How to Brew Great Coffee: The Pour Over Method

I had one of the best cups of coffee of my life the other day at Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco, California. Smooth, robustly flavored, hardly any acidity - you can bet I savored it to the very last drop! This terrific coffee was brewed following "the pour over method," and it's not hard to duplicate at home. Here's how!I'm a pretty simplistic (some might say lazy) when it comes to brewing coffee. I don't like to crowd my counter with a drip coffee maker and anything that would require special ordered filters turns me off. I also only typically drink one cup of coffee per day. This pour over method is perfect for people like me.

A trained barista might disagree with me on this next point, but I think you can take these instructions with a grain of salt. I do measure out my beans and grind them thoroughly, and I also measure out my water. But then I tend to guess-timate the times by just watching the clock and I don't generally adhere to the advised circular pouring motions.

My cup of coffee might not be as absolutely perfect as the cup you'll get at Four Barrel or any other fine coffee establishment, but at 7am, I think I'm doing pretty well for myself!

What You Need

Ingredients

28 grams (1 ounce) whole roasted coffee beans
Cold water, preferably filtered

Equipment

An electric scale
Coffee grinder
A single-cup drip coffee cone (see product link below)
A single-cup paper coffee filter
A measuring cup
A coffee cup

Instructions

1. Boil the Water and Set Up Equipment - Fill a kettle with cold water and set it to boil.

Meanwhile, put the paper coffee filter inside the cone and rinse it with hot water (I use hot tap water). This helps get rid of any paper tastes and also helps the coffee filter more easily.

Set the cone with the moistened filter on top of a measuring cup, and place both on top of an electric scale. Also fill your coffee mug with hot water so the ceramic warms, and set it to the side.

2. Grind the Coffee - Measure out your coffee beans and coarsely grind them. The grounds should resemble sand, not powder, when you're done. Pour the grounds into the filter and tare the scale to zero.

3. Bloom the Coffee - Pour 60 grams of hot water over the grounds, using a circular motion to be sure the grounds become evenly saturated. Let this sit for one minute. This step allows the coffee to degas, ensuring better flavor in the resulting cup of coffee

4. Continue Brewing the Coffee - After the one-minute bloom, start adding more water until the scale measures 415 grams total (or 355 grams if your scale shut off while the grounds were blooming, as mine does, and you have to re-tare). Pour in a slow and steady stream, concentrating on the middle of the grounds.

5. Wait for the Coffee to Filter - The coffee should filter in about 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. Once the stream of coffee slows to a drip, your lovely cup of coffee is finished brewing. Dump the hot water out of your awaiting coffee cup and pour in the brewed coffee.

Additional Notes:

Find Single Cup Coffee Cones - My favorite is the Frieling ceramic filter, but you can find plastic ones at any grocery store. Both are available on Amazon: $15.70 for the Frieling and $5.99 for the plastic.

• As always, you need great coffee beans to brew great coffee, no matter which method you use. It's worth seeking out the best.

• If you're ever in San Francisco, check out Four Barrel: Four Barrel Coffee, 375 Valencia St (at 15TH) San Francisco, CA 94103 / (415) 252-0800

More Coffee Brewing Methods:

How to Brew Coffee with a Chemex Coffee Maker
How To Make Perfectly Robust French-Press Coffee
Coffee Methods: The Drip Pot
Coffee Methods: The Vacuum Brewer
How to Brew Coffee Without a Coffee Maker
Iced Coffee: Recipes, Tips, and Advice


Want more smart tutorials for getting things done around the home?
See more How To posts
We're looking for great examples of your own household intelligence too!
Submit your own tutorials or ideas here!

(Images: Emma Christensen)

12 Comments