How to make pour-over coffee
Tips, tricks, and more from a coffee pro.
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Coffee professionals and home-brewers agree, when you want to enjoy a quality cup of black coffee, a pour-over is the way to go. While brewing using a pour-over takes more effort than using a drip coffee maker or a French press, the end result is a clearer and sweeter cup of coffee. Pour-over coffee is also an excellent choice for brewing small batches of coffee to drink alone before work, or larger batches on the weekends.
How does a pour-over coffee work?
The science behind brewing pour-over coffee is very similar to how a drip coffee machine works. Hot water seeps through the coffee grinds, extracting the flavor as it goes.
After setting up, the brewing process should take between three and five minutes. The grind size and consistency is very important in this brewing method, as grinds that are too fine, too coarse, or too inconsistent will result in an overly bitter or acidic cup of coffee.
What you’ll need
Pour-over coffee brewer: We recommend the Chemex 8-Cup Classic or the Hario V60 Coffee Dripper 02 Ceramic, but we've tested plenty of other pour-over models in case you're curious. You will also need paper filters that correspond to the brewer you’re using, unless it comes with reusable filters.
Gooseneck kettle: The OXO Brew Adjustable Temperature Electric Pour-Over Kettle is the best gooseneck electric kettle we've tested. In a pinch, you can also use a standard electric kettle, although it will be more difficult to be precise.
Burr grinder: You'll need to use a burr grinder like the Baratza Encore rather than a blade grinder. We have a great list of grinder recommendations, including burr and blade models, but if you don’t want to splurge a burr grinder you can also get your coffee ground at your local shop.
Step by step
Step 1: Measure the beans
First, measure out your coffee beans. To make one to two cups of coffee, you can use 25 grams of coffee beans. (For larger recipes, see our basic recipe notes at the end of this article.)
Step 2: Grind the beans
Next, use a burr grinder to grind your coffee to medium-fine, a little bit finer than drip coffee.
Step 3: Heat water
Fill your kettle with filtered water and heat to 200°F. If your kettle doesn’t have a thermometer, you can just boil the water and then let it sit for about 30 seconds.
Step 4: Pre-wet the filter
If you’re using a paper filter, open the filter and set it in the brewer. Follow the instructions on the filter packaging for setting the filter. Then, pour a small amount of hot water over the filter. This will help it stick to the walls of the brewer, as well as rinsing the filter a little bit.
Step 5: Add grinds to pour-over
Pour the coffee grinds into the brewer, and give it a shake to make sure the grinds are evenly distributed. This will help make sure the brew is consistent.
Step 5: Set up
Place your pour-over on your scale. If you’re using a brewer that needs to be placed on a cup, make sure the cup or carafe below it is large enough for two cups of coffee. Tare your scale.
Step 6: Bloom
Pour hot water in using a spiral motion from the center of the grinds outward, making sure to wet the entire surface of the grinds. This pour should be about 50 grams (keep an eye on your scale).
Pro tip: The first pour is called the bloom, and it’s important because it releases a lot of carbon dioxide from the coffee.
Step 7: Second pour
After about 30 seconds, pour in a spiral again until you reach 200 grams.
Pro tip: Swirl or stir the grinds after pouring to make sure they’re all wet and you have no dry pockets.
Step 8: Final pour
After another 30 seconds or so, pour in a spiral until you reach 400 grams.
Step 9: Serve
Once all the water has drained through the grinds, your pour-over coffee is ready to serve!
How to clean a pour over
Pour-overs are pretty quick and easy to clean. Toss or compost your coffee grinds and filter, and then rinse your brewer with hot water. You can use a little soap to remove the oils from the brewer every couple of brews.
Can I brew more than one or two cups in a pour-over?
Yes absolutely! With a Hario V60 or similar brewer, you can brew up to four to five cups. With a Chemex 8-cup or a similar brewer, you can brew up to eight cups.
When brewing larger recipes, it's important to allow more time in between pours for drainage. Here are some basic recipes for larger pour-over brews:
4-cup pour-over coffee recipe
- 40 grams of coffee
- Bloom: 80 grams water
- 2nd pour: 320 grams water
- 3rd pour: 640 grams water
8-cup pour-over coffee recipe
- 55 grams of coffee
- Bloom: 110 grams water
- 2nd pour: 450 grams water
- 3rd pour: 900 grams water
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