Be your own barista! How to brew pour over coffee at home.
Ok, first up: what is pour over? Yes, it sounds pretty straight forward (in that yes you do pour water over your grounds), but actually there’s a lot of history and reason behind it. So let’s dive straight in...
No machine. No cords. No flashing lights. No BEEEEEEPS. With this brewing method (see the best tasting coffee brewing method), it’s all about manual work (well, a little). This hands-on method of coffee brewing gives you the chance to get in tune with what you’re brewing (and be a little bit proud of what you can create, too!).
Back in the 1900s, a German woman called Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz was unhappy with the taste of percolator coffee and the grounds left in her cup (who can blame her!) So, she started on a mission to make prototype brewing methods and dreamed up a technique using blotting paper. In 1908, she filed for a patent and after a few years of improvements (notably a cone-shaped filter and a cone-shaped dripper), the rest is history.
There are three main types of pour over coffee brewing methods. First up: one that requires a bit of time and patience...
And, why not check out the best coffee subscriptions to buy in the UK here.
The Chemex Coffeemaker was created in 1941 by Peter Schlumbohm. The shape was inspired by an Erlenmeyer flask using non-porous glass (plastic equivalents develop cracks and fissures over time which can house mineral deposits affecting the overall flavour).
The Chemex coffee brewing method sees the water pass through a bed of coffee and a filter (which is usually made out of paper and is therefore not reusable). Making for a really clean cup of coffee, this method uses filters that are 20-30% heavier than others, eliminating unwanted fats or oils, resulting in a clean, pure, flavourful cup of coffee without bitterness or sediment.
Yes, it takes some time. It’s not one for those in a rush in the morning, as you need to have patience whilst the water drips through the thick filter. But for us, it’s worth it.
Try the Chemex coffee brewing method – we’d recommend brewed to order and as fresh as it gets! Perfect for bringing out the complexities of lighter - medium roasted, more nuanced coffees, the Chemex creates an infinitely smooth cup. Here is our recommended coffee for Chemex
This pour over coffee brewing method has one main (and very important) difference from the Chemex and V60. The Kalitta Wave uses a ribbed - or waved – filter. The bottom of the filter is flat and features not one but three extraction holes – which eliminates the channelling of water that some other pour over coffee methods can feature.
The dripper has minimal contact with the filter, meaning the temperature can stay consistent and the water is evenly saturated. It’s also not afraid of the heat, so you can put it on the stove to keep the water warm.
The Kalitta Wave produces a really crisp cup of coffee.
You may find the V60 in ceramic, glass, plastic or metal – it’s a widely available coffee brewer. Named after its v-shaped cone filter and 60-degree angle, the V60 produces a less bold coffee which is perfect to try with single origin beans.
Again, this one needs some time as the water passes through the grounds and extracts all the lovely oils and fragrances. Just be careful that you’re evenly distributing the grounds in the filter, otherwise the water may not run through it all.
The V60 is great to try with a light roast – why not try the local coffee roasters.
The V60 is responsive to numerous variables—more, in fact, than many other drippers on the market. This is because of three design factors:
- The cone shape (60º angle): this allows the water to flow to the centre, extending the contact time.
- A large single hole: this enables the brewer to alter the flavour by altering the speed of the water flow.
- Spiral ribs: these rise all the way to the top and allow the air to escape, thereby maximising the expansion of the coffee grounds.
So, going back to the variables, the two most important ones you can play with are grind size and water flow. If you slowly add water, the result will be a full-bodied coffee, but if you add water more quickly, it will end up with a weaker extraction and a lighter-bodied coffee.
The grind size can also affect the body. If you have a small grind size (about the size of table salt), the water won’t pass through as easily. This means that:
- Constant water flow + small grind size = medium bodied coffee
- Slow water flow + small grind size = full bodied coffee
- Constant water flow + medium grind size = light bodied coffee
- Slow water flow + medium grind size = light bodied coffee
Warning: a fine grind can lead to choking. If that happens, you need to grind more coarsely.
Don't forget to check out our guide on the V60 vs French Press.