The term pour-over is used for different brew methods. However, the standard approach is brewed by percolation, which means that the water passes through a bed of coffee, extracting flavor along the way. Usually, there is a material that filters the coffee grounds. The material can be paper, cloth, or anything in between which is attached to a fine metal or plastic mesh.
In history, cup-top filters have been used since coffee brewing began. Only later, did the innovation of modern brewed coffee come. Initially, only cloth filters were used, and the invention of the paper filter is credited to a German entrepreneur, Melitta Bentz, in 1908. Today, her invention is controlled by her grandchildren, the Melitta Group which sells filter papers, coffee, and coffee machines.
Because of the invention of filter paper, it was possible to make a move from the electric percolator. The percolator is a terrible brewer that recirculates the hot water through the grounds, and it brews an incredibly bitter cup. And the final piece of dethroning the percolator was another major innovation in drip-coffee brewing, the electric coffee machine.
Today, there is a vast range of different brewers, brands, devices, all of them designed to do the same job—each of them with its advantages and disadvantages. With so many products to choose from, we are lucky to have a universal brewing method that is easily adaptable to different brewers.
How to make pour-over coffee?
When coffee is brewed, three ways can affect the results of a coffee cup. These rules are not independent of each other, which is why it is vital to have a precise measurement of both coffee and water.
- The grind of coffee: The finer the ground, the finer the coffee. Because more water passes through it, this is because there is a broader surface area, and water can flow through the finer coffee ground more slowly which means there is more contact time between water and coffee.
- The contact time: This isn’t only about how quickly the water flows through the coffee ground, but also how long it takes to add water. By adding the water very slowly, we extend the brew time, and it will gradually increase the extraction of the coffee.
- The amount of coffee: It is very easy to understand, the more coffee it is, the longer it takes for the water to flow through it and the contact time will be longer as well.
These are the steps that will make a tasty brew of pouring coffee over. These three rules are what make coffee as consistent as possible. For example, if someone reduces the amount of coffee by accident, they might think that the reason the coffee didn’t brew long enough was that the grind is wrong. We need to pay attention because it’s easy to make a bad coffee and we are confused about it.
As mentioned before, when using the pour-over coffee method, it is crucial the rate at which you add the water, because it plays a vital role in the brewing process. Pouring slowly and carefully by using the kettle is difficult, and recently there has been a rise in coffee shops pouring coffee from different pouring kettles. The kettle is usually placed on the stove, but there are electric models too. The common factor is that the spout is narrow, so the stream of flowing water is steady and slowly on the coffee ground.
Kettles are trendy in the industry; however, not many people are convinced that they are worthwhile for home-brewing. Even though the pouring is easier, if it’s not used correctly, the water can drop in temperature, and brewing coffee is not made as it should be. Pouring from a kettle might be seen as an overly severe and complicated gadget. However, the reality is that all we want is to pour water slowly over the coffee. But if we pour at different rates on different days (something that is happening) the taste of coffee is different from one day to the next, which is not a good scenario.
This common practice means that you add just a little water to the coffee ground at the start of the brew. Usually, you add water just enough to get all the coffee wet. After you add the hot water only then do the grounds start to release the trapped carbon dioxide. After that, the bed of coffee will swell like dough rising. Usually, you have to wait around 30 seconds before starting to add the rest of the water.
This common practice is widespread, yet there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to justify this. One explanation might be that releasing some of the carbon dioxides helps the coffee extraction to be easier. Somehow, it is a mesmerizing moment in the morning to have a ritual of watching the coffee grounds bloom.
What are coffee filters made of?
Three types of coffee filters are used in pour-over and filter coffee brewing. Each type of filter gives a different brew by straining out different things. These types of coffee filters are:
1. Metal Filters
Metal filters only remove the larger pieces of coffee ground, similar to the French press. The resulting coffee brew will have silty sediment in it, and it may look a little cloudy. The coffee will contain both the suspended coffee grounds and the oils. Many people enjoy this type of coffee because it seems richer. The metal filter can be used for years as long as it is kept clean and washed regularly. If the cleaning isn’t done right, more oil will build up, and the coffee will become rancid.
