How to Make Pour Over Coffee at Home
Watching the baristas at your local coffee shop is like watching an artist at work. From carefully grinding the aromatic coffee beans to the way they delicately pour your fresh cup of joe, it seems like only a chosen few have the chops to make the perfect cup of coffee — including you.
If you're like us, you love coffee. Right now, the pour over coffee brewing technique is making a comeback since its first appearance in the early 1900s. Everyday coffee enthusiasts and hipsters alike revel in the brewing technique's rich taste, but few know how to make coffee without a coffeemaker following the pour over method.
Here, our coffee experts will let you in on the secrets of making the perfect pour over coffee from the comfort of your kitchen. Plus, we'll provide answers to your frequently asked questions that will help you master the art of coffee brewing.
What Is Pour Over Coffee?
In the most basic sense, pour over coffee — also known as drip coffee — is the process of gradually pouring hot water over ground coffee beans, completely extracting the flavors.
The pour over coffee brewing technique ditches the needs for expensive machinery and fancy gadgets, as you often see at coffee shops. Instead, you only require a simple list of products, namely a coffee dripper.
Why Try Pour Over Coffee?
The minimalist approach involved in making pour over coffee attracts home brewers. When you're still groggy and desperate for that first invigorating sip of caffeinated goodness, you don't have to remember a complicated series of steps to get a fancy machine to make you a mediocre cup of coffee.
Rather, you get the delicate — and usually quick — experience of artistically brewing a cup of coffee that is so full of natural flavor, it will ruin every other coffee brewing method.
What's more, the pour over coffee brewing technique creates a clean, clear, consistent brew every time. Once you've mastered it, we think you'll agree it's the best way to brew coffee.
The Tools You'll Need to Make Pour Over Coffee
If you're a coffee enthusiast, you likely already have most of the tools required to make pour over coffee. And, you can easily find any products you don't have at your local department store, coffee shop, or online.
To become an expert pour over coffee maker, assemble these tools and ingredients.
- A water kettle: Like other coffee brewing methods, pour over coffee requires boiling water. We recommend using a kettle because you'll want a reliable, controllable stream of water to practice the best pour over coffee technique.
- A coffee dripper: The coffee dripper is the defining tool for pour over coffee. We'll get into the different types of pour over coffee drippers in the next section of this guide. You can learn how to make pour over coffee without a dripper, but here, we'll focus on using one.
- Coffee filters: You'll need to fit your chosen coffee filter onto the top of your coffee dripper. We'll help you determine the best coffee filter for you in a later section of this guide.
- High-quality coffee beans: We recommend coffee beans over coffee grounds because freshly ground coffee beans deliver the best taste.
- Coffee bean grinder: You can't brew whole coffee beans, so you'll need to grind them.
- Optional — a scale: Measuring your ground coffee helps you deliver consistent, perfectly brewed coffee every time you brew. It will also help you control how strong you want your coffee to be. However, though we recommend it, it's not a necessary tool.
For early-morning convenience, prepare your tools and ingredients the night before — minus grinding the coffee, which you should do right before brewing.
The Different Types of Pour Over Coffee Drippers You Can Use
There are four mainstream types of coffee drippers — the Hario V60, Chemex brand, the Kalita Wave, and the Melitta. Each follows the same principle, but holds slight differences that affect the quality of your pour.
Consider keeping one of the following coffee drippers in your kitchen for your morning pour over.
The Hario V60
The most common type of coffee dripper among at-home-brewers and professional baristas alike is the Hario V60. The Hario V60 got its name because of its shape, a 60-degree-angled "V" that comfortably holds a coffee filter.
The sides of this V shape have ridges to encourage airflow, which is a unique attribute compared to the other coffee drippers. The coffee dripper itself looks almost like a teacup. It rests on top of your coffee kettle, and as you add water to the filter, the coffee drips through the Hario V60 and into your kettle.
The Hario V60 comes in ceramic, plastic, glass, and metal types, but unless you're picky, you can choose any without noticing a major difference in your pour.
Chemex offers upscale pour over coffeemakers for the coffee enthusiast. These boast glass construction and a unique shape that is instantly recognizable as a Chemex pour over device. Chemex coffeemakers resemble an hourglass, with the top filter section being slightly smaller than the base area where the coffee collects. You'll love watching your fresh-brewed coffee drip through the clear glass of your Chemex coffeemaker.
