Pour over coffee is a well-known brewing method that produces a clean, flavorful, and nuanced cup of coffee. One of the most critical elements of the process is determining the right pour over ratio.
Finding the perfect ratio can be the difference between a delicious cup of coffee and a bitter or weak one, but it can vary from person to person.
In this article, we’ll explore the factors that influence the pour over ratio and how you can brew the perfect cup of pour over coffee.
What Is a Pour Over Coffee?
Pour over coffee involves pouring hot water over freshly ground coffee beans in a conical filter. This process allows for precise extraction control, resulting in a clean and flavorful cup of coffee.
Unlike other brewing methods like a French press or drip machines, pour-over requires manual effort. The slow extraction process brings out subtle flavors often lost in other brewing methods. You don’t need expensive gadgets—just a filter, cone, and kettle.
Moreover, you can control variables like grind size and brew time completely. It’s also an eco-friendly brewing method since paper filters are biodegradable, and reusable metal filters reduce waste compared to disposable pods or capsules.
Pour Over Coffee Ratio
The pour over coffee ratio is an essential aspect of the brewing process that influences your coffee’s taste, strength, and balance. The ratio refers to the proportion of coffee grounds to water, typically measured in grams.
A widely recommended starting point is a 1:15 to 1:18 coffee-to-water ratio. This range can be adjusted to accommodate the specific coffee bean’s origin, roast level, and processing method.
The 1:15 ratio yields a stronger, more robust flavor profile. For example, to brew with this ratio, use 20 grams of coffee with 300 grams of water. This is suitable for those who prefer a bolder, more concentrated taste.
The 1:18 ratio produces a milder, lighter coffee. To achieve this, use 20 grams of coffee with 360 grams of water. This ratio provides a more diluted form of coffee and is ideal for those who enjoy a more delicate, nuanced flavor.
Why Does the Ratio Matter?
The pour over ratio matters because it directly impacts your coffee’s taste. Using the correct proportion of coffee grounds to water ensures proper extraction, allowing you to experience the coffee beans’ full range of flavors and aromas.
An incorrect ratio can result in over-extracted coffee, which is bitter and harsh, or under-extracted coffee, which is sour and weak. A consistent and precise coffee-to-water ratio enables you to achieve a balanced and flavorful cup, highlighting the unique characteristics of the coffee beans, including their origin, roast, and processing method.
Pour Over Coffee Grind
The grind size is crucial in determining your pour over coffee’s final taste and quality.
The right grind size ensures that water flows through the coffee grounds at an optimal rate, extracting all the desirable flavors without over-extracting or under-extracting any compounds.
A medium-fine grind is generally recommended for pour-over brewing methods. This allows for a balanced extraction while maintaining a steady water flow through the grounds.
Though the suggested grind size may be suitable, you may have to alter it depending on elements like your preferences and brewing apparatus.
Other Factors for Pour-Over Coffee—Temperature and Brew Time
Besides grind size, other essential variables, such as temperature and brew time, can impact your pour-over coffee.
The ideal water temperature for pour-over coffee ranges between 195°F (91°C) and 205°F (96°C). Water within this range helps extract complex flavors from the beans without scalding them or causing bitterness.
Aim for a total brew time between three to four minutes to achieve proper extraction during pour-over brewing. Too short a brewing time will result in weak or sour-tasting coffee due to under-extraction. Conversely, too long of a brew time risks bitter flavors caused by over-extraction.
The 3 Basic Elements of Great Pour-Over Filter Coffee
To make the perfect pour-over coffee, you need to pay attention to three essential elements: the coffee beans, the brewer, and the filter. Let’s dive into each one:
A medium-fine grind from freshly roasted beans is recommended for most pour-over methods. Adjust the pour-over ratio according to your taste preferences or brewing equipment.
Various brewers, including Hario V60, Chemex, and Kalita Wave, are available specifically for making pour-over coffee. Each brewer has its unique design, which affects the brewing process and, ultimately, the taste of your coffee.
You can use disposable paper filters, which offer a clean cup by removing most oils and fine particles from the brewed coffee. You can also use reusable metal filters to allow more oils and small particles through, resulting in a richer, fuller-bodied cup.
How To Make Pour Over Coffee
Creating a cup of pour over coffee can be daunting, but with the right ingredients, apparatus, and procedures, you’ll have an enjoyable beverage ready in no time.
To get you started, here is a step-by-step guide.
Ingredients, Equipment, & Tools
- Coffee: Freshly roasted specialty coffee beans are essential for achieving optimal flavor in your pour-over.
- Brewer: A manual pour-over brewer, such as a Hario V60 or Kalita Wave, will provide consistent flow and extraction.
- Filter: Paper filters are recommended to give a cleaner final brew.
- Kettle: A gooseneck kettle provides precise pouring control and even water distribution during brewing.
- Coffee Grinder: A burr grinder ensures an even grind size crucial for proper extraction during the pour-over method.
- Coffee Scale: A digital scale helps maintain accurate measurements when determining your desired coffee-to-water ratio.
Steps to Make the Pour Over Coffee
- Weigh your beans: To achieve an ideal pour-over ratio (1:15, in this case), weigh about 20g of whole-bean coffee for every 300 ml of water.
- Grind your coffee: Grinders provide a more even consistency than blade grinders. Aim for medium-fine, similar to sand texture.
- Heat your water: Bring filtered water to a temperature between 195°F to 205°F. A gooseneck kettle is recommended for better control during pouring.
- Rinse the filter: Place a paper or cloth filter in your pour-over brewer and rinse it with hot water. This helps remove any papery taste and preheats the brewing equipment. Discard the rinse water before brewing.
- Add coffee grounds: Pour the freshly ground coffee into the rinsed filter, ensuring it’s evenly distributed at the bottom of the cone-shaped brewer.
- Pour water: Start pouring hot water over the coffee grounds in a circular motion. Start from the center and move outwards. Aim for a total brewing time between 3-4 minutes.
- Enjoy your coffee: Discard the filter and grounds once the water has flowed through the coffee grounds and into your cup. Sit back and enjoy your pour over coffee.
Different Specialized Brewers to Make Pour Over Coffee
When it comes to making pour over coffee, there are various specialized brewers, each with a unique design and features that can help you brew the perfect cup.
The Hario V60 is a classic choice among coffee enthusiasts. This cone-shaped dripper is made from ceramic or glass material, allowing for excellent heat retention while brewing your coffee. The spiral ridges inside the cone facilitate even water flow through the grounds for optimal extraction of flavors.
Chemex is another iconic pour over brewer made from borosilicate glass. It combines a brewer and server into one stylish piece of equipment with a wooden collar as an insulator during handling.
Chemex uses proprietary thick paper filters, which help produce clean-tasting cups with minimal sediment.
Kalita Wave has a flat-bottomed design with three small holes at the base to ensure even water distribution across all grounds resulting in balanced extractions every time you brew.
The stainless steel or ceramic options provide excellent heat retention, while the wave-shaped filters help maintain a consistent flow rate.
In conclusion, making a perfect cup of pour-over coffee requires attention to detail and precision. The pour-over ratio is an essential element that determines the strength and flavor of your brew.
Selecting the correct grind size, beans, filter, and machine can also drastically impact your coffee’s taste. With some practice and experimentation, you can discover the perfect pour over ratio and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee every time.