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What Is Pour-Over Coffee, and What Makes It Taste So Good?

August 04, 2020 6 min read

What Is Pour-Over Coffee, and What Makes It Taste So Good?

What is pour-over coffee, and why are baristas and coffee lovers so taken by this method of pouring coffee? At first glance, pour-over coffee might seem like one of the simplest methods of brewing coffee, and it is. All you need is a coffee kettle, ground coffee, a funnel, a filter, and a cup to pour it all into.

But its very simplicity is the reason why pour-over coffee is becoming so popular. With a glass pour over coffee maker, you can easily and effectively control what goes into your coffee, and how it's brewed, in a way that you just can't with drip coffee machines!

In today's article, we take a more detailed look at this ever-popular method of brewing, to find answers to the fundamental questions: what is pour-over coffee, and what makes it taste so good?

What's makes pour-over coffee so special?

You might be wondering, what is pour-over coffee? And, why is pour-over coffee so special?

Pour-over coffee is often considered to be of a much superior quality to coffee brewed in a drip machine, or a French press, or other similar pieces of traditional coffee brewing equipment.

At its most basic, pour-over coffee is simply the act of pouring hot water over freshly ground coffee beans. The ground coffee is held in a conical device that allows the coffee to then drip down through a filter and into a cup below. The process is very similar to the process employed by a drip coffee machine; the major difference, though, is that pour-over coffee allows you to control many more aspects of the brew.

Pour-over coffee is brewed by hand. There are no buttons to push (except if you are using a coffee grinding machine, of course). You can precisely control the speed at which you add water to coffee. You can control the temperature of the water. You can brew coffee exactly the way you like it!

Once you've perfected the perfect pour-over coffee ratio, the perfect water temperature, and speed of pouring, then you can easily replicate the formula every time you fancy a brew.

That's what makes pour-over coffee so special!

How do you brew pour-over coffee?

The easiest way to brew pour-over coffee is by using a dedicated pour-over coffee kit. The best pour-over coffee kits will have a specially shaped glass container to hold the fresh brew without affecting the flavor. Brewing pour-over coffee with a reusable stainless steel filter will allow you to avoid throwing away countless paper filters throughout the week.

For the best brews, you need freshly ground coffee and a coffee kettle which allows you to better regulate the temperature of the water you're pouring over the coffee beans. We suggest grinding your own beans at home, for absolute freshness, and weighing them out on scales to ensure you're brewing the perfect quantity each time.

Here's a step by step guide to brewing pour-over coffee at home:

  1. Select your blend of coffee beans, and measure out the amount you need for the brew*.
  2. Grind your coffee beans, preferably using an automatic machine to achieve your desired consistency.
  3. Measure out the water and begin heating on the stovetop.
  4. Place your filter into the top of the pour-over jug.
  5. When your water has boiled, slowly pour a small amount over the inside of the filter. This ensures that the filter is clean and won't impart any unwanted flavors.
  6. Pour your measured and ground coffee into the filter and shake lightly to create an even spread.
  7. Slowly pour your hot water over the ground coffee. Do this in a circular motion, until the filter is full.
  8. Allow the water to drip through the coffee and filter, and collect into the glass jug below.
  9. Continue slowly pouring more water over the beans as it filters through.
  10. Remember to control the speed, pouring slowly to release more subtle flavors and aromas from the coffee beans.
  11. Keep pouring until you have filled the jug below, then remove the filter, and replace it with a plug or lid.
  12. Allow to brew for a few minutes and then enjoy the delicious taste and aroma of your pour-over coffee!**

*We recommend approx 3 tbsp of ground coffee beans for every 10 ounces of hot water. See below for more info on the perfect coffee to water ratio for a pour-over brew.

**If you don't have a pour-over coffee kit, then you can replicate the same method using a filter placed over a mug or glass. Simply fill the filter (usually a paper filter) with a small quantity of coffee and pour over hot water directly from the kettle. You won't be able to replicate the same tastes and aromas, as there are many more factors left uncontrolled, but it will still taste pretty good!

What's the best ratio of coffee to water?

Baristas love talking about the fabled 'Golden Ratio' when it comes to being the best coffee. The 'Golden Ratio' is essentially the perfect ratio of coffee beans to hot water, but because everyone likes to enjoy their coffee in a different way, the 'Golden Ratio' can be different from one coffee lover to the next!

The great thing about pour-over coffee is that you can control the number of coffee grinds for pour-over down to the exact gram, and you can control the quantity of hot water to the perfect ounce. You can use scales to get the exact weights, just right, every time you brew up.

We recommend experimenting to find the perfect ratio of coffee to water for your pour-overs. The more coffee or less water you have, the stronger the brew will be.

Our baristas usually suggest starting with 21 grams of ground coffee for every 10 ounces of hot water. If you don't have scales for measuring, then 21 grams will be approximately 3 tbsp of ground coffee beans.

What is the difference between pour-over and drip coffee?

While there might be a similar theory behind both pour coffee and drip coffee (bot methods essentially come down to dripping water over coffee), there are fundamental differences that create two very distinct brews of coffee.

The main difference we've already explained earlier in the article; control. A pour-over coffee filter and coffee kit allow you to really control not only the exact weight of coffee and water, the speed and temperature at which you brew the coffee.

A drip machine, on the other hand, only has its pre-programmed settings. You load up the coffee and hit the go button. There's no real control over the process.

Being able to control the weights and temperatures allows you to create the brew the way that you like it. Being able to control the speed of the pour-over itself (the rate at which you pour the water over the ground coffee), allows you to release more flavor if you desire. A slower pour will release more of the distinct taste of the beans you are brewing to create a more flavorful brew.

What is the best coffee for a pour-over brew?

There are so many different blends of coffee beans and styles of coffee roasting, that it would be impossible to go through every possible variety that works well for pour-over brews.

We encourage you to experiment with your beans as much as you experiment with the strengths and quantities. You never know which blend might surprise you and which coffee for pour-over might turn out to be your favorite!

One of your favorite blends for a quality pour-over brew, is Kona coffee, which originates from Hawaii's Big Island. We particularly enjoy the deliciously rich flavor that's only released by a slow, controlled, pour-over. The pour-over coffee technique works really well with other blends of coffee that have subtle flavors and aromas, too.

Pour-over coffee takeaways

Now you know the answer to the question, what is pour-over coffee? We hope too, that you can now tell the difference between pour-over coffee and drip coffee, and that you can see why pour-over coffee can easily be the superior brew! Why not bookmark our handy pour-over coffee guide for later?

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