What Is Pour-Over Coffee?

Pour-over is an alternative method of brewing coffee that uses a special funnel. Some of the most popular pour-over funnels are the Chemex, Hario V60, Kalita Wave, Bee House, Melitta, and Phoenix. There are also other models to choose from, and pour-over funnels come in a wide range of materials: plastic, ceramic, glass, metal, etc.

The essence of the pour-over method is that ground coffee is placed in a funnel with filter paper and water is poured into the funnel. The water extracts flavors from the coffee, passes through the filter, and flows into your cup or a larger container.

This brewing method allows you to get the purest drink, with a bright taste and no coffee ground particles.

You may notice that this is very similar to how the drip coffee maker works.

However, it's only partly similar. Manual pour-over brewing, unlike an electric coffee maker, allows you to change the temperature of the water and the speed pouring. In combination changes in the grind size, this allows you to be very flexible in adjusting extraction and thus vary the taste of the finished drink.

To brew with the pour-over method, you will need a special funnel, filters, a scale, a cup or other container for the finished coffee, and a kettle. It is desirable, but not necessary, to have a specialized kettle with a thin spout and a temperature sensor.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

Sweetness and Acidity

The essence of pour-over coffee is that you want to extract only sweetness and acidity from the coffee grinds while avoiding bitterness.

To achieve this goal, use a medium grind and pour all the water through the grinds within 3 minutes.

Constant Temperature

During brewing and pouring, it's important to keep the temperature inside the funnel constant. Don't let it cool down, and don't change the temperature suddenly.

It is the constant temperature that affects how completely the taste will pass from the coffee grounds to the finished drink.

Pouring Technique

Pour-over coffee is susceptible to poor water pouring techniques. For example, you run the risk of channeling if the water finds an easy path through the ground coffee. This can lead to under-extracted coffee.

You need to add water so that there is always a whirlpool within the funnel. While the water is spinning, it finds pores in the filter and seeps through. If the water stands still, it will seep through much slower. This can lead to over-extraction.

The grind is also important. Too fine a grind can obstruct the passage of water and result in abnormally long brewing times. Too coarse a grind, on the other hand, will cause water to flow too quickly, leading to under-extraction and weak coffee.

The Brewing Process

The whole process consists of 6 important stages:

  • Grind coffee, boil water, and prepare all necessary equipment.
  • Insert a paper filter into the funnel, pour boiling water through it, straighten all the wrinkles, and pour the ground coffee into the filter.
  • Pour water into the coffee. Let stand 40 seconds so carbon dioxide can escape from the coffee.
  • Add water to the funnel until the total weight reaches 150 grams (5 fl oz). Pour in a spiral motion.
  • Gently pour in any remaining boiling water.
  • Let the coffee drain into a serving container.

You can read step-by-step instructions for making pour-over coffee in the next section.