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Pour Over Coffee

Why Pour Over?

Let’s get back to the basics. When it comes to brewing coffee, there’s no simpler method than using an automated drip coffee maker. You can buy one at pretty much any supermarket or cooking supply store for the same cost as a nice bag of coffee. It’s almost like buying a laser printer, where the ink (in this case coffee) is worth more than the device itself. And really, a printer is a fairly apt description of an automated drip coffee maker; it’s designed to make the same cup of coffee every single time. You’re essentially printing out cups of coffee. There are some settings you might be able to change on nicer coffee makers that let you print different cups of coffee, but you are bound to the capabilities of the machine. 

For beginners, this is perfect. One of the hardest skills to master for inexperienced coffee crafters is consistency, which also happens to be the most important skill to acquire. Coffee makers bypass the need for this skill and give you automated consistency. It’s sort of like learning photography by using your iPhone camera, the settings are already set for you. But what happens when you want to ditch the training wheels and get a taste of freedom? Well first, you fall. But eventually, you learn to ride like you never have before. Or is it play? I don’t know, I’ve lost track of my metaphors. The point is, when you’re ready to take control of your coffee brewing, its time for you to try a pour over coffee maker. 


Before entering the world of pour overs, there are a few tools you’d be wise to invest in:

The Device
A pour over device. Can’t make pour over without the device. This includes filter sheets, make sure you’re getting the proper sheets for your device. The most popular pour over devices are the Hario V60 and the Chemex, but there are many more wonderful options to choose from!

The Grinder
A good burr grinder. This will be the most expensive tool, or rather, it should be. If you don’t have a good grinder that will consistently grind your beans into your desired setting, then what are we even doing here. I’m not saying you have to jump on the top of the line model right off the bat. Go ahead and purchase an entry level grinder to get the hang of grinding your beans and see if this is even a path you want to go down. Just know that if it is, you’re eventually going to want to buy a great (expensive) grinder that will last forever and grind your beans to perfection. It really does make a huge difference.

The Scale
This will be important so that you can measure out the proper amount of coffee and water. This is where your consistency will be derived from.

The Kettle
A slow-pouring kettle. This is more of a preference thing, in my opinion. If you’re an avid tea maker, you are probably pretty good at handling a traditional kettle. However, if you’re starting from scratch, it’s probably best to just go ahead and get a slow pour kettle. The biggest advantage is that many have a built in thermometer, or the electric ones will stop at your selected temperature range.

The Set Up | Your basic variables

  • Grinding your beans. 

  • A good starting point for your grind level will depend on which pour over device you choose. For the most common devices, brewing 400ml:

  • Consult the device manual for any other devices. The beauty of pour-over coffee is that you can experiment in order to make what’s right for you. Is your coffee too weak and watery? Try a finer grind setting. Is your coffee too strong and harsh? Try a coarser grind setting. Keep in mind, the grind will also affect the amount of time it takes to brew the coffee. 

  • The ratio of coffee grounds to water is crucial. 

  • The typical standard is 1:15 to 1:17, so let’s split the difference and say 1:16. This means 1g of coffee grounds for 16g of water. For reference, a medium (12oz) cup of coffee from a cafe is 340 grams, so 21.25 grams of coffee would be required. This is the variable that you want to play with the least, especially early on. Stick to the standard and you’ll be golden. 

  • Water quality. 

  • Believe it or not, the type of water that you use will have a big impact on the taste. After all, coffee is about 99% water. Using filtered water is your best bet. Water that has minerals or other components inside of it will skew the taste of your coffee, requiring you to either filter your coffee or compensate by adjusting other variables. Maybe you want that difference taste in there, or maybe it wasn’t until you started making pour over coffee and realized your coffee tastes weird that you found out your water is contaminated. So I guess that’s a silver lining. 

  • Temperature. 

  • This is a fun one to experiment with. The Specialty Coffee Association recommends an ideal temperature range of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. You probably don’t want to go too much hotter, essentially coming right off the boil, at risk of burning your coffee (although some professionals still recommend this). Many brewing champions have opted for a cooler temperature, such as 176 degrees. Just remember that brewing your coffee on a cooler temperature will reduce the amount of time your coffee will stay at a nice, warm drinking temperature. Going even colder is always an option too, getting into the cold brew territory. 

Rules | They’re more like guidelines really

1. Rinse & Warm
Place your filter sheet in the device and pour hot water over the sheet in order to rinse the paper of any residue (the paper can affect the taste), seal your filter and warm the brewer. That last part is key.
Place the device on your scale and tare it.

2. Grind
Grind your coffee to the proper size, add it to the filter and shake it to an even spread. Use the scale reading to add the proper amount.

3. Bloom Pour
Pour twice the amount of water to coffee in (going back to the medium 12oz example, this would be 42.5g of water). This is an important step, serving to saturate all of the grounds and help get an even extraction. Pour slowly and in steady spirals, focusing mostly on the center and working your way out occasionally. Try to leave a sliver of space at the edge of the grounds so that you are not pouring down the edge of the filter.

4. Pour the Rest
Once the bloom pour has settled, continue pouring at a steady pace so that your are matching the draining or in 200ml increments.

5. Enjoy
And start planning what you’ll change for your next cup!