How to Make Pour Over Coffee

The first time I saw pour over was at Blue Bottle in San Francisco, seemed like a cool way to make coffee. After a lot of research this is now my go to morning coffee process. It seems like a lot of work, but once you get the hang out it, it only requires a few minutes of your attention.

I like pour over because you can make some of the best coffee with a relatively low-cost method, you can get a great pour over setup for under $100, less if you have some of the items at home already. If you go down the rabbit hole of espresso you will quickly realize to get the best results requires a lot of investment in time and especially money. To do espresso properly requires at least $450 for a semi-pro machine and $280 for a good espresso grinder at the higher end you’re looking at $3000 machines and $680 grinders.

Things you need (there are links to the items in this kit on the recommendations page):

This is the James Hoffman technique, there is a video I made down below of the process, I have written it out with some additional detail. I know it seems long and complex, but after a few times it becomes second nature and only requires a few minutes of active attention. I mention this because I can do this with two toddlers screaming for breakfast, so I think most people can manage this. If the times and amounts are a little off, that is ok.. you will refine the process to make it work best for you.

  1. Boil the water in your gooseneck kettle, use filtered (preferably soft) water that is freshly boiled, not water that has been sitting in a warmer.
  2. While your water is warming, using the recipe sheet and on the resources page, grind your coffee by weight to a medium/fine ground. If your coffee comes out too bitter, adjust the grind coarser. Adjust finer if it lacks flavor. Ideally keep going finer until it becomes bitter then adjust it coarser again to ensure optimal extraction.
  3. Insert and rinse the V60 filter paper in your dripper using hot water from your kettle or I use a Zojirushi hot water warmer to do this (the kind I told you not to use for the brewing the coffee), if I am making larger batches sometimes my gooseneck won’t have enough water to rinse the paper and make the coffee. This cleans out any paper taste and also heats up the dripper and carafe. Dump the water after the rinse.
  4. Set your carafe, dripper and wet paper on the scale and tare it to zero then pour in your ground coffee and confirm the amount. It could be less than you put into the grinder due to grinder retention, if it is a gram or two off, I wouldn’t worry too much. Give your dripper a little shake to level out the grounds. Tare to zero again before pouring water.
  5. For this example let’s use 30 grams of ground coffee in your dripper and 500 ml of water, since one ml of water weighs exactly one gram so I use them interchangeably. With your scale at zero, start the timer and pour in a circular pattern 2-3 times the weight of coffee with your freshly boiled water. So 60-90 grams of water for the bloom. Give it a gentle swirl and let it saturate for 45 seconds. This is called the bloom, it helps to release gas and wet the grounds.
  6. Your timer is now around 0:45, within the next 30 seconds pour in a circular pattern approximately 60% of the water. So we want to hit 300 grams by the time the timer hits 1:15. Try to pour the flow to agitate the grounds sufficiently without creating channels in the coffee bed. Some will say don’t pour on the paper, but I think it is ok and I do it to get grounds that are stuck on the paper back into the slurry.
  7. Continue pouring the rest of the water with the goal to finish within the next 30 seconds, around when the timer hits 1:45. After all your water is in take a spoon and give it a gentle stir clockwise and another one counter-clockwise. Once the water level drops down to safe level give it another swirl to flatten out of the coffee bed. Throughout these pours we want to retain as much thermal mass in the dripper as possible, so try not to let the water draw down too much while pouring.
  8. Now let the coffee draw down fully, which should finish at about 3:30. Give the coffee a stir (not swirl) in the carafe before pouring. If your drawn down is much slower or faster than 3:30 try to adjust your grind size finer if it is too fast or coarser if it is too slow.
  9. Try it without milk or sugar first after it cools a little, see if you can detect any notes. If you want to add milk or sugar, you can do so, but try to get a taste of the coffee black first.
  10. If you want to nerd out, use your phone to take down some tasting notes on the type of coffee and if you like it, or if next time you should adjust the grind or whatever comes to mind. Coffee is personal, like wine or food, some people love certain types and others hate it, it is all personal preference.

They make machines that try to replicate this process so you can put in your coffee and just press a button and go. I know people that like them, but I enjoy the process of making it this way. If time is an issue, they may be good to look into. Check out our blog post about how to roast your own coffee at home here.

How to Make Coffee with an AeroPress

You may have heard of the AeroPress, these are popular brewers for single servings, taking to the office, travel and camping. They combine the immersion method (like a French Press) with a filter and quick brew times. They make about 6 fl. oz of coffee and are pretty easy to clean.

Below are five different methods I like, there are tons of other recipes out there though. There is even a world AeroPress Championship (WAC) with annual winners.

Things you will need:

You may not have a scale handy, but you can pre-measure your scoop weight and the numbers on the side of the chamber as reference in a pinch. Other recipes call for making a more concentrated coffee then adding hot water after the brew is done to get a larger serving size.

Here is my video of the Stumptown method:

Stumptown Method:

17 grams coffee for 220 ml water. Medium/Fine Grind. Water fresh off the boil.

  1. 10-15 second pour
  2. Stir
  3. Place the plunger on at an angle just to cover the brew
  4. 1:15 steep
  5. Stir
  6. Plunge into cup

James Hoffmann Ultimate AeroPress Technique (Slightly Modified):

13 grams coffee for 220 ml water. Medium/Fine Grind. Water fresh off the boil.

  1. Pour in water quickly (but carefully) making sure all grounds get wet
  2. Set the plunger to create a vacuum
  3. 2:00 steep
  4. Swirl
  5. Wait 30 seconds
  6. Plunge into cup

The Inverted Method

The inverted methods ensures that no water will drip through the filter and allows for a better immersion brew, I tend to avoid these because I have kids at home and am afraid someone is going to knock it over and get burned. One option is to purchase a Fellow Prismo attachment that is leak proof and will allow you to use these inverted recipes using the AeroPress the regular way. It also has a reusable metal filter and allows for more pressure for espresso-like extraction.

Be careful not to spill hot water or burn yourself. With this method everything is upside down, the plunger will be on the bottom and the chamber will be on top, make sure to attach the filter and cap before flipping.

17 grams coffee for 200 ml water. Medium/Fine Grind. Water fresh off the boil.

You are using less water because you want the plunger to be seated in a little further to avoid it separating and causing a spill/burns.

  1. Pour 2x weight of coffee (approx. 34 ml) of water
  2. Stir and bloom for 30 seconds
  3. Pour the rest of the water
  4. 1:00 steep
  5. Stir
  6. Secure filter and cap
  7. Place cup on top and flip
  8. Plunge

If you want something more like espresso try these methods. Add milk for something similar to a latte.

Inverted Method for Espresso-like Coffee:

17 grams coffee for 55 ml of water. Fine Espresso Grind. Water fresh off the boil.

  1. Slowly pour the water over about 10 seconds
  2. Swirl/Stir for 15 seconds
  3. Secure filter and cap
  4. Place cup on top and flip
  5. Plunge quickly to complete the brew under 30 seconds

James Hoffman Inverted Method for Espresso-like Coffee:

18 grams coffee for 90 ml of water. Fine Espresso Grind. Water fresh off the boil.

  1. Pour the water
  2. Stir
  3. 1:30 steep
  4. Secure filter and cap
  5. Place cup on top and flip
  6. Swirl
  7. Plunge

If you’re looking for a larger brew size, in a similar immersion/filter style brewer, check out the Clever Dripper.