Pour Over Brewing Guide

Pour Over coffee.  What is it?  What makes it better and how do I make pour over coffee?  Below you will find a little history and theory behind the popularity of pour over coffee, followed by simple brewing steps to make yourself fresh pour over coffee.

In the early part of the 21st century, coffee was undergoing a transformation.  It was not that the concept popularized by companies like Peets and Starbucks was changing, but rather the quality of coffee and the relationships between people growing coffee, and those roasting coffee was changing.  Roasters began to pay higher prices for green (unroasted, raw) coffee they knew was grown ethically and sustainably.  If you are paying a premium for green coffee, you want to show your customers why that coffee is superior.  People turned to single cup brewing as the best way to showcase a coffee, and it soon became industry standard to offer these single-origin coffees brewed as pour overs.

The major difference between brewing coffee in large batches, compared to by the cup is clarity of taste.  In large batches you are brewing a larger amount of coffee, and therefore it takes a longer amount of time to brew.  Longer brew times begin to slightly muddle the coffee’s acidity, which is where the unique flavor of that coffee is found.  Pour over brewing allows you to brew a small batch of coffee in less time.  This faster brew does not allow the rich, caramelized fibers of the bean to shine in the cup, but rather the coffee’s unique fruit acidity stands out.  Which brew method is better?  This is an apples to oranges comparison, as they are both delicious, however, many now regard the pour over as supreme. 

Brewing pour over coffee is a ritualistic, yet simple procedure.  There are many pour over devices on the market today, each of which require slight adjustments to your brewing technique.  Outlined below are the basic steps you will want to follow, regardless of which brewer you are using.

Step 1: The coffee

Pick up a bag of Boil Line Coffee that is labeled as a Single Origin, and grind it to a fine to medium grind, much like beach sand.  If you do not have a grinder, select the fine option on our website, and go ahead and note how you plan on brewing it. 

Next, the amount of coffee should fall into a 16:1 ration, meaning if you are brewing 12 ounces of coffee, or 340 grams, you will want to start with 21 grams of ground coffee (340g/21=16.19g or 340g/16g=21.25g).  Please feel free to experiment with different ratios, as your taste preferences will vary.  If you own a grinder, also experiment with different grind sizes, and see what grind works best for each coffee.

Step 2: The water

At this point equipment is going to enter the conversation.  Gooseneck kettles offer you the best pouring accuracy by far, however, saying they are necessary is an overreach.  Do you have an old fashion tea kettle?  Great!  Use it.  Try it.  If you get into making pour over coffee, the purchase of an electric gooseneck kettle with temperature control will be an easy decision to make.  Amazing pour over coffee has been brewed by pouring water with a tea pot, saucepan, and even a Pyrex measuring cup!

The first step in making pour over coffee, is to wet the paper filter by simply putting the filter in the brewing device and pouring some hot water over it.  This cleans the filter and preheats your brew chamber.  Be sure all the water is out of the vessel you are brewing into, and add your coffee to your brew basket, making sure the bed of coffee is even and level.  Next, add enough water to cover the bed of coffee, around 50 grams, allowing it to bloom and absorb the water for 30 seconds.  After the 30 seconds, slowly pour water evenly over the coffee, filling your brew chamber about 2/3 full.  As water drains out, continue to add water until you have added your total amount.  This total amount can be a premeasured amount of water, or if using a digital scale, be sure to watch your scale as you pour, but don’t worry, everyone has overfilled a mug while making pour overs!  Your total brew time should be 2:30-3:30 minutes.

One last thing is technique.  This blog lives on the internet and searching for other pour over guides may lead you to some over complicated, but valid information.  Many opinions exist, and this guide is meant to tell you that you are best served by simply trying to make a pour over.  Once you have started, try different methods, combine theories, and craft the best brew method for you.

Step 3: Filtration.

Paper filters are used when brewing pour over coffee.  There are some metal and cloth options on the market, and feel free to try them and see what you prefer.  Before you brew, be sure that you have the right filter for your pour over device!  By far, the most common pour over filter in America is the Melitta style cone filter. These can be found at almost any grocery store and will fit in any brewer that has two predominant sides, and is V shaped.  The Hario V-60 brewer is also common and requires a specific filter that you can find easily online.  Kalitta Wave brewers use a flat bottom filter that looks like a mini version of a regular coffee filter and can also be found online.  These all require slight tweaking to how you brew with them, but the general idea is the same.  Now go grab some coffee, heat up that water, and experiment with making your own pour over coffee!

Pour Over Brew Guide

CoffeeGrindWaterTime
21g Fine-Medium340g (ml)2:30 – 3:30 minutes

Tools:

  1. Fine-Medium ground coffee
  2. Kettle and water
  3. Brewing apparatus with correct filters
  4. Clock
  5. Scale (optional, but measure your coffee and water somehow)

Steps:

  1. Heat water until boiling and place dry filter into brew basket
  2. Place brew basket onto your brew vessel or mug, and pour water wetting the filter
  3. Dump pre-wet water out of brewing vessel, and add ground coffee to brew basket
  4. Pour water into center of the coffee bed to start, being sure to wet all the grounds
  5. Wait 30 seconds for coffee to bloom
  6. Continue pouring, filling brew basket 2/3 full, allowing to drain until 1/3 full
  7. Continue to pour back up to your 2/3 full mark until you have poured all the water
  8. Allow all coffee to drain out of the coffee bed
  9. Total brew time should be 2:30-3:30. 
  10. Enjoy!

Tips:

  1. Your coffee to water ratio is always important.  Use the tips below if you do not have a scale
    1. Milliliters = grams 
      1. You can get a reasonably accurate water weight by using the millimeter markings on a household measuring cup
    2. ¼ cup ground coffee = between 25-30 grams
    3. 1 TBSP ground coffee = between 5-7 grams
  2. Remember that a ratio must be in the same unit of measurement.  Avoid anyone’s advice who may say something like “1 TBSP of coffee per cup”.  What does that even mean??
  3. Remember to add some extra water to your kettle for your prewetting step
  4. Coffee is awesome. Remember to have fun!

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