The Stanley Pour Over actually makes an awesome cup of coffee, but it’s better for car camping or the cabin as it’s too heavy and bulky for serious backpacking. It’s fairly easy to clean and is built for some abuse.
I’m always trying to make better coffee at camp and in the backcountry. That’s why I’ve been excited to try out the Stanley Pour Over Set since the moment I heard about it.
Well… today is the day.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll happily drink cowboy coffee and spit out the grounds. I’ll even settle for the convenience of instant coffee when the situation calls for it. But the opportunity to make truly excellent pour over coffee in the woods is just too good for a guy like me to pass up.
If the Stanley Pour Over Set is as good as I hope it is, I’ll be doing just that from now on. Let’s find out if this thing is all it’s cracked up to be.
What You Get
This set has two components: the Stanley Perfect-Brew Pour Over and the Stanley Legendary Camp Mug. Both are also available individually, but getting the set is a handy way to quickly assemble a complete pour over system.
Both components are made of stainless steel with Stanley’s usual hammertone green finish. The pour over piece sits snugly on top of the mug, and has a built-in filter. The mug holds 12 ounces and is well insulated. A removable drink-through lid is included, and the mug will keep a hot drink hot for a little over an hour while the lid is on.
Like most stuff that Stanley makes, the whole thing is built like a tank. I’m pretty confident you could drop it off a cliff and it would be just fine. The stainless steel is BPA-free and doesn’t impart any off-flavors into whatever drink you choose to put in it.
No Filter Required
One of the big selling points of the Stanley Pour Over Set is that it doesn’t require the use of any paper coffee filters. This is honestly one of the things I like the most about it.
For one thing, paper coffee filters are a waste, and if one of your goals is to make a more environmentally-friendly cup of coffee, then this is a great option. There’s also the issue of how to dispose of your used filters, which can be especially challenging in the backcountry. The Stanley set eliminates that problem by eliminating filters altogether.
But paper filters also rob your coffee of some of its flavor, which is perhaps the biggest reason I’m glad to be rid of them. The Stanley Pour Over Set’s fine stainless steel filter does a great job filtering the grounds from your coffee without filtering out flavor.
How It Works: Using The Stanley Pour Over
The process of making coffee with the Stanley Pour Over set is pretty straightforward, but there’s a little bit of a learning curve to it.
Start with quality coffee beans that are freshly ground (a medium grind is best, but feel free to experiment) and then follow these steps:
1. Heat the water.
The ideal water temperature for making coffee is around 200°F to 205°F. Water boils at 212°F, so if you don’t have a thermometer handy, just bring your water to a boil and then let it cool off for a minute or two before pouring.
2. Place the pour over.
The pour over top nestles right on top of the mug, and has a small lip around the bottom surface to keep it centered.
3. Add the grounds.
Grind your coffee if (it isn’t already), and put it inside the pour over piece. As a general rule, you want to be using 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds for every 4 fluid ounces of water. There are markings on the inner wall of the pour over that equate to 8oz, 12oz and 16oz.
4. Let the coffee “bloom.”
In a circular motion, pour a small amount of water into the pour over—not enough to totally flood it, but just enough to moisten the grounds. Wait about 30 seconds and watch them rise.
5. Pour the water.
Fill the pour over in a circular motion from the center outward, adding the desired amount of water using the markings on the side. Once filled to the desired level, allow it to drain fully before removing the pour over top from the mug and enjoying.
How’s the Coffee?
Keeping in mind that the coffee you make is only as good as the coffee grounds you put in, the Stanley Pour Over Set does a great job extracting maximum flavor while leaving bitterness behind.
It makes a very good cup of joe.
One thing to remember is that a metal filter can never be quite as fine as a paper filter, so you can expect to find some sediment in the bottom of your cup, similar to coffee made with a French press. I have no issue with that. The coarseness of your coffee grounds will also impact the results.
If coffee is ground too finely, it can clog the filter and take a long time to drain (optimum time is about 3 to 4 minutes). If that happens, stir with a spoon to loosen the grounds and let the pour over drain. If the grounds are too coarse, the water will drain too quickly and your coffee will not be as flavorful as it could be.
Again, there’s some trial and error there. I find that to be the case with most any new piece of camping gear, and after two or three attempts with the Stanley Pour Over Set, I feel like I have the grind, water temperature, and grounds-to-water ratio pretty well dialed in.
Is There Room for Improvement?
Look, I’ll tell you right now that I really like this thing. But nothing is perfect. One thing to be aware of is that the Stanley Pour Over Set really isn’t made with hikers or backpackers in mind.
It’s far too heavy and cumbersome.
The set weighs a little over half a pound, takes up a ton of pack space, and requires a separate vessel for heating water. For car camping, it’s great. But for backpacking it doesn’t really make sense.
I also take a bit of issue with Stanley’s promise that this set is “easy to clean.” If you’re in your house with running water, then yea, sure it is. The stainless steel surface washes off easily, and is even dishwasher safe. But out in the woods, cleaning all the spent coffee grounds out of the filter is a bit of a chore.
Who Is The Stanley Pour Over For?
With the exception of hikers and backpackers, I would recommend the Stanley Pour Over Set to almost anybody. It’s one of the best coffee making methods I’ve seen for outdoor use, and if you’re car camping, this is a great option.
The fact that the mug comes with a lid is also a nice perk, so you can go for a walk or drive without spilling your precious brew. And while this set is obviously made with campers in mind, I wouldn’t restrict it to outdoor use only.
I can easily see this being useful every day, especially for apartment dwellers who might have limited kitchen space, and simply want to make a great cup of coffee in the morning. Plus, if you want to eliminate wasteful paper coffee filters, this is a great way to do that as well.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.