Coffee is a beautiful beverage; many of us know how different types of coffee can have different flavor profiles. There’s something for everyone! But many don’t understand just how much of a difference the brewing method can make. For instance, pour-over coffee can really bring out the subtleties of the coffee’s flavor. If you weren’t familiar with this, you might be asking yourself “what’s pour-over coffee?”
We’ve got you covered! Let’s take a deeper look at what pour-over coffee is and why it’s a popular choice for millions of coffee lovers across the globe!
What’s Pour-Over Coffee?
As the name suggests, you pour hot water over coffee grounds that have been placed in a filter. The water seeps through the coffee, absorbing the flavor and coffee oils, and compounding the aromas. This method of brewing coffee is quite simple, but that’s where the charm lies.
Pour-over coffee has been popular since the 1900s and is enjoyed all over the world, albeit under different names. So depending on where you are, it may be called “filter coffee” or “drip coffee”, too.
There’s a good reason for this universal appeal: it helps highlight the subtle flavors better than many other brewing methods, with the end result being rich, clean and supremely fragrant coffee.
It is also considered to be more efficient at extracting the coffee oils from coffee grounds compared to methods such as the French press because pour-over coffee uses a steady stream of fresh water, preventing the water from getting too saturated.
What are pour-over coffee’s drawbacks?
One may think that its simplicity might be where pour-over coffee falls short, but that’s not true!
There are a couple of challenges that one might face while brewing using this method, with the main one being “channeling”. As we know, we are quite literally pouring water over coffee grounds using this method. Sometimes, this can lead to an inconsistent brew. This is because the water might find an “easier” path through the coffee grounds and this can reduce the flavor of the coffee.
Fortunately, it is fairly simple to do it well and with some practice, you should be able to brew the perfect pour-over. Some key points while brewing would be to:
- Ensure that the coffee grounds are evenly placed and there are no large clumps.
- Pour enough water to saturate the grounds and wait 15-30 seconds.
- Then pour water evenly in a spiral motion. You can opt for a continuous pour or pour intermittently.
- Some people prefer stirring or swirling the coffee grounds to achieve a similar result.
- A 1:17 ratio is generally recommended (17 grams of water for every gram of coffee grounds).
Which coffee to use?
The answer to this largely depends on personal preferences, of course, but pour-over coffees are known to bring out the nuances in flavor quite well. This is why lighter roasts typically work better with this brewing method. Similarly, single-origin coffees also work well.
Medium grounds are preferred and serve as a great starting point. If the coffee feels too acidic, you can go a touch finer. If it lacks the sweeter notes, you might want to consider going with more coarse grounds. It is equally important to make sure that the grounds are all consistent, as this also affects the flavor profile significantly.
What do you need to make pour-over coffee?
As we already learned, the brewing process by itself is fairly straightforward, so you really don’t need much to make pour-over coffee.
First and foremost, you will require a dripper. This is basically what will hold the filter and coffee grounds. There are plenty of options available and to be honest, most will do the job fairly well. The Hario V60 is a popular option along with brewing cones from Hario or Melitta.
There are a plethora of options to choose from, and the filter you choose can affect the flavor of the coffee. Two popular options are paper filters and cloth filters. Cloth filters are typically more consistent (and are more eco-friendly), but what ultimately matters is that you pick a filter that fits your brewing device well.
Technically, all you really need to make pour-over coffee is some water, a brewing device and filters. However, having other equipment like a measuring scale (to weigh the coffee and ensure the proportions are correct) can help. A burr grinder will allow you to buy whole beans, which will make for a much fresher coffee, and will provide consistency in grind size. You could also consider looking at specialty kettles that are designed to keep the water flow consistent and store water at a stable temperature. Again, these two pieces of equipment aren’t really mandatory, but they do help.
Pour-over coffee can be one of the easiest and most flavorful ways to enjoy a cup of coffee. Which is your favorite brewing method? Let us know in the comments!