The Simplest Way to Make Pour-Over Coffee

3 minute read

Have you been wondering about the pour-over offerings at your local coffee house? It costs more, it takes longer…so why would anyone order it?

Experts say this method—in which hot water is slowly poured over a single serving of freshly ground coffee—results in a better-tasting brew because, unlike standard drip, the water-to-coffee ratio is exactly right. And when done pain-stakingly right, pour-over is supposed to help extract flavor more nuances of your favorite beans.

I love a well-brewed cup of coffee, but for me, the transition to pour-over happened for a less lofty reason: I’m the only coffee drinker in my house. My 6-year-old is obviously too young to be interested, and my husband, much to my continuing dismay and disbelief, is not a coffee drinker. (It was hard to even type that sentence.) Since I drink only 1 cup a day, brewing a whole pot, or 1 cup in a large pot, didn’t make sense.

After much trial-and-error, I landed on pour-over, and I’ve never looked back.

True coffee purists will note my edits to this process (and probably judge me for it.) But I’ve found this is what works best for me—and I stand by it. Here’s how it’s done.

Grind the coffee

I use a hand-crank Burr grinder ($20, because I think the coffee comes out better, and there’s something satisfying about grinding it by hand. (Plus, I get a quick little arm and shoulder workout in, first thing—no joke.) But you can skip this step and use pre-ground or make it quicker by grinding yours in an electric grinder.

Transfer it to a filter

Because I use a porcelain Hario ceramic coffee dripper ($17,, I use their paper filters ($7,, too. You can buy other drippers, of course, but I prefer not to use plastic, and I think the coffee tastes cleaner with these filters than others I’ve used. Once the coffee is in the filter in the cone, give it a little shake to even out the grinds.

Heat up the water

Do this while grinding the beans. Here’s where I deviate from the die-hards. A true coffee expert would tell you to use a special kettle with a thin spout for precise pouring. I just use my regular kettle; the same one my husband uses for (gasp!) tea.

I also skip the step of warming up the cup.

Pour over

Time to brew. Pour in just enough water to wet the grounds, then let it stand for 30 seconds to a minute. This allows the grounds to “bloom,” resulting in more even coffee extraction for the rest of the brew (you’ll see the grounds kind of puff up slightly). After the bloom, continue pouring, a bit at a time (just cover the grounds, don’t fill the filter all the way), until your cup is brewed.

Then, fix it however you like, and enjoy.

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