Cloth filters have been used to filter coffee for a very long time. Like paper, the filter can strain out the suspended pieces of coffee, and it also allows some oil to come through. The result is that the coffee cup is cleaner, more abundant, and fuller. After use, the cloth filter needs to be immediately rinsed and dry it quickly. If it is left to dry slowly, it will develop unpleasant flavors, similar to the smell of laundry that has been left in the machine for too long.
If the cloth filter is used regularly, it needs to be stored in a wet glass of water in the refrigerator. If you plan to store the cloth filter for a long time, put it into a wet ziplock bag and freeze it. However, if you keep refreezing it the cloth will degrade a little quicker. Besides, the fabric shouldn’t get too stained. And for cleaning, products that are destined to clean espresso machines can be used, because some of them have been originally developed to washcloths in large filter brewers. You can dissolve the fabric in a small amount of hot water and then rinse it thoroughly and store it.
Paper filters are the most common type of filter, and they can produce the cleanest cup of coffee. They can strain out all of the suspended coffee ground, as well as the oils that may have ended up in the brew. The result is that the coffee cup has a reasonably clear liquid often with a reddish hue. Bleached white papers are highly recommended because unbleached brown papers tend to add an unpleasant papery taste to coffee.
How to make filter coffee?
If you want to learn how to make the best filter coffee, it is recommended to:
- Have a 60g/l ratio - This is the starting point for all pour-over and filter coffee methods. You can also experiment to have a preference of yours.
- The grind - It is recommended to have a medium/caster (superfine) sugar that will be suitable for around 30g of coffee and 500ml of water. The coffee ground needs to be finer if you are brewing a single cup and more coarsely if you brew for more cups.
- Grind the coffee just before you start brewing, but make sure that you weigh the coffee first.
- Boil a kettle of freshwater with low mineral water (which is more suitable for brewing coffee).
- While the water boils, place a paper filter in the brewer and rinse it briefly under the hot tap. Rinsing will help reduce the taste of paper (if you have an unbleached paper filter) that might affect the coffee. Why do we recommend rinsing it with warm water? Because of this, the brewing device will be heated and coffee will taste better.
- Place the filter into the brewer and then add the coffee ground.
- Wait 10 seconds once the water from the kettle has boiled, if you want to pour straight from it. However, if you are using a pouring kettle, decant the water into it immediately.
- Pour the water little by little on the coffee ground; you don’t need to be accurate, just make sure that you add enough water to wet the coffee (the bloom method). You can take a spoon and give it a swirl to make sure that all the coffee is wet. You can also carefully stir with the spoon. Wait around 30 seconds, and then pour the rest of the water.
- Slowly pour the remaining water and try to pour it directly into the coffee and not the walls of the filter so that you can extract the coffee.
- After you add all the necessary water, give it a gentle swirl again at the surface.
- Let it drip until the bed of coffee looks dry.
- Discard the coffee, filter, and remove the brewer so you can enjoy the coffee.
Electric Filter Machine Method
- The same ratio of coffee ground: 60g/l (just like at the classic filter coffee brewing method)
- Grind: The grinding way stays the same, even in the case of brewing coffee with an electric filter machine. Medium/caster sugar if you brew coffee between 500 ml - 1L of coffee. The coffee beans need to be more coarsely ground if the coffee volume is larger. Many electric filter machines can brew up to 1L at a time, or more.
- Grind the coffee.
- Rinse the filter, and it’s a basket under the hot tap.
- Place the filter and the basket in the machine, and add fresh water into the water container.
- Press the button of the machine so the brewing can start and keep an eye on it. If the coffee isn’t getting wet enough, stir it with a spoon.
- Allow the brew to finish.
- Discard the coffee ground and clean your filter and its basket. It is required to keep the filter clean.
- Enjoy your coffee.