10 Tips For Making The Perfect Pour Over

Pour-over coffee is the best option if you’re looking to take a step up from your trusty drip machine. You get way more control over all the brewing steps and the coffee you end up with is far superior. Alongside this, a pour-over set-up just looks more attractive and it can be stored away a lot easier in a busy kitchen. 

As you can see, there are so many reasons why pour-over coffee is the better choice. All you need to do is take a little time to understand this brew method and you’ll never look at a drip machine again. 

To help you out, here are ten top tips for making pour-over coffee taste the very best it can taste. Simply follow these steps and you’ll be a pour-over pro in no time. 

1. Use Freshly Roasted Coffee

The number one piece of advice for making any coffee taste fantastic is to use the freshest coffee beans you can get your hands on. Once the coffee beans are roasted they take a bit of time for the flavors to mature to perfection. This is around 7-10 days. Coffee brewed around this time is just bursting with complex flavors and aromas and is at its peak for making the most delicious cup of java. 

Freshly roasted coffee slowly loses its wonderful fresh flavor and you’ll notice a decline at around the 2-month mark. By six months, it will start to develop a stale flavor so is best enjoyed long before this happens. You may be able to extend this time span by storing your beans in a dark, airtight container; but if you have the option, fresher is always better.   

If possible, source your beans from a local coffee roaster and you’ll never look to the coffee aisle in the grocery store again.

2. Always Choose Whole Beans

So now we know fresh is best when it comes to coffee flavor but there’s a way to maximize the taste of your morning java every day. 

As soon as coffee is ground up it starts to lose the lovely complex flavor notes that only come with whole coffee beans. 

Whole coffee beans keep all those delicious elements locked in, so if you grind the exact amount of coffee that you need for your brew, you’ll reap all the benefits. It’s a tiny bit more effort each morning but trust me, using freshly ground up beans is a choice you won’t regret.

3. Get a Good Quality Burr Grinder

Using whole coffee beans brings me to our next point. To get the very best, balanced, flavor extraction when brewing coffee; you need the coffee beans ground to an even particle size. If all the grounds are roughly equal then the flavors are released evenly. 

For comparison, if the grind is uneven, you end up with a mix of over-extracted and under-extracted flavor notes in your cup of joe. This translates to bitter, weak, thin, and just off-tasting coffee. 

A good quality burr grinder allows you to achieve an even grind every time, unlike blade grinders. Blade grinders are also prone to heating up so can burn the coffee before you even start brewing it, so this is another reason to avoid these. 

For pour-over, grind your coffee to a medium-fine grind setting. You should play around and adjust this level to suit your taste preferences and these settings may need to be adjusted when different coffee beans are used as well.
Burr Grinder

4. Prep Your Set-Up

A small step that can make a big difference when brewing pour-over coffee is to prep your set-up. It’s nothing complex, all you need to do is add a bit of hot water to your filter paper once the kettle is ready, before you add the coffee grounds. 

This simple step washes away any papery taste from the filter, allows it to sit better in the pour-over funnel (wet paper sticks to the walls), and warms up the pour-over device. It’s really easy to do and not only improves the taste of your coffee but it stops it from cooling down too quickly as well.

5. Use the Perfect Ratio

A really useful tip for getting the most out of your pour-over setup is to use the perfect coffee to water ratio. A 1:15 ratio is usually the best balance for delicious rich-tasting java. This translates to every 1g of coffee, use 15g of water, or 15ml (as 1ml of water weighs 1g). 

Weigh your beans out using a coffee scale or any digital kitchen scales that are sensitive to 1g. Add these to the filter paper and place your whole pour-over setup on the set of scales. Tare it to zero and you can now accurately weigh out the water as you pour. 

Using this method not only ensures you get a great-tasting cup of joe, but it also ensures consistency between coffee batches. Remember, you can always tweak this ratio to suit your individual taste preferences.

6. Check the Water Temperature

Coffee has an optimal temperature range that ensures the brewing process runs smoothly. If the water is too cold you get a thin, under-extracted cup and if the water is too hot then the coffee tastes burnt and bitter. 

Aim to heat your water to around 195-205F to get the best-tasting coffee. You can check this by using a kettle with a built-in thermometer or by using a regular kitchen thermometer. If you don’t have either of these to hand then you can always boil the kettle and let it stand for a minute. This allows the water to cool to around this level. This method is not as accurate but it can save you in a pinch.

7. Use Filtered Water

Hard water is heavy in minerals and impurities that can impart a bitter taste to your morning java. Alongside this, the impurities can also affect the extraction as you brew the coffee so you’ll never get the very best out of your beans.

To avoid this issue, use filtered water to brew your coffee. If the water tastes better then so will the coffee and you’ll wonder why you didn’t try this sooner. 

8. Use a Gooseneck Kettle

If you’ve only ever used a regular kettle to brew pour-over coffee then you’re missing a trick. Gooseneck kettles may look a little ridiculous with their extra-long, curved spout but there is a very good reason for this design feature. 

The long spout slows down the flow of water and the small outlet removes turbulence from your pour. This gives you more control over the water and makes it easier to gently cover the grounds in water rather than washing them away. This means the coffee bed will remain thick and even and you’ll get optimal flavor extraction with ease.

Blooming Coffee

9. Allow For Bloom

A crucial step for your pour-over routine is the blooming stage. When the water first contacts the fresh coffee it quickly absorbs this moisture and starts to release carbon dioxide gas. As it does so it starts to swell and bubble and moves around in the coffee bed. This release of gas reduces the acidity of the coffee and allows the final product to boast a better balance of flavors. 

To allow your coffee to bloom, simply pour on just enough water to saturate the coffee bed but not soak it completely. Let this sit for 30 seconds and then you’re good to add the rest of the water to start brewing your coffee.

10. Clean Your Equipment

Last, but certainly not least, is an often overlooked step when it comes to brewing coffee. Keeping your pour-over set-up clean is essential to ensure great-tasting coffee with every brew. As the coffee grounds sit in the pour-over funnel they release oils that gradually build up here. If left, these oils end up going stale and leave a bitter, nasty, taste in your next mug of java.

Rinsing your equipment after each use is fine day-to-day but make sure you give it a proper clean once a week to once a month (depending on how often you use it). All this takes is using mild dish soap, a non-abrasive sponge, and warm water to clean all surfaces of your pour-over set-up. Rinse it thoroughly and dry with a lint-free cloth or let it air dry.

Final Thoughts

Perfecting your pour-over isn’t rocket science and you don’t need a barista-level training course to get the very best from your beans. Simply follow these ten steps and you’ll be impressing friends and family with your amazing java. Best of luck with your coffee brewing journey!

This is a guest post written by Kieran MacRae from Above Average Coffee.

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