Two Best Pour Over Coffee Makers For Beginners

Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by smiling-coffee-snob

The best pour over coffee maker for beginners is either the Hario V60 or the Kalita Wave. Both make fantastic coffee, but the Kalita Wave is easier while the Hario V60 is faster.

Your main consideration should be whether you want to invest in a scale and a gooseneck kettle. If not, the Kalita Wave will still produce consistently great coffee, but the Hario V60 probably won’t.

However, if you’re willing to invest in a scale and gooseneck kettle, start with the Hario V60. Hario also makes a great starter kit that includes the brewer, filters and a carafe. There will be a little bit of a learning curve, but the scale and kettle will simplfy the process.

(If these brewers are too small, I’ve written a detailed guide about brewing larger batches of pour over coffee).

The best pour over coffee maker for beginners is the V60 or the Wave

Hario V60

The Hario V60 is harder to use, especially if you don’t plan to get a pour over kettle, but works great once you get the hang of it.

Kalita Wave

The Kalita Wave is easier to use, but it requires special filters that can be hard to find.

(Disclaimer: I DID NOT receive any of the recommended equipment for free. I have bought and personally used almost everything mentioned and anything I have not personally used is based on research. However, the links in this post are affiliate links so if you buy through the links I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Introduction to the Hario V60

The most obvious difference with the V60 is the shape. It’s shaped like a cone and slanted at a 60 degree angle (which is where the name V60 comes from). The other main difference is the large single opening at the bottom of the cone.

This design allows you a great deal of control over the entire brewing process. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier to mess up, which is why I consider it the more challenging brewer for beginners. If your coffee is ground too fine or too coarse or if you pour water too quickly your coffee will be disappointing.

If you’re using good coffee it usually won’t be terrible or anything like that. What’s more common is that you will mess around with the brewer and one day you’ll make the best coffee you’ve ever had. But, you can’t repeat it… This happens less over time, but you should expect to practice before you can get consistent results.

(If you prefer to dive right in and experiment until you get the best results with the V60, be sure to check out my detailed V60 guide with multiple techniques).

Introduction to the Kalita Wave

The shape of the Kalita Wave is the polar opposite of the V60. It’s a flat bottomed brewer with three small holes in the bottom. This design makes it a lot easier to work with but less customizable.

This design makes it a lot easier to get good coffee with minimal effort. If you don’t really mess with pouring technique or want to use a scale to evenly add water over time you’ll still get pretty good results. This simplicity is why I consider it the more beginner friendly brewer.

Pour over coffee gear: What’s essential?

Since you’re just starting out, I don’t want to over-complicate this by telling you to go out and buy lots of new equipment and then figure out how to use it. So, if you want the bare minimum, I recommend getting the Kalita Wave and filters

Beyond that, the three things that will make the biggest difference are a gooseneck kettle, a high-quality coffee grinder, and a coffee scale

pour over coffee makers

This is a basic Hario V60 setup with a small size glass dripper. This one is small and portable but only makes one small cup at a time. For most people, I’d recommend a larger starter kit.

Do you really need a gooseneck kettle?

I know this sounds weird in the beginning, but a gooseneck kettle can have a big impact on how your coffee tastes. The pointed spout gives you more control over the stream of water that you’re pouring, which makes it easier to evenly saturate the coffee grounds. You can also adjust how fast you pour and how much water flows out at one time.

So, while I wouldn’t say you need a gooseneck kettle, most people will get much better results if they use one.

pour over coffee makers
While a gooseneck kettle may seem unnecessary, it really does make the process much easier. While it’s not as important with the Kalita Wave it’s still going to make a noticeable difference. A scale also makes things easier, but if you only get one of these things, I’d say prioritize the kettle.

Consider a manual coffee grinder

Evenly ground coffee is even more important than a kettle, but when you’re just starting out you don’t need to grind it yourself. In fact, if you’re not ready to invest in a good grinder I’d recommend you get fresh coffee beans at your favorite local coffee shop and ask them to grind it for you. While grinding coffee just before you brew it is ideal, evenly ground coffee that’s a week old will taste better than fresh, but unevenly ground coffee.

Another option—the option that I use—is a manual coffee grinder. It takes more effort than an electric grinder, but you can get a much better grind for a lower price. Plus, manual coffee grinders are quieter and easier to travel with.

pour over coffee makers
As I’ve mentioned before, a quality grinder can make a huge difference in your coffee. But, quality grinders are expensive. Personally, I think it’s better to have a coffee shop grind for you than buy a cheap grinder so I’d say hold off on a grinder until you feel like a good one is worth it for you.

What’s a coffee scale?

Yeah, I know a coffee scale probably sounds even crazier than a gooseneck kettle, but weighing your coffee beans is more accurate than using a measuring spoon or just eyeballing it. 

The same is true with the brewing process. Rather than just guessing how much water you’re pouring you’ll know the exact amount. I mention the scale last because I think it’s better to prioritize a gooseneck kettle and quality grinder, but ideally you’ll want all three.

At the end of the day, all of these tools mean a more accurate brewing process and an accurate brewing process can be repeated. You can determine exactly how you like your coffee and then make it the same way each time.

Wave or V60: Which is the perfect pour over coffee maker for you?

pour over coffee makers
This is the Kalita Wave on top of a coffee mug.

Both the Hario V60 and Kalita Wave are fantastic pour over coffee makers. Either one is a great place to start experimenting, but the V60 has a steeper learning curve, and it’s more important to have the right grind and a gooseneck kettle. With the Wave, you can get by with less equipment, and if you make a mistake your coffee will probably still turn out pretty good.

So, if you’re ready to jump right in with a little equipment and you’re willing to learn through trial and error, start with the Hario V60 kit and a gooseneck kettle. If you want to want an easy start with minimal equipment go for the Kalita Wave and filters