Pour over coffee has become a daily ritual in our family. We each have our own techniques, tools, measurements, and bean preferences. One thing that we do agree on, is that this method of brewing coffee is a hundred times better than drip coffee from the coffeemaker.
In addition to the factors I mentioned above, the taste of pour over coffee is also affected by the type of filter used, the purity of the water, and the fineness of the grind.
With all of those variables, it is no wonder that this coffee experience can vary. Maybe you have tried pour over coffee and found it too strong, or bitter, or bland. My advice is to give it another go, because once you’ve found your perfect brew, no other coffee will come close. You’ll be ruined!
First, Choose Your Brewing Container
We have two basic choices: a single serve funnel, and a glass carafe. The carafe can hold about four cups (8 oz.), but really makes about 2 ½ mugs.
The acrylic funnel is for making a single mug of coffee.
I prefer using the acrylic funnel placed over my mug. The coffee stays warmer longer because the ceramic holds in the heat, rather than going first into glass and then being poured into a cup or mug.
There are also metal and ceramic funnels, and glass carafe without handles. Look around to find what appeals to you.
Now, Choose Your Filter
This was the first big difference that I noticed when brewing pour over coffee. The filter matters.
We bought two types, to match the funnel and the carafe. The carafe filters are Chemex unbleached square paper filters. The funnel size is #2, so we bought Hario V60 #2 filters, also unbleached paper.
The Chemex filter is much thicker, and it takes longer for the water to flow through. The result is a smoother cup of coffee. The Hario filters are good, too, but the water flows through faster, producing a more acidic cup. It isn’t bad, just stronger. You have to discover the taste that you like best.
We are even using the large rectangular filters with the funnel — and it works just fine.
Chemex also makes a rounded filter for the carafe; but our experience is that the paper isn’t as thick as the rectangular filter.
Choose Your Coffee
Your favorite coffee will work. If you get it ground very fine, you may have to switch to something a bit more granular. The typical grind when you purchase ground coffee is #5. This is perfect for pour-over brewing. Anything more fine will clog the filter.
How much coffee should you use per cup? Again, that depends on your own taste. Start with 1 rounded tablespoon per cup, and work from there to discover your perfect measurement.
Bonavita makes a wonderful goose neck kettle with a spout that is perfect for controlling the water flow as you brew. However, we have gone through three pots because the spout kept falling off. Since then, it seems that if we are careful to keep the water level in the pot above the point where the spout attaches to the kettle, there is not a problem. I recently bought another kettle (Fino) that works really well. The spout is not as precise as the Bonavita, but the kettle is sturdier.
A goose neck is not, technically, a requirement; but, it is much easier to control the water flow with one. If you are like me, having control first thing in the morning just isn’t going to happen. So, for us, a goose neck kettle is a necessity.
We use water out of the tap. Coffee aficionados will tell you to use cold, filtered water. Again, you will figure out what works best for you.
As far as water temperature, optimum is just below the boiling point. So, I usually turn the pot off just as I hear it begin to boil. Then let it sit a few seconds before you start pouring.
Pour-Over Is As Easy As Instant. Really.
This seems like a lot of advice for what should be a very easy brewing method. Once you find the elements that work for you, you will become a whiz at making pour-over coffee. It really is as easy to make as instant, no fooling! Take a minute to watch the pouring method in the video.