Pour over coffee is a manual coffee brewing method. Pour over uses a dripper with a filter full of course ground coffee, a carafe or collection vessel and hot water to make (perfect and delicioso) coffee by slowly pouring water through the bed of ground coffee.
Until this moment, "good coffee" was Starbucks and I was intrigued. Lemon notes in coffee? I had to try it! And it did not disappoint. I didn't know it then but this was the beginning of a coffee journey that I'm still on today.
In this post, I'll teach you how to make pour over coffee so you can experience the joys of good coffee at home.
Lemon notes, here we come.
How to make pour over coffee
Quite simply, pour over coffee mixes hot water and coffee grounds in a filter to extract flavour and tasting notes. Add ground coffee to your filter in the dripper (pour over coffee maker) and slowly pour water over it to extract caffeine, flavour and heavenly notes.
What’s fascinatingly intricate about the process is how much different brew times, amounts, drippers, coffee beans and water impacts the coffee you get in your mug. Let's learn...
This is why there is so much discussion (and debate) in the coffee world as there are so many variables that effect the sweet Joe we sip.
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Third Wave Coffee and Pour Over Coffee
When you hear your parents and grandparents talk about coffee, think second-wave. Many drinkers during this period saw it as a means to an end and often loaded coffee with milk, sugar and other sweeteners to mask the taste.
The third wave was a renaissance of coffee brewing and a complete revolt against the just-get-it-made mindset of the second wave. The third-wave began as a movement to make coffee tasty, to connect with older methods and to become more ethically sourced. The way coffee beans were produced and brought to our shelves was sad and a revolution was required to find better ways.
We find ourselves in the middle of the third wave and surrounded by delicious coffee on all sides. But stay glued to your coffee influencer posts because I suspect we'll see a new wave of coffee culture soon as coffee snobs all over the world try to get closer to growers and continually improve the coffee they drink.
I’m only scratching the surface of coffee history in this article and I encourage you to do your own research into the third-wave, how coffee is sourced and how you can support ethical trading practices all over the world!
Okay, now let's get into the gear. What do you need to make better coffee?
Different Kinds of Pour Over Coffee Makers
Coffee snobs daydream of the perfect pour over set-up. But all you need is a gooseneck kettle and a "dripper". A pour over coffee maker. And you have a few choices that we'll break down in a minute.
Pour over coffee makers are split between automatic and manual, how quickly they let coffee through their filter and their material. Glass drippers lose the least amount of heat during brewing while metal drippers bring a lot more durability. Ceramic ones fit right in between.
Beyond these differences, the choice you make has a lot to do with personal preference and what you hope to achieve. I recommend trying as many different kinds of drippers as you can to see what you like!
The Kalita Wave is a metal coffee dripper with a flat bottom and five small holes. This device is known for an even extraction and great coffee (one of my personal favourites). The Kalita Wave evenly extracts because when you pour water in, it evenly distributes over the coffee and creates an even bed as the bottom is flat.
You’ll find Hario V60s all over the internet and at pour over coffee competitions as it’s seen as the easiest to manipulate. It's the easiest for changing the output or taste with different grind coarseness, water quantities and pouring techniques. Hario is a Japanese company. Their name means, 'King of glass' and they offer their dripper in a variety of materials. A V60 is cone-shaped and has a large hole in the bottom. Coffee drips out of a V60 faster than other brewers so the coarseness of coffee beans affects the output a lot. Hario V60s are known for being the most difficult to use. I like a challenge so I often use the V60 but often find the taste is different from one cup to the other.
The Origami is similar to the Hario V60 but has a wide mouth and flatter cone shape. It also features deeper grooves around its circular design so your filter sits inside of it. This means less contact and more area for the filter to let out coffee, not just at the bottom. The Origami comes in a nice big size so you can make coffee for a few people at once. And it's beautiful.
The Chemex is the most photogenic of all the pour over coffee makers with its elegant wooden wrap around the middle. The Chemex has the capacity to easily make coffee for 3 or 4 people and uses large bamboo filters. It creates a unique coffee so is worth trying out if you can!
Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker
Bodum makes a variety of coffee gear that may not be as instagramable, but brews great coffee! The Bodum pour over kit comes with a reusable filter and glass carafe, one of the best materials for keeping coffee hot and for preventing impurities from getting into your coffee.
Automatic Kitchen Aid Pour Over Coffee Maker
Specialty automatic coffee makers are quite expensive but the Kitchen Aid is reasonably priced and has everything you need from an automatic coffee maker such as a shower head water dispenser and high-temperature water. I suggest rinsing your coffee filter before you brew as this will deliver a better cup of joe!
Other Automatic Pour Over Coffee Makers
Pour-Over Coffee (Geoff's Recipe)
Fill a kettle with water, gooseneck is preferred. Boil more than enough to fill your mug.
Grind 25 grams of your best coffee.
Put your dripper over your chosen mug and place a filter in the dripper. Soak it with boiling water and pour out the water. This cleans your filter and washes out anything that might effect the brew.
Pour the ground coffee into the filter.
Next will be a process called blooming. To bloom, slowly pour twice the coffee’s weight in water in a circular motion (avoid the edges of the coffee bed). In this recipe that is 50 grams of water. Then wait 30 seconds, the blooming occurs when gases are released from the coffee and you may see bubbles! If you skip this step, those chemicals get trapped in the coffee bed and negatively effect the flavours.
Next, slowly pour 100 grams of water over the coffee in a circular motion and wait 30 seconds.
Then, slowly pour 120 grams of water in a circular motion and when the coffee bed is getting low pour the remaining 155 grams in.
