Brew a great cup of a pour over coffee at home, with only a few simple items.
Pour over is such a great method. It gives a nice, clean, sweet cup of coffee. The entire process takes 3-4 minutes and this lovely pour over ritual will surely add some charm to your mornings.
The one problem with the pour over method is that people often think they need an expensive setup, or that it’s difficult to do the pour over right. This is not true. Let’s simplify the pour over method and see you how we can make a great cup of pour over at home – with only a few simple items.
POUR OVER TOOLS
There are certain items that usually come to mind when we say “pour over technique”. Let’s see which of these are really important and which are not.
Things you need:
pour over dripper
water kettle (any kettle will do)
coffee grinder and good, fresh coffee (desirable)
You can make pour over at home without:
goose neck water kettle
pour over stand
POUR OVER DRIPPER
There are so many different dripper brands, shapes and sizes to choose from. I use Hario V60 #2 coffee dripper. You could get a special pour over stand, but I never use one. When brewing a single cup I brew directly into the mug and I use a server when brewing two cups.
While you can make a nice cup of pour over with coffee from the grocery store, good quality, freshly roasted coffee will make a huge difference.
La Colombe, Verve, Stumptown – they all have amazing coffees and sell coffee at their retail locations. They also have very good websites and ship fast. If you don’t have a grinder they can also grind it for you. The coffee is more expensive than the large brand coffee, but it’s worth every cent. Normally, a 12-ounce bag retails for $14-15 and you can get a beautiful single origin or workshop blends for $18-19. You can make about 23 cups from one 12 oz bag, so a cup of high quality pour over coffee at home will cost around $0.65! That’s how much one Keurig k-cup costs!
You can find some nice coffees on Amazon as well.
Tip: When choosing a coffee for the first time, pay attention to the roast level. A large number of specialty coffees are light to medium roasts and can be too “weak” or fruity for some. If you love black, strong coffee, ask for a dark roast. Also, a good starting point is always the roaster’s house (signature) blend.
WATER KETTLE AND FRESH WATER
You will need to boil water, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a goose-neck kettle. Simple electric kettle or even an old teapot will do, as long it has a nice spout. The long, narrow spout gives more control and a slow pour (that’s why goose-neck kettles are so popular) but you can definitely use your old kettle at the beginning. It will work just fine.
Always start with fresh water. Filtered water would be ideal.
Even if you’re using a drip machine, you should rinse and refill the reservoir every morning. One or two days old water can’t make a good cup of coffee.
A coffee grinder is not a must, but it will complete the process. Freshly ground coffee will have all the flavors that pre-ground coffee normally loses over time and you will notice the difference in the cup. It smells lovely too!
When choosing a coffee grinder, choose burr grinder because it gives a consistent, even grind. You can get a nice burr grinder for $45.00 (Cuisinart). I use Baratza Encore ($130) and can strongly recommend it. If you don’t have a good grinder at home, most coffee roasters will grind it for you at their retail locations or when you buy online. Ask for a pour over grind (fine to medium).
I use a thermometer when testing a coffee maker or trying a new coffee for the first time because I want to bring precision to the process. But I don’t like an idea of using a thermometer whenever I make coffee, especially in the mornings.
How to get the right brewing temperature without a thermometer? Use water right off the boil: bring water to a boil, remove from heat, let it sit for a moment then pour over grounds. The hot water just off the boil will have pretty much an optimal brewing temperature (about 205°F).
A scale can come in handy while brewing so you’ll know how much water or coffee to add. But you can definitely make a good pour over without a scale. Use a mug to measure out how much water you need before heating it up. A water level scale on your kettle can be useful too.
How to know how much coffee to use without a scale? Hario dripper comes with 12 grams measuring scoop and you can use it to measure out your coffee. The scoop has 8, 10 and 12 grams markings so it’s really easy to use.
GOOSE-NECK WATER KETTLE
As mentioned before, a narrow spout gives more control and slow pour, but you can do a pretty good job with any kettle.
POUR OVER STAND
Even though the pour over stand looks great and displays the process nicely, it doesn’t have any effect on the taste so it’s not a must.
I recommend buying the tools that are essential and affect the brew first. You can upgrade later. My list of priorities looks something like this: the pour over dripper, good coffee, fresh water, and a nice grinder. The next would probably be a better kettle. A scale or a thermometer is at the very end of this list.
HOW TO MAKE A POUR OVER COFFEE AT HOME
Here’s my basic technique for making pour over coffee at home:
1. Place a paper filter in the Hario dripper and pre-rinse with hot water to remove any paper flavor. It will also preheat everything. Discard rinse water.
2. Grind coffee at fine to medium grind level (like kosher salt) and add coffee into the filter. Gently shake the dripper to level the coffee grounds.
I normally use 14 – 15 grams of coffee per 8 ounces of water. That’s 18 – 19 grams for 10-ounce cup and 22 – 23 grams for 12-ounce cup. You may want to use more or less coffee depending on your taste or coffee roast level.
If you don’t have a scale you can easily measure out your coffee with Hario measuring scoop. Use 1 1/4 scoop for 8 oz cup, 1 1/2 scoop for 10 oz cup or 2 scoops for 12 oz.
3. Bring water to a boil, remove from heat, let it sit for a moment and then start pouring. Cover the coffee grounds with a double amount of water and quickly stir to make sure all the coffee gets wet. The optimal time for this is around 10 seconds. Give the coffee another 15, 20 seconds to bloom before moving on to the second pour.
4. Pour remaining water evenly in slow, concentric circles. Try to pour over the dark spots and avoid the light ones, and control the brewing time by slowing or stopping the pour as needed.
5. The total brewing time should be around two-and-a-half to three minutes.
I’d like to encourage you to try this method. It takes the same amount of time as it does to wait for your coffee maker to preheat but gives an amazingly better cup. Also, the ritual will bring some charm and slow down your hectic mornings. Last but not least, if you’re tired of buying $100 coffee makers and replacing them every year but you still can’t get a decent cup of coffee at home, the pour over method might be just the right choice.
Bonus: the pour over dripper makes the best iced coffee.