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From my perspective on this subject, there are two ways to brew a pour-over the way specialty coffee shops are doing it.
#1: The Scientific Method
#2: The Artistic Method
In our previous article I explained how these specialty coffee shops are shaping the future of coffee drinking in the USA as we know it (read here). In addition to using quality coffee, these new shops are pulling maximum flavor from their brews and it’s next level coffee drinking like you wouldn’t believe until you try it for yourself.
The pour-over is one of the ways they do it. It’s my personal favorite way to brew our coffees and I do it using what I like to call the artistic method. Some coffee experts would disagree with me and argue in favor of extreme precision, but allow me to explain my reasoning why: Everyone has a unique pallet. It’s all about what YOU like to taste in your coffee.
There are still a few fundamentals you should follow, but ultimately there’s a lot of freedom in this method. The core concept is experimentation, with some guidelines. You change some variables each time until you find something that you enjoy and then replicate.
Fundamental #1 A consistent grind is fundamentally important. If you don’t have this, then when you find the flavor profile you like most – it will be almost impossible to replicate if the grind wasn’t consistent from the start.
Fundamental #2 A quality coffee bean. It really doesn’t matter how well you brew your coffee; If you’re not using a quality coffee, you’re not going to get flavor out of it. The natural processing methods high rated farmers use when preparing the coffee bean retains flavor better than mechanical/mass production methods, and the Roasting method for each bean has a significant impact in retaining those flavors the farmers took time to produce. Pick quality over quantity every time.
Other than these 2 fundamentals, the artistic method of a pour-over is all about experimenting until you find the perfect ratio, and then replicate it.
A pour over looks like this:
I recommend using a mesh filter instead of paper to avoid the absorption effect of paper filters. I like extracting every ounce of flavor from my coffee, including that of which may have been absorbed by the paper filter.
How to brew a 1-cup Pour Over:
- Use 8-12 ounces of water
- Heat your water with a kettle
- Pour between 1-2 ounces of ground coffee in the filter (depending on how strong you like it) this is where you can experiment – every coffee is different – you might like it using 1 ounce with nocturnal for example, but 2 ounces with Kenya. Experiment with this until you find the perfect profiling for you.
- Pour about half of your water over the grinds in the filter, try to use a circular pouring motion that fully soaks all the grinds. Once the water has pooled up, let it sit for about 30-45 seconds so the gases can bubble up and the water fully passes through
- Now pour the second half of your water through the rest of the coffee grinds, fully soaking the beans a second time. Keep a consistent pour until you’ve used the remainder of your water.
- Drink and enjoy.
The key steps in this process is making sure that you fully soak the grinds and allow the first pour to fully run through before finishing the brew. Don’t pour all of your water at once, this will push the gases down into your cup and run through the beans too quickly, losing flavor from a quick pour and making it bitter by pushing the gases through into the cup.
Experiment with the timing, the temperature of your water, the volume of ground coffee and water. Always keep in mind the 2 fundamentals, and write down what you’re doing so when you find yourself the perfect brew – you can replicate the process and enjoy it again.
So that’s it for the Artistic Method of the Pour Over. I will write another article about how to use the Scientific method another time – thanks for reading and enjoy your coffee!
Nicolas Milone, Co-Founder, Foxen Coffee