People often ask me what’s pour over coffee? This blog post is dedicated to answering this exact question!
I know it’s going to be very hard for you to believe me, but the pour-over coffee brewing method is the one where you pour the hot water over coffee grounds to make your brew. Please, suspend your disbelief for a second – I will explain everything in due course.
Though you can get away without using any special equipment, this method is notoriously difficult to get perfect and a true test of any barista’s skill. Commercially, this method is a lot more popular in Japanese coffee shops than it is in other countries. In the West, this was mostly the domain of the hard-core coffee addicts. However, that fact is slowly becoming obsolete.
Pour-over is the grandpappy of your favorite drip coffee maker, so you can expect more or less the same style and flavor of the brew. But since the whole process is manual, you also get the chance to tweak each step so you can get the most out of each bean.
You just need two extra items in addition to the classic manual coffeemaking staples (scales, grinder, thermometer). So let’s see what you will need, what you have to know, and if I can persuade you to pick up this skill.
The Golden Goose
There is a point in that funny looking kettle that you see in all pour-over coffee tutorials and demonstrations. But first, let me assure you that if you can produce a very slow and steady stream with a regular one, you get both my admiration and a green light to go with that.
But, that long and thin gooseneck is designed to help you pour the coffee easily without developing some serious arm muscle. And considering that the trick in this brewing style is a constant and steady delivery of water for at least 3 minutes… It might be a good idea to invest in one.
If you’re still not sure, go to your grandma’s place and steal one of her teapots – the one that has the same nose as Mrs. Potts from the Beauty and the Beast. It will not be the same thing, but it will show you how easier it is to control the water while you pour.
While you may be able to find substitutes for the kettle or the carafe or other pieces of equipment… You will not be able to escape the cone. And no, the basket of that old coffee maker that you were forgetting to throw away will not work.
The conical shape is there for a reason, as in to work with gravity to extract your coffee promptly. And since they are available at any price point and in so many styles these days, just go and get one.
Just keep these two things in mind – first, it has to have enough room for the filer and coffee. And second, if you’re getting one of the collapsible models, check for the wobble. You’re still dealing with a hot liquid after all…
Metal vs Paper vs Cloth Filter
All three have advantages and disadvantages at the same time. Metal is reusable and may not require a cone or a stand. However, the ones of lesser quality may leave your brew tasting metallic.
Paper is the general favorite of baristas, but you will have to learn how to properly pre-soak it first. And make sure to get the brand that works with your cone – sometimes those little seams may refuse to sit right.
The cloth is also reusable but behaves almost like paper. If it has a wire at the opening… And you have a carafe that is tall enough, you could also use it without the cone by securing the wire on the top of the carafe. But beware that any funky aromas your cloth picks up will end up in your coffee as well.
Does one size fit all?
No. Majority of the cones that are currently available are good for four servings. And the single-serve ones are very common as well. You can get away with skipping the smaller ones and brewing just one cup with the large cone, but it doesn’t work the same way around.
Remember how we talked about brewing baskets in automatic drip coffee makers? And how some of them can’t physically hold the necessary amount of coffee? The same thing goes here as well.
And cones and permanent filters are not all made equal. Anything that can’t hold all your coffee grounds and leave some room for water is not worth your time.
Feel free to use any type and any roast of the beans, from anywhere in the world. The only thing you will need to pay attention to is the grind size. Stick to the same size as you would use in a classic drip maker, though you can play with it a tiny bit to get the most out of your coffee.
By the way, this also means that the commercially pre-ground coffee from the supermarket will work as well. I don’t know why anyone would use that, but you don’t tell me not to check the size of my coffee grounds under a microscope every time, and I won’t tell you how to live your life.
The technique is simple, yet it will require a lot of practice. The way you pour your water is the most important part because… marketing.
If you’re using a paper or a cloth filer, wet them first. This will speed up the water flow and prevent over-extraction.
Grind your coffee and heat some filtered water to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. We want the same radion of 1:18 for regular and 1:15 for strong coffee.
Place the grounds into the filter and pour enough water to cover them completely. Stir gently and leave to bloom for 30 to 45 seconds. The super-slowly pour down the rest of the water – this part should take about 3 or 3 and a half minutes.
Once you’re done, remove the filter, pour the coffee into serving vessels, and enjoy.
You can also make cold pour-over/drip coffee, but you may need some extra equipment. The temperature change is easily achieved by dumping hot water and replacing it with ice cubes. Then, as they slowly melt, the cold water droplets steep into the grounds and slowly extract the brew.
But here’s the problem… You will need a way to regulate the drip. Sure, you can take a regular plastic bowl and poke a tiny hole in the bottom for the water to drip through. However, if you want more control and more options… You will need to get your hands on a setup with a valve or another type of flow regulator.
No worries, there’s quite a few setups on the market now, but they can get pricey so make sure that you’re really into this method before you take out the plastic.
With that being said I hope I was able to answer the question of what’s pour over coffee… I hope you learned something new from this post and most importantly… I hope you enjoyed it!
If you have any questions please let me know, and don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful! 🙂
Thanks for reading and stay awesome!