A Guide to Pour Over Coffee

Cafe in Bangkok specializing in Pour Over (photo: Takeaway)

Cafe in Bangkok specializing in Pour Over (photo: Takeaway)

You’ve seen it everywhere, but you’re still wondering: What’s the big deal with pour over? Good question. Between beginner level and professional baristas, the pour over station is a must-have for any coffee connoisseur. This hour glass coffee maker is designed to ensure a clean, flavourful taste, as hot water is slowly poured over coffee grounds in the neck of the hour glass. The flavour, as you may have guessed, is what sets the pour over apart from other coffee makers.

What you might not know is that pour over coffee has long since existed before the trend hit mainstream coffee culture; even before James Bond poured over his coffee in a classic Chemex station in From Russia With Love in 1957. The Chemex Coffeemaker was created in 1941 by a man named Peter Schlumbohm. Over half a century later, a variety of pour over coffeemakers have infiltrated the market, like the V60, Kone, Bee House, Kalita Wave, Woodneck and Walkure.

JM&Sons hand crafted Pour Over station

JM&Sons hand crafted Pour Over station

The trick to making the best brew of pour over coffee is choosing the right coffee to brew. Given the complex flavour notes of coffee, pour over is a great way to enjoy single origin coffee. Taste the difference between single origin coffee, with flavour notes that range from sharp, bright and bitter.

To get a superior flavour, ensure your coffee is ground to a fine to medium setting. Don’t bother grinding at home, let the experts grind the coffee for you with a Burr Grinder to get a first-rate grind that will add more flavour. Before pouring, thoroughly clean the filter to ensure you don’t pollute the pure taste of coffee with stale paper residue. Place the grinds (60 grams) into the filter and wet the grounds with hot water. Not too much, just enough to soak the grinds for “blooming”.

Set a timer for thirty seconds. When the timer goes off, start pouring! Pouring should average three to four minutes. Given the thickness of the filter, water will pour slowly through the coffee grinds, guaranteeing the rich, potent flavour of the coffee that will drip into the belly of the hour glass. Get a refined taste with a filter that’s thicker; this will also remove coffee oils and cafestol (coffee cholesterol) that will guarantee a powerful flavour.

But what makes the pour over different than the drip? The speed of the hot water pour, that’s what. Instead of drowning the coffee grinds in hot water like the standard drip machine, the pour over is designed to extract flavour from a slower, thin pour in small batch coffee. This allows the hot water to infiltrate the coffee in a way you can’t achieve with pour over. Don’t rush it though, the pour over requires patience. The slower the pour, the more flavour you’ll taste.

Remember: The hot water should never rise over the filter grounds. If it does, slow down. While pouring, aim to pour in a criss-cross style, this will help extract the coffee grounds from all angles, while ensuring water is soaking the grounds completely. See that caramel top coat? The foamier and bronzer the coffee, the better.

Now serve, and enjoy.