How to Make Pour Over Coffee: Ultimate Beginners Guide
What is Pour Over Coffee and Why is It Special?
Pour over coffee is a coffee brewed by pouring hot water slowly and steadily over coffee grounds by hand instead of a machine. As coffee grounds get completely soaked, the water passes through them and the filter in order to find its way to the coffee mug below. This controlled pouring maneuver somehow produces more flavor and aroma compared to other brewing methods and makes the pour over coffee a popular choice especially for single origin coffees while the blended ones also taste richer when made by this method.
Pour over coffee is special because it makes you interact with the coffee you prepare. You manually control the speed of the water thus the brewing pace and decide where the water meets the coffee grounds while closely witnessing the process of the coffee grounds being saturated with water which moves through them and later goes completely below to reach the coffee mug while extracting all flavors and oil. In addition to this fascinating coffee making experience which gives coffee lovers full control over the taste, texture and strength of the coffee, pour over coffee tastes delicious having more flavor and aroma as opposed to machine brewery.
What Do You Need to Brew Pour Over Coffee?
Quality and fresh coffee beans
The best cup of coffee starts with quality beans while beans should be fresh to reflect quality. To have quality, fresh coffee beans you can either buy them in small amounts or learn how to store them appropriately.
A good coffee grinder
Freshly ground coffee is the key to have the most delicious and aromatic coffee experience. Pre-ground coffee is more prone to get stale faster and lose its taste and aroma. So, it is best practice for you to have a coffee grinder at home to grind your coffee just as much as you need to have a fresh coffee each time while brewing.
A pour over coffee maker
Pour over coffee maker will serve as a collector of the coffee just under the filter when the hot water comes down with all flavor and aroma. Some pour over brewers can sit straight on the coffee mug but they are not handy if you plan to make coffee for more than one person. So, you need a pour over coffee maker or pour over carafe as some call it instead of only a brewer in order not to start the entire brewing process again to offer a cup of coffee to your friend or if you want another cup of coffee.
A coffee filter
Choosing the right coffee filter is extremely important for the overall coffee experience. Coffee filters are made of paper, metal or fabric.
Paper coffee filters:
Paper filters are best at filtering out all sediments, even micro grounds and oil, and create a thinner coffee experience but lack of micro grounds and oil also means losing most of the flavors and aromas. They are disposable so they are very easy to clean but produce paper waste at the same time.
Metal coffee filters:
Metal filters, on the other hand, let micro grounds and oil pass through to end up in the coffee mug and offer a coffee experience full of flavor and aroma. There is often a thin layer of micro sediments formed at the bottom of the mug when metal filters are used but they provide the most tasty aromatic coffee compared to other filters. They can be easily cleaned and used for a lifetime thus not producing extra waste.
Cloth coffee filters:
Fabric filters can compete with paper filters in catching all coffee grounds, even the micro grounds, whereas they also let oil pass as the metal filters. So, you can enjoy delicious aromatic coffee taste with a fabric filter without feeling any sediment which makes cloth filters an option in-between. However, maintaining cloth filters is very difficult since they need to be washed very well, should not be dried out too much and should not stay too moist to have the same performance at each brewing.
A gooseneck kettle
A kettle is needed to brew pour over coffee to pour hot water over the coffee grounds. However, the shape of the kettle spout is very important to have a controlled water flow to have a delicious coffee at the end. The unique design of gooseneck kettle also called pour over kettle will let you control the speed of water thus the brewing pace allowing water to move slowly and softly, and also let you adjust where the water will fall. The narrow and long spout of gooseneck kettle makes it a perfect match to brew pour over coffee and control over the brewing pace will affect the density thus the taste of the coffee. The handle of the kettle is also important because only with a comfortable grip can the controlled flow be achieved. There are electric and stovetop versions of gooseneck kettle available in the market.
A coffee gram scale
A coffee scale will enable you to precisely measure the amount of coffee you will use. Using a scale you can put the same amount of coffee each time you brew coffee and have the same taste in every mug. In order to use the scale efficiently to make pour over coffee, you should look for a scale that can precisely measure downs to 0.1 grams.
