Pour Over Coffee Best Practices

If you frequent the ever-popular hipster coffee shops popping up all around the U.S., you may have noticed pour over coffee as a menu item. If you’re unfamiliar, pour over coffee is made using a cone-shaped sort of device that sits atop the cup or carafe, that’s fitted with a paper or metal filter. Hot water is poured over the grounds and yields a very smooth cup of coffee that’s best appreciated when quality beans are used.

So what are some important things to note before you attempt to make pour over coffee at home? First things first, you’ll need the right materials. While it may seem obvious, the most important factor in a good cup of pour over is the beans that you use. You’ll want to invest in some whole beans, ideally sustainably produced with a multitude of flavor notes. I’ve become a particular fan of my local shop Harbinger Coffee for their beans, but also have been liking Sweet Bloom. Mind you, these bags may cost around $15–$20, but I tend to save my pour over brews for a weekly treat rather than the everyday cup. You’ll also need a pour over coffee maker. If you’re just brewing for yourself, the Hario is a pretty popular choice that sits atop your mug. I personally have the Osaka carafe, but I’ve still got my eye on a Chemex for its aesthetics! Depending on whether or not the device you choose has a metal filter, you’ll need to purchase paper coffee filters for your pour over maker.

The next most important step is how you grind your beans. According to my research, for the best results, you’ll want to use a burr grinder over a typical blade grinder. It’s also important to grind to the correct consistency — if your grind is too fine, your brew will pick up more of the bitter notes from your coffee beans, while if it’s too coarse, the coffee will be weaker and have more of a sour taste.

You’ll want to heat your water to around 205 degrees (or if you’re like me and you don’t have a fancy kettle that tells you the temperature, you’ll just want to boil your water and let it stand 30 seconds or so before pouring). An important aspect of the pour over is the bloom. This is your initial pour of hot water over your grounds — you’ll want to pour a slow but steady stream to thoroughly wet your beans, during which the grounds will rise up and seemingly bloom. After the bloom, you’ll want to let the grounds settle before you continue your pour. A steady thin stream of water in concentric circles yields the best results.

Brew time and temperature will fluctuate slightly depending on the sort of roast that you choose. Darker roasts don’t require as much brew time or as high of heat as lighter varieties may.

Now it’s time to get brewing!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Katie Burnet says:

    I had no idea how particular the grind consistency was in arriving at different tones from the coffee bean. I was under the impression that the type of coffee would continually produce the same notes regardless of how it has been ground. It makes a lot of sense how technical this process is however because you always have that odd coffee that just doesn’t taste right and you’re not quite sure why. Good info!


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