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How To Make The Best Pour Over Coffee?

How do you make the best, pour-over coffee? This step-by-step guide will show you how it's done.As aesthetically pleasing as pour over coffee looks and tastes, it is deceptively hard to master. Since there are so many elements involved, even one tiny mistake can overthrow the brewing process by a mile.

People who are just waking up to the trend are stumped over by the questions - how to make pour over coffee? how do pour over coffee makers work?

Whether you are a newbie looking to gain some insights into pour over coffee, or a coffee connoisseur looking to expand your knowledge and coffee-making skills, this blog will tell you everything you need to know about pour over coffee. 

In the brewing world, there always seems to be a new method of making coffee. Some are worth their salt, and while others, not so much.

Pour over coffee process has gained popularity only recently, owing to the rise in interest in specialty coffee, but the technique has been around for ages.

Before we dive into mastering the perfect pour over coffee and dole out detailed pour over coffee instructions, let’s start with the basics and address exactly what is pour over coffee?

What is Pour Over Coffee?

pouring water from a gooseneck kettle onto coffee grounds to prepare pour over coffee

Pour over coffee method involves pouring hot water through a filter, which contains coffee grounds. The water passes through the coffee and filters either into a mug or carafe.

What sets it apart from filter coffee or drip coffee is the fact that it is hand pouring the water over the grounds. This is why it is sometimes also known as manual brewing or hand brewing.

Generally, the best grind size for pour over coffee is medium to coarse.

Pour Over Coffee Benefits

Why drink pour over coffee?  

The pour over coffee maker pulls out intricate and rich flavours compared to other coffee brewing methods. Since it allows for the natural aroma and taste of the grounds to take centre stage, it has quickly gained popularity.

A cup of pour-over brewed coffee, when brewed correctly, is smooth to drink, fresh, consistent in taste, and clean.

What makes pour over coffee better?

Pour over coffee method uses a constant supply of fresh hot water; it allows the water to extract coffee’s taste and oils at its own pace and time. The filter catches the excess oils and produces a clean-tasting cup of coffee.

This is precisely why it has become the preferred method of infusion over the French press (which is an immersion technique). 

History of Pour Over Coffee

Let’s delve deeper into when was pour over coffee invented and where did it originate.

The person who invented pour over coffee was Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz in Germany. The idea struck her in 1908 when one afternoon Amalie was sipping her bitter and over-extracted coffee; she was quite unsatisfied.

As a result, the woman started experimenting with different brewing methods.

She fashioned a blotting paper from a book and affixed it in a brass pot with a hole punctured in with a nail. It worked out great, and she started selling the brewing pot to the public.

It was in the 1930s when the brewer pots started selling like hotcakes, by the 1950s, the design evolved, and became the cone-shaped design that is in circulation today.

It was an instant hit as the cone offered more surface area for filtration. 

The method went international, and it revolutionized the way we drink our coffee. It was simple, produced less bitter coffee, and still innovative.

While cloth filters were used throughout Latin America for years prior to the invention, the introduction of paper filters proved to be legendary.

Even after a century, Melitta is a well-known brand and still manufactures filters for pour over coffee and pour over equipment.

Pour Over Coffee Essentials

Equipment needed to brew pour over coffee, that is, gooseneck kettle, coffee scale, mug, hario v60 coffee dripper and paper filter 

Before we address the question of how to make pour over coffee, we need to assemble the pour over coffee equipment needed to brew the best cup of coffee:

Brewing Device

Choose the pour over coffee maker as per your preference. By brewing device, we mean the piece of equipment that will hold the filter and coffee grounds.

Chemex, Hario V60, and Kalita Wave still remain the most popular choices, but the option is up to you. They are all easily available, have specific filters curated for them, and are simple enough to use. 

If you are not sure, visit the nearest local coffee shop and try coffee made through different devices. You can also ask the barista about how they made it and if they have any specific preference and why. 

