Of all the varied ways to brew coffee, the pour-over method likely offers the most control and the most enthralling experience. It’s magical to watch the steam waft up out of fresh grounds, and it’s also wonderful to be able to experiment with the whole procedure of your pour.
You can make pour-over coffee using any variety of bean, though some flavors will come across better than others. To help you decide, we’ve picked out the best beans while specifically considering pour-over brewing. Take a look at our top picks of 2020, and find the perfect bean for your taste.
NOTE: We’re reviewing all of these coffees as whole beans, ground to the right coarseness for pour-over. This is because it’s especially important to ensure maximal freshness. Make sure to buy your coffee as whole beans and then grind to a medium-fine coarseness.
A Quick Glance At Our Favorite Picks of 2020
|Best Overall||Lifeboost Medium-Roast||CHECK PRICE|
|Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe||CHECK PRICE|
|Real Good Coffee Co French||CHECK PRICE|
|Fresh Roasted Coffee Costa Rica||CHECK PRICE|
|Lavazza Gran Filtro||CHECK PRICE|
The 5 Best Coffee Beans For Pour-Over Coffee
1. Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee – Best Overall
Our top pick is Lifeboost’s Medium Roast, a clean, complex coffee that lends itself especially well to pour-overs. This coffee is Organic, Fair Trade, and low-acid. Best of all, it’s medium-roasted to perfection.
Of course, many third-wave coffee lovers swear by lighter roasts – these tend to be forward with their grapefruit and other fruity notes. But in a similar pattern, darker roasts tend to be much more oily– which adds a huge boost to pour-over.
There’s nothing better than letting the first pour wash over your grounds and then seeing delicious oils spill out of the beans. With the pour-over method, you’ll get all of the flavor out of the oils – but leave the calories and cholesterol behind. The paper filter absorbs the oil, leaving you with a clean, clear cup of coffee.
This balance – between a lighter roast to bring out flavor and a darker roast to bring out flavorful oils – is critical to crafting the perfect pour-over. For this reason, we’re super psyched about Lifeboost’s Medium Roast beans, and this balance is the standard by which we will be considering our other top picks. The only drawback here is the price: Lifeboost is a gourmet, sustainable coffee company, and the price reflects that.
2. Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
Our second pick is this bright Ethiopian bean from Volcanica. We especially love its pleasing acidity and the refreshing aftertaste and mouthfeel. Additionally, we’re super excited that Volcanica has managed to find a perfect sweet spot when it comes to the medium roasting level.
This is an unusual coffee because it’s made from wild coffee beans — lending the flavor complex notes of strawberry, lavender, and dark chocolate. Plus, it’s Organic and roasted on demand, so you can be sure you’ll receive a fresh, flavorful bag.
The Yirgacheffe Ethiopian is a floral, fruit-forward coffee, so it’s less chocolatey and smoky than you may prefer. If you like darker, more traditional flavors, why not try one of the other coffees on our list?
3. Real Good Coffee Co French Coffee
Next up is a dark roast from the Seattle-based, Real Good Coffee. This is a great option for lovers of a good solid dark roast. While this roast does have fewer of the fruity notes that the Volcanica packs in, it’s a great example of dark roast done to perfection.
Because of the importance of oils in the pour-over method, it’s hard to go wrong with this option. Not only will you reliably produce a strong cup of evenly extracted coffee, you’ll also be able to enjoy a richness that hints at a raisin flavor and a slightly sweet aftertaste.
As an added bonus, Real Good Coffee is a solid company that reliably offers great customer service. It’s worth taking a chance on this roast and if you end up not loving it, then Real Good Coffee will likely help you swap out for a bag of coffee that’s more in line with your tastes.
4. Fresh Roasted Coffee, Costa Rica
For those who are looking for some interesting flavor – but who also aren’t crazy about anything particularly bright and acidic, we love this Costa Rica Tarrazu from Fresh Roasted. It’s a great option thanks to unexpected honey notes that complement a more basic chocolate taste.
Because this is a typical medium roast, you can expect a fairly minimal amount of oil. While our top pick strikes the perfect balance between flavor and oils, this option definitely falls more towards the flavor side of the spectrum. It’s for this reason that this coffee from Fresh Roasted is not one of our higher picks – but with a little bit of care, you’ll still be able to get the perfect pour-over.
5. Lavazza Gran Filtro Coffee Blend
This classic medium roast from Lavazza is a good example of a great coffee – it’s just not the best choice for pour-over. Lavazza, of course, does a great job ensuring a consistently enjoyable product – it’s one of the largest coffee suppliers in the world and an iconic brand name. Because of this, the flavors of the signature medium roast are familiar and loved by many coffee enthusiasts. For this reason, we’re including it in our top picks – because if you already know that you love a certain roast, then you may as well make pour-over coffee out of it. But this roast requires some special attention.
Expect this to compare to the coffee from Fresh Roasted. Like our previous pick, this option suffers from a lack of oily compounds. This means that you’ll have to take extra care to ensure that your grounds get evenly saturated and extracted.
That being said, this Medium Roast from Lavazza does well when it comes to maximizing flavor. As we mentioned above, everything about this coffee’s taste is right down the middle and pretty classic – and this definitely doesn’t mean boring!
If you’re looking for a flavorful, clear cup of coffee, the pour-over method might be your best option. But which varieties of coffee will work best? Keep reading for our tips.
What flavors do you look for in coffee? This is largely a matter of personal preference, and pour-overs will bring out the flavors of a wide range of coffees, from creamy dark roasts to complex light roasts.
As many coffee-lovers know, the darker the roast, the more natural oils are drawn out of beans. But on the other hand, darker roasts can often dampen the interesting flavor notes of different coffees. And what’s the point of going to the trouble to make pour-over for a boring cup?
If you’re interested in complex fruity or floral flavors, try a lighter roast. This minimal roast level will allow the beans’ natural flavors to shine.
Keep in mind that pour-over coffee won’t have as much mouthfeel as methods like the French press.
There are many pour-over brewers on the market, from the Hario V60 to the Chemex. Each model uses a slightly different method, but the basic process is the same: grind your beans, put them in the paper filter, and then carefully pour hot water in slow circles, allowing the grounds to bloom. For the best results, use medium-grind coffee and a gooseneck kettle.
The good news is that because pour-over is such a simple process, it sets you up well for experimentation. We recommend experimenting with different amounts of ground coffee and even different water temperatures. Because you’ll be brewing such small batches, these kinds of minute changes can have a noticeable impact on flavor.
Good luck experimenting!
To recap: our top pick of 2020 is the delightful, perfectly roasted Lifeboost Medium Roast. In a close second is Volcanica Coffee’s Ethiopian blend, a bright, unusual bean. And our runner-up pick is the French Dark Roast from Real Good Coffee.
There’s nothing quite like a cup of pour-over coffee, and we hope this guide, complete with comprehensive reviews and a handy buyer’s guide, helps you find just the right beans. No matter which brand you choose, you’re sure to brew an aromatic, unbelievably flavorful cup of Joe.
It’s also worth mentioning that we recently tasted and compared Brazilian coffee brands. See the winners here! And if you still need a great pour-over coffee maker, we recommend the Hario V60.
Table of Contents
- A Quick Glance At Our Favorite Picks of 2020
- The 5 Best Coffee Beans For Pour-Over Coffee
- Buyer’s Guide