Pour Over Coffee Brewing Detailed Guide: How To Make The Perfect Cup of Joe

17 min read DEC 20, 2022

Have you been to your local coffee shop and discovered that several people are ordering a cup of pour-over coffee? If this piqued your interest and you ended up ordering one, then you must be searching for the secret recipe that brewed that cup of coffee that blew your mind.

Here is a guide to help you prepare a perfect cup of pour-over coffee at home. It will take time before you become a master of the pour-over art, but every minute and effort will be worth it.

And if you are a master barista, keep reading; this article is fully packed with new alternatives and ventures to explore to attain varieties of pour-over coffee that your coffee drinkers will enjoy once served to them.

What you Require to Make Pour Over Coffee

Before proceeding to prepare pour-over coffee, there are pre-requirements you should keep in mind. These include equipment and other components of the recipe.

 If you do not have some of these requirements, there are workarounds included within the preparation process. So, do not worry about being unable to make pour-over coffee due to lacking either of these. You will require the following:

  • Coffee beans or pre-ground coffee

Pour-over coffee is characterized by several tastes and aromas based on the type of coffee bean you decide to use and your pour-over expertise level. Despite the confusion due to the availability of several beans to choose from, we recommended our Lifeboost medium roast coffee beans.

Our Lifeboost medium roast beans are the best for pour-over coffee because they are low in acid, mycotoxin-free, shade-grown, organic, and have a superb taste and aroma. You are assured of a subtle flavor each time you use our beans because your order is freshly roasted before delivery.

Regardless of the vast selection of great coffee beans available to you, the coffee bean roast is what matters most. After picking coffee cherries from the coffee plant, the pulp must be removed to expose the beans, which are then washed and dried.

The dried beans are usually green, and consuming them in that condition is unpleasant. Roasting exposes the green beans to heat for varying durations to obtain different coffee roasts with different colors.

Roasting determines the bitterness, taste notes, aroma, and acidity level of your coffee brew. These are the different coffee roasts available for experimentation:

  • Light Roast

Less heat is used to make light roasted beans, leaving them with more original qualities, such as nuttiness, fruitiness, or the various taste notes they hold. The actual quantities depend on the plant from which the beans were obtained.

Light roasts are usually pale, dry, and have a light brown color. They have greater acidity levels and lower bitterness levels. They retain their natural aroma and are less thick compared to dark roasts. These roasts offer steady, subtle, complex flavors. 

  • Medium Roast

Medium roasts generate delicious coffee compared to light roasts. The roasting process generates a sweet flavor and removes the coffee notes and acidity. Medium roasted beans have a mid-brown color.

Medium roasts offer an outstanding balance of sweetness, acidity, and flavors depending on the original bean type used, the temperature, and the time the beans are exposed to heat. You are better off enjoying a non-overwhelming level of sweetness with a touch of fruity notes if you go for the Lifeboost medium coffee beans.

  • Dark Roast

Dark roasts go through the greatest levels of chemical changes. The original qualities of the beans are stripped off and swapped with traits such as profound bitterness and thickness. These roasts have minimal sweetness and acidity. They have a thicker body and few expressive flavors. They may also contain liquorice or chocolate taste notes.

Use either medium or light roast beans when making your pour-over coffee due to the potent flavors and notes you may enjoy. Medium roasts are the dearest because of their rich sweetness, fruity coffee flavor, and outstanding aromas. Dark roasts are usually preserved for espressos, but you are welcome to try out the dark roasts and share the results.

You can also purchase pre-ground coffee from the coffee shops around. Pre-ground coffee loses flavor and potency because it stays on the shelves long before purchase. You are encouraged to use freshly ground beans to obtain a quality cup of coffee.

  • Coffee grinder

Coffee grinders come in different sizes and can be manual or electric. Do not purchase any coffee grinder for the mere reason that it can grind your coffee beans. An efficient and effective coffee grinder should consistently generate the desired ground coffee size and not heat the coffee grounds any further.

Consider the following factors when purchasing a coffee grinder:

  • Grind consistency and size - A coffee grinder should provide a consistent grind size.
  • Price - The price should be fair enough. Avoid going for cheaper grinders. If you cannot afford an electric burr grinder, purchase a manual one or a blade grinder.
  • Capacity – Choose the grinder size based on the amount of coffee beans you would like to grind and the number of people you will be serving.
  • Speed – Avoid fast grinders because they produce heat that may further roast the beans, negatively impacting the flavors. Low-speed grinders are the best. Low-speed grinders are referred to as “direct-drive grinders”; search for this phrase as you buy your grinder.
  • Cleaning and usability – The grinder should be easy to clean to reduce the chances of contaminating your next grind. It should also be easy to use, with fewer precautions, to avoid referencing the manual when you want to use the grinder. The grind settings should also be straightforward to understand.
  • Noise and durability – Less noisy grinders will give you peace of mind as you prepare your coffee early in the morning without disturbing another person’s sleep. Durable grinders, despite being expensive, can be used over and over without breaking down, saving you much money.

