process.

You start by adding your coffee grounds and water, and the results will depend only on the quality of coffee grounds you purchase, and the quality of your drip machine.

The pour-over method affords you ultimate control over every step of the brewing process. Including the opportunity to grind the coffee right before brewing.


Unfortunately, most drip coffee makers fail to get water to make coffee (195F to 205F). Even if they achieve this temperature, many drip machines fail to maintain it.

With pour-over methods, you have no excuse not to heat your water within that sweet spot of temperature for coffee that’s neither under-extracted nor over-extracted.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, I cleared up the differences between pour-over vs. drip coffee, once I was introduced to brewing with the many kinds of pour-over brewing methods I wasn’t I lost my interest in drip coffee.

Bookmark BrewingJava.com before you head off. Pop back next week when we revisit the intricacies of pour-over coffee in more detail. We’ll see you soon!