Filters 

chemex coffee paper filter

There are two options available ‚Äď cloth and paper, with the latter being most popular. Different filters are made as per the brewing devices and accordingly aid in efficient extraction of the coffee grounds.

For example, Chemex uses comparatively thicker filters (20-30%), which allows them to retain more of the suspended oils while brewing. 

Some are of the opinion that pour over coffee with paper filter lends a papery taste to filtered coffee, largely when bleached. One trick to avoid this, is to rinse the filter before using it.

Others prefer cloth filters as they don’t effect the flavour and are also better for the environment and can be reused easily. 

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide. However, ensure that the filter comfortably fits your chosen brewing device. A crinkled filter will hinder the water flow and confine the coffee grounds, thereby producing inconsistent tasting coffee. 

Scales

coffee scale

There is no need to fret if you do not have measuring scales. However, if you are really particular and want to produce consistent tasting results, having scales go a long way.

Pour over coffee with scale can scare away your coffee woes. Knowing exactly how much water and coffee to put, can allow you to replicate great results or tweak measurements as needed. 

Kettle 

gooseneck kettle

Pour over coffee kettle comes in every shape and size. You can get away with using a standard electric kettle, but having a special one to make pour over coffee, produces better results. 

There are many elements that go into producing a good cup of specialty coffee, and consistency is one of them.

Kettle designed for pour over coffee method is made to retain temperatures and dispense water carefully. It helps in a balanced and consistent extraction.

Any other normal kettle without the signature thin gooseneck would spurt out water in more than the required amount. A gooseneck kettle will allow you more control over the flow of water and accuracy over the quantity.

It makes the brewing process easier. 

Pro Tip:

Channelling 

As the name suggests, channelling means when the water forms a channel through the coffee grounds.  

Channelling is quite crucial to coffee brewing. The poured over water can channel through very easily by finding an easy route through the coffee grounds, which will result in poor extraction of  flavours.

This will happen if there are lumps of coffee grounds or when these are not evenly distributed. It becomes important that the water is poured in a way that evenly immerses all the coffee in water. 

Needless to say, if the flavours are not extracted properly, it can produce excessively weak or strong coffee.

Hand pour also can result in inconsistent coffee because there is room for error. This is the reason why many cafe-owners are opting for batch brewing. It brings a certain level of automation to coffee brewing, thereby preserving quality, taste and produces a more consistent flavour.

What type of coffee is best for Pour Over?

Equipment forms the base to brew a good cup, but what about coffee itself? 

Pour Over Coffee Grind Size 

pour over coffee grind size

The size of your coffee grounds directly affects the extraction process. Since pour over is a type of infusion method, meaning that water and coffee are in contact with each other for only a short amount of time ‚Äď longer when compared to espresso, but shorter than in an immersion method.

So, you need to ensure that the grounds have enough surface area to get extracted before the water completely filters through. However, be careful to not under extract or over extract. 

It is advised to start with a medium grinding size, brew a cup and see how it fits your taste. You can then tweak as needed.

If the pour over coffee is weak or sour, try a finer grind.

If the pour over coffee is bitter or over-extracted, try a coarser grind. 

Investing in a coffee grinder is a good decision if you brew coffee regularly, and it is often hit or miss. This way, you have control over the size and can easily make adjustments. 

Roast Profile 

What attracts people to the pour over method is its ability to bring out the nuances and subtle flavour of the coffee.

A light roast goes very well as the beans are the brightest and retain the most acidic flavours. 

You can choose dark or medium, but pour over tends to go best with a light roast. 

Pour Over Coffee to Water Ratio

There is no right answer to this, but a ratio of coffee to water between 1:15 and 1:17 is considered a good starting point.

During the trial and error method, adjust factors that directly affect extraction such as water temperature, grinding size, ratio; one at a time to achieve the best cup of coffee. 

If the brew is weak, try adding more coffee, and when it is bitter, try reducing the coffee.

Remember that tap water contains its own taste, minerals, and contaminants. Therefore, filtered water is always advised. 

Which Pouring Technique To Deploy?

