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When Was Pour-Over Coffee Invented? History, Facts & FAQ

woman making a pour-over coffee

If you are a true coffee enthusiast, you’ve likely tried or at least heard of pour-over coffee. This coffee brewing method is a favorite of those who want a great cup of coffee and aren’t interested in using an automatic brewing machine. A classic pour-over normally makes one cup of coffee at a time but allows you to avoid the bitter tastes that can sometimes be associated with other methods. This is why so many coffee shops use the pour-over method to give their customers the best cup of coffee possible.

Whether you’re new to the pour-over method or enjoy this way of brewing in your home daily, you may not be aware of when this method was invented or how it came about. The classic pour-over was made in 1908 by a woman named Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz. Let’s learn more about Melitta, how she created the pour-over method, and why she desired a better-tasting coffee.

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An Afternoon Coffee That Changed Brewing

The story of Melitta and her pour-overs began on an afternoon in 1908. Melitta made herself a cup of coffee in her normal percolator. Upon taking a sip, she realized she was tired of the bad taste of her coffee. Deciding that enough was enough, Melitta set out on a mission to make a change and enjoy a decent cup of coffee for once.

With a piece of blotting paper stolen from her son’s school book and a brass pot, Melitta decided to experiment. Using a nail, she pierced the bottom of the pot. She used the blotting paper as a makeshift coffee filter and then settled the pot over top to let it pour over her coffee. The result tasted much better to her than the unappealing coffee she’d been drinking over the years. Pleased with her new brewing method, Melitta offered her pour-over brewer to the rest of the world.

pour-over coffee
Image Credit: Julien Labelle, Unsplash

Melitta Pour-Overs

Melitta’s new brewing method took off in the 1930s. This wouldn’t be the end of the changes in coffee brewing, however. By the 1950s, Melitta Pour Overs introduced the cone shape we see in coffee shops and coffee lovers’ homes today. The cone shape allowed for better extraction of the coffee and a larger area of filtration.

While her pour-over method may have originated in her garage, Melitta is now a well-known name in the coffee world. The company offers pour-over filters and equipment to anyone who hopes to implement this brewing method in their home, office, or coffee shop.

Melitta Signature Series 1 Cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer

Modernizing the Pour-Over

Today, if you are in the mood for an excellent cup of coffee, you can easily find great pour-over equipment. The cone filters and wedge drippers may seem foreign to some coffee drinkers, but true enthusiasts know what these components can offer a cup of coffee. Fortunately, more modernized versions of Melitta’s pour-over design are now available. For those who want something beyond their normal, automatic drip coffee maker, several options are available.

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In Conclusion

If you are a true coffee lover, you should take the time to thank Melitta for getting annoyed with her subpar coffee and deciding it was time for a change. Her afternoon of experimentation opened people up to what great coffee should taste like. When you visit your local coffee shop or sit down to enjoy a pour-over at home, remember Melitta and her assistance in making what’s in your cup taste so great.

Featured Image Credit: kayla phaneuf, Unsplash


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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