Using controlled heat and timing to draw subtle flavors from coffee beans, pour-over brewing has becoming a favorite method of many java enthusiasts.
The good news is, you don’t have to turn your kitchen into a science lab in order to perfect the process. Scales, beakers and goose-neck kettles are great, but first and foremost, it’s all about the water. Bad-tasting water makes bad-tasting coffee. Make sure yours is properly filtered.
In addition to noting water quality, the Specialty Coffee Association of America (a non-profit trade organization for the industry) distills brewing into its fundamentals—method, coffee-to-water ratio, grind size, water temperature, contact time, and filtering—and provides well-tested tips on each:
- Use only the best quality, freshly ground coffee in proper ratios. We recommend any of our Single Origin Coffees or Reserve Coffees for pour-over brewing.
- The SCAA Golden Cup Ratio is 9 to 11 grams of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. Consider using a higher coffee-to-water ratio for light or medium roasts.
- Bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and let it stand for 30 seconds. Grind your beans medium-fine no more than 15 seconds before starting the pour, to ensure peak freshness.
- Rinse cloth or paper filters to remove particles, and prep vessels with warm water to prevent a cooling effect. Filters remove oils that coat the palate, leaving a clean and delicately flavored beverage behind.
- Dampen (or “bloom”) coffee grounds with a small amount of water to release gases that build during roasting. Wait 30 seconds, then fully saturate with a slow pour across the entire bed.
- Immerse your grounds consistently. A small divot creates an easy entry point. Baristas recommend “pulse pours” to keep a steady water level throughout the process. Total brewing time is about 3 to 4 minutes, on average.
Explore these variables and see what tastes best to you. With a bit of experimentation, you’re likely to discover bold and delicious results.