Pour over coffee will be my next venture in the coffee world, and I'm trying to decide between ceramic and plastic. The ceramic devices are much more expensive, and I'm hoping to understand if there is a justification for the extra expense.
Ceramic will - if preheated - prevent some cooling of your water, but plastic filter-holders don't have much heat capacity so you don't lose much with them, either. Plastic filter-holders and paper filters have the advantage of not costing much so you can have one at home, one at work, one anywhere else you want...
As with most coffee preparation, a good grinder is paramount and getting freshly roasted coffee is also extremely important.
There is a good reason why ceramic is more expensive. It is the best choice, because it helps maintain the temperature better than plastic. I pour boiling water through my Hario (with filter) to heat it (and the coffee cup) first. Then I put in the freshly ground coffee, and wait 30 seconds for my water to get to the desired range of 195-205 degrees.
And you feel the extra heat retention gives you a better cup of coffee?– mthorpApr 20, 2011 at 22:35
You may want to consider glass. I am a big fan of the Chemex coffeemakers. The integrated design is also a plus in my book.
Not sure about its heat retention capability but I find that pouring water that is just short of boiling produces the best aroma.
Chemex is actually my next venture after the basic pour over. Specifically, a chemex with the metal kone filter that that Coava Coffee created. I had one of those last week at a little coffee shop in Salem, OR and...wow! But it's a good deal more expensive than even a nice ceramic pour over.– mthorpApr 21, 2011 at 16:24