You’ve probably heard of Pour Over Coffee from that one friend who’s a coffee-nut (We’re the said “friend”). It’s a relatively easy coffee brewing method but takes a bit of time to master.
It’s a good thing that our team of coffee enthusiasts whipped this Pour Over Coffee guide just for you! So, if your palpitations are at its peak, let’s immerse in the world of Pour Over Coffee.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What is Pour Over Coffee
- What do I need to make Pour Over Coffee
- How to make Pour Over Coffee
- Standard Method
- Chemex Method
- Why my Pour Over Coffee tastes funny
What is Pour Over Coffee?
Pour Over coffee is a delicate coffee brewing method that requires good technique to make a delicious cup. It may look straightforward but it’s not as simple as pouring water over coffee grounds.
It’s a particular brewing process that has pouring intervals, ideal water temperature, coffee bean freshness and many more. It might be overwhelming at first but you’ll get the hang of it with practice!
Pour Over Coffee Vs Drip Coffee
Let’s first debunk the notion that Pour Over Coffee and Drip Coffee are one in the same.
The main thing to remember is:
Pour Over Coffee = Manual Brewing Process
Drip Coffee = Electric Coffee Maker
Pour Over Makers are intricate and sophisticated. Brewers are more in control of the process and affect the quality of the cup tremendously. While Drip Coffee is entirely made by the coffee machine, offering little control over the process.
Pour Over Makers offer lighter and clearer cups of coffee than Drip Coffee which tends to stress deeper (sometimes bitter) taste, mostly due to over extraction of the machine.
Also, there is a Single Drip Coffee variety that commercialized companies sell by the box. This is a portable version of the Drip Coffee where a tea-bag like filter contains ground coffee. To brew a single cup, you just pour hot water on the opening for it to sweat you a drink.
What’s so special about Pour Over Coffee?
Pour Over Coffee shines in its ability to produce a nuanced flavor in each cup of coffee. It highlights brightness, clarity, and those flavor profiles you see on the coffee beans’ labels.
Pour Over Coffee is special in the respect that it manifests the identity of the coffee beans’ origin through its coffee yields. Something that other brewing methods can’t boast because we’re too busy masking the acidity or bitterness with milk and other additives.
What do I need to make Pour Over Coffee?
#1 Coffee Beans
Consider the following things when selecting your coffee beans for Pour Over.
When selecting the Roast for your Pour Over, always choose something from a light roast to a medium roast. This isn’t to say that dark roasts are bad for Pour Overs. It’s just that they don’t offer as much variety in flavor as the lighter ones.
Light and Medium Roast coffee beans have their original flavors intact. Therefore, it always produces a different experience each time you brew a cup of joe. Dark Roasts have spent too long in the roaster that it burns the flavors to an indistinguishable degree.
Check the label for freshly roasted coffee beans.
The best coffee beans for Pour Overs are the ones recently roasted – about a week or two after the roast date. At this time, the coffee beans are at their optimum state for brewing and their true coffee flavors have just settled in.
Though, I do understand that finding coffee beans with roast dates in the grocery store is impossible. You can opt to buy from local coffee shops, especially specialty coffee places. They usually have freshly roasted coffee beans.
Blends and Single Origin
Coffee comes in blends and single origin. Blends are coffee beans that come from different locations and are mixed together to create a coffee blend variety. Single origin, on the other hand, comes from a single farm.
The best coffee beans for Pour Overs are the Single Origin ones because they provide more variations to their cups.
Tip: Always buy your coffee beans as whole beans. The best coffee beans are freshly roasted and freshly ground. If you’re one to stock up on coffee beans, buy them whole and grind them yourself. This gives you more value for your money. Remember! Ground coffee beans release carbon dioxide (CO2) faster than whole beans, meaning it releases flavors faster. And we don’t want a stale cup, do we?
#2 Coffee Grinder
Don’t forget to grind your coffee before you brew. For that you’ll need a good coffee grinder.
The Pour Over requires medium-coarse grind coffee. But there are times that this grind size will yield a bitter or sour cup of coffee. Adjust the grind size as needed.
The best way to grind your coffee beans is through a burr grinder. It produces a grind consistency necessary to extract the best cup.
#3 Pour Over Dripper
There are a lot of Pour Over drippers in the market. Some are made out of plastic, steel, ceramic or silicone.
They’re at all that expensive but some of the cheap ones tend to break after a few uses. It’s best to put a price range for your Pour Over Dripper, not too expensive and not too cheap, to get a durable one that’ll still give you great coffee.
I personally own a silicone Pour Over Dripper, it’s cheaper and more durable than the thin plastic ones. It’s not likely to break like the original ceramic or have a metallic aftertaste like the steel.
#4 Coffee Filters
Like the coffee dripper, there are also different kinds of coffee filters. Each one produces a different kind of clarity for the Pour Over coffee.
The most common coffee filters are paper filters. Paper filters come in many shapes – a fan, a cone, and a basket. You can mix and match coffee filters with coffee drippers, depending on your preference.
For people who are environmentally conscious, there are reusable coffee filters like the stainless steel filter and the cloth coffee filter.
#5 Kettles and Water
The Pour Over is one of the many hot brewing methods of coffee. It needs hot water to extract the flavors from the coffee grounds and that requires a kettle and quality water.
You’re free to use any kettle to pour hot water on your coffee grounds. But in my experience, the best Pour Over I’ve had was when I used my goose neck kettle. It provides more control on the pouring phase compared to a regular electric kettle.