Wait until 3 ½ minutes has passed, then remove the filter. At this point, all the water should have gone through and the filter will be dripping slightly.
If you get to the end and there’s still some more water you can wait another 15 seconds or note for next time to grind the beans coarser and/or pour the last 155 grams sooner.
Perfecting your recipe with your grinder, dripper and kettle is a process. It may take several times to get this just right. A new roast may need you to make adjustments all over again!
How to make pour over coffee without a scale
If you don't have access to a scale, don't worry. 25 grams of ground coffee equals ⅓ cup and the water used in the recipe (375 grams) equals about 11 ounces. Use these measurements in the recipe instead of the grams written.
Pour Over Coffee Notes and Controversy
In the world of gooseneck kettles and freshly ground beans, there's a lot of debate over a lot of things. You should understand the discussion so you can make your own pour over recipe choices.
Pour over coffee ratio
Depending on how strong you want your coffee, you will adjust the ratio of coffee to water. The most common is 1:16, often 20 grams of coffee and 320 grams of water. But you can try either 1:15 or 1:14 for a stronger brew! I personally like 1:15 so it's more caffeinated and the notes are stronger (this recipe uses a 1:15 ratio).
Filters for pour over
Each pour over coffee maker has its own type of filter but they either come as bleached white filters or brown bamboo filters. The one you choose can affect the flavour but only slightly. The bamboo will effect the flavour more but the bleached filters are bleached.
The best temperature for pour over coffee
When you brew your coffee you want the water to be slightly below boiling when it hits the bed of coffee beans (between 192 and 197 degrees Fahrenheit). There is much debate over how hot the water should be in the kettle. One school of thought says there's enough heat loss as the water pours from the kettle to the coffee beans so the water can be 200 degrees Fahrenheit or more in the kettle. The other school of thought is that there isn't substantial temperature loss and water should be 192-195 degrees Fahrenheit in the kettle.
Common Pour Over Questions
How much coffee do you put in a pour over?
The quantity of coffee depends on how much output, or coffee you plan to make and it's based on the ratio you are using. A common coffee brewing ratio is 1:16 and so for a single serving of coffee, you will use 20 grams of coffee and get 320 grams of coffee out of it.
What is the difference between pour over and drip coffee?
Typically, drip coffee is made in an automatic machine whereas pour over is made using a dripper and gooseneck kettle. It's fair to be confused as both methods involve coffee dripping into a mug or karafe!
How do you pour water for pour over coffee?
Pour water in a spiral starting on the outside. Avoid pouring directly on the edge of the bed of ground coffee and directly in the middle.
The best beans for pour over coffee
The best coffee beans for your pour over coffee are freshly ground coffee beans roasted in the last couple of weeks. Your best bet is to find coffee beans roasted at a local cafe or nearby roastery and use them shortly after purchasing. I suggest looking for single-origin coffee beans and after you drink a few cups, make notes of what you think.
Although it is true that coffee will have distinct flavours depending on where in the world it is sourced, the roasting process affects the flavours the most. A coffee from Ethiopia can taste rich and dark if roasted a long time, but can also be bright and fruity if it is roasted for a short time. Don't get caught up too much on choosing by region. Experiment and take notes! Don't be afraid to DM coffee roasters directly to learn more and perhaps discover why you like their coffee.
Blends of coffee from different sources are making a comeback as they result in a more consistent flavour every time and allow roasters to make a distinct roast that's their own.
Grinding coffee beans for pour over coffee
Freshly ground coffee makes ALL the difference in pour over coffee and the coarseness of the grind affects your recipe. If you think about the spectrum of the most coarse (crushed beans) to the finest (unable to see individual bits) as a scale from 0 - 100 you want to aim for a 30. You want to see individual parts, a little coarser than sand at a beach. Look to grind beans until the largest bits are the size of fine sea salt.
My Favourite Coffee Time Recipes
Pumpkin Pie Pecan bars are so easy to make. You can enjoy the taste of pumpkin pie without the fuss of making homemade pie dough. These bars aren’t overly sweet. The filling is sweetened with just maple syrup and my streusel topping uses minimal coconut sugar or brown sugar.
What is more comforting than a warm cinnamon bun freshly iced right out of the oven? These healthy, spelt cinnamon buns are unique with the hint of orange in the filling and the icing. They are satisfying but not overly sweet and you still feel great after eating them. Don’t be intimidated by the unique way of braiding them. It’s actually super easy!
These Einkorn Chocolate Chip cookies are delicate cookies with crisp edges and soft centres. They are incredibly flavourful and have a sophisticated deep flavour from the espresso powder and brown sugar. These cookies are made with healthy einkorn flour.
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Pour Over Coffee
- 1 Gooseneck Kettle
- 1 Coffee Dripper
- 1 kitchen scale
- 1 Coffee Grinder
- 375 grams boiling water 198 degrees Fahrenheit
- 25 grams freshly ground coffee beans
- Fill a kettle with water. A gooseneck kettle is preferred. Boil more than enough to fill your mug.
- Grind 25 grams of your best coffee.
- Put your dripper over your chosen mug and place a filter in the dripper. Soak it with boiling water and pour out the water.
- Pour the ground coffee into the filter.
- Place the mug with dripper on the scale and tare the scale.
- Pour twice the coffee’s weight in water (50 grams) in a circular motion. Avoid the edges of the coffee bed.
- Slowly pour 100 grams of water over the coffee in a circular motion and wait 30 seconds.
- Slowly pour 120 grams of water in a circular motion and when the coffee bed is getting low pour the remaining 155 grams in.
- Wait until 3 ½ minutes has passed and then remove the filter. At this point, all the water should have gone through and the filter will be dripping slightly.