Pour overs are an increasingly popular way to make coffee and look fancy doing it, but what we love about them is how easy they make brewing delicious coffee. Whether it’s a V60, a Chemex, A Kalita wave, or some no-brand cone you found lying around, it’s easy to get some awesome coffee from it. We’ll walk through a simple how-to that will elevate your coffee to cafe-quality in no time!
When we talk about how much coffee to use for a pour-over, we talk about the weight of the coffee. This is because different coffee beans have very different densities and sizes, so using a scoop as a measure is rough as best. Measuring by weight means we can also weigh the water as we brew 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 for a tasty pour-over. So if we want to make 300ml of coffee we divide that by 16 to get 18.75g of ground coffee (1ml of hot water is approx 1g).
The most important part of a delicious pour-over is using fresh, high quality beans. Once coffee is ground it starts oxidizing much faster, (essentially going stale), so it's best to grind just before brewing. Different coffees present different tastes, especially on a pour over, so it's a good idea to try a variety of different freshly-roasted beans on your pour over!
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Once you have your beans, it's time to grind. If you can, you should definitely use a burr grinder for best results. Blade grinders are essentially spice mills that hack your beans into an uneven mess of different size chunks. Burr grinders work by crushing the beans between evenly spaced burrs which results in a much more consistent grind. The more consistent the grind, the better the coffee tastes!
There are some slightly different grind settings depending on your pour over, for example, if you are grinding for Chemex you should use a more coarse grind than for a V60. We recommend starting at medium (for V60 and other cones) to a medium-coarse (for chemex) and adjusting to taste. Check out our grinding guide for more info!
Water in most kitchens is great for making coffee - but if you don't like the taste of your tap - use some filtered water. Better water brews better coffee! Temperature-wise, you should heat it to somewhere around 195-205F. (If you don't have a thermometer, you can get to this temperature by taking your kettle off heat just as it boils, and waiting about thirty seconds.)
Before you start brewing, put your filter inside your pour over and give it a good rinse with the hot water. This washes out any paper residue that can affect taste, and warms up the brewer. Pre-warming will help keep the temperature stable when we start brewing, but don't forget to discard the water after it drips through or it will dilute your brew!
Add your ground coffee to your filter, and we're ready to brew. The first water we pour on dry grinds is called the bloom. We usually pour about 3 times the amount of hot water to the weight of the coffee, trying to saturate all the grounds. Then you can give it a good stir with a spoon. This helps pre-wet all the coffee, so that when we pour the rest of the water in 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 rest of your hot water.
The most important part of the brew is getting the hot water in contact with the coffee. 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). That's all there is to it - wait for your coffee to brew.
You made a pour over, now enjoy it! The good thing about pour overs is it’s easy to make adjustments. You can change the grind size, the brew ratio and the water temperature easily to tweak your next cup to your preferred taste.
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