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How to Make Pour-Over coffee

August 25, 2020 5 min read

How to Make Pour-Over coffee

A great cup of coffee is smooth, clean, and can still smack you in the face with energy. But just 100 years ago, it was very strong, bitter, with a mug full of coffee grounds to chew through.

Pour-over coffee brewing was created in Germany in 1908 by German housewife Melitta Bentz as coffee became more popular in Europe. She took a brass pot and punched holes in the bottom to create a makeshift filter using some scrap paper.

This method of brewing became so popular that Melitta created a large company centered around her invention. We often refer to any brand of pour-over coffee makers as her namesake.

The trend towards pour-over coffee has grown even more in recent years as craft coffee made by hand is desired more often by consumers.

How do you make a perfect pour-over cup of coffee? There is undoubtedly an art to learning how to properly grind, measure, and pour for best results. Read below to find out more.

What is pour-over coffee?

The pour-over brewing process allows boiling water to drip slowly through finely-ground coffee into a dripper.

You start with a pour-over coffee kettle, preferably a gooseneck kettle with a long, narrow spout called a gooseneck. The gooseneck kettle's spout allows you to pour the hot water in a slow, circular motion letting the water flow through the coffee grounds evenly and thoroughly.

The pour-over coffee maker is a conical shaped ceramic, glass, or plastic piece with an open top and a small hole in the bottom. It usually fits over a mug or small drip coffee pot.

A reusable stainless steel or disposable pour-over coffee filter fits inside the dripper, and the ground coffee sits on top of the filter so that the coffee grinds don't fall through into the mug as it brews.

Hot water gets poured slowly and carefully over the coffee grounds, where it gently brews and drips through the bottom hole of the dripper and into your mug.

Is pour-over brewed coffee healthier?

Generally, consuming coffee will reduce your risk of heart disease, no matter how you brew it. There have been many studies proving that coffee improves your mood and energy by blocking inhibitory neurotransmitters. It also helps to temporarily increase your metabolism, enhance athletic performance, and lowers the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Health experts agree coffee is excellent for you. But pour-over coffee is even better for your health than French press coffee. Why? 

French press coffee makers use a stainless steel filter that filters out the coffee grounds but is not fine enough to filter out the smaller particles - namely oils and 'fines' (smaller particles) from the coffee beans. These oils and fines can increase your LDL levels, which are associated with higher heart risks.

All coffee decreases the risk of heart disease, but filtered coffee has even higher numbers. Men can decrease their risk of heart disease by 12% with filtered coffee, and 20% for women.

Is pour-over stronger than drip?

The method you use to make your coffee doesn't determine the strength of the coffee. To achieve the optimal balance in your brew, you need to use the proper coffee-to-water ratio (which we'll cover a bit later).

If you want strong, bitter flavors in your coffee, drip, and pour-over are very similar in that way. A French press is the best bet for a super strong tasting coffee, as the fines and oils make their way into your cup.

What is better pour-over or French press?

If you're concerned about your cup of joe's health benefits, pour-over is the way to go.

But which cup of coffee tastes better? It depends on your preferences and how you like your coffee to taste.

The French press allows oils and fines through, which creates a massively bitter and robust flavor.

With pour-over, you get a cleaner tasting result for your coffee. And with those huge, bitter notes removed, they allow more subtle notes and flavors come through without getting overpowered.

The clean up with the French press can be a little messier, as it can be challenging to get the water out of the grounds before you dispose of them. With the pour-over, gravity allows most of the water to drain from the beans for smoother disposal afterward.

What kind of coffee grounds do you use for pour-over?

The pour-over coffee grind you will want to use is medium-fine for your beans. Medium-fine grounds are finer than a grain of salt, but not as fine as icing sugar.

If you find your coffee tasting too sour, it has been under-extracted from the beans, so you will want to use a finer grind. If it tastes too bitter, try grinding the beans a little more coarse next time.

You do not want to use superfine coffee grounds as the small particles will clog up the filter in the coffee dripper. Start with a medium-fine grind and experiment with different grinds for different flavors.

Why use fresh ground beans?

Freshly grinding your beans every morning takes a few extra minutes, but it is always worth it. Here's why:

  • Oxidation. Flavors and aromas in the beans get released when the coffee is ground and exposed to air. These continue to be released as it sits, so the closer they get ground before brewing, the better.
  • Moisture. Moisture in the air can seep into your ground coffee, diluting the beans' flavor and strength.
  • Carbon Dioxide. The carbon dioxide in coffee beans is needed to transfer the bean oils into your coffee. By grinding the coffee early, you will lose too much carbon dioxide and hinder the process.

How much coffee do I use for a pour-over?

The pour-over coffee ratio is the #1 most important part of making a great coffee cup.

The best rule to follow for getting it just right is to stick within 1-2 tbsp of ground coffee for every 6 oz of water. 

Again, you can experiment within these suggestions once you've mastered the basics to suit your personal tastes.

How to Make the Best Pot/Cup of Drip Coffee

We've built a list of easy instructions to teach you how to make pour-over that's steamy, easy, and delicious.

  1. Grind your fresh, whole coffee beans to a medium-fine grind.
  2. Set up your mug, dripper, and biodegradable filter in the dripper. Do not add ground coffee yet.
  3. Boil your water until it reaches a temperature of 205 - 210°F. Remove your kettle from the heat.
  4. Remove dripper from the mug or pour-over coffee pot, and hold over or place dripper in the sink. Rinse the filter with the boiling water to remove any potential paper taste from your coffee. Allow to drip.
  5. Place dripper with the rinsed filter on top of your mug. Add ground coffee inside of the filter.
  6. Add enough boiling water to soak all of the coffee grounds thoroughly. Let sit until the water fully drips through, about 30 secs. Don't skip this step! Carbon dioxide is created and trapped in light and medium beans during the roasting process. This first, shorter pour releases the carbon dioxide helping the water work its way into the grounds, making a better cup of coffee.
  7. Continue to pour your water at an even and quick pace, working the water in a circular pattern that starts in the middle and widens outward as you pour. The narrow gooseneck spout comes in handy here, as it allows for more control in aiming the water to coat all of the coffee grounds evenly. Continue until you've added the amount of water you need to fill your cup.
  8. Allow the dripper to continue until all of the water has drained, between 20 to 60 seconds.
  9. Remove the dripper, and enjoy your coffee!

Sip and Savor

We hope you enjoy our tips on grinding coffee beans and making a fantastic cup of coffee using our favorite brew method!

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