I recently switched over to pour over coffee from my previous drip machine setup as I heard that I would get "more flavor" that way. I'm using a gooseneck kettle, v60 and scale.

Overall, I think the coffee is pretty similar, maybe 5-10% more flavorful w pour-over vs drip. I wonder if some of the perceived improvement is a placebo effect (extra effort = "better" coffee).

What do you think? Is pour-over supposed to be significantly more flavorful than drip or just a bit more? (I'm using fresh ground beans in both cases; I prefer dark roast coffee).

Appreciate the input!

1 Answer 1


It's not very useful to talk about flavor with coffee because different people will perceive the very same drink as having different flavors and amounts of flavor.

Rather, one way to measure extraction is to measure total dissolved solids (TDS) dissolved in the water both before and after brewing. While total dissolved solids isn't a measure of flavor, it should give a general sense of amount of potentially perceptible compounds in the drink, though of course a given individual may or may not be able to taste some of those solids since, you know, everyone's different.

So why do people say pour-over tastes better than drop? Two reasons.

Reason #1: Drop coffee makers are the easiest to use. Programmable models can be set up with coffee and water in the evening, then brew for you while you sleep and have your coffee ready for you in the morning. Fabulous. Except ease of use doesn't translate to ease of care. Drip machines are often poorly maintained because of the expectation of convenience, and poorly maintained coffee machines make bad coffee.

Reason #2: Again with the convenience of drip coffee makers, two core design philosophies compromise on drink quality: drip coffee makers often encourage preloading coffee well in advance of brewing, which leads to stale coffee, and heated carafes to keep coffee hot degrade flavor the longer the brew sits.

So the differences between pour-over and drip depend mostly on how you use each. If you leverage the conveniences of the drip maker, you'll get a drink most people would call lower quality. But if you always brew freshly ground coffee in your drip brewer and consistently clean and descale your drip brewer, you may find that the performance of the drip machine is similar to the performance of a pour-over method. That's because the two methods actually are very similar in function: hot water is poured (dropped) slowly over a bed of coffee grounds and allowed to drip through, pulled by gravity. In fact, the automatic drip machine was invented in the first place to serve as an automatic pour-over solution. (Yes, pour-over existed long before drip, with the first commercial form being the Mr. Biggin coffee pot of the 1780s, featuring a top chamber designed to fit a sock which would act as a filter for coffee to be piled on top and hot water poured over all and allowed to drip through--the first commercial pour-over solution.)

TLDR: People are lazy and often end up making "lazy coffee" with drip machines. YMMV and results may vary depending on your own personal level of laziness.

  • 1
    Interesting idea to measure TDS to evaluate pour over vs drip!
    – setman85
    Apr 5 at 17:45

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