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What Is Pour Over Coffee? Origins, Types & How To Make

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Pour-over coffee is a traditional way of preparing your favorite hot beverage. This preparation method boils down coffee to the basics, a cup, a filter, a funnel, ground coffee, and hot water.

Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest. Pour-over coffee is no different.

If you are a coffee fan, you may be wondering what is pour over coffee? Well, have no fear; I’ve researched everything there is to know about pour-over coffee.

Keep reading to become a pour-over expert. By the end of this article, you will know the rich history of pour-over coffee as well as all the steps necessary to brew the perfect cup of pour-over coffee at home. You will be ready to ditch your coffee maker.

What is Pour Over coffee?

The answer is simple. Pour over coffee is a method of making a hot cup of coffee that avoids all the fancy machines and complicated brewing methods in favor of a straightforward process.

This method is becoming increasingly popular because of its simplicity and affordability. You don’t need a big, fancy, and expensive coffee maker to make a good cup of pour over coffee.

What makes pour over coffee unique is that it is made manually. You hand pour the water over the coffee yourself. As a result, it is also called manual or hand brewing.  

History of the Pour Over

Pour over coffee is one of the oldest methods of making coffee in the book. Its simplicity is why you should be learning what is pour over coffee. This method of brewing coffee has been used in Europe since the early 20th century. However, South America and the Middle East have been using the pour over method for centuries, if not longer.

Why Use the Pour over Method?

Beyond the ease of brewing, the pour over process has various advantages. The lack of complicated steps allows the subtle and delicate flavors of a coffee bean to shine through compared to other brewing methods.

The pour over method is particularly popular for single-origin coffee because it allows the individuality of that particular bean to shine through. Additionally, due to the simplicity of the technique, it produces a clean and consistent cup of coffee.

What makes pour-over coffee so special?

The simplicity of the brewing process is what makes pour over coffee so special. The hot water is allowed to pull out the oils and scents in the coffee beans with consistent pressure and over a natural period of time. Other methods of brewing force the water through the coffee beans so quickly that some of the oils, scents, and flavors are left behind.

Additionally, the coffee filter catches most of the oils, so pour over coffee creates a clean cup of coffee. It also makes a more robust cup of coffee since it is an infusion rather than an immersion method.

Pour-Over vs. Drip: Difference

Now that you know the answer to what is pour over coffee, you might be wondering how it compares with some other standard methods of brewing. Pour over compares favorably with drip coffee. However, both brewing methods have their advantages.

Quality

Pour over brewing creates a higher-quality and more flavorful cup of coffee. It is hard to control the quality of filter coffee, no matter how nice the beans are.

Quantity

Drip coffee can produce large quantities of coffee. On the other hand, pour over brewing can only create one or two cups of coffee at a time. This is the primary advantage of drip coffee.

Time

Drip brewing can make a large amount of coffee in a short period of time. Pour over brewing occurs relatively quickly. However, if you measure it on a time/cup of brewed coffee, pour over brewing takes much longer than filter coffee.

Durability

Both pour over brewing and drip coffee makers are durable. There are few moving parts, so both brewing systems are reliable and unlikely to break.

Cleanliness

Pour over coffee is cleaner than drip coffee. There are many places where a drip coffee maker can get dirty. The components needed for pour over coffee brewing are easy to clean and maintain.

Pour Over Coffee vs. Others

Drip coffee machines are one of the most popular ways of making coffee but hardly the only way. Pour over coffee compares favorably with other methods of coffee brewing as well.

Pour-Over vs. French Press

French presses make strong cups of coffee, giving you a lot of control over the brewing process. However, they require more management than a pour over or other brewing methods. They can also be challenging to clean up, and it can be relatively easy to make bad coffee with a french press if you let it brew too long.

Overall, a pour over is an easier way of preparing a cup of coffee, but a french press gives you more flexibility and control.

Pour-Over vs. Capsule Machines

Capsule machines or Keurigs are widely available and popular. However, they compare unfavorably with methods like the pour over. The only advantages that capsule machines have are ease of use and convenience.

Beyond that, capsule machines don’t make high-quality cups of coffee, and the cups harm the environment. The pour-over method is superior to capsule machines in every way except for convenience.

