The best way to make pour-over coffee
Pour-over coffee is unmatched for its bright, clean flavor. If you’ve ever had a cup of coffee made by a barista that was so delicate and nuanced that it rocked your entire world, then you’ve experienced firsthand the goodness that comes from the exacting standards and ultimate control allowed by the pour-over method.
The good news is that great pour-over coffee isn’t hard to master, and with the right equipment and some tips from a barista, you can make a cup of coffee as remarkable as what you’ve had in specialty coffee shops.
We love Chemex for brewing pour-over coffee at home. Not only does it brew extraordinarily clean, non-oily coffee, it’s also a gorgeous piece of equipment that you’ll never want to take off your counter.
Pour-over coffee recipe
The pour-over method allows for absolute control at every step of the coffee extraction process. This is what makes pour-over exceptional and distinct when considering french press vs. pour-over, for example. There’s much more potential for experimentation and optimization.
We recommend keeping a journal and a pen next to your coffee brewing station. Not only is it fun to experiment, but it’s also helpful to see what mistakes you’ve made in the past and what has worked well for you.
Step 1: Heat water
The first thing you’ll need to do is heat your water.
Use an electric pour-over kettle with digital temperature control to heat your water to approximately 205 degrees.
You should also select a kettle with a long, thin gooseneck for optimal water flow control. We recommend the Fellow Stagg Electric pour-over kettle.
Step 2: Prepare your filter
We recommend bleached paper filters because the flavor of unbleached filters comes through in the brewing process.
Some people like reusable cloth filters, and one clear benefit is that cloth filters have a lower environmental impact. However, cloth filters may trap the oil from coffee, making your coffee taste bitter over time.
Prepare your filter by pouring some of your 205 degrees water through the filter of your brewer. The water will rinse the papery taste from your filter and preheat the vessel you’re brewing in, leading to a cleaner cup. Dispose of the water in the sink.
Step 3: Place your pour-over dripper over your decanter
If you’re using a Chemex, you can skip this step!
Step 4: Weigh your coffee beans
To make pour-over like a pro, you’ll need to invest in a digital scale. You must measure your beans by weight rather than by volume. Measuring by volume is inexact and will lead to uneven flavor profiles in your coffee.
If you’re willing to splurge, we highly recommend the Apexstone Coffee Scale. It’s a go-to among specialty coffee buyers, roasters and baristas for its durability, precision and responsiveness. If you want to spend less, go for a simple no-frills scale like the Greater Goods Digital Kitchen Scale.
We recommend a 15:1 ratio of coffee to water. A typical ratio on the Chemex is 30 grams of beans to 450 grams of water.
If you’re using a dark or medium roast, you can experiment with a 16:1 ratio instead.
Ultimately, the ratio you use will depend on your tastes and the particularities of the beans with which you’re working. You should experiment to see what you like.
Step 5: Grind your beans
We recommend the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder as an entry-level grinder to perfect your pour-over grind. Not only is it easy to set and use and aesthetically appealing, but it also offers 40 grind settings to work for various brew methods.
If you’re looking for the absolute best coffee grinder, we recommend the Baratza Forte FG. It’s pricey but well worth it because it’s precise and has a range of functions, such as grinding by weight.
The best grind coarseness to use for pour-over coffee is a medium-coarse grind, although every pour-over brewer will benefit from a slightly different coarseness.
Step 6: Add coffee to filter
Step 7: The bloom
The bloom is an essential step in pour-over coffee brewing and consists of pouring a small amount of water over the coffee in a circular motion so that the grounds are fully saturated, but not so much water that any flows into your decanter.
The purpose of the bloom is to degas CO2 from the coffee by replacing it with water. CO2 is water repellent and may lead to an uneven extraction, which leads to a sour coffee.
Step 8: Slowly pour water
There are two methods for pouring water in the pour-over method: pulse pouring and continuous pouring.
For the pulse pouring technique, you’ll slowly pour even amounts of water in controlled, small circles.
To use the continuous pouring method, pour water over the bed of ground at a constant, slow rate without stopping. The goal of continuous pouring is to evenly saturate the grounds to create an even extraction.
Step 9: Agitate
Agitation is the key last step in creating a barista-level pour-over.
Agitation can occur in multiple forms. One popular method is stirring the water and grounds together with a stirring spoon thoroughly during the blooming process. Another agitation method is lifting and tapping your brewer during the final extraction.
Our tried and true method for agitation is swirling your decanter just after the last pour. Swirling the brewer breaks up clumps in the bed of coffee, leading to an even extraction and fuller flavor profile.
Step 10: Pour and enjoy
You did it! If you’re using a pour-over brewer that fits over your mug, simply remove and enjoy it. If your coffee is in a decanter, give it a swirl to redistribute the brew and then pour it into a mug. Enjoy your full-bodied, rich cup of pour-over coffee.
Top pour-over coffee brewing devices
What you need to know: The Chemex is truly a pour-over showstopper—it’s a beautiful piece of coffee brewing equipment that allows you to brew and decant all in one vessel, which is large enough to brew multiple cups and creates a beautiful, bright and delicate cup of coffee. The thickness of the filters used with a Chemex ensures a clean and non-oily cup.
What you need to know: The V60 allows you to brew coffee directly into your mug and, like any good pour-over device, allows for complete control of the brewing process. Great for slow, continuous pouring. It requires Hario V60 filters.
What you need to know: It doesn’t get any simpler than this entry-level pour-over brewer, allowing you to handcraft a cup of coffee directly into your mug. It uses #2 cone filters and is designed to fit many small mugs. It’s plastic, so it’s nothing fancy, but good if you’re just getting started.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Evelyn Waugh is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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