What Does “Pour Over” Coffee Mean, Anyway?
In short, pour over brewing is the act of manually pouring hot water into a filter with coffee grinds to slowly extract a richer, more aromatic, more flavorful cup of coffee.
Out of all the brewing methods out there, it’s definitely one of the simplest.
Despite sounding fancy, pour over coffee is really as straightforward as it sounds.
Unlike automatic “drip” machines (what most people picture in their minds when they think of a home coffee maker), the pour over method gives you a lot more control over several aspects of the brewing process, and hence the characteristics of the final product.
Seriously? How Long Does This Sh*t Take?
Most people consider the pour over method to be a “slow” way of brewing small quantities of coffee—especially if you’re grinding your own coffee beans as part of the process. Which if you’re considering this in the first place, you probably are.
Slow? That’s debatable. Including the grinding step—which takes, what, 60 seconds if you don’t already have the grinder on your counter?—the entire process lasts a couple minutes. Personally, I think it “feels” faster than brewing coffee with a regular automatic coffee maker.
It’s a little slower than using a single cup brewer. But also, you can make 4-8 cups at a time, the texture is richer, it smells and tastes a lot better—oh yeah, and you extract a f*ck-ton more of the caffeine out of the coffee.
A Couple Minutes? Who’s Got That Kind of Time?
I know. I get you. I used to be you. But after brewing my first cup of Black Insomnia regular roast using the pour over method, I became a believer. True story.
With the pour over method, there’s not even enough time to leave the room and “wait for something to happen.” You have a pot of hot, rich, better-tasting, caffeine-loaded coffee before you know it.
Even the clean-up takes no more time or effort than cleaning up after using your drip coffee maker.
All Right, Just Tell Me What I Need!
To brew a pot of coffee using the pour over method, you only need four things: water, coffee, filter, and your pour over maker of choice. Since you have more control of the coffee-making process, you can experiment with different variables like the water temperature, grind size, ratio of water to coffee, and even the speed you pour the water over the coffee until you find out what makes it taste perfect for you.
A lot of coffee snobs (you’re not one of those, though) think that this method of brewing is the only way to drink coffee because of its full flavor and aroma.
To give you an idea of what's involved here, here are some basic steps for brewing the perfect cup of pour over coffee using a standard brewer setup like the Espro, Bodum or Chemex.
How to Make Pour Over Coffee
Bring water to a boil in a kettle or a small pot. Measure out your coffee beans and grind them to a medium consistency. Put the ground coffee in either a paper filter or a reusable metal filter. (We recommend the Espro Bloom Pour Over.)
Remove water from heat, and make sure it’s hot but not boiling. Very slowly pour water in a circular motion over the coffee grounds until all the coffee is saturated. This “pre-infusion” begins the “extraction” process, releasing gases and softening oils before you pour the rest of the water over the coffee.
Slowly, start pouring the rest of the water over the coffee again. Allow the water to rise high without spilling over the edge. If the water rises more than half way up the filter, wait for it to lower a bit before you continue pouring.
Sit mesmerized as the water slowly streams through the filter into the bulbous glass carafe looking like a high school chemistry experiment. Once the stream becomes a slow drip, you’re ready to rip out the filter, dump those grounds, and pour a custom-made “homebrew” cup of coffee.