You generally have two types of grinders: blade and burr grinders. Burr grinders stand out against blade grinders because they generate consistent ground sizes and offer better control.

Choose your grinder with regard to the factors that favor your budget. If you already have a grinder, consider whether it fulfills the above factors. If not, you can plan on which grinder to upgrade to after considering the mentioned factors and doing further research.

  • Metallic Water Kettle or electric kettle

The metallic water kettle is used to heat water over a heat source such as a gas stove. A narrow-spout or gooseneck kettle is recommended as it allows for easier and more convenient pouring.

Alternatively, you can use an electric kettle to heat water. If the spout of the electric kettle does not allow you to pour the water comfortably, you can transfer the hot water into a mug or thermos with a narrow or gooseneck spout.

  • Dripper

Drippers are also known as pour-over cones. Their primary function is to provide a funnel-shaped surface that holds the filter with a flat bottom to facilitate a more even pour.

Drippers are of different sizes, materials, and shapes. Some of them are made of stainless steel, ceramic, or glass. Other drippers may require different pouring techniques, but the overall style involves pouring water over a bed of coffee grounds within a filter held by the dripper.

The widespread selection of drippers includes the Hario V60 ceramic coffee dripper, the Chemex pour-over coffee maker, the bee house ceramic coffee dripper, the Kalita wave pour-over coffee dripper, the yitelle stainless steel pour-over coffee cone dripper, and the coffee gator pour-over coffee dripper.

  • Coffee Filter

A filter holds the coffee grounds and allows pure coffee to suck through into a collecting carafe or mug as you pour hot water on the bed of the coffee grinds. You can purchase a cloth, paper, or metal filter.

Cloth and metal filters are reusable after cleaning. You will need to use a clean paper filter each time you prepare pour-over coffee and dispose of the used ones because they are only built for one-time use. Some drippers do ship with their specified filters.

  • Scale

You will require a weighing scale to determine the amount of coffee and water you use. Accurate measuring is crucial to prepare the world’s best pour-over coffee. Use a scale that measures in grams to enhance accuracy.

If you do not have a scale, you can use a measuring cup to determine the right amount of water and a solid scoop to measure the coffee grounds.

  • Timer

You require a timer to monitor the time you prepare your pour-over coffee. The pour-over coffee brewing process should last for about four minutes.

You can use a digital or analog timer. If you do not have any, you can download a timer application on your phone or use the default clock application to time yourself.

  • Carafe or Mug

Used to collect the pour-over coffee and is placed below the dripper. If you use a Chemex pour-over coffee maker, you will not require a mug or carafe because the Chemex has a coffee-collecting base.

  • Brewing Water

Avoid using reverse osmosis or distilled water for your pour-over coffee. Instead, use clean, high-quality tap water because the minerals in the water contribute to your coffee's taste and nutritional value.

  • Thermometer

It is required for measuring and monitoring the temperature of the water.

How to Make Worthwhile Pour-Over Coffee

1.Prep and get all the requirements in one place.

Get your grinder, dripper, filters, gooseneck or electric kettle, carafe or mug, thermometer, scale, timer, and coffee beans in one place. These save you time and help avoid confusion as you follow along with the other steps.

You can use a mortar and pestle if you do not have a grinder. You can also improvise a cone-shaped dripper if you do not have one. If you do not have a scale, you can use a measuring cup and a solid scoop to measure the amount of water and coffee grounds simultaneously. If you do not have a thermometer, there is a workaround. Keep reading to find out.

2. Weigh and grind your coffee

    According to the Specialty Coffee Association, it is recommended that for every liter of water used, you should weigh 55 grams of coffee beans. So, for every single cup of about 180ml, you can use around 9 to 11 grams of beans

    Considering the Specialty Coffee Association’s recommendation, you would end up with an 18grams of water to 1 gram coffee ratio. Though, several baristas use either a 19:1 or 16:1 ratio because they love the taste of coffee generated from these two ratios.

