If you see a barista making pour-over coffee, you might find the idea of trying it at home intimidating.
What We'll Cover
- What Is Pour-Over Coffee?
- What You Need
- How To Make The Perfect Cup of Pour-Over Coffee in 10 Easy Steps
- 1) Get The Right Beans For The Job
- 2) Grind Your Beans Just Before Brewing
- 3) Prepare Your Filter
- 4) Heat Your Water Up
- 5) Get Ready To Brew
- 6) Don’t Overlook Blooming Your Grounds
- 7) Start Pouring Your Water
- 8) It’s Time To Clean Up
- 9) The All-Important Taste Taste
- 10) Don’t Be Afraid of Fine-Tuning
- Final Thoughts
Now, we’re not going to lie and claim making pour-over is as simple as using a single-serve machine. Then again, what is?
Once you get started, though, you’ll find that the intricacy is all worthwhile. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be free to experiment until you get all elements of the brewing process dialed in just the way you like it.
If you’ve never tried your hand with this classic brewing method, you’re in luck today. We’ll be breaking down what you need beyond a pour-over coffee machine. We’ll also outline how to make this style of coffee with the minimum of hassle.
Before anything else, though, what exactly is pour-over coffee and why should you care?
What Is Pour-Over Coffee?
Pour-over coffee is a simple way of seizing complete control over the variables in the coffee brewing process. From the timing to the temperature, from water distribution to the grind size, dial everything in until you’ve got a completely customized brew.
Ultimately, that’s all that counts: getting coffee just the way you like it.
As the name makes abundantly clear, you make coffee by pouring hot water over your coffee beans. For best results, always grind directly before brewing.
All you really need is some fresh coffee grounds, a filter and a pour-over coffee maker. We’ll outline some optional equipment, too.
Since the coffee is slowly poured over the grounds, you’ll get a crisp and clean test with perfect extraction.
While the premise is simple, you’ll need to put in a little effort initially. Also, this is not the quickest brewing method. If you’re after pure convenience, roll with a Keurig. If, on the other hand, you care more about retaining complete control and enjoying your coffee at its finest, read on…
Before anything else, you’ll need to assemble some essential equipment.
What You Need
- Pour over coffee maker
- Kettle (ideally a gooseneck)
- Fresh coffee beans
- Coffee grinder
- Carafe or container
Now, with these basics in place, be aware that there’s no boilerplate process that works in all cases. Taking that approach tends to dumb things down anyway. What we’re looking to do is give you a framework to use and experiment with.
And experiment is the key word here. By testing and dialing in the variables, you’ll soon find what works for you. Ultimately, that’s all that counts.
How To Make The Perfect Cup of Pour-Over Coffee in 10 Easy Steps
Follow this simple procedure and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying barista-grade coffee at home
- Get The Right Beans For The Job
- Grind Your Beans Just Before Brewing
- Prepare Your Filter
- Heat Your Water Up
- Get Ready To Brew
- Don’t Overlook Blooming Your Grounds
- Start Pouring Your Water
- It’s Time To Clean Up
- The All-Important Taste Test
- Don’t Be Afraid of Fine-Tuning
1) Get The Right Beans For The Job
Don’t rush this first step as it’s arguably the most important element.
If you don’t know much about coffee beans, you could pop into your local coffee shop and have a chat with the barista.
Ethiopian and Costa Rican beans both work well with this brewing method but you should be guided by your barista’s advice along with what best meshes with your tastes.
The only proviso we’d throw in is to opt for sustainably-produced beans from a reputable source. After all, if you’re going to all the trouble of using an involved brewing method, why not start with the finest beans
2) Grind Your Beans Just Before Brewing
Here’s where you press your grinder into commission.
In short, opt for a burr grinder rather than the cheaper and markedly inferior blade grinders. A blade grinder produces a crude and inconsistent grind. Beyond this, this type of grinder can also impair the coffee beans through overheating. Dig deep and invest in a burr grinder, ideally with ceramic burrs.
For the pour-over method, you should shoot for anything from a medium-fine grind to a medium-coarse grind.