When you are just starting out, try to avoid watching too many videos on how to pour the water, as you will be quickly overwhelmed.

Many stick with pouring in consistent circles, but learning about blooming, agitation, and pulse pouring can help extraction:

Pour Over Coffee Bloom

The bloom is defined as the bubbling up of water when you start pouring, and it makes contact with the coffee grounds.

Since carbon dioxide gets built up during the roasting process, the degassing causes this reaction. Fresh coffee and dark roasts produce a good bloom because they contain a higher amount of pent up carbon dioxide. 

If the gases do not escape, the extraction will not be good since carbon dioxide repels water by nature, and the coffee grounds are sitting at different levels and heights. 

Gently pour the measured quantity of water over coffee and wait for the bloom to pass. Usually, the ratio of coffee to water is 1:2 during this process.

If you have taken 15g of coffee grounds, the water should be 30ml. 

Pulse Pouring & Continuous Pouring

As the name suggests, pulse pouring meaning pouring specific quantities of water multiple times. The number of pours and quantity of water is adjustable as per the brew you want.

This technique helps prevent the coffee grounds from rising to the sides and avoids channelling of water without extraction. Multiple pouring also gently disturbs the grounds, forcing them to contact more with the water. 

Continuous pouring means pouring the water at a consistent rate, without breaks. It is an alternative to pulse pouring. This way, the saturation and flow are as even as possible, whereas with pulse pouring, there is intentional variation. 

We advise you to try both methods and stick to the one which produces the best results. 

Agitation

It means disturbing the coffee grounds while the brewing process is taking place. You can agitate the coffee grounds by swirling or stirring the brew.

It helps distribute the water evenly; otherwise, it can lead to uneven extraction of the desired coffee solubles. 

Agitation also helps to break down clumps and in even saturation. 

How To Make Pour Over Coffee at Home? 

You can follow our pour over coffee guide to brew a great cup of coffee. However, tweaking elements here and there as per your taste and preference will be up to you. Take a look:

1. Grind your coffee as per the brewing device you are using. If you have no clue, start with medium grind size. 

Remember to measure the weight of the coffee grinds in direct relation to the water. 

2. Get your filter water ready next. The temperature of the water should be around 97¬įC - 98¬įC.¬†

You need water that is just shy of boiling, meaning take it off the heat when you start to see little bubbles popping up at the sides of the water. 

3. It is now time to prep your device. Place the whole setup on a digital scale and ensure that it is at zero. 

4. Start by placing the filter of your choice in the dripper. 

5. Add the coffee grounds to the filter. Lightly tap the device to ensure there is a level surface.

6. Start the timer and then start to pour in the water. 

Decide beforehand how you want to pour the water - whether in succession or at specific intervals. 

7. When you start pouring the hot water on top of the grounds, you will see the bloom. It is essential that you pause for at least 30 seconds for the blooming process. 

8. You will need to add water till it reaches the appropriate pour over coffee grounds to water ratio. This is where using the scale pays off. 

Ensure that you pour in gently, at an even speed, starting from outward and finishing in the centre.

Try to pour close to the grounds. The distance between the water being poured and grounds directly affect the rate of agitation that takes place due to the fluctuating brew temperatures and the turbulence caused to the coffee grounds.

The ideal pour over coffee extraction time for the brewing process ranges between three minutes to three minutes and thirty seconds. 

After the procedure is done, you can discard the filter containing used coffee grounds if it is made of paper. 

pouring coffee from carafe into green coffee cup

    It is now time to enjoy your brewed cup of coffee! 

    Pour over coffee has quickly become one of the staple ways of brewing coffee for many people. Once you master it, the process is easy, fuss-free, and produces the best-tasting cup of coffee.

    We hope you enjoyed our article about how pour over coffee works.

    With this knowledge, we know that you can make the most of your pour over coffee by using the proper temperatures and techniques for brewing. So what are you waiting for? Start Brewing!!

    We would love to know your thoughts on pour over coffee and how you like it - comment down below!

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