Pour-Over vs. Aeropress

Aeropress is a new-age method of brewing coffee. They are portable and easy to use and make a great cup of coffee in just a few minutes. They can also make espresso too. You might be wondering, wow, what is there not to love?

Unfortunately, Aeropress requires specific filters that are relatively expensive, and they only make small cups of coffee. The pour over is an excellent balance between a high-quality cup of coffee and quantity.

Pour-Over vs. Siphon

The siphon method is one of the oldest methods of brewing coffee. Some consider the siphon method the best way of brewing a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, the process is complicated and requires some fancy brewing equipment. It is also easy to mess up.

Pour over coffee doesn’t make a cup of coffee as high quality as a siphon. However, due to the ease of brewing, pour over coffee, pour over wins in my book.

How to Make Pour-Over coffee

Now that you know the answer to what is pour over coffee, you probably crave a hot cup of joe. In this next section, I’ll dive into a brew guide to make the perfect cup of pour over coffee.

What Equipment Do You Need?

Pour over coffee requires some specific pieces of brewing equipment. You likely have many of these in your kitchen already.

Scales

To make a good pour over coffee, you need to use a precise amount of coffee. The only way to ensure this is with a scale. Your scale should be accurate to a tenth of a gram.

Brewing device

You will need a specific type of pour over coffee maker to make a pour over coffee. There are a variety of models, some that are all-in-one and others that attach to a pot you already have. You are likely familiar with the Chemex coffee maker, the most famous pour over coffee maker.

Filters

Filters are an essential component of brewing a cup of pour over coffee. You cannot brew a cup of pour over without filters. The filter prevents the grounds from getting in your cup of joe and strains out some of the oils released from the coffee beans.

Fortunately, you can use a regular coffee filter when making pour over coffee.

Kettles

You will need a kettle to heat hot water to pour over coffee. Any water kettle will work.

What Is the Best Coffee to Use for Pour Over

The pour over brewing method shines because it allows the coffee’s subtle flavors, notes, and aromas to shine through. As a result, it is best to use a light roast. Medium and dark roast lack the more delicate characteristics that a pour over accentuates. Using a coffee grinder to control the size of the grind is also recommended.

Which Pouring Technique is Best?

The most complicated aspect of a pour over is the pouring technique. Poor technique will give you a bad cup of coffee. The first part of a pour over is called the bloom. You want to use twice as much water as coffee during this stage. Pour slowly in controlled circles from the center until you reach the edge. Now, wait for 20-30 seconds.

After the bloom is completed, start in the center of the coffee grounds and pour in slow circles. You want most of the water to be run over the center of the coffee grounds. Avoid hitting the sides of the brewer. Continue to pour until you have used up all the water.

What’s the best ratio of coffee to water

You should use 16 ml of water for each gram of coffee beans. So for two big cups of coffee, you would need 32 grams of coffee and 500 ml of water. The coffee ratio to water is essential to making a cup of pour over.

Coffee Science: How to Make the best Pour Over Coffee at Home

Two scientific terms are essential to understanding how to make the best pour over coffee at home. These terms are dissolution and diffusion. Both play a crucial role in the process of brewing coffee.

Dissolution

Dissolution is similar to dissolving. Once the coffee grounds are completely wet, the hot water will begin to dissolve the tasty organic substances that give a cup of coffee its delightful taste and smell. The hot water dissolving the organic compounds in the coffee beans is known as dissolution.

Diffusion

After the coffee has undergone dissolution, the next step is diffusion. Diffusion is the transportation of the dissolved organic substances out of the coffee grounds and into the water. This process occurs through osmosis. The organic substances are driven out of the coffee and hot water.

Is Pour over Coffee Worth it?

Now that you know what pour over coffee is, I’m sure that you will agree with me that pour over coffee is worth it. Pour over coffee is one of the oldest methods of making coffee for a good reason. This brewing method creates a delightful cup of coffee without all the hassles of a complicated coffee machine. Plus, you can make iced coffee with a pour over.

Wrapping Up

You are now a pour over coffee expert. You know everything there is to know about how to make a perfect cup of pour over coffee from the comfort of your own home.

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