How To Make Pour Over Coffee

How to Make Pour Over Coffee – What Gear to Use and Instructions to Follow

The pour over method of brewing prepares clean, crisp coffee when done right, even though it sometimes seems like the least efficient and slowest process. But then you only need 4 items for pour over – coffee grounds, water, paper filter, and a pour over coffee dripper. Sounds easy, right? To be honest, easier said than done.

This type of brewing should be aced because it’s in your hands where most of that brewing control lies. So you decide how hot the water should be, what grind size to use, and things like that.

Agreed that experimenting with water temperature, grind size, etc. is what’s so fun about manually brewing coffee BUT you have to know how to do that the right way. And you’ll only get this once you understand the basics of how to make pour over coffee.

But Then, Why Choose the Pour Over Method?

There’s the traditional slow-drip pour over coffee maker (Chemex, Hario V60, and more) and then there are automatic machines as well that come the closest to mimicking the manual brewing technique.

Both types, if you ask me, are equally popular. But then if you also ask me which of the two yields more delicious liquid gold, I’d choose the former. As to which of the two allows you to experiment with different variations, once again I’d pick the traditional, manual pour over coffee makers.

With manual, you can actually bring out the intricate flavors of coffee. Much more than automatic and even when compared to the rest of the brewing methods. And this is great with single-origin coffees, so all that delicious flavor and aroma get the opportunity to have their moment in the spotlight.

Pour over coffee, also commonly known as filter or drip coffee, is clear, clean, and consistent. Water extracts all the fragrances and oils very smoothly and swiftly (no time and/or pressure constraints here). Therefore, preparing a clean beverage after the filter has held back the excessive oils.

Pour over also results in slightly more efficient extraction of coffee solubles simply because it’s infusion-based. On the other hand, with immersion methods like French Press, water tends to get saturated. Mind you, the flavors do not change irrespective of what method you use, just the nuances get highlighted and that surely does alter, or transform if you will, the way your coffee tastes.

But then, with pour over, you have to overcome challenges such as how to master the pouring over technique (so all the coffee grounds are immersed in water evenly). No wonder automation was welcomed with open arms when the first automatic pour over coffee maker came out back in the ‘70s.

Let’s Get Started Then…

But First, Which Coffee to Use? (Roast Profile & Grind Size)

Roast Profile

Light roasts are simply the best for pour over brewing because this method tends to highlight the subtle flavors and aromas of coffee. So a lighter roast is perfect for its brightest profile and its very acidic flavors. And you know what they say about light roasts – the most authentic quality!

Now, this isn’t set in stone, meaning you can choose medium or dark roast if that’s what you prefer. It’s just that the pour over technique seems to complement the subtle flavors of light roast coffee.

Grind Size

Now this one’s, in a way, set in stone. Because if you don’t choose the right grind size for pour over, you can wreck your whole coffee sipping experience.

How coarse or fine the grounds are has a direct impact on the extraction rate. And since what we have here is infusion-type brewing, you want to make sure that water and coffee come into contact for a smaller length of time than immersion (longer than espresso though).

With that logic in mind, it would be most suitable if the surface area of the coffee grounds is large enough for proper extraction but not so large that under-extraction takes place only to prepare a bitter-tasting brew.

So it’s completely okay to start with medium and then you can change as needed. In case your coffee, with the medium grind size, is a bit sour or watery, make it finer. Whereas if it’s bitter and doesn’t have those sweet notes you like so much, go for slightly coarser.

This begs the question, what is the best coffee grinder for pour over coffee? It absolutely must be a high-quality conical burr grinder. Only then do all coffee particles get subjected to uniform, thorough grinding. Otherwise inconsistency in grind size in the form of “fines” seep into your mug after quick extraction (tiny coffee fragments tend to extract rather quickly).

Many coffee connoisseurs brew pour over with finely ground coffee, not coarse. What they do is try out different water temperatures. For example, 198 degrees Fahrenheit with fast extraction, so the brewing process gets done in around 2 minutes, 10 seconds.

Now the advantage of using a fine coffee grind size is that it yields a better aroma and body. So in the case of fast extraction, all that clean and sweet character of coffee makes its way into your cup.

How About the Coffee-to-Water Ratio with Pour Over Brewing?

How much coffee do you use for a pour over? Amid the chaos of so many different coffee-to-water ratios widely accepted, what works the best for pour over is 1 gram coffee for 17 grams water. So the ratio is 1:17 then.

