Instructions: The Best Way To Make Coffee
The Variables Of Pour-Over Coffee: Becoming an Artist
Now you have an idea of what pour-over coffee is all about, but there are a few more things you need to learn before attempting to craft a glorious cup of coffee.
Like other coffee brewing techniques, many variables affect the quality of the end product.
As mentioned before, ground size can have a significant effect on the strength, quality, and speed of the pour-over process.
When ground particles are small, they form an almost perfect barrier, which prevents water from passing through at any appreciable rate. Although this gives the water a lot of time to absorb nutrients from the grounds, it would take too long to brew even a single cup of coffee.
At the other extreme, very large ground particles, there is an abundance of space between grounds allowing water to flow smoothly. While it won’t take long to fill a cup, the water doesn’t have enough time to absorb a significant amount of coffee nutrients, resulting in a weak end product.
If you’re grinding beans, you may have to experiment with the size of the grounds. It is recommended to start on a medium setting and adjust from there.
Once you start pouring water over the grounds, it should take about 3 to 4 minutes to fill a cup. If it takes too long, use larger grounds, and if it’s too quick (or the coffee is too weak), use smaller grounds. It may take a few run-throughs to perfect the sizing.
Coffee Grounds Quantity: How Much?
The amount of coffee grounds you should use, also called the dose, will depend on your preferences. If you like strong coffee, you can add extra. However, note that adding extra will add more resistance to the water, and slow down the process.
The golden ratio that most coffee shops that offer pour-over coffee use is 7 grams of coffee for every 115 grams of water or 1:16. Note that some of the water will be left in the grounds, but it should be a relatively small amount.
If you have a scale, you can perform the pour-over process on it to measure how much water you have added. If you do not have a scale, do your best to pour 115 mL, which is about 3.9 ounces. Again, this ratio is not set in stone, feel free to experiment.
Type of Coffee
You can (and should) try different kinds of beans and roasts. Darker roasts are typically sweeter, and faster to brew, usually taking about 2.5 to 3 minutes, while light roasts can take up to 4 minutes. The type of roast, bean and ground size will all contribute to the brewing time.
Length of Brewing
The maximum duration of a good pour-over coffee brewing process is six minutes. The length of the process will determine the strength of the coffee. Aim for between three and four minutes, not including the setup and preparation. The length of your brewing should give you feedback whether you used the correct amount of grounds and if they’re a suitable size.
A Few Final Important Pour-Over Terms and Tips
Before we dig into the process of making a cup of pour-over coffee, there are a few more terms that you’ll need to know and understand.
The wetting process refers to the first time that that water is poured onto dry coffee grounds to wet them.
When you add water to coffee grounds, it releases carbon dioxide from the grounds as the byproduct of a reaction. As you may know from soda drinks, carbon dioxide results in bubbling and sometimes foaming.
When you initially add water to the coffee grounds in your filter, they will “bloom”, which means that they will froth up a bit as the carbon dioxide is being released. It’s imperative to let the carbon dioxide dissipate before continuing, or it can block the release of vital coffee nutrients that affect the taste of your drink.
The length of this process depends on the freshness and size of your grounds but is typically 30 to 45 seconds long.
Make Detailed Notes
Record all the above variables so that once you perfect your procedure, you can repeat it whenever you want. You can also look up recipes online to see how others have fared with your set-up (or a similar one).
Note that different types of coffee will require their own procedure, so don’t be alarmed if you get excellent results using a particular method for one bean while getting less-than-great results using the same procedure for another.
Step-By-Step: Make a Great Cup of Pour-Over Coffee
Despite piles of chemistry research and millions of dollars being spent testing different types of coffee beans and brewing techniques, making your cup of pour-over coffee is insanely simple.
If you’re a coffee fanatic, you’ll probably enjoy reading those science-backed articles, but for those who just want a great cup of coffee, let’s break down the process.
- Coffee beans of your choosing
- Water and a kettle (or pot for boiling)
- Pour-over coffee dripper (the “funnel”)
- Paper coffee filter
Step 1: Boil the water. Put enough water into your kettle or pot, and then bring the water to a boil. For these instructions, we’re going to be using 8 ounces of water. Your target temperature is 195-205 degrees.
Step 2: Put the dripper into the mug, and the filter into the dripper. Ensure the filter and dripper are as level and snug as possible.
Step 3: Pour a bit of boiling water into the dripper (while empty). This procedure gets rid of any paper taste that the filter might add when fresh.
Step 4: Empty the mug and place entire setup on the scale. Dump out the water and put your mug and your dripper with wetted filter onto the scale.
Step 5: Measure and pour in coffee grounds. To make one cup of coffee, you want to use 14 grams of coffee grounds and 8 ounces of water.
Tip: If it’s your first time, err on the high side of the grounds you use. If the coffee’s too strong, you can always just add more water after and dilute it.
Step 6: Start your timer and Create the “bloom” by pouring in a bit of water. Before you pour any water, let it cool for 30 seconds to a minute. The water should be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (91 to 96 Celsius). If you have a thermometer, feel free to measure this. Try to err on the top end of this range, as colder water (below 195) doesn’t extract nutrients efficiently. Pour about 21-25 grams of the hot water over your grounds until covered. The intent of this first pour is to get your grounds to bloom. Let them settle before continuing, which usually takes 30 to 45 seconds.
At 30 seconds start a second pour. Use about 70 grams of water and pour in a circular motion.
Step 7: Pour until the mug is full. At 1 minute start the final pour. Slowly keep pouring water (still at 195 to 205 Fahrenheit) on the grounds in a slow circular motion until you’ve poured the entire 8 ounces of water. This action ensures an even distribution amongst the grounds. Avoid splashing along the sides of the funnel, as it will mostly run down with minimal contact with the coffee grounds. The cup of coffee should be completed at about 2:30 minutes.
Be careful not to pour too much water and overfill the mug. You’re working with scalding water, which can be dangerous.
Step 8 (Optional): Stir the grounds. If you want to squeeze out every last ounce of flavor, give the grounds a quick, gentle stir, releasing some of the trapped water.
Step 9: Dispose and clean. At this point, your coffee is ready but probably needs to cool a bit. Giving you time to throw out the grounds and wash your dripper.
Step 10: Mix coffee with a spoon or stirrer. If you suspect anything isn’t fully mixed, give it a quick swirl before you begin drinking.
It may take a few cups before you perfect your pour-over coffee technique, so don’t be discouraged if the first one doesn’t blow you away as much as you were expecting.
Adjust your process according to the variables discussed and keep tweaking until you get a consistently fantastic cup of coffee. Once you get it right, you’ll be able to make incredibly high-quality coffee from home whenever you want.