Perfecting Your Pour Over

Pour overs may be the coolest kids on the block, but what I love about them is how easy it is to brew a perfect cup of coffee with them. Whether it’s a V60 master, a Chemex or some no-brand cone shaped piece of plastic you found lying around, it’s simple to get some awesome coffee from it. We’ll walk through a simple how-to so you can see how to get the most out of your pour overs.

Rinse That Filter

Before you start, put your filter inside the brewer and give it a good rinse with hot water. This washes out the paper residue (which gives it a damp cardboardy taste), and warms up the brewer. Pre-warming helps keep the temperature stable when we start brewing.

Get Your Grind Right.

Grinding right before you start is super important. Once the coffee is ground it’ll start oxidising at a much faster rate, essentially going stale. Seeing as you are on this site, you understand how much better fresh coffee tastes, so don’t ruin it all by grinding your coffee in advance.

Using a burr grinder gives a far better grind than a blade, so you should definitely use a burr grinder. Blade grinders work by spinning blades which cut lumps out of the beans until there is an uneven mess of different size chunks. Burr grinders work by crushing the beans between the burrs which results in a much more consistent grind. There are fewer chunks and fewer fines, with the majority of the grind being a uniform size.

It’s important to select the right setting for your specific pour over device and grinder. E.g. if you are grinding for Chemex you use a more coarse grind than for a V60, make sure to start at something reasonable and adjust to taste. Usually this is a medium (for V60) to a medium-coarse (for chemex). Check out our specific guide for better beginning ranges.

Water, it’s Really Important

If the water you are using doesn’t taste good guess what, brewing coffee with it isn’t going to suddenly make it taste any better. Bad water brews bad coffee. On the other side of things, if your water tastes good and your coffee tastes good don’t stress, it’s probably fine and after all your coffee tastes good. You should heat it to about 205F or just below boiling, usually best not to boil the water because you’ll lose oxygen from the water, but again I wouldn’t stress this too much.

Coffee Ratio

When we talk about how much coffee to use we always talk about the weight of the coffee. This is because different coffee beans have very different densities and different grinds fit into scoops differently. So honestly scoops as a measure is useless. This works because we can also weigh the water as we add it so we can talk about the brew ratio, i.e. the ratio of coffee to water. We recommend starting with a 1:16 ratio, i.e. 1 part coffee to 16 parts water. So if we want to make 300ml of coffee we divide that by 16 to get 18.75 g of ground coffee (1ml of hot water is approx 1g) , if you want to make a liter of coffee (i.e. 1000ml) that will take 62.5g of ground coffee.

Bloom and Pour

The first water we pour on to our dry grinds is called the bloom. We usually pour 3 times the amount of hot water to the weight of the coffee. Then you can give it a good stir with a spoon, making sure all the coffee gets wet. This helps pre-wet all the coffee, so that when we pour the main water we’ll get a nice even extraction and won’t have any dry chunks floating around.

Wait 30-45 seconds and then continue pouring the hot water.

Don’t Stress About Pouring

The most important part of the brew is getting the hot water in contact with the ground coffee beans. It’s not important to do any special patterns or swirls, simply add the water to the grounds making sure to get them good and wet. When you’ve added all the water give the slurry another good stir with your spoon to make sure all of the grounds are in suspension and if you want, give it a little “Rao swirl” to level out the base of the grounds (currently under the brewing coffee). Thats it, wait for your coffee to brew.

Taste Your Coffee

See how it tastes. The good thing about pour overs is it’s easy to make adjustments. You can change the grind size, the ratio and the water temperature all really easily so you can have as much fun with that as you like and you can really nail a brew. Check out our guide about grind adjustments you can make and why you would make them.