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Q&A: My Pourover Won’t Brew

Question from Karl in Richmond, VA – “I bought a used commercial pourover coffee brewer online but it won’t brew when I pour water in.  Where is the brew button?”

Alfaroo Tech:  This is a problem because you may be causing damage to your machine without knowing it.  First, unplug your machine.  I mean, unplug it right now.

Let’s go over how a commercial pourover coffee machine works.  Inside the machine is a water tank with a heating element in it.  The tank is large and holds about 2-1/2 pots worth of water.  When the tank is full of water and you pour a pot of cold water in to brew, the new pot of cold water forces the same amount of hot water out of the tank.  So, you can see that the water you pour in is not the water that brews the coffee this time.  Home brewers don’t work this way.  Home coffee brewers brew only the water you pour into them right now.

When you first get a pourover you need to fill the tank with water.  With the machine unplugged put an empty pot on the warmer under the empty brew basket.  Next, fill another pot or pitcher with cold water and pour it in the top of the machine.  Give it a minute to go into the tank and see if water starts to fill the empty pot.  If not, add another pot of clean cold water.  Two and a half pots should do the trick.  Once the tank is full you can plug in the machine and let it warm up.

Plugging the machine in without the tank being full of water will damage the heating element, the thermostat and will likely burn out the limit thermostat.  The heating element needs to be completely submerged in water to work properly.  That is why it is vital to fill the tank before you plug it in.

Since you already had the machine plugged in with a partially full tank it may not heat.  If that is the case most likely the little limit thermostat burned out.  That is actually a good thing.  The limit thermostat is there to protect your machine from getting too hot and catching on fire.  Limit thermostats are inexpensive and easy to replace.  Drop us an email if you need a limit thermostat and we can ship it to you.

Do you have questions about your commercial beverage equipment?  Send us a message through the link in the technical box on the right.  We will try to answer your question either via email or by making a post on this site.

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