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To pour or not to pour. Over, that is.

May 16, 2011

There’s been so much buzz the past few years about pourover brewing that I’d been curious to try it out. However, I didn’t like the start-up costs that seemed to be involved. In particular, I thought $50-60 for a kettle like the Hario Buono was steep. I see now that ROASTe offers the Buono, which is all the more reason to covet it, but here I’ll discuss a few possible reasons *not* to buy it. At least not right away. If you’re into comparison shopping or just cheap like me, feel free to read on.

First off, any day now (at least that’s what the online coffee gurus claim) Hario will be releasing an electric (cordless) version of the Buono. Its stainless steel underside will never have to touch a burner. Happy day. Reportedly the price on this model will rise to ~$95. It holds a little less water than Buono 1.0.

In addition, the success of the Buono seems to have spurred some innovation/competition in the sense that lower-priced alternatives have emerged (see here for a few pointers). For example, if you’re willing to wait a few weeks for shipping from Hong Kong you can order a kettle with a Buono-style gooseneck spout for ~$30 total.

It’s nice to have budget options, but I still couldn’t pull the trigger on the above for what felt like an impulse buy. At that point, two things happened that really got the ball rolling for me with respect to pourover. I found some Kalita Kantan disposable drippers on Wrecking Ball’s newish site that looked fun and were relatively inexpensive. Turns out they make a great cup, by the way. And not long afterward I found an oil can at Crate & Barrel (selling for $10.95) that works remarkably well as a kettle. Here’s a stock pic from C&B’s site:

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This thing is perfect for my needs. It's small enough (14 oz. capacity) not to rob too much heat from the water I add to it from my kettle (especially after preheating the can). More importantly, it pours like a dream. Thin stream, good control, no drips. Note: I don't have a Buono to compare with in terms of flow. Also, the handle doesn't get hot. The only con in my mind is that the base is narrow enough so as to render it not well-suited for heating directly on a gas stove top. I’d have flames licking the sides of the can no matter which burner I use, and I can only imagine that would heat the handle up excessively.

In short, if you’re on the fence like I was concerning pourover, consider picking up the C&B oil can or something similar and have at it. You might be content, or you might eventually want to upgrade. Either way, you won’t be out much money to start with.






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