In recent years, the pourover method has gotten a lot of hype and praise from coffee gurus all talking about how you should join the club for being a pourover hero. What they don’t tell you is something this article will delve into in detail so you can get the most out of your cup of coffee in the morning, and not screw it up!
Just like Victor Frankenstein would insist upon, you need to have the right equipment if you going to create new life. Now, we’re not saying that you need to collect lightning in a jar, but that spark of innovation should be part of your pourover ritual. It also pays to have the right equipment and accessories on hand as well. Here are some essential tools of the trade you need to keep at your side before you start making a pourover coffee.
1. Quality roasted coffee beans
The first rule of fight club is not to talk about fight club- errr wait… The real secret to getting great coffee always starts with great beans. Don’t just settle for that Costco select Kirkland coffee, it’s another Starbucks brand and as usual, it’s roasted for too long. Be sure to look for top-grade coffee beans that you enjoy for their flavor and not just a brand name.
2. Digital scale
Digital scales are very efficient at getting an accurate measurement. When it’s used for making coffee, it will improve your brewing skills hand-over-fist. If you don’t have a digital scale in your kitchen, you can alternatively use a Pyrex measuring cup. There are also measuring spoons that come in a set so you can accurately measure your coffee grounds. For the most part, one level tablespoon equals 5 grams of ground coffee.
3. Kettle for boiling water
Any kind of kettle is good but it’s recommended to use a gooseneck kettle to boil your water. A gooseneck kettle gives you better control when you pour the water over your coffee. You’ll want to boil double the amount of water when making pour over coffee since you need to wet your coffee filter beforehand.
4. Pour over cone and mug
There are lots of pour over cones that you can buy from plenty of online sources or in the kitchenware section at your local stores. These are designed to fit over any type of coffee mug, but will also require a filter to go inside the upper cone section.
5. Burr coffee grinder
No matter what version you look to buy, you want to purchase a hand crank grinder. Burr grinders will give you better control of your beans. With electric grinders, you can’t feel what you’re grinding and despite the setting you select, it’s too easy to over grind the beans. Burr grinders also do a better job at shredding your coffee bean rather than pulverizing it, so the grind is more or less evenly ground.
You’ll want to use the stopwatch setting on your smartphone to keep track of your brewing time. This is so essential to brewing pourover coffee and will make or break the final result. The initial wet-out also plays a crucial role, so always start your stopwatch right when you begin pouring.
The most popular filters will often be paper, but not limited to cloth, metal, or combinations in between. Using paper filters is also going to be specific to pourover models, so you need to buy the right kind of filter that fits the cone section. If you don’t have cone filters, you can use regular drip filters that are folded at the bottom so it forms a cone.
Good Measuring Ratios
There is the golden rule that you’ll need to play with the coffee ratio or the water ratio, but not both. This is where your ability to experiment with coffee ground ratios and water ratios can be adjusted to get just the right taste. Always experiment to get the best results since there isn’t an exact recipe that you’ll agree with. The best advice is to start with medium-fine to medium coffee grounds, but don’t be afraid to try different roasts.
Darker roasts will have a faster bloom than lighter roasts. This is because the CO2 in lighter roasts takes more time for gas to escape since it hasn’t gone through a 2nd crack when it’s roasted. This will affect your bloom time requiring you to be patient while waiting for the bloom to release gases that are built up in your coffee grounds. Lighter roasts respond better to lower heat while darker blends require hotter water.
Because they are roasted for longer, there is less chance they will become burnt. That’s doesn’t mean you should exceed 205F when brewing your coffee. That’s just good common sense when it comes to observing the correct water temperature. The ideal temperature for darker roasts is 200F degrees, while lighter roasts are best between 175-185F degrees.
Dos & Don’ts of Pour-over
As the Joker in The Dark Knight once said ‘And tonight you’re gonna break your one rule‘, but as it turns out, pourover coffee does require unbreakable rules. Here’s what you need to know to get the best success.
Special filter rules
Prime your cone and filter with hot water to get it primed before adding your coffee grounds. This will help keep your filter in place and help heat up your coffee cup and pour over the cone to a good temperature. After this, you need to add your ground coffee and begin pouring the water right away. Don’t forget to empty the wet-out water from your mug before you begin.
Start with enough water to wet out the coffee grounds first and let rest for 30-40 seconds. Always pour from the center of the grounds after the initial wet-out and don’t pour any water close to the edge of your paper filter. This will cause the water to drain right through without going into the coffee grounds first.
Don’t use distilled water, bottled water, mineral water, or reverse osmosis water. These have issues that will make coffee taste terrible. Even though distilled water is free of minerals, it’s not a good candidate for making coffee. The reason is that it lacks magnesium and calcium which are essential for retaining flavor. This is why filtered water is better since it only filters out bad flavors in tap water you don’t want to taste.