If you like variety in your coffeemakers, Chemex has you covered. They offer different sizes across all their models, ranging from a three- to 13-cup capacity. Pour over doesn't have to be a solo experience — with a Chemex, everyone can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of pour over coffee in the morning.
The Kalita Wave is similar in shape to the Hario V60, in that it looks almost like a teacup and rests atop your coffee kettle. But, instead of a V shape, it has a rounded funnel top with three small holes at its base.
Because of its shape, the Kalita Wave is very forgiving for the beginner pourer who tends to pour too much water too quickly. Also, if you're going to be making enough coffee for two or more people, the Kalita Wave could be your best option because it holds more water than other coffee drippers.
The original coffee dripper, the Melitta dates back to the start of pour over coffee. Its shape resembles an hourglass. The top is a funnel, like the Hario V60 — where its role is to hold the coffee filter for pouring — but has a smooth surface. The bottom, where the coffee collects, is a mirror image of the top.
The Melitta also holds a spout that stems from the bottom base to the top funnel, where you can easily pour the brewed coffee.
The Best Types of Coffee Filters to Use When Making Pour Over Coffee
What can you use as a coffee filter? You can choose paper, cloth, or metal. Each material has a different use. You usually see metal filters in coffee shops or in the beloved French press, but people don't commonly use metal filters for pour over coffee brewing.
Professional baristas usually have strong opinions about which coffee filters are "the best," but for an at-home coffee pour over, either paper or cloth filters will do the trick.
Paper vs. Cloth Filters
Paper coffee filters are great at keeping all the fine-sized pour over coffee grounds and excess oils out of your morning brew. Comparatively, cloth filters have less dense fibers that allow for more oils to drip through.
The main difference between paper and cloth filters is the taste — you'll receive a higher flavor profile with cloth filters because more of the flavorful oils are present in your coffee.
But, if you opt for cloth filters, you'll also subject yourself to some tricky maintenance. Cloth filters require thorough rinsing and careful storage, or the damp cloth will grow mildew and impart an unpleasant taste to your coffee over time. Meanwhile, if you go with paper filters, you can discard them after every use.
There's no right or wrong choice, as both options deliver a delicious cup of coffee.
How to Make Pour Over Coffee
Now, with your tools and ingredients in front of you, let's get to brewing. To make the best cup of coffee you've ever tasted, follow these steps.
1. Bring Your Water to a Boil
First, decide how much coffee you want. For two to three cups of coffee, we recommend filling your kettle with about a liter of spring water or filtered tap water.
As you brew your coffee, the coffee grounds and filter will absorb some of the water, which means not all the water you heat will make its way into your coffee cup.
You want to use hot water to allow the coffee grounds to oxidize fully. But, be careful your pour over coffee temperature isn't too hot, or you can burn the grounds. A good rule of thumb is to let your water sit for two minutes after boiling, before beginning to pour.
2. Grind Your Choice of Quality Coffee Beans
We recommend grinding 60 grams of coffee per liter of water for the ideal pour over coffee ratio. A scale would be useful here, but you can play around with different measurements until you settle on a coffee strength you like. The more grams of coffee you use, the more robust the flavor will be, and vice versa.
3. Place a Filter in the Dripper
Next, place your filter into the dripper.
Some baristas prefer pouring hot water into the filter in circular motions until it soaks the filter, but not to the point that water drips into the base of the coffee kettle — or, if you're using the Melitta, into the bottom of the coffee dripper. However, this isn't an essential step.
4. Add Ground Coffee to the Filter
With your filter in place, add your ground coffee into the filter, trying your best to keep it in the center. When working with the ground coffee, your goal is to drench it with water for a consistent flavor profile, which is much easier to do when working with evenly distributed coffee grounds.
Then, to prepare for the next step, use your finger or a spoon to create a little funnel in the center of the coffee grounds.
5. Bloom the Coffee
Take your kettle, which should be a couple minutes off boil, and gently pour the water in circular motions over your coffee grounds. Pour just enough water to soak the coffee grounds.
Then, grab your coffee dripper and carefully swirl it around to gently mix the water with the coffee grounds. Your goal is to soak each ground. When you can no longer see any clumps, you can stop swirling.
At this point, you'll begin to see the coffee bubbling, and you'll soon smell the pleasant aroma every coffee enthusiast loves. Let the coffee grounds sit like this for 30 to 45 seconds.
