How-To & Diy

How to Make A Very Good Pour Over Coffee

And, how to make it better and better each day.

July 27, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten

Coffee is a simple beverage. There isn’t much to it, just hot water and ground coffee. There’s one component, however, that isn’t so cheap or easy to use, and that’s time. It takes time to draw out the flavors and practice your technique, to understand what you’re tasting and how to get the best out of your cup.

But, all this time devoted to coffee is also time you're taking for yourself. I’ve found that making coffee each morning brings me calm, a much-needed pause before I start the day.

This method—for good coffee, made slow— is one that I’ve edited, tweaked, and built over years of trial and error, and learning from others. You might notice that the recipe is very specific in some places, and not-so in others; pour over coffee is a fun, challenging beast because so much varies across beans, roasts, and brewing techniques.

As for how to taste (and fine-tune) a cup: A balanced brew will, well, taste good. Its flavor should last, and it will have a nice finish. If the flavor doesn't linger and tastes too bright or oily, the coffee’s likely under-extracted. Try grinding finer on the next brew. An overly bitter, flat, and dry-tasting cup means the coffee's been over-extracted. Try a coarser grind next time.

This guide will work with flat bottom or cone-shaped devices. As for the former, I’d recommend the Kalita Wave or Walkure Bayreuth; for the latter, I’ve had great success with Bee House, Hario V60, and the Origami Dripper. You’ll also need a scale for measuring your beans, a filter—cloth or paper are both fine—and a thin-streamed pouring device, like a gooseneck kettle.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Great article. What would you recommend for a small board game shop to keep good coffee on hand? Looking to make quality coffee and server it in a small shop without a full bar.”
— Joshua S.
Comment

Try to enjoy the process and the discovery along the way, and don’t be too hard on yourself if a brew doesn’t turn out the way you expected. There’s always the next cup to look forward to.


How to Make Pour Over Coffee

1. Grind the beans.

Grind 24 grams (0.85 ounces) of coffee beans until the grounds are finer than sea salt, similar to sand. (Take note of what setting you used to grind, so you can adjust the grind next time to taste.)

2. Heat the water.

Fill your kettle with 500 grams (17.6 ounces) water, and heat over a medium-high flame to 212°F.

Beans, measured; brewer, warmed. Photo by Matthew Im

3. Heat your brewing device.

Place a filter inside your brewing device, and heat by running roughly 100 grams (about 1/2 cup) of hot water through the brewing device. Discard the water used for preheating. Place the warmed brewing device onto your scale, tare, and add the grounds to the filter. Tare again.

4. Bloom the coffee.

Pour 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of water onto the grounds, and gently swirl the brewer 3 times to evenly saturate the coffee bed (this is called “blooming” the coffee). Let sit for 30 to 40 seconds.

Swirling the brewer. Photo by Matthew Im

5. First Pour.

If using a flat bottom pour over device, add 200 grams (7 ounces) of hot water (at a rate of 8 grams per second, or roughly 1 teaspoon per second), circling from the outside inwards. Make sure all the grounds get saturated quickly into a slurry. Let half of the slurry drain through before starting on the second pour.

If using a cone, spiral the water from the center outwards. (No matter the brewing device, the first pour should take around 25 seconds to complete; if it’s taking longer, don’t worry! Some coffees are a bit denser than others, and will extract more slowly.)

Slurry (left) and finished cup (right). Photo by Matthew Im

6. Second Pour.

Staying consistent with the direction of the last pour, add the remaining 150 grams (5.3 ounces) of water, at 8 grams per second (again, roughly 1 teaspoon per second). Once the coffee is finished brewing, let it sit for 5 minutes before tasting.

How do you take make your coffee? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Matthew Im

Written by: Matthew Im

10 Comments

Aaron M. August 1, 2020
24 solids to 500 Water is too low. The ratio should be 1:15 to 1:18 so, quick math, 33 to 27 grams of coffee to water. Temp should be roughly 30 seconds off boil or 205 degrees F.
 
M July 29, 2020
Ultimately, pour-over will give you more flavour than you're used to, if you grind fresh. What I love about it is that a half-arsed pour-over will still be great, so you aren't beholden to perfect weights and pours to get tasty coffee. You can just put in the effort when you feel like it. And, esp with some collapsible filter holders, this method takes up the least space.

Now.. 212 is verrrry hot for pour over. 205 is generally where most suggest, all the way down to the 190s. Often a lot of flavour is lost if the water is boiling hot. The perfect temp often depends on the specific beans, but 205 is a safe start.

One thing I never understood was relying so heavily on the scale as you're pouring. I figured out the amount my mugs could take, the height the coffee would be in the cup, and just lift for a quick peek or two to get it right. This also allows more than one coffee to be made at once.
 
Aaron M. August 1, 2020
You’re still measuring based on the vessel and repeating the same technique. My local shop/roaster changes varieties every few weeks, so grind will vary greatly between a medium roast Costa Rican and a light roast Ethiopian. I keep my weights constant and a target end time. This allows me to adjust the grind as the only variable. Same coffee, same method, same yield, less need for precise measurements because of repetition. You’re dead on about the temp though. No need to boil the coffee to death.
 
The Origami dripper was designed around the kalita wave filter. It has the same number of “folds.” It is a flat bottom dropper that can also be used with v60 filters. It is a great device! You should correct that in your article.
 
Lou T. July 28, 2020
After a lot of trial and error, I've found the optimal temperature of the water to be 202 degrees F. I also reheat once after blooming to get the water back to that temperature.

Nothing tastes as good as pour over coffee!
 
Lou T. July 28, 2020
After a lot if trial and error, I've found the optimal temperature of the water to be 202 degrees F. I also reheat one after blooming to get to that temperature.

Nothing tastes like pour over coffee!
 
Joshua S. July 27, 2020
Great article. What would you recommend for a small board game shop to keep good coffee on hand? Looking to make quality coffee and server it in a small shop without a full bar.
 
Author Comment
Matthew I. July 28, 2020
Hey Joshua! Thanks for reaching out. I've been really happy with quite a few different roasters, so here's my thoughts:
1. Full-bodied/developed roast: Kingdom Coffee Roasters; Camber Coffee
2. Balanced: Black and White Roasters
3. Bright: Sey Coffee

With all my time working in the industry, I'd say the first 2 options will be consistently enjoyed while the 3rd option would be more exciting. Have fun!
 
Joshua S. July 28, 2020
Thank you for responding. My question was probably unclear as I wasn't sure what format to put it in. What I am looking for is what method of brewing to use to keep good coffee on hand that can be used and sold at a small coffee shop without requiring a full coffee bar. Possibly a large pour over but the coffee would go cold, though that could be solved with a warmer. Ideally coffee is consumed fresh but looking to work our way there. Just looking for thoughts on the matter. Article was very helpful and your passion is contagious.
 
M July 29, 2020
Joshua- A warmer will get rid of any benefit you are hoping to achieve by brewing better coffee, let alone the stress of staff trying to properly make pour over or chemex if it's busy. You might want to go the restaurant route and invest in single-serve french presses. It won't get the depth of a pour over or siphon, but it will be better than drip or stale coffee on a warmer.