Use this as a benchmark and experiment until you find what works best for you.
Coffee beans degrade rapidly when they’re exposed to the elements. If you buy pre-ground coffee, it will sadly be past its best before it’s in your hands. We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of grinding just before you brew.
With your beans blitzed, it’s time for some basic preparation…
3) Prepare Your Filter
The vast majority of pour-over coffee makers use paper filters. If you’re concerned about the ongoing cost and environmental impact, feel free to look for a model that uses a permanent metal filter.
With a paper filter, you’ll need to make sure that the filter you’re looking at is capable of filtering the grind size you’ll be using (see above).
Some coffee fiends will insist you need to rinse your filter before use but this is not a fixed rule. If, however, you find that your coffee has a taste of paper to it, experiment with rinsing. If not, it’s time to get down to business.
4) Heat Your Water Up
Here’s where the brewing process proper starts.
While choosing the right beans and grinding them before brewing to the correct consistency is vital, equally important is using water at the right temperature.
Again, you can experiment here, but start with roughly 2 cups of water for 2 tablespoons of coffee. Tweak depending on the strength you prefer.
You should aim for water heated to between 195F and 205F. As a rule, the hotter the water you use, the quicker and more dramatic the effects.
Kettles with inbuilt temperature control are ideal but what can you do if you don’t have one of these gems in your kitchen?
Luckily, there’s a pretty simple workaround that should yield water within the recommended range of 195F to 205F. Simply boil the kettle and wait 30 seconds then you’re ready to roll.
5) Get Ready To Brew
Pop the carafe or container you’re using on the scale. Hit Tare so the scale reads zero.
Place your grounds into the filter.
A sensible starting ratio is 17 parts water to 1 part coffee. As we’d advise every step of the way, test things and tweak until it’s your idea of perfection.
6) Don’t Overlook Blooming Your Grounds
With your water prepared, your filter rinsed – this is optional – and the coffee grounds in the carafe, it’s blooming time.
You should gently and evenly saturate your grounds but exercise a light touch.
As the coffee grounds bloom, unwanted gases will escape over the course of a minute or so. Effectively, this paves the way for the final pour to penetrate the grounds.
When you’re pouring, a gooseneck kettle is by some distance your best option. These strange-looking devices will ensure you remain in complete control while you’re pouring, central to successful pulling off a great cup of pour-over.
7) Start Pouring Your Water
Once blooming is complete, wait for another 30 seconds.
Using your gooseneck kettle, begin pouring very slowly. You should use a circular motion starting at the outer edge and working your way inward.
As you pour, make sure the spout remains as close to your grounds as possible.
Don’t be concerned if this initially feels awkward. You won’t need to practice much before the trademark pouring motion becomes second nature.
The coffee will take some time to filter through completely so pack plenty of patience.
We should underscore again the importance of taking your time here. Don’t rush or you’ll spoil the end results.
8) It’s Time To Clean Up
Ditch the used grounds and set your pour-over maker aside to cool down. Rinse and clean this once it’s completely cool to prevent any damage from extreme temperature changes.
Cleaning out all the oils from your equipment will help you keep quality up and enjoy that crisp taste of pour-over coffee without any taint.
9) The All-Important Taste Taste
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for and time to take a nice big gulp.
You should make a note of both flavor and strength. This will help you if you decide to switch things up a little. And that leads us to our final point…
10) Don’t Be Afraid of Fine-Tuning
With many variables in play, you should continue to dial things in until you have the coffee of your dreams.
Our advice is to only change one variable at a time. When you’re happy with the strength, for example, move on to the water temperature or the ratio. Be methodical.
One of the array of benefits offered by pour-over coffee is how completely customizable it is. So write things down, keep on experimenting and, once you’re done, you’ll be able to replicate your perfect brew with absolute ease.
Strive for consistency above all else.
How can you achieve this?
- Weigh your coffee using an accurate scale
- Use a top-notch burr grinder
- Grind directly before brewing
- Focus on altering only one variable at a time
- Record your progress in a journal so you have an accurate record
- Practice makes perfect!
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