Pour over coffee is just what it sounds like--coffee that is brewed by pouring water over ground coffee. Things can get more complicated than that, but that’s the method in a nutshell. The pour-over method is preferred by many coffee experts-- and regular coffee drinkers, like myself--because of the control and variability that it provides the brewer. The method can take a little while to get the hang of, but once you perfect the method you can brew a consistently tasty cup of coffee to your taste every time. Plus, there are no coffee pods junking up the planet with the pour over method.
Mark Howell, the Associate Director of Green Coffee & Tea at Community Coffee Company puts it best when extolling the virtues of the pour over method,
“Simple to clean up and relatively easy to adjust for acidity and body, this method produces a smooth and satisfying cup of coffee.”
Necessary Supplies for Pour Over Coffee
Coffee is simple to make--one only needs water and coffee--but it’s how you combine the water and coffee that makes things a little more complicated. The necessary supplies for the pour over method aren’t that different from other methods.
You will need:
- Pour over coffee maker/vessel
- Variable temperature kettle (pour over style is optional)
- Filters suitable for your pour over maker
- Filtered water (better quality water, makes better coffee)
- Grind coffee beans. A medium grind is a good place to start. You don’t want the grind to be too coarse or too fine. Of course, you can also adjust your grind to taste after you become an expert and depending on the type of coffee you are brewing.
- Place ground coffee in the filter using your preferred vessel. The general ratio is two tablespoons of ground coffee to each 6-8 oz of water.
- Heat your water to between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. The preferred temperature is different depending on which expert you ask. Your best bet is to experiment and see what works for you.
- Pour in enough water to just get the grounds wet. This allows the coffee to “bloom”, which releases the oils and flavors from the grounds.
- Finally, pour over the remaining water in a circular motion. Ideally, when all the water is gone the grounds will be left hugging the filter--and not be clumped at the bottom.
Here’s a video from America’s Test Kitchen for you visual folks.
Pour Over Tips from the Experts
“Test out a few kettles before you buy. The weight balance of a kettle varies quite a bit from model to model, and you'll want to find one that feels good in your hand and allows you to control the flow of water well.” - Stephen Hall, co-founder Tinker Coffee
“Grind size is extremely important for brewing a quality pour over. I aim for the coffee grind to be similar in size to sea salt (medium-coarse), which will allow water to flow properly through the paper filter while avoiding an over extracted taste. For darkest roasts, I recommend slightly increasing the grind size to maintain consistency with the more brittle beans.” - Jordan Karcher, founder of Grounds & Hounds
“From the technical side, it’s all about control, calibration, and quality. The ability to control the speed with which you pour water over the coffee grounds is important. The slower the pour, the more time there is for the water to pull out flavor from the grounds. The result is a richer, cleaner and bolder flavor.” - Steve Kraus, founder & co-owner of Press Coffee Roasters.
Pour Over Coffee Makers
There are plenty of pour over coffee makers on the market; here are a few of the ones I have tried and liked.
- Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper
- Hario V60 Coffee Pour-Over Coffee Maker
- Melitta Pour Over Brewer
- Osaka Pour Over Coffee Maker with Reusable Stainless Steel Filter
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