Pour-over coffee is a simple brewing method that produces a rich, flavorful cup of coffee. If you're the type who wants to be able to say, "Wow, that's great coffee," every morning, then it's definitely the brewing process to pursue.
To make pour-over coffee, you will need a couple of specific tools. Most important is a pour-over coffee brewer. There are two basic styles: a drip cone that sits on top of any cup or carafe and an all-in-one device like the popular Chemex brand that includes the dripper and carafe. Some brewers require a paper filter, while metal drippers generally do not. The other key piece of gear you need is a gooseneck kettle. Smaller than the average tea kettle, the long neck is curved and the spout is very thin, allowing precise control over the flow of water.
With pour-over coffee, precision is essential. It's best to have a digital kitchen scale and timer (your stove or phone will do) to ensure accurate measurements and brewing time. A thermometer will also help you get the water to the perfect brewing temperature. Some gooseneck kettles have a built-in thermometer and the upgrade is worth it.
With these items in the kitchen—along with your favorite whole bean coffee and trusted coffee grinder—you can brew a perfect cup of coffee every time. The process is not difficult and you can even pull it off right away in the morning while you're still groggy!
The measurements in this recipe produce a 10-ounce cup of coffee. It will fill the average 12-ounce American coffee cup with enough headspace to avoid an overflow or spills. You can adjust it for smaller cups or brew an entire carafe by decreasing or increasing the coffee and water while keeping the ratio intact.
Additionally, use these measurements as a guideline: They produce a really nice cup from medium roast coffee. With different beans and roasts, or depending on your personal taste, adjustments should be made. Experiment with the ratio, grind size, water temperature, and brewing time to find your ideal match, then repeat it.
- 2/3 ounce/18 grams coffee (medium-fine grind)
- 10 ounces/300mL filtered, distilled, or spring water
Gather the ingredients and tools.
Pour hot water into the serving cup to warm it.
Add water to a gooseneck kettle and heat it on the stove until it reaches between 195 F and 205 F.
Grind coffee beans to a medium to fine ground (about the size of kosher salt or coarse sand).
Measure the ground coffee in the pour-over brewer.
When the water is heated, dump the water from the cup. Set the drip cone on the cup's rim. If using an all-in-one brewer, assemble the pieces, then measure the coffee.
Zero out the scale and start the timer. Beginning in the center of the coffee grounds and working your way around, pour just enough water (about 1 3/4 ounces/50 mL) from the kettle to wet all of the coffee. Let it bloom and saturate the coffee for between 30 and 45 seconds.
With the kettle spout as close to the cone as possible, continue to slowly pour water over the bed of coffee. Work in even circles, starting in the middle and moving outwards (when the water drains, the grounds should be flat, not concave). Do not pour water onto the cone or filter, only onto the coffee. Pause as needed to let it catch up until you have poured the full 10 ounces (300mL) of water.
The goal is to have a total brewing time of 3 to 4 minutes for medium roast coffee and as little as 2 1/2 to 3 minutes for a dark roast. It will continue to dip for about 30 seconds after you've added all the water.
Tap the cone to release the last bits of coffee, then set it on a second cup or saucer to catch any additional drips. Serve and enjoy!
- For the most accurate measurements, use metric units to weigh the coffee and water.
- This recipe uses a coffee to water ratio of 1:17. For a stronger brew, try 1:16 or 1:14.
- If the coffee is too weak or sour, try a finer grind. If it's bitter, adjust to a coarser grind.
- No scale in the kitchen? It is possible to do pour-over without one, though it won't be as precise. Measure out 4 tablespoons of ground coffee, and fill the kettle with 1 1/4 cups of water.
- If you don't have a thermometer, bring the water to a near-boil or just until the kettle begins to steam.
- For brewers that require paper filters, stock up on that specific style because they may not be readily available in the average store.
- Want to eliminate the filter's "paper" taste? Rinse it with hot water in the cone before adding the ground coffee (you'll heat the cup simultaneously).
- Metal cone drippers eliminate the need for disposable filters. They often include a small brush to help clean out the used grounds.
- When making a large batch of pour-over, take precautions to avoid an overflow. Ensure you're dripping into a large enough vessel and don't fill the cone more than two-thirds with grounds.
- Pour-over brewers come in various sizes. Choose one that meets your general needs.