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Pour Over Coffee vs Stovetop Espresso: Which is Better & Whats the Difference Anyway?

If you’re looking to make the move from stovetop espresso to a pour over coffee brew method, or perhaps considering trying something new altogether, you may become overwhelmed with the volume of information to take in.

Stovetop espresso makers and pour overs found their popularity around the same time, the early 1930s. Both are convenient, but less conventional than the typical daily coffee makers you might see on someone’s countertop.

If you’re someone who enjoys the method of creating coffee, whether that’s wide eyed and ready to roll, or half asleep and waking up by going through the motions, you will probably find yourself loving a stovetop espresso maker or pour over. Both brewing methods require a bit of preparation before the coffee is ready to go.

Both brew methods have a lot to offer, and can brew a delicious cup of coffee. There are a lot of similarities and differences between the two brew methods that can make one better than the other for different purposes. If you’re trying to decide which brew method would be best for you, take careful thought into what each method can offer.

We’ve compared and contrasted the pour over versus the stovetop espresso maker brew methods so you don’t have to. This article should help you assess the main features of the two brewing methods, as well as offer some insight as to what might be best for you.

Let’s begin by looking at the main differences between the two.

The Differences Between Pour Over and Stovetop Espresso

Before making a decision as important as what will be brewing your daily coffee, it’s important to understand the key differences between your options.

One of the most obvious differences between the two methods is the appearance. The stovetop espresso makers come in a lot of varieties, but the Moka Pot is a common variety. They are typically aluminum or stainless steel, and sit pretty tall, appearing heavy-duty by nature.

The pour over is pretty opposite to all that the stovetop espresso maker looks like. They’re typically dainty, fragile, and made of glass or ceramic. Pour overs are usually smaller than their stovetop counterparts.

Stovetop espresso makers work by filling the bottom chamber with water, filling the portafilter with coffee grounds, and then bringing the water to high heat to so the pressure builds and the coffee is brewed.

Pour overs work by pouring hot water through the grounds at a slow rate, to cause the coffee to extract. Typically you grind the coffee fresh before use, pour it into a filter that is placed in the pour over contraption, and pour hot water that you’ve heated on the side slowly over the grounds.

Both brew methods have a variety of different models and options, but the general method of brewing remains the same.

Now let’s look at each individual method.

Is Pour Over Better Than Stovetop Espresso?

Pour overs can take some extra work and preparation, and they leave more room for error than a stovetop espresso maker. However, if you can get your brewing method down, then you will end up with unique coffee which boasts all of its individual flavors more than a stovetop espresso coffee ever could.

Yes, pour over brew method is better than espresso. You will need to know what you’re doing in order to be successful, so be sure to consider whether or not this brew method will fit into your lifestyle.

Luckily there are a lot of smaller pour overs that would suit a beginner user. The first pour over I ever used was a small ceramic one, and I was intimidated by the delicacy of the method. My friend showed me how to brew a good cup, and the rest was history.

Stovetop espresso makers brew bold, rich coffee, much like other similar brewing methods. I thought bold and rich was all I ever wanted from coffee, until I tried pour over.

Pour over coffee captures all the undertones most methods block out. The result is a light, sweet and bright cup of coffee with a multitude of flavors that can be picked out from each sip.

There is no way around the preparation time for making a pour over, so if you’re not interested in taking time out of your mornings to really nail the process, you’ll probably want to opt for a different brewing method.

Which brings us to the stovetop espresso.

Is Stovetop Espresso Better Than Pour Over?

Stovetop espresso makers can be a handy way to brew a solid cup of coffee in the morning, but when it comes down to it, they cannot beat out the taste of a well-prepared pour over.

Not to be confused with percolators, stovetop espresso makers work by heating up the pot on a burner until the water has generated steam. At this point, enough pressure has built in the bottom chamber and pushes the water up through the coffee until brewed to the desired strength.

I know I said that the pour over is not the most convenient, as it takes some preparation in order to enjoy, but that doesn’t mean stovetop espresso makers come without work. There is still a bit of preparation, making both of these brew methods not a great choice for someone looking primarily for convenience.

Stovetop espresso makers need to be cleaned often, as it is easy for residue to build up and result in a bitter tasting brew. It’s also important to grind your beans fresh to obtain the best possible brew.

You will need to heat up some water with a kettle, pour it in the bottom chamber of the pot, fill the portafilter with grounds, and place on the stovetop over heat.

The result is a brew that falls somewhere between strong coffee and an espresso shot. Bold, rich, and if made correctly, not bitter. It is easy to over-extract the beans with a method like this, so it’s important to be thoughtful about the consistency of the grind.

Pour Over or Stovetop Espresso Maker?

Everyone’s needs are different, so this isn’t a one-answer-fits-all situation. Personally though, I would go for the pour over every time. Nothing compares to the bright, sweet flavor of a good cup of pour over brew.

Both methods require some preparation, so if you’re looking to wake up and make your coffee with your eyes still half-shut, it may be best to choose a quicker method that doesn’t require a lot of work.

In order to get the best out of either brew method, you’ll need a good grinder to achieve the right texture for your brew. They both require heating up water before the rest of the process, which means you’ll need a good kettle. Both of these steps take time, so you’ll need to be consider how much time you’ll realistically have to make your coffee each day.

Since both methods require preparation, which one you should choose really comes down to what you like the most. Stovetop espresso makers are usually more heavy duty than pour over gear, which is typically glass and more fragile.

Some people prefer the look of stainless steel or aluminum to glass, so the appearance of the coffee maker you’ll be using is important to consider as well.

The biggest difference between the two brew methods is the end result. When you brew coffee with a stovetop espresso maker, you are brewing something dark and rich. While they can’t necessarily brew straight espresso like an espresso maker can, the end result is something in between espresso shots and strong coffee.

If you’re into bold, dark coffee, you will probably want to go with a stovetop espresso maker for your brewing needs.

Pour over on the other hand does not brew a dark, rich cup of coffee. Instead, it brews something more light and refreshing, with undertones of all the unique flavors in the blend.

For someone who is really into the art of crafting coffee, pour over would be a fun choice, as you can really get invested in trying out different blends to taste the differing flavors. I enjoy pour over especially for this reason, because I love noticing the difference immediately when I switch up the coffee beans I’m using.

Pour overs brew light, refreshing coffee with prominent notes of all the flavors within, whereas stovetop espresso makers produce dark, bold coffee. The difference is pretty obvious here, so deciding between the two really comes down to personal preference.

They both require some knowledge for how to properly brew, but once you’ve got it down, you’ll be making delicious coffee on the daily. If you don’t care for sweet, bright coffee, choosing a stovetop espresso maker would make more sense. If you try to avoid coffee that is too bold or dark, maybe pour over coffee would suit your preferences better.

Use this article to guide your next steps for choosing the brew method that suits your needs. Both are good choices, with vastly different outcomes.


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Gamble Bay Coffee

James Lambert

Owner and proprietor of the Gamble Bay Coffee Company. Its my mission to teach you how to make amazing coffee at home... no barista needed other than yourself.