A Guide to Using a Pour Over Coffee Dripper
With all the latest gadgets and gizmos out there that supposedly make your coffee easier to brew and better tasting, there is one method that seems to be the latest trend in the coffee world. I wouldn’t even call it a trend really, but more of just going back to the very basics of brewing coffee. Or, if you want, you could call it the hipster way to brew coffee.
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It’s probably one of the easiest ways to make one of the best possible cups of coffee. It’s called the pour over method, and it’s how I make just about every cup of coffee that I drink. Unless of course, I decide to use my French Press or Moka Pot. But the pour over just makes me feel like I’m a scientist in a chemistry lab, experimenting with different techniques for making the most absolutely perfect cup of coffee I can. Who doesn’t want to feel like a scientist!?
I haven’t been using the pour over for very long. I bought a very basic Melitta ceramic pour over dripper, and to me, it works great! Although there are hundreds of different drippers out there, ranging from $10-$60 plus. I’ve heard really great things about the Hario V60, which is very affordable, and is the choice for many local coffee shops here in Kansas City, as well as barista competitions. Another great option is the Kalita Wave dripper. It’s affordable and also a top choice for many baristas.
How Does a Pour Over Work?
So how does this amazing contraption work? It’s very similar to your standard Coffee pot, or any other automatic drip coffee maker out there. It uses a filter, and hot water is poured over the grounds, extracting out all those incredible flavors, and keeping those pesky grounds out of your cup. The difference with the Pour Over is really in the pour. Instead of a bunch of short sprays of hot water, you pour a continuous stream onto the grounds. You can control the extraction process better, and allow the grounds to bloom with the first pour. This helps release CO2, which gives coffee that bitter taste. The end result, is a satisfying, flavorful cup of coffee.
A Guide to Using a Pour Over Coffee Dripper
Step 1 – Measure your beans and Water. Measure out your coffee beans and water, using a ratio of about 24-30 grams of coffee to 12 (350 Grams) ounces of water. Or, if you prefer ratios, use a 1:16 (grams) ratio of coffee to water. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, this comes out to about 2 level tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water. Adjust according to preferred taste. If you want to up your coffee brewing game, try using distilled water and adding minerals to it, obtaining a PPM range of 40-65.
Step 2 – Boil and Grind. Heat up the water to a boil. While the water is heating, grind your coffee beans. I use a Javapress burr hand grinder that works great and it’s very inexpensive. I recommend burr grinders because they give you the option of choosing your grind size. For a pour over, you want to grind your beans to a medium-fine, or about the consistency of sugar. Too fine and you’ll end up with a bitter coffee, too big and it will be too acidic. Experiment with grind size and adjust to your preferred taste.
Step 3 – Pre-Wet the Filter. By now you’ve ground your coffee, and the water should be boiling. Next (if you haven’t already done this) fold the creases of your cone filter, if your using one with creases, and place it in your pour over dripper. If you boiled your water in something other than what you’ll be using to pour the water onto the coffee, transfer the boiling water immediately. If you are boiling the water in the same device you’re using to pour over the coffee, take it off the stove and let it rest for about 30 seconds. Then pour about 2-3 ounces of water over the filter to pre-wet it. This will rinse out the paper flavors from the filter. Once you’ve pre-wet the filter, dump the water from your cup.
Step 4 – Add the Coffee and Bloom. The next step is to add the ground coffee to the filter. Give it a gentle shake so that it sits evenly in the filter. You are now ready to start your first pour.
Step 5 – The Pour. There are two ways that I’ve experimented with when it comes to pouring. One is more scientific than the other, but they both pretty much produce the same good cup of coffee. One consists of the first pour to bloom the coffee, then a second drawn out pour, which is where you slowly add the rest of the water. The second option uses scales and timers, and if you’re a simpleton like me, you’ll probably prefer the first and easier option. I’ve tried them both, and I haven’t noticed a difference in flavor.
Your First Pour
For your first pour, you’ll want to add enough water to completely wet all the grounds. Pour quickly enough so that the water doesn’t start dripping out of the bottom, but slow enough that your not splashing water and coffee grounds everywhere. Easy enough right? Once all the grounds are wet, stop and wait at least 30 seconds. If you’re using coffee that’s freshly roasted, you’ll see it start to bubble. This is the bloom, my favorite part of brewing coffee. The bloom is when the coffee omits CO2, which gives coffee the bitter tastes. It smells great, and looks awesome!
The Second Pour
This next pour is going to be a slower and more drawn out pour. You’re going to add the rest of the water to the coffee. Pour slowly enough to keep the filter about 1/2 to 3/4 full, until you’ve poured the rest of the water into the filter. The entire pouring process should take around 2.5 – 3 minutes.
The end result will be some of the best coffee you’ve ever made yourself. As long as you are using a good quality coffee, preferably from a local shop, or a reputable online coffee roaster. You’ll be very surprised with how you can really taste the different flavors in the coffee, and you can impress all your friends with how you’re now a semi-professional barista!