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How We Designed the Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank

Learn how we designed the best pour over coffee maker so you can have the most delicious cup of coffee, the easiest possible way.

4 min read

Preparing pour-over coffee at home can be surprisingly difficult given all the variables that come into play, from measuring water to pouring the right amount of water at the correct cadence. It’s also especially difficult if you don’t have a gooseneck kettle for precise pouring or a stopwatch to pour out in timed bursts. Our product team wanted to introduce a foolproof solution that would make brewing pour-over coffee an easy, consistent process with a high-quality result. Enter the Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank, a self-regulating manual coffee brewing system.

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How does it work? The Water Tank above the Pour-Over dripper controls the flow rate of the water and therefore ensures the ideal coffee brew time for full flavor extraction. Measurement markings on the Water Tank allow you to quickly measure how much water you’re adding to make sure your coffee ends up the right strength.

All you need to do is pour to the desired measurement and let the series of large and small holes at the bottom of the tank work their magic. The lid on top of the Water Tank helps to retain heat while brewing, plus it doubles as a drip tray once you’re finished brewing. Get more great tips on how to use it.

The most challenging part of perfecting this product during development? The eight holes at the bottom of the Water Tank—specifically, creating a hole size and pattern precise enough to get the maximum dispersion of water over the coffee grounds, which helps achieve the optimal extraction and brew time, and therefore, great coffee.

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To determine the flow rate of water coming through the Water Tank, we created and tested several different possible hole patterns. For each, we recorded the drain time and inspected the coffee grounds to make sure everything was fully saturated. Then we objectively measured the quality of the coffee using a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) refractometer, which measures how much total dissolved solids is in the coffee (i.e. the strength of the coffee). Referencing the SCAA(Opens in a new window) coffee brewing control chart as a guide, we settled on a hole pattern that yields results in the range of the SCAA standard for optimal balance of coffee strength and extraction.

Determining the precise hole size and pattern required strenuous amounts of testing and hundreds of cups of pour-over coffee. In the initial exploratory design phase, we punctured holes into the bottom of soda cans before creating more formal prototypes.

During the testing process, we used a wide range of coffee—from fresh ground coffee to pre-ground coffee, light to dark roasts, and all different types of filters. We recommend the OXO #2 sized cone filters (side note: 10 are included with the OXO Pour-Over) although the dripper can accommodate any standard #2 cone filter.

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Can’t get enough coffee? Learn how to make perfect french press coffee and delicious iced coffee.What’s your favorite way to drink java?


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