The pour-over coffee brewing method is one of the simplest, yet most effective methods out there. It is a manual brewing method that involves pouring hot water over ground coffee. Read on to learn how to make perfect, flavorful pour over coffee every single time!
Fun Fact: Pour over coffee is also known as filter coffee and drip coffee.
Here’s an overview of what you will need before getting started.
- A pour over brewer
- Coffee beans/ground coffee
- Grinder (a burr grinder is highly recommended)
- Scale (highly recommended)
- Thermometer (recommended)
- Timer (just use your phone)
Step 1 – Preheat Brewing Equipment & Rinse Filter
If you haven’t already, place the filter on the pour-over brewer and place it on a carafe or mug. Rinse the filter and brewing equipment (brewer and mug) using hot water. Remember to use filtered water for the entirety of this process. Your usual tap water usually contains minerals that can affect the flavor of your coffee. It may seem like a small thing, but trust me, filtered water can be the difference between bad and good coffee.
Make sure that the filter is completely wet. This helps in removing the papery taste of the filter and also keeps the filter in place. This step is also essential to prevent any glass equipment from cracking/shattering.
Lastly, remember to dump out this water.
Pro Tip: Preheating your brewing equipment should become routine. This keeps the brewing temperature from changing too much as the hot water is poured into the cold equipment.
Step 2 – Grind Coffee Beans
The grind size is one of the most important steps not only in pour-over coffee but in many other brewing methods as well. For this recipe, use a medium-coarse grind size to start. As always, this is just a starting point.
As you get more experienced, it is best to experiment with different grind sizes to get your preferred taste. Read on to get an understanding of how grind size works and how you might want to change it.
The pour-over method is an infusion brewing method. This means that the coffee grounds and water are in contact with each other for a shorter period of time than in immersion brewing methods (like when using the french press).
Ideally, we want to ensure the grind size is small enough such that enough surface area of the coffee beans is exposed to the water before it filters into the cup. At the same time, if it is too fine, the coffee will end up over-extracting from the beans. If that was confusing, here’s a short summary,
If the grind size is too fine: Coffee may be over-extracted, with a bitter taste and little sweetness.
If the grind size is too coarse: The water can’t extract flavor from the ground coffee. Coffee may be under-extracted, with a sour and diluted taste.
Use a burr grinder to grind your coffee beans medium-coarse, similar to sea salt. The grind size is one of the easiest variables to control to change the flavor of your coffee. Pay close attention to the grind size, so that you can change it accordingly in the future
Note that the roast of the coffee bean is yours to choose.
Pro Tip: It is very ideal to use a burr grinder for this part. However, if you only have a blade grinder, here is a little hack. Grind your beans in quick pulses, pausing in between to shake up the beans to get an even consistency. Blade grinders have a tendency to heat up, don’t let that happen. If needed, have longer pauses between pulses. Continue this until you have a medium- coarse ground. Again, this process will not replicate what you get with a burr grinder. So expect some shortcomings if you use this method.
Step 3 – Measure Ground Coffee
I would recommend starting off following a 1:16 coffee-water ratio. Add 16 grams of water for every 1 gram of ground coffee.
A scale would be very useful in the pour over method, so I highly recommend you get one if possible. Using a scale will allow you to be more consistent in your brewing. It will allow you to make changes to the recipe more accurately. However, I’ve made a useful table below with rough estimations if you are not able to get a scale.
|Servings* You Are Making||Water||Ground Coffee|
|1||1 cup||2¾ tablespoons|
|2||2 cups||5½ tablespoons|
|4||4 cups||11 tablespoons|
|8||8 cups||22 tablespoons|
Measure your desired amount of coffee and add it to the filter. Place the entire brewing rig on your scale and tare (zero) it. This will make it easier to pour water in the next steps.
As usual, please feel free to alter the 1:16 ratio coffee-water as you start becoming more experienced. If you find it too weak, add more coffee. If you find it too strong, add less coffee.
Pro Tip: Shake the pour over brewer to even out and settle the coffee bed. This helps to ensure the water evenly extracts from the ground coffee. Alternatively, you can use a utensil (like a spoon) to do this.
Step 4 – Heat Water
This is quite a simple but crucial step. Getting the temperature of the water is essential. You will burn the coffee grounds if you pour too hot water directly into them, ending with a smoky flavor. On the flipside, if you add water that is not hot enough, you will get a flavorless and under-extracted coffee.
For the pour over method, heat the filtered water to a temperature between 198 and 205 degrees F (between 92 to 96 degrees C).
At the risk of sounding repetitive, this is just a starting point, feel free to alter and find what suits you the best.
Remember to use filtered water as mentioned earlier.
Pro Tip: If you do not have a thermometer, bring the water to a boil and rest for 40 to 60 seconds. The water should be hot but below boiling point.
Step 5 – Let Coffee Bloom
This marks the beginning of the brewing process. We will be pouring water a total of 3 times for this recipe.
Pour some of the hot water over the coffee such that it covers all of the coffee beans. The purpose here is to wet and bloom the coffee. Make sure all the grounds are covered with water, there should be no dry spots. If you want an exact measurement, pour about 20% of the total water for the blooming process.
For the pouring technique, pour in a gentle circular motion, creating concentric circles. Start from the edge and work your way to the middle. Continue this process until you havep poured the desired amount of water (if the brewing rig is on the scale, this should be easier to figure out). A gooseneck kettle is preferred so that the water flow rate is constant and controlled. If you don’t have one, just try to pour the water gently at a constant rate.
Start the timer just before pouring the water.
Allow about 30 seconds for the coffee to bloom, stirring the coffee grounds gently. You can proceed to the next step when you stop seeing bubbling from the ground coffee.
Pro Tip: This blooming process helps the carbon dioxide in the coffee to escape. The remaining water we will add later can then fully absorb the flavor in the beans.
Step 6 – Second Pour
Pour about 40% of the total (initial) water for this stage. Use the same pouring technique as above. At this stage, give the brewer a little swirl and wait a few seconds for the water to filter down into the cup.
Pro Tip: Before going to the next step, wait for the water level to reach just slightly more than the level of the coffee bed. Make sure the coffee bed never becomes dry
Step 7 – Third Pour
Now comes the final stage before you can finally enjoy your cup of coffee! Pour the rest of the filtered water using the same pouring technique. Give the brewer another swirl.
Wait until most of the water is filtered into the cup or carafe.
Pro Tip: Note the timing on the timer. If the coffee is sour, the grind is too coarse. Aim for a higher timing next time by using a finer grind. If the coffee is bitter, the grind is too fine. Aim for a lower timing next time by using a coarser grind.
Step 8 – Enjoy
Now comes the best part, enjoy your cup of coffee. You earned it! It is also good to evaluate the taste at this point. Next time you brew coffee using the pour over method, try adjusting one (always adjust one at a time) of the variables to better suit your taste.
The Bottom Line
The pour over brewing method is a simple and easy way to make coffee. Though it may seem intimidating at first, after you try it out it only gets easier. Now that you know how to make the perfect pour over coffee, why don’t you learn how to make french press coffee?