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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Make Pour Over Coffee

What is Pour Over Coffee?

Pour-over coffee is made by slowly pouring hot water over coffee grounds to produce a flavorful coffee brew.  This method of coffee brewing is also called hand pour coffee or manual coffee brewing.  You can make regular or decaf pour over coffee.

The water for pour over coffee is typically heated in a kettle with a small spout to allow the hot water to be poured slowly over the ground coffee.  The coffee grounds are held in a ceramic, glass, or plastic cone with a cone filter to extract maximum flavor.  A pour over stand may be used to hold the coffee grounds above a cup for single cup brewing.  Some single serve pour over cones fit on top of a coffee cup and do not require a stand.  Pour over coffee makers include the pour over cone and a coffee pot to allow pour over brewing of an entire pot of coffee.

Pour Over Coffee at a Coffee Shop

Most coffee shops serve pour over coffee upon request.  I sometimes order pour over at Starbucks if I have time.  A pour over is guaranteed to be really fresh and it has really good flavor.  It takes about 5 minutes to brew a pour over coffee, sometimes longer if the coffee shop is busy.  Making a pour over requires some attention from the barista to slowly add water a little bit at a time.  I think having a pour over is a good way to make drinking an afternoon decaf more interesting.

Some coffee shops serve pour over coffee as their standard coffee.  Java House in Iowa City, Iowa has a coffee bar with 8 stations and brews coffee by the cup using pour over.  When you order, they scoop the ground coffee of your choice into one of the cones and start pouring water.  Java House uses a small water kettle heated on an electric heating element.  They tell you which picture goes with your cup so you can get the right one.  When it is nearly full, they ask you if you want room for cream.

Shows 8 station pour over coffee bar at coffee shop
Pour over coffee bar at coffee shop
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Coffee from pour over brewing filling a cup
Pour over coffee brewing.  Note small kettle on electric heater in background.
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

How much does pour over coffee cost at a coffee shop?

Pour over coffee costs a bit more than regular coffee, I paid $2.65 for my most recent cup of pour over coffee at a coffee shop.

Make Pour Over Coffee at Home

You can make pour over coffee at home easily, and the equipment does not cost much at all.  A basic setup includes a coffee dripper and some cone filters.  A specialized kettle with a small spout is helpful, but you can give it a try with a standard tea kettle if you already have one.

You can get a basic set-up for about $10:  a plastic filter cone and a box of paper cone filters.  Here's a basic coffee dripper that uses cone filters.

Shows plastic cone on top of coffee cup
Single serve coffee dripper for pour over coffee sitting on a thermal coffee cup
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

A kettle with a small spout helps a lot, but you can give it a try using things you already have.  Use a ceramic coffee cup to heat water in the microwave and carefully pour over.  You can also heat water in a tea kettle and carefully pour over.  If you plan to make pour over coffee on a regular basis, you'll want to get a kettle with a long spout like this stovetop kettle for pour over coffee.

How to Make Pour Over Coffee
Place your pour over cone on top of a coffee cup.  Place a paper cone filter in the pour over cone and add coffee grounds.  Carefully pour hot water over the coffee grounds.  The water temperature should be about 200 degrees F.  Do not use boiling water- this will result in bitter coffee.  If you boil water, you'll want to let it cool for a few minutes.  Add the water a little bit at a time, keeping the cone about 1/2 full.  In a few minutes, you'll have a really good cup of pour over coffee.

Copyright © 2013 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal

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