Pour Over vs Cold Brew: Which One Is For You?

By Evelina •  Updated: 10/20/22 •  8 min read

Quick Summary:

DifferencesPour OverCold Brew
Water Temperature200-205 degrees Fahrenheit (93-96 Celcius)68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius)
Grind SizeMedium-Coarse (closer to medium)Medium-Coarse
Coffee to Water Ratio15-17:1 water to coffee ratioGrounds to water ratio: 1:4
CleaningSuper EasyEasy

If you’re a coffee lover and looking for a more robust flavor, cold brew might be your thing. Cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground beans in cold water for 12-24 hours to extract the full flavors of the beans. The result is an intense, low acid drink that can last up to three weeks without going bad!

Pour over on the other hand is a quick brewing method that involves hot water being poured over freshly ground coffee beans. This method results in a brighter, more complex cup of coffee.

So, which brewing method is right for you? In this article, we’ll look at the differences between these two brewing methods to help you decide.

The Pour Over

pour over coffee maker

The pour over method of brewing is just as it sounds. A cone with a filter inside is placed on top of your coffee mug. Then, hot water is slowly poured over the grounds, allowing them to steep and infuse into the water.

This method is often considered the simplest way to make coffee and for a good reason too! All you need is hot water and ground coffee beans. Pour over brewers can be found in most coffee shops and are relatively inexpensive.

Pour Over Water Temperature

The water temperature of pour over coffee is usually around 200-205 degrees Fahrenheit (93-96 Celcius). You can easily get this temperature by boiling water on the stove and letting it sit for 30 seconds or so before pouring it over the coffee grounds.

The idea behind using hot water is to extract as much flavor from the beans as possible. The hotter the water, the more extraction will occur. However, if the water is too hot, it will scald the coffee beans and result in a bitter cup of coffee.

So, always be careful with the temperature of your water when brewing pour over coffee!

Pour Over Grind Size

Many people get this wrong, so pay close attention! The grind size for pour over coffee should be somewhere between the consistency of table salt and sand.

If it’s too coarse, you won’t get a nice extraction and the coffee will taste weak. If it’s too fine, the water will take too long to filter through and you’ll again end up with a bitter cup.

Getting the grind size just right is crucial for making a great cup of pour over coffee!

Coffee to Water Ratio for Pour Over

Since its a manual brewing method you can experiment with the ratio, but as a general rule, use a 15-17:1 water to coffee ratio. This means for every 1 gram of coffee, use 15-17 grams of water.

If you want to get really specific, a 1:16 coffee to water ratio is often considered the perfect pour over ratio by experts and baristas.

Pour Over Price

A common pour-over brewer can be bought at the price of $30-$60, depending on the quality of the glass. That said, you can also get a pour-over brewer in plastic for as low as $15 like the V60.

The paper filters are the only real ongoing cost as they need to be replaced every time you brew. A pack of 100 V60 filters costs around $8.

Pour Over Cleaning

A pour over brewer is one of the easiest coffee makers to clean. Since there’s no machine or carafe, all you need to do is rinse out the cone after each use.

If you want to give it a deeper clean, you can soak the cone in white vinegar for 30 minutes and then rinse it out.

The Cold Brew

cold brew coffee maker

As I previously said, cold brew is a popular beverage that is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for several hours.

Unlike traditional hot brewing methods, cold brewing allows the flavors of the coffee beans to infuse more slowly and evenly into the water, creating a rich and smooth end product.

Typically, cold brew is prepared using a mason jar, which makes it easy to control and monitor the brewing process. The cold brew typically has a lower acidity and a delicious flavor that many people find preferable to regular coffee.

Whether served cold on its own, as an iced coffee, or as part of another drink like a cocktail or milkshake, cold brew coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its unique taste and refreshing quality.

Let’s go ahead now and see the characteristics that make cold brew so special.

Cold Brew Water Temperature

To make cold brew coffee, the water temperature needs to be below room temperature, ideally around 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius).

While the water temperature is important, it’s also crucial to use filtered water to make cold brew. This is because the coffee grounds will be steeped in the water for several hours, so any impurities in the water will be amplified in the taste of the final product.

Cold Brew Grind Size

The grind size for cold brew coffee is slightly coarser than what you would use for regular drip coffee. While a finer grind will release more flavors from the coffee beans, it will also make the cold brew more likely to be over-extracted and bitter.

Remember! This is not espresso, so you don’t want a super-fine grind. Just something slightly coarser than what you would use for drip coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee Taste

Taste will depend on a number of factors, such as the quality of the coffee beans, the grind size, and the brewing time. In general (if you make it right) cold brew coffee will have a richer flavor than regular coffee, with less acidity and bitterness.

The lack of acidity is one of the main reasons why cold brew has become so popular in recent years, as many people find it easier on their stomachs than regular coffee.

Cold Brew Price

When we talk about price, there are two options. Getting cold brew coffee from a coffee shop like Starbucks, or buying a cold brew coffee maker and making it at home.

If you want to get cold brew coffee from a coffee shop, it will typically cost more than regular drip coffee. This is because cold brew coffee is more time-consuming to make, and thus coffee shops need to charge more to cover their costs.

On the other hand, if you make cold brew coffee at home, it will actually be cheaper than buying it from a coffee shop. You have to put more money upfront to buy a cold brew coffee maker, but in the long run, it will save you money.

A typical cold brewer like the ones we talked about before will cost around $50. DIY is also an option (like the mason jar version we talked about), which will cost even less.

Cold Brew Cleaning

Cleaning you cold brew coffee maker is important to ensure that your coffee tastes good and doesn’t develop any bacteria.

To clean your cold brewer, simply rinse it out with warm water and mild soap. The filter is the hard part, as coffee grounds can get stuck in the mesh.

If you want to know in detail how to clean your cold brew coffee filter, check out our article by clicking in the link.

So, Which One is Better?

Now that we’ve seen the main characteristics of each type of coffee, it’s time to decide which one is better.

As we mentioned before, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer cold brew because of its richer flavor and lack of acidity, while others prefer drip coffee for its convenience.

If you’re still undecided, we recommend trying both and seeing which one you like better. You might be surprised!

My personal favorite is pour over, which is what most baristas use these days. It’s slightly more difficult to make than cold brew, but in my opinion, the flavor is worth it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pour Over vs Cold Brew - FAQs

Can You Make Cold Brew With A Pour Over?

No, it is generally not possible to make a cold brew using a pour over. To create a cold brew, you need to steep the coffee grounds in water at room temperature or below for an extended period of time.

Instead of brewing with hot water, which can easily over-extract the coffee and result in bitter flavors, cold brew utilizes more delicate extraction methods like steeping and immersion.

However, pour over requires hot water that is poured over the grounds to draw out their flavor. As such, it is unlikely that you will be able to create a quality cold brew using this technique.

If you are looking for iced coffee instead, however, a pour over could be an effective way to get your fix on hot summer days. Simply brew as usual, then chill your coffee concentrate before serving with ice and milk or cream.

Final Thoughts

After reading this article, we hope you have a better understanding of the key differences between cold brew and pour over coffee.

While both brewing methods have their own unique advantages, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. So, be sure to experiment with both brewing methods to see which one you like best!


Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.

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