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I use 2 manual pourover methods

Method 1: Brown Melitta #4 paper filter rinsed using my Bonavaita drip machine's brew basket. 185F filtered water and beans grinded with Baratza Encore burr grinder

Beans from SquareOne, Intelligentsia, Novo

Method 2: using a Hario V60

Recently I've been noticing several automated pour over machines coming to the market - Poppy Pourover, Bodum, Invergo, Kitchenaid and lots of others getting on the automated pour over bandwagon.

Are these automated pourover machines even worth looking into?

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Several "automatic pour-over" machines have recently come onto the market from manufacturers such as those you listed. They are something of a hybrid between the ubiquitous, conventional "automatic drip" machines and manual pour-over methods. That is, the automatic pour-over machines attempt to perform the same sequence of steps recommended for manual pour-over, but in an automated fashion.

For example, compare the Blue Bottle pour-over drip guide. This suggests a multi-step process of pouring. With water at a particular temperature, do the following:

  • heat the cone and wet the filter;
  • pour a small amount of water to wet the grounds and "bloom", then wait;
  • pour the rest of the water slowly in the middle of the grounds pile.

Some other guides recommend pouring in circular motions, or in multiple iterations, or at a particular rate, or in certain places. See also the question about pour-over techniques.

Regular auto-drip machines, on the other hand, simply drop water in one go over all of the grounds in a somewhat uncontrolled manner. This also relates to a question: does auto-drip taste different than pour-over? That's a separate, open question.

This article from LifeHacker gives a comparison between the new-fangled automatic pour-over machines and how they compare to real, manual pour-over, and another from HuffPo about the Chemex model. Their conclusions are varied (see article for more) but:

  • they're more expensive than conventional drip;
  • some models have controllable settings for certain parameters (e.g., bloom time; temperature)
  • they provide precise repeatability for certain parameters such as rate, contact time with grounds, water temperature.

Ultimately, they provide attention to detail that can be done by hand; some do this better than others. However, most just heat water and drip it over the grounds somewhat better than a conventional drip coffee maker.

If you...

  • don't want to learn the "style" or "art" to manual pour-over, or
  • if you appreciate the nuances of manual pour-over (over auto-drip), but can't quite focus attention on details that really distinguish manual pour-over,

these machines might be for you.

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