How to make the Perfect coffee pour-over

You love coffee. I get it. It’s really not hard to make the perfect cup of pour over coffee at home as long as you have the right gear and remember a few key tips.

What you need:

  • Pour Over Brewer - there are many on the market and it’s easy to get distracted by the different shapes, sizes and styles. We prefer the Chemex - but there are many others like the Hario or Kalita which can be found everywhere online or even at your local coffee shop or retailer. Just remember that many require their own brand of filters (for the perfect fit) so don’t forget to grab a box. Capacity is also important; some brew only 1 or 2 cups while others (like the Chemex) let you brew 6 or 8 cups at a time.

  • Kettle - these are definitely NOT created equal. Your old, well-used kettle sitting on the stove top might not have the precision pouring capability of a goose-neck kettle, and the ability to pour small amounts of water right where you want it is key. Some have features like built-in thermometers (proper temp is important) or timers. Stagg makes some excellent kettles but there are many to choose from in the marketplace.

  • Specialty Coffee - don’t think you can get the best gear and then make an awesome cup of pour over coffee if you don’t start with a quality coffee to begin with. Obviously the most important factor, choosing a specialty grade arabica coffee is critical. There is a seemingly endless number of choices here, so experiment with a few! The fun and passion of specialty coffee is discovering new coffees from different origin countries or regions and learning what you like and what you don’t. Of course, I’m partial to our craft-roasted coffees here at Bean Creek, but you should try several and see what you like the most.

  • Scale & Timer - someone I know who’s well established in the specialty coffee industry told me that the three most important factors in brewing really good coffee are time, temperature and turbulence. You need to know how long your coffee is brewing (extracting) and for this a timer is necessary. Your kettle may have a thermometer or you can use a separate one to reach the proper water temp (195-205 degrees F) and the turbulence you create by stirring. Most coffee scales allow you to measure the proper coffee/water ratio and have a built-in timer as well.

  • Grinder - to experience your coffee at it’s peak flavor, it must be freshly ground. When you grind roasted coffee it accelerates the de-gassing process whereby CO2 is released and the shelf-life of the coffee decreases exponentially. Grinding just before brewing gives you the opportunity to appreciate the nuanced flavors inherent in your coffee, which you will almost never get if you buy already ground bagged coffee. I recommend a medium to medium-coarse grind for pour overs.

Seem like a lot? It’s really not. Some really good coffee and a few pieces of gear and you’re ready to go.

  1. Heat your water in the kettle to the proper temp (195-205F). It’s important to remember to rinse your filter in order to remove the papery taste - just place it in the brewer and rinse with the heated water - don’t forget to discard this water before brewing.

  2. Measure the beans. Ideally you’d like a ratio of about 1:16 - that’s one gram of coffee per 16 grams of water. Most coffee scales are designed to dial in these measurements for you.

  3. Grind the coffee. Again, we’re shooting for medium to medium-coarse here. Too fine and the coffee will be over-extracted and the results can be a little bitter. Too coarse and the coffee will be under-extracted and not flavorful enough. Play around a bit and see for yourself.

  4. Bloom. Pour evenly over the grounds for 15-30 seconds and then STOP. Allow your coffee time to bloom - you’ll see it expand and rise as the CO2 escapes and the grounds are all being wet.

  5. Pour. Begin in the center and work your way out in expanding circles, making sure to cover all of the coffee grounds. You’ll need to experiment here and don’t forget to keep an eye on your scale! The trick is to pour the proper weight of water to hit your target ratio (1:16) AND to take the proper amount of time to pour it - which is normally around 2-3 minutes.

Enjoy! Take a few minutes to enjoy the fruits of your hard work and planning. Savor the cup, and take a moment to appreciate all of the hard work in growing, processing, importing and roasting the delicious beverage you have in your hands. Then practice and tweak your technique as you continue to enjoy more and other coffees. Don’t forget to share with your friends - that’s half the fun!

Kurt

Chemex 6-Cup Brewer

Chemex 6-Cup Brewer

Stagg EKG Pour-Over Kettle

Stagg EKG Pour-Over Kettle

Bean Creek Kenya Lenana single-origin coffee

Bean Creek Kenya Lenana single-origin coffee

Digital Coffee Scale

Digital Coffee Scale

Baratza Virtuoso Grinder

Baratza Virtuoso Grinder