How to Craft the Perfect Pour-Over

I’ve worked in the coffee industry for three years. When you spend this much time around coffee, you pick up a thing or two about it. For instance, how to pour the perfect pour over.

First, some background knowledge for my non-coffee people. A pour-over is just another way to make drip coffee. Most people have their drip coffee machines at home (this includes keurigs), where you put the coffee grounds in the filter and press a button to make coffee.

A pour-over is a manual process to do pretty much the same thing, but generally in single servings. With a pour over, you’re able to make a single cup of coffee rather than a pot of coffee.

Coffee enthusiasts also say that it can change the flavor of the coffee, making it slightly less acidic and richer.

Here’s how you do it.

Materials

  • Pour over coffee maker. I personally suggest using a ceramic one, but plastic is fine too.
  • Paper filters (cone shaped)
  • A water pot with a pour spout
  • Your favorite mug
  • Coffee of your choice ground for a paper filter
  • Water. Keep it filtered and at about 205 degrees

A Note on Coffee Grounds and water: It’s super important to make sure you are grinding your coffee to the right size. For pour overs, it’s generally ground for a paper filter which is a courser grind, but not as coarse as for a french press.

Your water should be clean. Clean water means that your coffee will taste clean too. Keep in mind that your water should be at about 205 degrees as well.

Step #1: Measure your coffee and water

For pour overs, you generally want to use a 1:17 coffee to water ratio. This ratio is measured in grams but is generally a solid reference. For a medium cup of coffee (16 ounces), try using 42 grams of coffee and 700 grams of water.  

Step #2: The Bloom Pour

For the first pour, you’re trying to saturate all of the grounds to release the Carbon Dioxide in the coffee. Doing this helps to extract as much flavor out of the grounds as you can. You start by slowing pour water into the coffee in slow, even, spiral motions. It should take about 30-45 seconds.

It’s called the bloom pour because the coffee grounds expand while the CO2 escapes.

Step #3: Finish

Let the coffee grounds deflate again, then continue to pour hot water in even motions. As the coffee drains, make sure to run the water over the sides of the filter to even extract the flavor from the grounds that got stuck to the sides as well.

Step #4: Adjust

If you find that your coffee is too bitter, make the grind coarser. If it’s sour or weak, make it finer.

Pour overs are a more delicate form of drip coffee, but if you have the time to make one, it’ll be worth it.