Bee House Dripper Review: Should You Get This Pour Over Coffee Maker?
As the name suggests, pour over coffee is all about the pour. With some brewers you can get everything else right, but none of that matters if you screw up that first step. It is so meticulous that sometimes it's downright depressing.
But before you switch to Prozac to console yourself over another bad brew, consider trying the Bee House Dripper, a dripper that won’t judge you on your pour technique (yes, that was a terrible pun). This Bee House Dripper review will reveal if this is the pour over for you.
The Bee House 'In a Nutshell'
Ironically, well-designed pour over coffee systems (such as the ones featured here) are known for being both simple devices yet complicated to use. The Bee House, on the other hand, is straightforward across the board.
Unlike the acoustic guitar still collecting dust in the corner of your bedroom, the Bee House is both easy to understand and easy to use. It features a flat bottom with steep walls in a wedge-like shape that help to control hot water flow, taking the pressure off your pouring technique.
This unique design not only allows for a lot of predictability and consistency, but also makes the Bee House a strikingly good-looking addition to just about any kitchen.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Pour Over Dripper
Despite what the moustached barista wearing an expression of eternal boredom behind the coffee shop counter would have you believe, pour over coffee is actually a pretty straightforward method.
You simply run hot water through a bed of ground coffee to pull delicious flavor from your beans and into your cup. Compared to immersion style brewing — such as with a French press — pour over brewing is much more effective at extracting the solubles trapped in your coffee beans.
Water temperature, water flow rate, grind size, and coffee-to water-ratio are all things you have to keep in balance if you want to craft a tasty coffee.
There are two main ways to do drip coffee: automatic drip (like the coffee machine at your office) and pour over (aka manual drip). Although automatic drip is much easier to use, it has its limits. Pour over, on the other hand, takes away those limits by putting total control in your hands.
With that in mind, pour over coffee isn’t for someone looking for fast coffee. Manual drip coffee is best for someone who is willing to put in the extra time necessary to craft and perfect each brew.
A few things to consider while shopping for a pour over brewer:
- How much skill do I need to use it?
- How versatile is it?
- What material is it made from?
The Bee House Pour Over Coffee Dripper Review
Pay no mind to the name: this ceramic coffee brewer looks nothing like a beehive. Its form is similar to most manual drippers, though the Bee House appears more modern and a little organic. In addition to its appearance, it also functions a little differently than others and is, consequently, more forgiving than other brewers.
However, this user friendliness does sacrifice some flexibility.
You won’t be able to fine-tune the water flow rate as you would with other brewers like the Hario V60 or the Chemex. Therefore, the Bee House Ceramic may not be the best choice for someone who wants fine control over each and every aspect of the brew.
Yet someone who prefers their pour over "easy on the pour" would find this a surprisingly capable and dependable brewer.
Aesthetic Appeal: 5/5
As long as you can get done what needs to get done, then it really doesn’t matter how you look doing it. But if you can make it look good, then why the hell not! Each piece of the Bee House was designed with two things in mind: purpose and aesthetics.
The unique shape of this pour over brewer visually sets it apart from many others, but it is also the reason the Bee House is such an approachable coffee making tool. A curved tongue extends out horizontally from the lip of the brew cone, making handling the Bee House a cinch.
This flat handle looks as if someone pinched a small portion of the lip and stretched it out in an arch, giving it a graceful appearance. Encircling the base is a large ring that allows you to easily set the Bee House on a coffee mug or carafe.
Unlike other manual drippers, the base of this coffee maker has two windows on either side so that you can watch it drip through and avoid an overflow. Even the material that this brewer is made from offers equal parts beauty and effectiveness.
Not only does the white ceramic give the Bee House a classy appearance, but it also helps to insulate your brew. Compared to glass or plastic, ceramic will retain more heat for longer.
Brew Control Ability: 4/5
What’s even better than great coffee today? Knowing that you’ll also have great coffee tomorrow. The real beauty of the Bee House is something that you’ll never notice just by looking at it.
Because this brewer isn’t affected by the steadiness of your hand, a shaky pour in the morning will give you the same coffee as a solid pour in the evening.
Why? Its flat bottom has two small holes that restrict water from just tumbling through, which helps to even out the extraction regardless of how you pour. However, this can mean that the Bee House doesn't give you the same flexibility and control over water flow that other pour overs can, especially the Hario and Chemex. We deducted a point for this.
In return for giving up the fine control, the Bee House's steep-walled, cone-like shape keeps water from creating pockets in your bed of grounds that will throw off the flavor (1). Without having to worry about your pouring technique, you are now free to focus on other important aspects like grind size and water temperature.
