While everyone loves a good cup of coffee, not all of us realize how much the coffee filter shape influences the taste of our brew. This is especially true when it comes to pour over coffee makers. At Big Joe, we can’t get enough of pour over, and truly believe that a flat bottom pour over allows anyone to make a great, balanced cup of coffee. We even created our own coffee maker to address the problems we found with other coffee makers, including cone pour overs, on the market. In this article, we’ll cover the main differences between these two types of pour over coffee makers to help make your decision-making process a bit easier.
Why Does it Matter?
As we know, coffee filter shape is one of the most noticeable factors impacting the taste of freshly-brewed coffee. The shape of the pour over mirrors the shape of the filter, and the shape of the filter changes the way water comes in contact with the coffee grounds. This, in turn, affects the aroma and flavor of the coffee. Since the cone shape is narrower at one end, water can take a longer time running through the grounds, increasing contact with the coffee when done by a more experienced pourer. Increased contact means a longer extraction time. As the name indicates, a flat bottom maker allows the grounds to rest equally on the filter. The greater surface area results in less contact time between the water and coffee, reducing the chance of over-extracted grounds, which can cause the coffee to taste bitter. Flat-bottom drippers still allow full saturation of the grounds, but will have a slightly quicker extraction time.
How is Brewing Different?
Pour overs are especially conducive to the flat bottom shape in easily creating a tasty, well-balanced cup of coffee. Since the way the water is poured over the grounds is a major factor in successfully making a cup of great coffee via a pour over, one must make sure the pour is correct. For instance, if you are not very careful in evenly pouring water using a cone-shaped pour over, gravity will take over and the water will channel and not fully saturate the grounds. A flat bottom pour over, however, easily allows the user to properly bloom the coffee and ensure the water makes equal contact with the grounds.
Cone-shaped pour over coffee makers are best suited to make 1-3 cups of joe at once; however, they are much easier to clog than flat bottom pour over coffee makers. Clogging and slow extraction times cause not only frustration, but also over-extraction of the less desirable flavor notes, potentially leaving you with a bitter cup of coffee. Flat bottom, or sometimes called basket-style coffee makers, reduce clogging and can be easier to use while preventing over-extraction. Additionally, flat bottom pour overs can make substantially more coffee in one process than a pour over cone. The best pour over makers will have interior ridges that help provide airflow to prevent the filter clogging often experienced with flat-wall pour over drippers.
How is Taste Different?
If done correctly, a cone shaped pour over helps the water increase contact with the coffee. The longer extraction time means you’ll be able to taste the subtle flavors of your coffee. However, the flavors from cone coffee makers can be more in your face, including bitter flavors, compared to the more balanced and less acidic flavor extraction overall from flat bottom coffee makers.
The flat bottom conversely results in less contact time between the water and coffee, causing slightly lower extraction time. With a flat bottom coffee maker, you’ll be able to taste subtle flavor notes in the coffee as well. Especially with darker roasts, flat bottom coffee makers can produce a more balanced and tasty cup of coffee than cones.
If you like heavily extracted coffee and only make 1-2 cups of coffee at a time, you may want to try a cone pour over. If you prefer making larger quantities of coffee, are looking for a more fail-proof pouring process to help avoid any potential extraction errors leading to bitter coffee, we highly recommend you start with a flat bottom pour over coffee maker.
Want to try the best flat bottom pour over coffee maker on the market? You’re in luck. We made our Big Joe the bigger, better, faster, stronger, and cleaner pour over option. Visit our shop and try out the Big Joe extra-large pour over coffee maker. If a cone sounds more like what you’re looking for, there are many different options available on Amazon. The most popular are the Hario V60 or Chemex pour over coffee makers.
Please note that Big Joe receives a small commission from sales of certain items linked in this article.