For Around $20, You Can’t Go Wrong With The Bodum Pour Over
There are countless ways to make coffee, and we all have our favorites! Personally, I’m a pour over guy. So when a new pour over system catches my eye, as the Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker recently did, I feel like I have no choice but to try it out.
Coffee aficionados may recognize the Bodum name. The brand is best known for their French press, which is basically the gold standard among French presses.
Bodum isn’t really associated with pour overs, but don’t let that put you off this particular set. Having used it for a while now, I would consider it a really excellent entry level pour over for anyone who might be curious about this particular coffee making method.
First Impressions of the Bodum Pour Over
The Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker looks and feels like a budget-conscious alternative to the classic Chemex Pour Over.
If you’re not familiar with it, the Chemex was designed in 1941 and it’s essentially the great-granddaddy of all pour overs. The Bodum clearly takes some design cues from the Chemex, which is not a bad thing.
The Bodum comes in three sizes. I got the 17 ounce (0.5 liter) model, which is the smallest size, and just right if you’re making coffee-for-one. I would recommend the 34 or 51 ounce models if you’re brewing coffee for the whole family.
The Bodum Pour Over comes with five components:
- The carafe – Made of borosilicate glass, the carafe is resistant to cracking at high temperatures, and also does not absorb or impart flavors into your coffee. I’m genuinely surprised to see this glass quality on such an affordable pour over system.
- The insulation band – You can get the Bodum Pour Over with either a cork or silicone band. I chose the cork band (this is an element clearly inspired by the wooden Chemex grip) which is held in place by a leather strap. The band makes the carafe much easier to handle with hot liquid inside.
- The metal filter – The Bodum Pour Over comes with a fine mesh filter made of stainless steel and plastic. This is one of the key details that sets it apart from the Chemex, which relies on paper filters.
- The plastic lid – The lid snaps into the mouth of the carafe after you’ve finished brewing and removed the filter. I wouldn’t consider it an essential component, but it does help keep your coffee warm if you don’t pour it into your cup right away.
- The measuring spoon – This is a handy addition, and I’m glad it was included. Use one scoop of coffee grounds for every 4 ounces of hot water.
Using the Bodum Pour Over
The Bodum Pour Over is very user-friendly and easy to figure out, even if you’ve never made pour over coffee before. It’s definitely more forgiving than some of the more advanced and technical pour overs on the market. It also comes with a helpful little booklet that includes some basic instructions.
The process is really as simple as grinding some coffee, spooning the grounds into the metal filter, and pouring water through them into the carafe. Measure out two scoops of grounds with the accompanying measuring spoon to make one 8 oz. U.S. cup of coffee.
A few tips to get the best brew out of the Bodum Pour Over:
- Use fresh, whole coffee beans, and grind them right before each pour. The minute you crack open a coffee bean, it starts to lose its flavor and aroma, so time is of the essence.
- Heat your water to right around 200°F. The Bodum is forgiving, so a little hotter or cooler is okay, but never use boiling water, which can scald the beans.
- After the first pour, let the grounds ‘bloom’ for 30 seconds before your second pour. This releases carbon dioxide from the coffee beans and results in a richer flavor, especially if your coffee is freshly roasted.
Most of all, remember that it’s okay to experiment!
You might find that you prefer a different grounds-to-water ratio, or that a particular coarseness to the grind results in a flavor more to your liking. One of the great things about making pour over coffee is that it affords you an opportunity to see how minor changes affect the result.
What I Like About the Bodum Pour Over
The bottom line is, the Bodum Pour Over is easy to use, and the price is right. Anybody can make a pretty good cup of coffee with this thing on the first try, and it only takes a few pours to move on up from ‘good’ to ‘great’.
And it’s cheap! Coming in under $20, a Bodum Pour Over costs a fraction of what you’d pay for a Chemex. While I wouldn’t necessarily argue that the Bodum is the better of the two, it’s certainly the better value, especially for anyone who’s curious about this whole pour over thing, and wants to try it out without spending an arm and a leg.
I also like the look of the Bodum Pour Over. It’s a stylish and well-designed piece of equipment. The cork grip is handsome and comfortable, and the carafe is made of high quality glass. Despite the low price tag, nothing about it looks cheap. It’s easy to clean as well, especially compared to a French press. The whole thing is dishwasher-safe, with the exception of the cork and leather components, which are easily removable.
Room for Improvement
I go back and forth on the whole no-paper-filter thing.
There are plenty of people who would put a reusable steel filter in the ‘pros’ column, but for me personally, I think you get a better cup of coffee with a paper filter. The reusable filter results in less paper waste—which is great—but it also results in quite a bit of sediment in the bottom of your cup.
The steel filter that comes with the Bodum also drains much more quickly than a traditional paper filter, which robs the coffee of some flavor. As a result I find myself needing to use more finely-ground coffee than I would normally prefer to use when making a pour over. Again, this is all personal preference. You might end up feeling quite differently about it. One small improvement I’d love to see would be markings on the carafe to let you know how much coffee you’ve made (kind of like what the Hario V60 Glass Range Coffee Server has). That would be helpful. I have noticed that if you fill it to the bottom edge of the cork grip, that’s about 16 ounces, or two U.S. cups.
One small improvement I’d love to see would be markings on the carafe to let you know how much coffee you’ve made (kind of like what the Hario V60 Glass Range Coffee Server has). That would be helpful. I have noticed that if you fill it to the bottom edge of the cork grip, that’s about 16 ounces, or two U.S. cups.
Should You Buy It?
As someone who currently owns more coffee-making apparatus than he knows what to do with, this isn’t likely to become my go-to pour over. But Bodum has created an excellent affordable pour over system, and I’ll be keeping it on deck as a backup in case I accidentally drop my Hario V60 on the kitchen tiles (something that has happened to me before, and will surely happen again).
The Bodum Pour Over really shines as an entry-level pour over system. It could very easily open the door to the world of pour over coffee for anyone who hasn’t experienced it before. I would definitely recommend it as an affordable alternative to some of the more technical pour over systems on the market.