Pour Over Coffee: Personalised Coffee Brewing
Manual coffee-making (also known as pour over coffee making) among coffee shops and enthusiasts that suit an individual’s taste preference are rapidly gaining popularity. Some such methods have gained a cult like status as coffee hipsters from all over the world swap recipes and techniques to deliver the ultimate brew. Part of the reason for their growing popularity is that every variable in the brewing process can be controlled to create a cup of coffee with a distinct flavour and character. Every pour over coffee device has subtle differences that; to the trained palette, can dramatically change the taste of the resulting cup of coffee.
This article features a few of the different pour over coffee brewing devices and identifies their differences. We originally wanted to review all coffee brewing devices on the market but we quickly realised this was no small task. so we have decided to limit this post to pour over coffee devices and will follow up this post with different brewing techniques over the next couple of months. Brewing tips provided will give you a solid starting line if you’re a beginner. Recommendations are focused on batch size, pouring rate, roast level and processing. All of these can be varied to acheive different results, you just have to adjust and do some experiments to achieve the best flavour for your taste.
The grinding process is usually undertaken right before brewing using a burr grinder. This ensures a consistent grind and even extraction for a flavourful cup of coffee. Most die hard pour over coffee brewers use a hand grinder from popular brands such as Porlex, Hario, & Rhinowhares. There are also some good electric grinding options available from Baratza which features over 40 different grind settings for pour over coffee. Not really needed when your starting out but could be a useful tool as your pour over coffee kit grows.
Pour Over Coffee Basics
A good pour over dose starts from 60g of coffee for every 1L of water. Any adjustments will impact other factors so this should be measured out carefully. Changing a component will require adjustment of other factors.
Water should be thoroughly filtered. There is a general consensus that when heating water to 90-96 degrees Celcius provides the best results. Pay attention to the recommendations to control water temperature. A slow-pouring kettle is required for a successful brewing process. When choosing the kettle for your needs, look for one that has a built in thermometer. A consistent delicious coffee will need the assistance of a gram scale and thermometer.
Pour Over Coffee Devices
The Hario V60 is designed as a cone-shaped dripper having spiral ridges within its interior wall and one large opening underneath. The design prevents the filter from attaching to the cone’s walls, creating an extraction at the filter’s bottom and sides. The V60 comes in two sizes, four colors, and four materials including plastic, glass, ceramic and metal. The V60 grind setting is recommended to be from a fine to medium grind.
The brewing technique begins with thoroughly rinsing the filter and putting it inside the cone. When the ground coffee is added, the bed should be leveled and a tiny divot in the middle can be created. As you target this depression, pour sufficient water to wet all of the coffee, then let it rest for 30 seconds. Continue pouring gradually from the middle and move in and out in concentric circles until the required volume is achieved. Let the water flow roughly a quater inch away from the walls of the dripper and maintain a constant volume within the brewing process.
Compared to other paper pour over filters, V60 filters are thinner, which makes it an advantage. Although rinsing these filters is recommended, they have a very minimal observable paper taste. The Hario V60’s unique design helps to deliver one of the best coffee flavours. When pouring carefully, the spiral ridges on the V60 gives a more even extraction than other cone-shaped brewers, which can show an over-extraction at the bottom of the cone. Using the glass or plastic V60, you can see how the entire brewing process is completed. Enjoy the Hario V60 with bright, fruity, and floral coffees. Coffees from Kenya, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala use this method.
The Chemex is designed with the combination of a pour over coffee filter cone and an elegant glass decanter. The distinct feature of this brewing process is the ultra thick paper filter set flush against the walls. The grind setting that is recommended for this pour over device is a medium or medium-coarse grind.
The brewing technique starts by rinsing the filter thoroughly. This draws away the paper taste and preheats the server. When the water has emptied, put ground coffee and make the bed even. Hot water is used to evenly wet the coffee (using 10% of the total water volume) then set a timer. After 30-45 seconds, pour the rest of the water into the Chemex brewer gradually. Target to finish pouring within the three minute mark with the last drop falling close to 4 minutes. Toss the filter and grounds. swirl the coffee that is in the bottom of the filter. The Chemex is now ready to serve.
Having the thick paper filter that sits flush against the server’s walls means the water flows through the grounds more gradually and the settling time is longer compared to other methods. This makes brewing a tasty cup less dependent on the user’s skill and more on accurate parameters. The Chemex showcases “higher” and “brighter” notes in coffee-making. It also provides a clean, sweet cup. Bright, fruity coffees are suitable in a Chemex. Use a washed coffee from Kenya, Ethiopia or Panama. There is a bit of a trick to folding the Chemex filter paper – Learn how here.
Kalita Wave Dripper
The Kalita Wave Dripper is designed as a flat-bottom dripper having three triangulated holes in the base. It is one of the very few flat-bottom manual pour-over brewers. The flat, shallow brew bed makes it less turbulent than cone-shaped brewers producing a more even extraction. Kalita’s “accordion” filters have unique features which are designed to stand far from the brewer’s wall. The grind setting recommended for the Kalita is a medium-coarse grind, similar to that of the Chemex.
to get the most out of the flat-bed geometry of the Kalita Wave, the spout of the kettle should be kept as close to the brew bed as possible when pouring onto the coffee ground bed. After pre-infusion, pour slowly in a circular movement.
The two main techniques of brewing for the Wave include implementing ‘pulse’ pouring while the other uses continuous pouring. Baristas in the corner of the pulse pour method want to pause intermittently during the brewing process, giving the water time to soak through the grounds before pouring again. Continuous pouring needs to have a slow but steady flow to maintain consistency of the water volume all throughout the process. Both approaches provide good results and personal preference is the deciding factor
The wavy filters offer better and more stable temperatures by insulating with air instead of the dripper material itself. The Wave is relatively new, but has received good reviews from many pour over fanatics. Similar to the V60, the Wave dripper is highly preferred by the style-conscious as it looks uber trendy in any kitchen. Kalita uses different sizes and materials such glass, ceramic, and stainless steel.
Several coffees are suitable with the Wave. It prefers a coarser grind, requires slower brew time, and reduced agitation giving a more subtle and complex coffee characteristics. Try it with your favourite beans and see what you think!
Out of these three pour over coffee methods our favourite was the Hario V60. Ease of use, brew time and of course taste were the deciding factors for us. The Chemex was a close second because it was the easiest and we’re all partial to an iced coffee in the Chemex to battle the Australian heat. The Kalita Wave was nice too but we had to pick an order and as we were pretending to be discerning coffee buffs, this pleassed our pallettes the least.