The contact time between water and coffee grounds will also take practice, so watching informative videos on making pourover coffee will help a lot. Here is a good video that gives lots of instruction about brewing and blooming times. When it comes to the initial wet-out bloom, this video defines the bloom that creates great results. Now you can see why the pourover is worth the wait!
One more rule is to let your coffee cool down after it’s finished which is 2-3 minutes. You’ll need to wait until it drops below 149F degrees, so you don’t burn your mouth. This is also another good reason to have a digital thermometer to check the temperature. On top of that, the W.H.O. has their newest findings on cancer and hot drinks that give you another good reason to not drink very hot drinks.
How Does It Work With Chemex?
There happen to be some pretty devoted Chemex pourover fans out there that all have special recipes that are purported to be great coffee. To be honest, we’ll only look at the top 3 that are tried and tested, so we know you’ll have success. You can also follow along with the how-to method from tutorial videos that help you see how these variants are brewed.
Method #1- The Elemental recipe
- Amount of coffee: 52 grams of coffee per 700 grams of water
- Grind: 26/40 grind ratio
- Water temperature: 204F degrees
- 1st Infusion: 100 grams of water for the first minute
- Total brewing time: 4:30 seconds to 5 minutes total
Making the coffee:
- Put your filter into the Chemex with 3 folded layers using a standard coffee filter. All these layers are folded over clockwise.
- Grind your coffee and put it aside. Presoak your filter and empty the Chemex container. Now you can add your coffee and start your stopwatch. Add 100 grams of water over the grounds for one minute only. Let it rest until the timer says 1:30 on your stopwatch.
- After this, you can now start pouring the rest of your water to make a total brew of 700 grams. Slowly pour the water in clockwise circles back and forth from the center to near the outer edge. Never go on the edge of the filter.
- By the time that the water finally settles the timer will all be different. It can be as soon as 4 minutes 30 seconds or no more than 5 minutes. Let your coffee sit for 2-3 minutes to let it cool down to under 149F degrees.
Method #2- Barefoot coffee recipe
- Amount of coffee: 50 grams of coffee grounds to a total of 750 grams of water
- Grind: 28/40 grind ratio
- Water temperature: 204F degrees
- 1st Infusion: 75 grams of water for 30 to 50 seconds
- Total brewing time: At least 4 minutes or so
Making the coffee:
- Start with a standard coffee filter and fold into 4 layers with three of them folded into a clockwise direction. The last fold is folded back over onto the last side to keep it secure. Pre-wet the filter and remove the water. Now grind your coffee.
- Add your coffee inside the pre-wet filter and settle it with a little shake. Now start your stopwatch.
- Now you add 75 grams of water to start the pre-infusion during the 30 seconds to 50 second period. Start from the center and allow the grounds to settle to the edges of the filter. While this is starting to infuse, move the Chemex vessel with a swirl to help mix it around. You need to pour this water in a circular motion be careful to avoid the edges of the filter.
- When you reach the 1:30 second mark, now you add 650 grams of water. Because the water will fill the upper portion if you pour too quickly, using steady steams to keep this from floating your grounds. Allow the coffee grounds to remain level without adding too much water.
- When you get close to the 4-minute mark, allow the remainder of water to fill the upper vessel. Now let it drain until there is no more filtered coffee coming out. Remove your filter and let the coffee sit until it reached 149F degrees. Now you can pour your coffee.
Method #3- Onyx coffee lab recipe
- Amount of coffee: 55 grams of coffee per 900 grams of water
- Grind: 27/40 grind ratio
- Water temperature: 205F degrees
- 1st Infusion: 110 grams of water for no more than 45 seconds
- Total brewing time: 6 to 7 minutes total
Making the coffee:
- Use a three-sided fold by folding your standard filter into three parts. Fold the edges into each other so they form a clockwise fold line. Now you can pre-wet the filter to get it prepped. Remove this water before you start. Go ahead and grind your coffee.
- Add your coffee to the filter and start your stopwatch. You can now pre-infuse this coffee for 45 seconds. Make sure that you slowly pour the water in a circular motion from the center of your grounds until you reach 110 grams total. While you pour the water, use a coffee stir stick, chopstick, or spoon around the edges of the coffee along the filter edge. This is so you get packed coffee along the edge for the next step.
- Right when you get to the 45-second mark, now you begin with scheduled 200-gram intervals. This will take a total of 4 pours. In between each 200-gram pour, you wait a total of one minute before starting the next one.
- The final 50 grams that you pour starts at 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Now you let it drain and let it sit for the next 2 or 3 minutes. This is to allow the coffee to cool down. After 6 or 7 minutes, you can now drink your coffee.