Pour over, or manual brew coffee preparation, is a great way to control your coffee quality. It does require more time than just flipping a switch on a drip coffee maker, but for many the higher level of engagement is part of the pleasure of consuming coffee.
This brewing style is highly customizable, allowing you to make a stronger or weaker cup of coffee based on grind size, coffee-to-water ratio, and water temperature. Nevertheless, whether you're curious about learning the ins and outs of pour-over coffee or a coffee aficionado, we're sharing 3 ways to perfect your pour over coffee.
Dial in your grind size
The size of your grind affects flavor extraction, so it is important to dial it in. For pour-over coffee, you can start with a medium-fine grind (a coarseness resembling sea salt), and make small adjustments based on your preferences.
For example, if your brew tastes a little sour and is missing the fullness in flavor, your grinds are under extracted. You can try using a smidge finer grind next time to achieve a more balanced flavor. If your brew ends up a little bitter, your grinds are over extracted. You can go a tiny bit coarser with your grinds.
Preheat your wares
Prior to adding coffee and starting your brew, rinse the filter, dripper, and glass server (or whatever you are brewing into) in hot water to preheat them. You can do so by pouring a couple of ounces, or ~60ml of hot water, into the filter and discarding the water from your server.
Preheating the coffee filter helps heat your dripper and server to keep the temperature constant, leading to a balanced final cup of coffee. Wetting the filter also allows it to stick to the dripper better, as well as rinse away any flavors that a dry paper filter might impart to your finished cup.
Let it bloom
In a nutshell, letting your coffee bloom is a way to enhance your coffee's flavor, allowing it to taste sweeter and more robust. The key to letting your coffee bloom is to first add a small amount of hot water to your coffee grounds, then waiting a short period for the coffee to de-gas before adding the rest of the water. By letting carbon dioxide from the roasting process escape the grounds, the water from your subsequent pours can freely extract the aromatics and oils in coffee.
For pour over coffee, we like to use a timer and a scale to ensure the right amount of water is being added to the coffee grounds, and the coffee has adequate time to bloom. To begin, pouring water slowly over the coffee starting from the outside and moving in a steady spiral inwards and back out again. Stop pouring when the scale reaches 60 grams. Make sure all the grounds are saturated. The pour should take about 15 seconds. We recommend giving the coffee an additional 30 seconds to bloom before moving on to your subsequent pours.