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How to Make Pour Over Coffee

Great For
Perfect Single Servings • Clear Flavors • Light & Medium Roasts

Pour over coffee sounds complicated, but the brewing process is surprisingly simple and the results can be amazing with just a little practice. If you drink a single cup each morning, or want to try two different coffees, making pour over coffee can be even easier than setting up your home coffee machine (bonus — cleanup takes seconds). And because you’re in control of factors like water temperature and brew time, you can expect amazing flavors in the finished cup.

The term “pour over” can describe many different coffee makers, from the Kalita Wave to the traditional Melitta Cone, and even a Chemex. You might have to make small adjustments depending on which coffee maker you’re using, but this recipe is a good starting point for all of them. While the paper filters used with most pour overs help the clean flavors of lighter roasts shine, you can use any coffee you choose for this method.

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Add Coffee Filter & Grounds
1. Add Coffee Filter & Grounds
Add a filter to the coffee brewer and place it on top of your mug or carafe.

If you’re grinding your coffee beans fresh, you’ll want your coffee grinder on a medium setting. Based on your results, the grind setting is one of the main variables you can adjust for future brews.

Set your mug and brewer on top of your scale (if you’re using one) and add coffee grounds to the filter. Give your brewer a quick shake to level the coffee grounds; this will help you get even extraction, which is super-important on your journey towards a delicious cup of coffee.

Bloom to Enhance
2. Bloom to Enhance
To bloom your coffee, follow these simple steps:
  • Tare (zero out) your scale.
  • Start a timer and slowly pour the filtered water (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, or around 20 seconds off the boil) equalling about double the weight of the coffee (about 1.5 oz / 45 g of water).
  • Make sure to cover all of the grounds with water, hitting any spots that are still dry after your initial pour. You’ll notice bubbles — that’s carbon dioxide exiting the coffee grounds.
  • Wait 45 seconds.
Pour Water
3. Pour Water

Grab your hot water, making sure your temperature is within a few degrees of 200 F, or 20 seconds off the boil. Start pouring your water in a slow circular motion. Pour about half your water to start, then let the water level drop a little and refill. This is the part of making pour over that takes a little practice, because you don’t want all your water to drip through too fast or too slowly. If the water level starts to come close to the top of your brewer while pouring, slow down your pour or allow for a brief pause to avoid an overflow.

Let Drip
4. Let Drip

Keep an eye on your coffee as the water drips through, and when you start to see the coffee grounds appear, remove the brewer from your mug and place it in the sink or on another cup to drain (the last few drops of water can be a little bitter). The timer should read between 2:30 to 3:30 minutes. If your water is taking too much time to drip through, try to either pour faster or set your grinder a little coarser next time. If it’s going through too quickly, pour slower or grind finer.

5. Serve

Serve coffee from your carafe or let it cool slightly if you’ve brewed into a mug! To clean up, discard or compost your coffee grounds and rinse the brewer with any remaining hot water from your kettle.

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Coffee Talk
Our Coffee Expert Says

How is pour over coffee different than drip coffee?

The main difference between pour over coffee and drip coffee is the person making it. When you are actively pouring water over your coffee to brew it, you’re making pour over coffee. Drip coffee refers to a coffee machine dripping water from a showerhead onto the ground coffee bed. Pour overs allow you to experiment and play with recipes to your heart’s content, because you’re the one deciding how to pour the water. So if you see drip coffee, you now know it was made by a machine, while and pour overs are made by people!

How can I avoid bitter pour over coffee?

Bitter flavors in your pour over coffee comes from over extraction. Over extraction happens when the water is in contact with the coffee for too long, pulling out bitter flavors and mouth-drying acids. Thirty percent of a coffee bean is soluble in water, and of that 30 percent, the sweetest spot to pull out the best flavors is at 18 to 22 percent. Extract less than 18 percent, your coffee is sour, cloying and tastes too “strong”. Extract more than 22 percent, and your coffee is bitter and astringent and tasted too “weak” or watery. If you notice your coffee is bitter and drying your mouth, you can use less water to extract less coffee. Or, if your recipe calls for a specific amount of water you can grind your coffee more coarsely. The more surface area there is for water to be in contact with, the slower it will extract. So, long story short, if your coffee keeps ending up bitter, coarsen your coffee grind. Conversely, if your coffee is sour and cloying, grind your coffee more fine.

What is the difference between different pour over coffee makers?

German entrepreneur Melitta Bentz invented the pour over brewing method by poking holes in a pot and using blotting paper as a filter in the 20th century. Since then, many different kinds of pour over brewers have flooded the market. Some, like the Melitta Cone coffee brewer, use a coffee filter that tapers down to a flat bottom. Others, like the Chemex, have a filter that tapers down to a point. Yet another category, like the Kalita Wave, uses flat-bottom paper filters like a regular drip machine. Pour overs themselves can also be made from different materials — each with advantages and disadvantages. For example, a ceramic coffee dripper holds heat well and glass generally looks great, while stainless steel and plastic pour over coffee makers are harder to break. The way these pour over brewers affect your technique mostly comes down to how their shape and filter impacts how quickly the water flows through the coffee maker. But with a little practice, you can make great coffee with any of them!