You can obviously adjust the amount of coffee you want to add depending on factors like water temperature, grind size, etc. But don’t forget that the recipe is supposed to work FOR YOU (so take into account your personal tastes and preferences).

If you want your brew to not taste weak or watery, increase the amount of coffee. But then if the cup’s too strong or intense, reduce how much coffee you add.

And yeah, one last thing – DO NOT use tap water if you can help it because contaminants and minerals found in tap water will affect the flavor of your coffee. Instead, use only filtered water.

Finally, It’s Time to Brew Some Delicious Pour Over Coffee At Home!

Bear in mind that the process of manual brewing takes time. But why am I telling you this? Because the key to brewing perfection is patience. You will fail the first few times but then eventually your brew is going to taste really, really good.

Just follow these simple instructions and you’ll understand the nature of the game…

1. Prepare

Start by rinsing the paper filter using hot water (filter should be placed inside the coffee maker for this), so all the papery taste gets eliminated. Plus you’re also preheating the brewer to maintain a stable temperature during brewing. And this prevents the loss of heat, which ensures optimal, even extraction.

As for the optimal water temperature for brewing coffee, that should be between 195 degrees and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (around 30 seconds only off the boil).

2. Measure

What’s the amount of coffee beans you’re using? You grind them first of course (correct grind size already discussed at length above).

As for the quantity of coffee beans for pour over, 2 scoops or 29 grams of beans for a 1-cup brew (tweak based on your personal preferences).

  • Most recommended coffee type for pour over: Single-Origin
  • Most recommended coffee roast for pour over: Light Roast
  • Most recommended grind size for pour over: Medium-Coarse

3. First Bloom

Now saturate those coffee grounds with a little bit of water – that’s the first pour known as the bloom pour. The bloom will take 30 seconds to settle, which kickstarts even extraction.

4. Second Pour

And then comes the second pour where you add two times the amount of water you used for the first pour. Stir gently at this point to break up the crust of the initial bloom. Let this sit for another 30-40 seconds.

5. Brew

Once foam begins to form at the top, pour the remaining water in a steady, slow spiral motion (gooseneck kettle is the best for pouring with precision). Pour more over the dark spots and avoid light ones, just make sure you saturate all grounds and don’t leave any part dry.

6. And Enjoy!

Once the stream of liquid gold slows down to just a drip, take off the filter and dump the used grounds. And there you have it, your very own freshly prepared pour over coffee.

Side Tip: Having a pour over brew with milk is not the best idea since you’d want to taste all those delicious flavor nuances without the interference of any other ingredients. And this includes milk, creamer, or sugar.

Pour Over Coffee – FAQs

Why Is ‘Blooming’ Coffee So Important?

Coffee, before it’s brewed, contains gasses that become a part of it because of roasting. So when you ‘bloom’ right before brewing, these unwanted gasses are released, which makes sure your brew tastes cleaner. And one other thing, blooming also makes way for easier pouring because coffee grounds then level up properly.

What Coffee-to-Water Ratio Is Best for Pour Over?

1 gram coffee for 17 grams water – 1:17. Of course, you can make adjustments based on how strong or weak you want your brew to taste. For a more intense taste, add more coffee or adjust the grind size (grind it finer). And if your coffee is tasting bitter, reduce the coffee ratio.

Why Does Pour Over Coffee Taste Bitter?

First of all, pour over coffee is supposed to taste clear, clean, and consistent with more intricate flavors. But if your cup is tasting bitter, it’s a sign you’re doing something wrong.

More often than not, that long, unpleasant bitterness comes from over-extraction caused either by using too hot water (optimal temperature is between 195 degrees and 205 degrees Fahrenheit) or very slow running of water through the grounds (typically, brewing shouldn’t take over 4 minutes).

Done Explaining, Let’s Get Brewing!

So no need to fret if this is your first time brewing! In this pour over guide, I have discussed every little step, right from which pour over dripper and coffee grind to use all the way to how to bloom and ‘pour over’ the right way. All these ensure an optimal, even extraction of those delicious, nuanced flavors and aromas of coffee you seem to love SO MUCH!

With pour over, once you get it right, the flavors come out very clean, well-rounded, and bright.

And to be honest, the time and effort are not really any more than what you would have to do with, for instance, French Press brewing. But then you are indeed burdened with more control here. However, that is a good thing because it means your coffee can be more suited to your unique tastes and preferences.