If you’re inclined to buy one for your coffee making, get one with a thermometer. Water temperature and water quality are also important factors to consider in making Pour Over coffee.
The ideal water temperature for your Pour Over is around 90 – 96 degrees Celsius (195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit). For the best Pour Over cup, use filtered water. Remember that your coffee will only be as good as the water you use.
#6 Food Scale
The last item you’ll need to make Pour Over is a food scale. The best one you can use is a digital scale. You might have one lying around in your kitchen, that’s perfectly fine.
If you’re a bit meticulous, you can opt for a coffee scale. It’s similar to the digital scale, only it has a built in timer you can use for your brewing.
How to make Pour Over Coffee?
Now that we’ve hashed out all the things to get you started on brewing a flavorful cup of Pour Over. Let’s dive into the step by step process.
#1 Standard Method
On average, the coffee brewing time for Pour Overs is between 3 minutes to 4 minutes. Number of pours range from 4 to 5 (including the bloom).
- Coffee Dripper
- Paper Filter
- Carafe or Glass Pitcher
- Kettle with thermometer
- Food scale or digital scale
Step 1: Assemble your carafe, coffee dripper of choice and paper filter of choice. Place it on top of your digital scale and press Tare to remove the weight of the equipment.
Step 2: Boil your filtered water to 90-96 degrees Celsius. It will be better if you measure using the correct coffee-to-water ratio.
Step 3: Once you have the right water temperature, wet your paper filter in preparation for your coffee grounds. It’s important to do this if you don’t want to have a papery tasting final cup.
Step 4: Set the coffee dripper aside and swirl the hot water inside the carafe to warm the vessel.
Step 5: Dump the hot water in the sink. Re-assemble your carafe, and prepared coffee dripper with filter on the scale. Press Tare again to mark the weight zero.
Step 6: Add coffee grounds inside the wet paper filter and level it. Make sure that it’s a flat bed. (Optional) Use a chopstick or your finger to poke a hole in the middle of the coffee bed for better extraction.
Step 7: Pour the first few milliliters of water from the hole going outwards. Do this in a slow circular motion and don’t exceed the amount. Make sure that the entire bed is soaked and let that bloom between 30 seconds to 40 seconds. You’ll notice that the coffee will expand as it releases carbon dioxide.
Step 8: Proceed to your second pour after the bloom ends. Add the next milliliters going in a slow circular motion from the outer rim of the filter going to the middle.
Step 9: Agitate the coffee grounds. Use a small spoon and gently stir the coffee grounds to better extract the coffee. You can also lift the coffee dripper slightly to swirl the liquid inside as it extracts.
Step 10: Repeat Steps 8 to 9 for the third and fourth pour. Always check the scale if you’ve reached the correct coffee to water ratio.
Step 11: Wait for the dripper to expel all the extracted goodness from it. You should be able to see a flat bed of used coffee grounds at the end. That’s usually an indication that you extracted a good cup of coffee.
Step 12: Remove the coffee dripper from the carafe. Remove the used paper filter and dump it in the garbage.
Step 13: Swirl the coffee in your carafe. You’ll see a silky consistency of clear coffee. Pour yourself a cup and enjoy your pourover brew.
#2 Chemex Filter Method
You can follow the same standard method of Pour Over brewing with the Chemex and its big filter. The existence of the Chemex is for bigger brewing batches for 4 to 5 people.
Coffee drippers like the ones above are for single cups – at best for two. So, if you’re making coffee for your friends or family, you should use a Chemex to save you some time.
Chemex Filters can be bought in stores. But some home brewers make their own with filter paper. This is a cheaper alternative.
Why does my coffee taste funny?
Coffee to Water Ratio
Just like any other coffee brewing method, the coffee to water ratio is an integral part of the process.
For the Pour Over, you should adhere to a 1:15 coffee to water ratio by standard. But if you want more clarity to your cup, you can go with 1:16 or 1:17. Say, you have 15g of coffee grounds, multiplied by 15, you’ll be using 225g of water.
Delicious, Bitter, or Sour?
Did you make a bitter cup or a sour cup? From the same coffee beans, you can actually get three different yields which are affected by your coffee extraction.
Some coffee beans need to be ground either finer or coarser, depending that first failed yield.
If you created a bitter cup, this means you have over extracted your coffee grounds. The water stayed longer than necessary in the filter.
Fix: Your coffee beans are too fine. Grind your beans to a coarser setting.
If you created a sour cup, this means you have under extracted your coffee grounds. The water passed through too quickly in the filter.
Fix: Your coffee beans are too coarse. Grind your beans to a finer setting.
Bonus: Kouridashi Coffee
Kouridashi coffee is an iced coffee made through a pour over method. It is described as a refreshing iced-tea like drink similar to cold brew without the long steeping process. This process originated from Japan and was initially done for brewing tea.
To make Kouridashi coffee, you follow the same coffee to ratio recipe but with hot water and ice. If the recipe calls for 225g of water, divide that to two: 112.5g will be the hot water to pour and 112.5g will be the ice inside the carafe.
Using the same process, the hot coffee will slowly cool as it drips on the ice to make a flavorful cup of Kouridashi. This type of coffee is also sweeter to the tongue. And it’s one of my favorite pour over variations.
Pour Overs are a great way to awaken that coffee aficionado in you. Equipment is common enough that you can find them at the mall and the process is completely manual that you can modify your methods as you go along.
In the end, the important thing is that you brew coffee that you like and enjoy! And hopefully, you found our comprehensive guide on Pour Overs a treat!
Are you interested in more coffee guides for your coffee corner at home?