    Based on the number of cups you would love to prepare, weigh your beans with reference to either of the three ratios.

    Pour your measured beans into the grinder and grind them to your preferred size. A medium coffee grind size like sand or sea salt is recommended to generate subtly flavored coffee. A finer grind may produce bitterness within your coffee. Coarse coffee grounds make sweeter coffee, but the coffee may be weak and acidic due to under-extraction.

    If you have a mortar and pestle, place the beans in the mortar and grind gently to the desired size. Using a mortar and pestle gives you more control, so take advantage and grind finer sizes that resemble the size of sea salt. 

    3. Ready your dripper

      You have an array of drippers to choose from, as mentioned earlier. If you use a stainless-steel dripper that is usually combined with a filter, you will not require a paper or cloth filter. Place the stainless-steel dripper on top of your collecting mug or carafe.

      If you have the type of dripper that requires a cloth or paper filter, place it on top of the collecting carafe or mug. Then, fold your paper or cloth filter into a cone shape and place it inside the dripper’s cone-shaped surface.

      4. Measure the amount of water required and heat it

        Based on the amount of coffee beans you have ground and the ratio you used to calculate the amount of beans, determine the amount of water needed. Measure twice as much as the water measured from your calculations because you will require hot water to prime the dripper and carafe or mug.

        Proceed to heat the water using an electric kettle or a gooseneck kettle over a heat source like a gas stove. The temperature of the water should be 90 to 96 degrees Celsius or 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

        If you lack a thermometer, let the water boil, then using the timer, wait for 30 seconds before using the water. Suppose you have the money to spend on a smart electric kettle; purchase one for your next pour-over coffee preparation session.

        A smart kettle will boil your water to the preferred temperature and retain the temperature of the water at that point until you are ready to use the water.

        5. Prime your dripper, filter, and mug/carafe

          You prime your dripper, filter, and mug or carafe by pouring some of the hot water circularly through the paper filter. Ensure the paper filter is entirely wet. This eliminates the woodsy or paper taste within the paper filter.

          If you are using a cloth or metal filter, you must prime the filters as priming warms up the carafe or mug and the dripper, thus stabilizing the brewing coffee temperature.

          After priming, pour the water that has been collected into the mug or carafe because mixing the water will ruin the coffee flavor if not discarded. Do not rinse the carafe with cold water. 

          6. Add coffee grounds into the filter.

            From either the coffee grinder or mortar, measure the amount of coffee grounds you would love to use and pour it into the filter. Shake the dripper to even out the coffee bed and to ensure an even pour in the next step.

             7. Bloom the coffee grounds

              Blooming is the process of pouring just enough hot water on the ground coffee bed to make it wet and then leaving it for about 30 to 45 seconds. Starting from the center of the coffee bed, gently pour hot water and swirl circularly from the center. Ensure that the water does not touch the edges of the filter.

              Pour the water until the coffee grounds are wet enough, then set your timer to 30-45 seconds. Blooming ensures an even water dispersion and leads to the production of a more delicious beverage. Blooming allows for the release of gasses such as carbon dioxide, which may tamper with the flavor of the coffee if left unextracted.

              If you notice any clumps within the coffee after the time is up, agitate the coffee grounds. Using a chopstick, spoon, or stirring tool, carefully swirl the coffee grounds to break up the lumps. Take care not to tear up the filter paper if you are using one.

              After agitating, wet the coffee grounds and let them bloom for another 30 seconds before proceeding to the next step.

               8. Pour hot water over the bloomed coffee grounds

                Starting from the center of the coffee bed, pour the hot water, ensure the temperature is correct, and spiral out to evenly wet the coffee grinds. Keep brewing coffee in this motion and stop when your desired ratio is attained. Do not pour the water directly on the filter.

                The whole coffee brewing process should last for 3-4 minutes. Some drippers do not require much skill when pouring the water. Though, some, like the Hario V60, require practice. 

                9. Let your coffee cool down

                  Let your coffee settle for about 2 to 3 minutes before drinking. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, drinking hot liquids or beverages that are 149 degrees Fahrenheit and above can potentially increase your risk of developing esophagus cancer. So, be patient and let your coffee cool down. 

                  10. Enjoy your cup of coffee

                    Once your pour-over coffee has attained a drinkable temperature below 149 degrees Fahrenheit, you can now enjoy your cup of expressive flavor-rich pour-over coffee.

                    You can add your desired milk type, such as dairy or almond milk. If you would love to enjoy a cup of lemon coffee, squeeze in a slice of lemon and enjoy. You are welcome to experiment with several coffee recipes.                           

