Master Pour-Over Coffee

What is pour-over coffee?

Pour-over coffee, as the name implies, is a method of brewing in which the user pours hot water over coffee grounds resting in a filter. As water falls over the grounds, gravity pulls it through the coffee, soaking the grind, and extracting its oils and minerals. The resulting brew will pass through the filter, which catches undesirable sediment and particulates.

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“Cupping” aside, a pour-over is the best brew method for picking out nuances in a coffee’s flavor profile, and the single best method for accentuating a coffee’s body and mouthfeel. What’s more, the disposable paper filters make for easy clean-up, and a well-crafted piece of brewing equipment will leave you with a stunning visual effect.


What will you need to brew pour-over coffee?

  • Brewer
    There are several models available with differing feature sets

  • Filter
    “Bleached” filters are the best at filtering out fine sediment, but will leave a chemical after-taste. “Natural” filters won’t leave an after-taste. Buy filters that fit your particular brewer.

  • Coffee
    By weight, you will want a 1:16 coffee-to-water ratio. If you don’t have a scale, start with a ratio of  ¼ cup (0.06 liters) of coffee to 2 cups (0.47 liters) of water

  • Hot water
    A goose-neck teapot will provide the best control over the flow of water, but any teapot will suffice

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How do you brew pour-over coffee?

  • Heat Water
    204 – 207 degrees Fahrenheit (97 – 98 degrees Celsius) is ideal. If you are using stove to heat your water, begin pouring 10 seconds off of the boil.

  • Wet Filter
    Make sure that the filter is resting evenly in the brewer then wet it by pouring water over it. Wetting the filter holds it in place and flushes small fibers from it, which means less paper and dust ends up in your coffee. Be sure to empty your cup/carafe before proceeding.

  • Grind Beans
    Grind your beans on a medium-fine setting and place them in the wetted filter

  • Bloom
    Pour just enough hot water to wet the coffee grinds thoroughly, then gently stir the coffee and water with a small spoon, being careful not to puncture the filter. Let sit for 30 seconds after stirring. This process releases gas caught in the coffee grinds, allowing for a more thorough extraction. The water used here counts as part of the 1:16 ratio.

  • Pour
    Pour the remainder of your water over the bloomed coffee grounds in a circular motion, letting the last few circles fall around the far edges of the brewer to loosen any coffee grinds that are stuck to the filter. It should take approximately 3 ½ minutes from the beginning of the pour for all of the water to drain through the grinds. Try a courser grind setting if it takes longer, and a finer grind setting if it is shorter.


What kind of brewer is best for you?

Chemex
The Chemex is a two-in-one brewer/carafe made of heat-retaining borosilicate glass that comes in a variety of sizes. The attached carafe allows for several servings to be brewed at once. The comparative downsides of the Chemex are the extra cleaning that its carafe requires and its large price tag. The Chemex is ideal for socialites, compulsive glass cleaners, and those with crippling caffeine addictions.

Hario V60
The V60 is a pour-over system that rests on top of a cup while you brew. This piece does not have an attached carafe, which makes it extra portable and easy to clean, but also limits you to brewing 1 serving at a time. Hario sells models in a variety of materials including plastic, ceramic, glass, and copper. The V60 is ideal for loners, coffee shop owners, and ballers on a budget.

Stagg Pour-Over System
The Stagg by Fellow Products is a pour-over system that sits on top of a separate cup or carafe, conceptually similar to the V60. The major differences lie in its double walled insulation and its cylindrical (as opposed to conical) shape. These features provide for better heat retention and, in theory, a more even extraction. The Stagg is ideal for travelers, aestheticists, and snobs.