"I've brewed many cups on the V60s and Kalita Wave Brewers and think they are fine, but I still get my most flavorful, pure and evenly extracted brews out of a Beehouse." -Andy Sprenger, 2011 Brewer's Cup champion
With a little play and experimentation, you can easily dial in these other variables and craft a coffee just as good as, if not better than the more meticulous pour over brewers.
Ease of Use: 5/5
If nothing else, there is one thing you should remember about the Bee House coffee maker: it is one of the easiest pour over brewers to use.
Whereas other manual drippers will mercilessly punish you for each and every mistake you make, no matter how small, the Bee House, like a benevolent, ceramic angel was made to guide you down the path to delicious coffee (2).
The flat bottom that makes this coffee maker a friendly device to work with also makes it more reliable than most other manual drippers. Regardless of how you pour the water in, it will always flow through the same way.
This means that the Bee House is predictable as well as dependable. Because you only need to worry about grind size (for the flow rate) and water temperature (for the extraction yield), you can reliably assume how each brew will turn out given a little practice. Even if you change coffee roasters, you can expect a consistent, dependable pour over.
As beautiful as that white ceramic is, it's never going to be as light as a pour over made from plastic or sheet metal. So if you are in the habit of bringing this with you everywhere, resign yourself to carrying the extra weight, and be sure to pack it carefully as the ceramic can chip or crack with impacts that a plastic dripper will shake off. We deducted a point for this.
On the plus side, its one-piece construction means you can use it almost anywhere, as long as you have the ability to boil water and you don't forget your coffee filters.
It's neither the least nor the most expensive pour over we've reviewed, but the Bee House Ceramic is priced higher than other single-cup pour over brewers (especially the Melitta Ready Set Joe or the plastic versions of the Hario V60). But the ceramic construction helps justify the cost, whether you consider the look and feel of the glossy white surface or the way it helps keep your extraction at a consistent temperature.
And speaking of filters, the Bee House Ceramic coffee dripper takes standard Melitta coffee filters (#2 for the small, #4 for the large), available inexpensively pretty much anywhere.
Alternatives to the Bee House Pour Over Coffee Dripper
I’m not here to sell you one specific coffee dripper. I’m no salesman. I tried that once, but I got fired because I sold my competitors’ products just as well as I sold my employer’s. I’m here to help you figure out which coffee maker is best for you.
So, staying true to my style, here are three other pour over brewers you might consider: the Kalita Wave, the Melitta, and the Hario Woodneck.
The Kalita Wave
Just like the Bee House, the Wave has a flat bottom with small holes to help control water flow, but instead of just two, the Wave has three. Furthermore, this brewer uses a cone-shaped design and comes in a wide range of materials. The stainless steel series is the most popular, but it also comes in glass, plastic, copper, or ceramic.
Though you have more style options with the Wave, it is a little more stubborn, requiring more pour precision than the Bee House. Click here to get a closer look at this pour over brewer.
If you really liked the design and brew method of the Bee House, then the single-cup Melitta will be right up your alley. At first glance you might think it is just a plastic Bee House knockoff, but the Melitta has been around much longer.
This old workhorse is one of the original pour over brewers, inspiring many newer pour over coffee makers, including the Bee House. Though it may not be much to look at, its all-plastic body makes it durable and easy to travel with. It won’t retain heat as well as the Bee House, but it is just as easy to use.
To get a closer look at the Melitta, click here.
The Hario Woodneck
The Hario brand is well known for providing solid manual drippers, and the Woodneck is no exception. It belongs to a special class of pour over coffee makers called “drip pots,” which are basically a drip brewer and coffee carafe combined into one convenient package.
But even among drip pots, the Woodneck is unique. It uses a special cloth filter that hangs like a basket from a wooden handle, which gives its coffee a greater depth of flavor. Unfortunately, these filters don’t do well with more acidic or fruitier roasts, and they require some special upkeep.
With many brewers, pour over coffee can become a tiring exercise in patience, but the Bee House Pour Over Ceramic Coffee Dripper is one of the few exceptions.
The flat bottom, steep wedge-shaped walls, and ceramic body are all meant to take some of the pressure off your shoulders so that you can whip up a delicious cup of coffee day after day (3).
I hope my Bee House Coffee Dripper review helped answer your questions.
- Clayton, L. (2018, August 9). How Ceramic Coffee Drippers Stack Up. Retrieved from https://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/11/best-ceramic-coffee-dripper-pourover-hario-bonmac-bee-house-kalita-reviews.html
- Brew with Bee House. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.stumptowncoffee.com/brew-guides/bee-house
- Carman, T. (2014, January 14). Coffee-brewing methods: Pros and cons. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/coffee-brewing-methods-pros-and-cons/2014/01/13/2aef97fc-77ea-11e3-b1c5-739e63e9c9a7_story.html