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Step By Step Guide: Pour Over Coffee

Learning how to make pour over coffee isn’t difficult – just follow our step-by-step instructions to brew up a great cup of coffee!

If your only experience with pour over coffee is an over priced cup of coffee from your local cafe, it’s time to rethink the pour over at home. Why places charge a premium for a pour over, when it’s essentially just hot water poured over ground coffee, is a mystery. Turns out it's just the labor cost, and it can hurt, with pour overs often costing more than espresso shots! This is the kind of coffee you can make at home even if you don’t own any equipment. Pour overs are as simple and low tech as it gets – and they can be a great ritual and an almost meditative start to your day.

Making a pour over is simplicity itself, and a great daily ritual.


How To Make Yourself a Great Pour Over Coffee at Home
The steps to a make great pour over are pretty simple, but they require patience - which is why you might need this to be your second cup of coffee.

1. Measure your coffee beans - about two tablespoons for every six ounces of water. For a big pot, like the Chemex, you’ll need around 10 tablespoons of coffee.

2. Grind your coffee to a medium coarseness – about the size of sea salt crystals. Too fine and you get a bitter flavor. Too big, and your coffee will be sour. Be like Goldilocks, and wait for the “just right” size. Don’t have a grinder? You can even use your blender.

3. Heat your (filtered) water on the stove in a pot or kettle. Let it come to a boil and then sit for a few seconds so it stops rolling – that should be just about the perfect temperature.

4. Put your filter in place and “rinse” it with some of the hot water. This preheats and pre-wets your filter and also keeps it in place.

5. Pour in your coffee and follow it up with just enough water for the grounds to “bloom.” Time for some science! Blooming happens when carbon dioxide is released from the coffee. It bubbles up and you might even see a rainbow effect. You’ll definitely smell it. If it doesn’t make your mouth water, you may not be awake, yet. The measure of coffee freshness can be seen directly in how active your bloom is.

6. Once the grounds have bloomed, it’s time to start pouring in the water. Go slowly! You’re going to start from the outside of your filter and pour in a spiral towards the center.

7. Now stop, and wait for the water to trickle through and the coffee to drip into your carafe. Begin again, pouring in a slow spiral. When the filter is full, stop and wait.

8. Repeat until all your water is gone.

9. Once you’ve got a cup or a carafe of coffee, remove your filter and grounds and enjoy!

Our simple Chemex rig.


Go Low Tech
If you happen to be broke, a minimalist, or just too cheap to buy fancy brewing gear, you can still make yourself a pour over. All you need is a paper towel and a mason jar. Pour over coffee isn’t delicious because of the dripper or the filter you use – it’s delicious because the simple brewing method and its intentional speed allows the true flavor of your beans to shine through.


For the Traditionalist
Your choices in pour over setups are almost unlimited. The traditional option involves a dripper with a filter - where you place the coffee grounds and pour in the water - and a carafe or cup where the brewed coffee waits for you to drink in its caffeinated goodness.


Get Fancy with Chemex
If you’ve got some cash to spend and you consider yourself a bit of a coffee nerd (no shame, so are we), consider a Chemex. Chemex is the iconic standard in pour over coffee. Because of its design, you’ll have less sediment to deal with. It’s also a beautiful piece of equipment that happens to be super simple to use and really easy to clean. We use it all the time in the Beanery.

Think of the pour over as the Slow Food of the coffee world.


Ultimately, what makes a great pour over cup of coffee isn’t about the equipment that you use. It’s about using good coffee beans, using the right grind, and being patient enough to enjoy the process. Making a pour over requires you to slow down for just a few minutes and focus on just one thing – the delicious cup of coffee you’re about to enjoy. Trust us, your patience will be rewarded! See our best pour over coffees
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