The pour-over method of making coffee is not new. The first pour-over coffee brewer was invented by Melitta Bentz in 1908. Dissatisfied with conventional ways of brewing coffee, she began experimenting. She discovered that she could brew a superior cup of coffee with blotting paper and a perforated brass pot. The process was later automated and turned into the Automatic Drip Brewer (the standard electric coffee maker).
In recent years, the humble manual pour-over method has enjoyed a resurgence among coffee enthusiasts. The advantage to brewing pour-over coffee manually rather than with an automatic dripper is that the manual method offers a high level of control. Many auto drippers make notoriously bad coffee, and there is little that the user can do to fix the problems.
Pour-over coffee is fairly simple to make and yields an excellent, smooth cup of coffee without the fuss and mess of using a French Press. Because the coffee is filtered, the coffee fines are removed. This gives the coffee a brighter flavour. Coffee fines also contribute to coffee sludge and bad aftertastes. At the same time, the filter also removes some of the coffee oils, which is good news for those with high cholesterol. Whether or not this is good for flavour is a matter of debate.
Pros & Cons
- Makes a great cup of coffee
- Inexpensive and fairly simple to use
- Perfect for making one to two cups
- Easy to clean up
- Not great for a crowd
- Coffee can cool down during the brewing process
What You’ll Need
A Pour-over Brewer
There are countless pour-over brewers available on the market. The best ones are made of ceramic, which keep the coffee hotter. The most popular pour-over brewer among coffee enthusiasts is the Hario V60. The V60 is an excellent brewer, but it does require special filters that you might not be able to find at your average supermarket. Another great choice is the original Melitta, which uses standard #2 filters.
You’ll Also Need
- Filters that fit your brewer (V60 filters are available on Amazon, the Melitta uses standard #2 filters, which are also available on Amazon)
- Fresh coffee (whole bean is highly recommended)
- A good quality coffee grinder (if using whole bean coffee)
- A kettle
- A scale (preferred) or measuring spoons
Instructions: How to Make Pour-over Coffee
1. Take a filter, fold over the seam, and insert it into the drip brewer
2. Place the brewer on top of a cup or carafe, then run some hot water through it to heat it up and to remove any paper dust from the filter. Discard the water.
3. Add 26 grams (5 tbls.) of ground coffee into the brewer and shake lightly to level
- For best results, grind your coffee immediately before brewing using a medium to fine grind
- If you are using a scale, weigh the beans before you grind them. This will eliminate waste.
4. Put the brewer on a carafe or large mug and set them both on the scale, then tare the scale (set it to zero). Slowly pour about 40 grams (4o ml or little less than 1/4 cup) of hot water into the brewer. Start in the center and work in a spiral toward the edge. Try to avoid letting the water pour directly onto the filter.
- Using boiling water will scald the coffee. The temperature of the water should be 195-205° F/90-96° C. If your kettle doesn’t let you set the water temperature, allow the water to cool for 30 seconds after boiling before pouring it over the grounds.
- Make sure your cup or carafe is large enough to hold all the water
- If you are not using a scale, pour just enough water to wet the grounds.
5. Let the coffee rest for 30 seconds. The grounds will expand rapidly, this is called the bloom.
6. Slowly add an additional 300 grams (300 ml or 1 1/4 cup) of hot water using the same circular motion. Wait for all of the water to flow through.
- Again, avoid pouring water directly on the filter
- The target time for all the water to flow through is 2.5-3 minutes
7. Enjoy your coffee!
Tips for Pour-over Coffee
- Having a decent brewer and using it correctly are important factors in making good coffee. But there are other factors as well; particularly, the freshness of the coffee and the quality of the water. Learn more here.
- The target time for extraction is about 3 minutes. If the water sits in the coffee for much longer than this, it will start to become bitter. If after three minutes, there is still water in the v60, don’t let it run into the cup; discard it. Next time, grind the beans a little courser so that the water runs through faster. This will give the optimal flavour. Conversely, if the water is running through too fast, grind a little finer.
- Pour-over coffee is much easier to make with a scale. Without a scale, it is difficult to gauge how much water has been added. Hario makes a scale specifically for this purpose, but a less expensive one such as the Smart Weigh also works.