How do you make pour over coffee?

chemex is a type of pour over coffee device

by Matt Gibson

Pour over coffee is a way to make a light, bright, and nuanced cup of coffee in a simple way that involves no electricity and a hands-on brewing style that is easy to learn and master. The pour over technique is not as easy as making coffee with an electric drip machine. Electric drip coffee makers just require that you add in some grounds, pour some water into the reservoir tank and press a button, and the machine handles all the rest.

When making pour over coffee, you are in charge of every aspect of the coffee making process. This includes the amount of grounds and water you use, the temperature and quality of the water you choose, the size of the grounds, the speed of your pour, and more. But don’t worry, we’ll break everything down for you so that you will be making high quality pour over coffee in no time. 

In this article, we have gathered together a few of the most helpful YouTube videos to get you started making great pour over coffee. We also break down everything you need to help you get the perfect pour, and we have also included a helpful step by step guide in case you get lost along the way. 

Things You Need

The pour over technique is simple, but it takes a bit of practice to master, and a few things you might not already have in your kitchen which can really help you to get the best possible pour. Here are the things you need to make good pour over coffee:

  • A pour over device – big brand names like V60 and Chemex are great, but any pour over device will get the job done. The pour over device is very simple, and it doesn’t take a fancy machine to make a great cup of pour over coffee. So, don’t worry about ponying up for the big name brands. 
  • Coffee beans – the better the beans, the better your coffee will be. Single origin beans are typically a great choice for complex flavors. Try to avoid blends and flavored beans. A natural coffee flavor is always best. 
  • A conical burr grinder – the type of grinder that you use is of major importance when it comes to brewing pour over coffee. Luckily, conical burr grinders are among the cheapest on the market. Blade grinders get hot due to the friction caused by the action of grinding the coffee beans, and can reach temperatures that can scorch your grounds. Blade grinders are also horrendous at getting a uniform grind. Conical blade grinders, on the other hand, do not create high heat levels, and get a nice thorough grind every time you put them to work. Burr grinders are a must for any coffee loving household. 

    If you only have a blade grinder, don’t worry though. You can still make very good coffee. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a burr grinder.
  • A source of clean water with minerals – for pour over coffee, you don’t want to use distilled water, as you need the water to be full of minerals to make the best possible cup of joe. Natural spring water is your best option, though most drinking water will also suffice. 
  • A heat source – sure you can use a pot on the stovetop, but for the best possible results, an electric water kettle with a gooseneck spout will help immensely. Not only will an electric kettle tell you the exact temperature of your water at brew time, but a kettle with a gooseneck spout will help you achieve a nice, slow pour technique to help you get the most out of your pour over device. 
  • A scale – a measuring device is needed to measure out the amount of coffee grounds you should use when making pour over coffee. Many pour over devices and electric kettles will have markings to help you measure the water, but you will still need to measure the grounds to get the right coffee to water ratio for brewing the perfect cup. 

    If you don’t have a scale, you can still use a measuring tablespoon or a measured coffee scoop and get close enough and make very tasty coffee. It just won’t be super exact like the crazy pros on YouTube who measure down to the exact gram.

How To Make Pour Over Coffee Step-By-Step Guide

Step One

The cone shaped pour over device is lined with a special filter that fits perfectly into the device with the thick side facing towards the spout. The filter should be pre-rinsed with hot water to clear out the papery taste that the filter can cause and then the carafe should be dumped to get rid of the papery water. 

Step Two

Next, the coffee grounds can be measured and put into the filter. You want to use a good ratio of coffee to water. Dave Cheung, from our first video recommends 42 grams of coffee to 700 grams of water to make a two cup brew. If you don’t have a scale, this is roughly two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee beans. 

Step Three

Once the coffee is loaded into the filter, you want to make sure your water is at the appropriate temperature. You don’t want it quite boiling hot, but just a few degrees below boiling, in the 200 – 205 degree Fahrenheit range. The perfect brewing temperature is 203, so if you’re a perfectionist, get it to 203, if not, just below boiling will work. Once your water is heated to the appropriate temperature, you are ready for the first pour. 

Step Four

The first pour is just to add enough hot water to wet the coffee bed and get every ground wet. For this first pour, you want to add about 126 grams of water. Some people suggest a gentle stirring during the first pour, to help insure that all of the grounds are wetted quickly. This is not essential, but you want to get a nice circular motion going on your pour to help get the water going through the grounds and get the bed nicely and evenly wet.

Then pause. This pause is to allow the gasses to escape from the grounds, a process known as the bloom. When the hot water makes contact with the coffee grounds, there is a release of CO2, which is known as the bloom. Allowing the grounds to bloom and settle before resuming your pour is an essential step to a good cup of pour over coffee. 

Step Five

After the grounds have settled back down in the filter, it’s time to resume your pour. In two more sessions, you will finish adding all of the 700 grams of water to your pour over. Using the same slow circular motion as you did in your initial pour, fill the device up to about one third of an inch from the top and then pause again until the water level settles. Then finish your pour slowly and surely. When all of the water drains out of your pour over device and into the carafe, you are ready to enjoy your pour over coffee. 

YouTube Videos To Learn To Make Pour Over Style Like The Pros

For a simple and easy how-to video with a visual accompaniment, this is probably the best video on YouTube for beginners to the pour over technique. Dave Cheung breaks it down very simply and easily for those new to the brewing style, and uses visual aids to help you learn how to brew pour over the right way. 

For those who are afraid of getting into pour over because you don’t want to perform a science experiment everytime you brew your coffee, this video is for you. The downshiftology vlogger is not big on math equations and measuring out every ingredient. Instead, she uses scoops to get the perfect amount of coffee grounds for her pour over brew. If you are not a math person and don’t feel like investing in a kitchen scale, this is the way to go. 

For those of you who have tried pour over a few times but haven’t gotten to the point of refining your methods and technique, this video gives you nine helpful tips to brewing the perfect cup of pour over coffee. If you were leaving something out, or were not sure what was the best ratio for the amount of coffee you need to brew, this video has you covered. 

Learn More About Pour Over Coffee Techniques

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