                    To perfect your pour-over technique, keep practicing and tweaking different aspects of the process. You can change the roast type you are using, the grind size, and more. You can also play around with the water-to-coffee ratio to find your sweet spot.

                    Why you Should Use the Pour-Over Method

                    • Great heat control

                    You have insight into the proper water temperature when preparing pour-over coffee. Pouring the water over the bed of coffee through one stream leads to faster and more effective extraction of coffee rich in nuanced flavors.

                    • Enhanced expressive and subtle flavor

                    You can experiment with various grind sizes and roasts to find the most suitable taste. The pour-over method slows down the coffee extraction process resulting in a coffee drink with subtle and expressive flavors with reference to the roast and grind size utilized.

                    • Effective soaking

                    Blooming is an excellent way of ensuring that the coffee grinds are properly soaked before extracting coffee. Soaking efficiently readies the coffee grinds to remove almost every flavor of the other factors, such as bean type, roast, and grind size.

                    • No bitterness

                    The coffee grounds expand and swell during the blooming process, releasing carbon dioxide within coffee beans. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of roasting and is responsible for coffee’s bitter and sour flavor. That is why blooming is an essential process, as it avoids the occurrence of bitterness in your drink.

                    Cons of Using the Pour Over Method Plus the Solutions

                    • You may have to invest in quality equipment to obtain the best outcome

                    Making pour-over coffee at home can be costly because of all the accessories you might have to purchase. Especially when you aim to create a world-class pour-over cup, investing in a burr grinder, scale, drippers, filters, and more can be overwhelming.

                    Start by purchasing the most necessary accessories while improvising to reduce stress. For example, you can get your beans ground at your local specialty coffee shop and invest in a dripper and filters to complete the rest at home. You can also look for coffee stores that sell the accessories at a hire purchase payment plan.

                    • Preparing pour-over coffee requires practice and patience

                    Brewing the perfect pour-over coffee requires continued experimentation and practicing your pour-over technique. There are many types of drippers; some need you to master a specific pouring method.

                    So, the only way to become a master pour-over barista is by researching, executing, and taking notes for reference. Consistently work on using a particular set of configurations, such as your water-to-coffee ratio, to find a better and satisfactory outcome.

                    • The method requires regular maintenance and cleaning of equipment

                    The maintenance and cleaning process of the accessories used to prepare pour-over coffee is demanding. You must ensure the grinder is cleaned correctly to avoid contamination; the same goes for the other equipment.

                    Some of the accessories may be difficult to wash due to their design forcing you to purchase extra cleaning equipment such as a long-handled scrub or brush. Other equipment made of glass, such as the Chemex, carafe, or mug, may be brittle and break easily while cleaning.

                    Due to the slippery nature of glass when using soap, you may have to invest in hand gloves to improve the grip. Also, consider checking the reviews of the vessels you purchase to ensure they are durable and do not break easily. Acquire equipment with ergonomics and design that allows for easier cleaning.

                    • Folding several filter papers may not be ideal for everyone.

                    Paper filters require continuous changing for every pour-over coffee preparation session. The folding process of a paper filter should be precise to avoid the leakage of the coffee grinds through the edges. The folding process is usually not ideal for several people and if you are one of them, consider using a stainless-steel filter or reusable cloth filter.

                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    How do you make pour-over coffee without a scale?

                    If you do not have a scale, use a measuring beaker or cup to determine the amount of water you need and a solid scoop to measure the amount of coffee grinds.

                    How do you make pour-over coffee without Chemex?

                    You can use other dripper options, such as the Hario V60 ceramic coffee dripper, or improvise a cone-shaped dripper to make pour-over coffee.

                    How do you make pour-over coffee without a dripper?

                    If you lack a dripper, improvise a cone shape from a material such as aluminum foil placed within a regular plastic funnel. Ensure the bottom of the cone-shaped aluminum foil is flat and poke holes before placing your filter to prepare coffee.

                    How do you make pour-over coffee with just a filter?

                    It is not possible to make pour over coffee with just a filter. You must supplement the filter with the other accessories; otherwise, you will not be able to prepare a decent cup of pour-over coffee.

                    What Next?

                    Pour-over coffee brewing gives you more control compared to using a coffee machine and other brewing methods, such as the French Press Method. Use this guide article to prepare the world’s best pour-over coffee, record your recipe and share it with your friends and family so they can enjoy it. 

                    Check out Lifeboost Cofee Medium roast

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