6. Pour the Water Into the Filter Gradually
Once the water is in full bloom, pour the hot water in slow, circular motions until you've filled the filter to the top. The water will begin to make its way through the coffee grounds, picking up all its flavors, then drip into the coffee kettle.
Avoid pouring the water too fast, or it will disrupt the coffee grounds and move too quickly through them, preventing the full flavor from developing.
Continue to fill the coffee filter until you run out of water.
7. The Final Step — Enjoy the Best Cup of Coffee You've Ever Had
Once you finish pouring, remove the filter, rinse off your coffee dripper, and properly store it for tomorrow morning. By now, your kitchen should smell like a coffee shop, and you're ready to enjoy your morning cup of coffee.
Our Top Pour Over Coffee Tips and Tricks
We're coffee enthusiasts who have tried it all. Through plenty of trial and error, we've learned the best pour over tips and tricks, and now we're passing our expertise on to you. For the best pour over coffee, consider adding these steps.
1. Choose the Best-Quality Coffee Beans
You can have the ideal pour over technique, but your coffee will still taste mediocre if you use below-average coffee beans. The idea of a pour over is to extract the beans' full flavor — so choose high-quality coffee beans with a flavor profile you enjoy.
2. Grind Your Coffee Within 10 Minutes of Brewing
Coffee beans hold their flavor very well, but they quickly lose that flavor if you grind them prematurely. That's why we recommend grinding your coffee within 10 minutes of brewing, so you can extract the freshest flavors and aromas into your morning cup of coffee.
3. Use Filtered Water
Think about it — if you used strawberry-flavored water, you'd be able to pick up fruity notes in your coffee. If you use unfiltered water, you'll similarly be able to taste its unpleasant notes. So, it's best to use filtered water to avoid having any conflicting flavors in your ground coffee.
Pour Over Coffee FAQs
As a pour over coffee newcomer, you'll reasonably have some questions. Though we've learned through a trial-and-error process, there are always learning curves involved in learning a new skill.
1. How Do You Bloom Coffee?
First, what does "blooming" coffee mean? When you bloom your coffee, you're essentially preparing it for brewing. As you pour that first round of water — outlined in step five above — the coffee grounds release carbon dioxide, and that's when you'll notice the coffee grounds bubbling and expanding. That's what we mean by "blooming."
The steps for how to bloom coffee start with slowly pouring water in a circular motion, then swirling the coffee dripper so the water and coffee grounds perfectly mix. Then, wait about 30 to 45 seconds, and your coffee will be in full bloom.
2. Why Does My Coffee Taste Burned?
Your coffee can taste burned for one of two reasons:
- The water you used was too hot.
- The coffee beans are over-roasted.
First, let's start with the first issue. You want to use hot water when brewing a pour over coffee, but not to the point that it burns your coffee grounds. Keep in mind that darker roasts generally require cooler water than lighter roasts because they're richer in flavor.
If you're using the correct pour over coffee water temperature, the burned taste may not be your fault at all. Instead, the manufacturer may have accidentally overroasted their beans, resulting in a scorched flavor.
3. Why Is My Coffee Bitter?
A bitter taste is another problem with using overly hot water. Other factors can make your coffee taste bitter, too, like:
- Grinding your coffee too fine.
- Brewing ground coffee for too long.
- Stale coffee beans.
If your coffee is bitter, but you've decided to drink it anyway, you can mute the bitterness by adding milk, sugar, or even a pinch of salt.
4. Can You Use Coffee Grounds Twice?
Technically, yes, but it won't taste the same. You measure fresh coffee grounds to deliver a quality cup of coffee for a balanced amount of water. If you add too much water — as you would when using the same coffee grounds — you'll have a watered-down cup of coffee.
Plus, you add hot water to bloomed coffee grounds during your first use. During your second use, your coffee grounds have already finished the blooming period, resulting in a less-than-flavorful taste.
Make Delicious Pour Over Coffee at Home With Real Good Coffee Co
For the best cup of coffee, choose one of the most trusted brands for quality coffee beans — Real Good Coffee Co. Making outstanding coffee is what we do and what we're passionate about.
We proudly offer eco-friendly coffee bean blends. Choose between our light-roasted breakfast, medium-roast donut shop, dark french roast, or organic dark roast coffee beans that will transform your pour over coffee. But be careful, because once you try our products, no other cup of coffee will compare in flavor.