A thermometer is needed to control the temperature of the water. Baristas recommend that the water be between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit (90-96 degrees Celsius) for a better taste when making pour over coffee since hotter water results in loss of flavor and aroma. You can try various temperatures instead of boiled water using a thermometer to find the best taste for your pleasure.
How to Make Perfect Pour Over Coffee?
Step 1: Prepare your water
One of the key points of brewing a perfect coffee is to heat up the water to the right temperature which should be very close to the boiling point because there is so much heat loss during pouring and brewing. On the other hand, pouring the water at boiling temperature directly over the coffee causes it to lose its flavor and aroma. The proper temperature of the water should be between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit (90-96 degrees Celsius) according to baristas. You can get these temperatures approximately if you wait 30 seconds after the water boils. However, having an electric kettle with a holding function will make it easier for you to maintain these specific temperatures.
Quality of the water is also very important for the taste of the coffee. You should use clean, filtered water instead of tap water since the chemicals in tap water affect the taste of the coffee very badly. Distilled water is not a good option, either, since it lacks essential minerals.
Step 2: Grind your coffee grounds
Coffee enthusiasts advise grinding coffee beans just before brewing to have a fresh coffee full of flavor and aroma. The coffee grind size should be medium which is thinner than sand but thicker than espresso grind. This size will enable all the particles to release their flavor and aroma to the water as the surface of the grounds meets hot water more extensively. Grinding thinner will cause coffee to taste bitter whereas a thicker grind will produce a sour taste.
How much coffee to use for a perfect pour over coffee?
Well, the golden water to coffee ratio for a perfect pour over coffee is 16:1; that is to say, you will need 16 grams of water for every gram of coffee. So, when you decide how much drink you need, just divide that number by 16 to figure out how much coffee you need to grind. If your coffee does not taste as you want, then you should first try changing the grind size and later play the ratio if you are still not happy with the taste. Another ratio baristas advise is 18:1 which you can also give a chance especially if you prefer a weaker taste.
Step 3: Prepare your coffee maker, wet your filter and put the grounds in the filter
Your water is at the proper temperature and your coffee beans are ground at the right size, now it is time to prepare your pour over coffee maker and put a filter over it. Then, you should wet the filter with hot water to avoid it passing its taste to the coffee. Although it is impossible to prevent this totally, especially when you use paper filters, you can minimize it by wetting the filter. Hot water you use to wet the filter will also heat up the coffee maker.
Then, pour the extra water out of the coffee maker and place it over a scale if you have one to be able to measure the amount of coffee grounds and water precisely for further steps. Once you tared the coffee maker, put the coffee grounds into the filter and shake it a little to have an even surface at the top of the grounds. You may also find it useful to have a timer with you to track timing for further steps.
Step 4: Wet your grounds for blooming
Blooming involves adding a small amount of water (50 grams or so) to the coffee grounds and then waiting for 30-45 seconds for gasses trapped during roasting of the beans to escape. You can observe these gasses as large bubbles coming out of your coffee. These gasses give extra bitterness, an acidic taste to your coffee and alters the original taste of it. You should make sure all coffee grounds are wet before you move to the next step. To ensure, you can put coffee grounds into the filter at two or three times adding some water each time.
Step 5: Pour the water over the coffee
The most fascinating phase of making pour over coffee is pouring. Different baristas have different advice on how to pour the water in terms of timing and the amount of water to be poured. But, as a general rule, you should expect to pour the water in series thus finishing it within 2-3 minutes. You should pour some water until you fill your filter almost halfway and let it drain down and then add more water and let it drain down again until the weight of the water reaches the desired number. You should make sure all the grounds are soaked in water. Then, you should wait some more for water to completely go down.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Once it stops dripping, your perfect pour over coffee is ready to enjoy! You can taste it and plan what to change next time for a better taste. If it is too bitter, you can grind a little coarser, or if it is too sour, you can grind finer. Changing the 16:1 ratio will also produce different results in terms of strength of the coffee. The higher the amount of water the weaker the coffee tastes and vice versa. The best coffee taste is a result of experience and try. Enjoy!!!