This is another guest post by our friend, Shawn Dempewolf.
Pour-over coffee is experiencing a resurgence of popularity. When electric coffee brewers came out in the 1950s, everyone flocked to them for their efficiency and speed. Over time, however, some people have returned to older, hands-on methods for more individual control over the coffee quality. Making pour-over coffee gives that control while being easy, fun, and creative.
Once you learn the basics, you can choose your favorite pour-over coffee technique and learn how to make coffee like a pro.
Let’s look at how pour-over coffee works and the wide range of fun “drippers” you can try.
What is pour-over coffee?
Pour-over coffee is prepared one or two cups at a time. The coffee filter and dripper are placed directly on the coffee cup or pitcher and hot water is poured in by hand, soaking the coffee grounds and dripping out the other end as coffee. It produces a cup with the richness of French press without the coffee bits.
How to make it
1. Grind your coffee beans to a medium-fine ground, about the consistency of table salt (grind varies slightly by dripper).
2. Place a cone-style coffee filter into the dripper and set the dripper on your mug (small dripper) or pitcher (large dripper). Pour boiled water through to rinse the filter and pre-heat the container. Pour out the water.
3. Put your grinds into the fiilter.
4. Pour in enough water to saturate the grounds, stir, and let it drip for 30 seconds. In a slow, swirling motion, pour water into the dripper (amounts vary based on dripper), set a timer and let it drip for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the dripper (there may be water left in it) and place it in the sink. Enjoy your fresh coffee!
The fun equipment
There are many types of coffee drippers, ranging from plastic Melitta drippers to fancy siphons that look like something in a chemistry lab. In this blog, we will look at six different types that are easy to use and affordable. They are all highly rated by coffee shops and regular folks.
Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper
This is a basic, Melitta-style ceramic pour-over coffee dripper with a cone shape and two small holes in the bottom, which allows the water take its time brewing the coffee. Its clever design makes it easy for beginners or those who like to keep it simple. It comes in several bright colors and two sizes. To see how it is used, watch this fun video from Stumptown, a Seattle coffee roaster: https://www.stumptowncoffee.com/brew-guides/bee-house
The AeroPress makes coffee quickly by forcing it through the brewer with air pressure. To brew a cup of coffee or espresso, insert a paper microfilter into the cap and twist the cap onto the main chamber. Put a scoop of finely ground coffee into the chamber and add hot water up to the water line. Stir for a few seconds and then press the plunger into the device, forcing the coffee out the bottom and into your cup.
Top off with hot water (for coffee) or hot milk (for a latte).The press is made of BPA-free plastic and is light and durable, making it great for travel.
Go here for videos showing the AeroPress in action: https://aerobie.com/product/aeropress/
The Clever Coffee Dripper
This brewer takes the standard pour-over technique and removes the need to add water twice (or more), making it easier and faster. To brew a cup, place a cone filter in the brewer, add ground coffee, pour water over the coffee up to the top, put the lid on, walk away and let steep for 2 to 4 minutes. Then place the dripper on top of your cup, which presses the release valve and allows the coffee to drain into your cup.
It comes in small and large sizes and is made of BPA-free plastic, making it durable, lightweight, and convenient for travel.
To see how to use it, watch How to Brew Clever Dripper Coffee.
Kalita, based in Japan, started out making paper coffee filters in the 1950s and later expanded into making coffee drippers. Kalita’s Wave Series has a flat bottom with three small holes, allowing the coffee to soak consistently. The wave design helps fool-proof your pour-over coffee for a consistently good cup of joe.
Its Wave Series comes in two sizes available in stainless steel, glass, and ceramic (ceramic holds heat longer, glass lets you see what you’re doing, and stainless steel is durable enough for travel or camping). It is designed to work with Kalita’s specialty filters.
Japanese company Hario got its start making heat-proof glass in 1921. Today it’s known for its ingenious, beautifully designed products. Hario makes a variety of coffee makers from basic drippers from complex siphons.
What’s nice about their Drip Pot is the cotton flannel filter, which you can reuse and avoid throwing away paper coffee filters. To keep the filter from affecting the flavor of the coffee, you keep it in water in the refrigerator. Brewing instructions are the same as a standard dripper.
Tutorial video: https://youtu.be/4oxcCKxvOp0
The distinguishing feature of the Chemex is its elegant hourglass-shaped vessel, on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art and the Corning Museum of Glass in New York City. It was invented in 1941 using non-porous glass to deliver a clean, full-bodied coffee.
The Chemex has no base with holes—the coffee runs directly from the filter to the pot—so it takes a bit more finesse, which is fun for more advanced pour-over coffee preparers. To see it in use, see Stumptown’s video at https://www.stumptowncoffee.com/brew-guides/chemex.