The pour-over coffee brewing method has become my new favorite. It is great at bringing out the full flavor of a coffee as well as all the nuances. I especially like it for our Guatemala and Brazil . I am currently drinking a cup of our Guatemala brewed with my $6 red, ceramic pour-over coffee maker and it is bright, complex, and lingering. This is also the method that is most popular with the third-wave of coffee roasters. Ten-second history: the first-wave was Folgers and their like making themselves a household name in the 19th century. The second wave was Peets, Starbucks, and their imitators in the 70s and 80s. The third wave consists of small, independent roasters who believe coffee can be a fine, artisanal food just like wine or cheese. The third wave doesn't have much representation in the burbs of Houston. But I think that will change in the near future as people start demanding higher quality coffee.
The pour-over coffee brewer is very simple and there are a lot of options out there. The one I use is ceramic, conical and takes a #4 Melitta filter. It has one drip hole. You can find flat brewers, ones with two or three holes. The Hairo V60 has one bigger hole that the tip of the filter fits through. The Chemex brewer uses a special carafe and an extra thick filter. Everyone has a favorite but I find the majority of them make a great cup of coffee. So pick a cheap one, or one that you think is pretty and make sure you get the right filters. The process is very similar to an auto-drip coffee maker, except that you get to control the entire brewing process. If you like having a single cup of coffee, this is far better and cheaper than a k-cup. And its better for the environment. I use compostable, unbleached filters made of bamboo fiber. This method takes some practice to get it perfect, but even an imperfect pour will still be pretty great. It really helps if you have a small kettle with a long spout (gooseneck) to allow for a slow, even pour, but I find a small, glass Pyrex measuring cup gives you pretty good control. The brewing method below is for a single 8-10 oz cup of coffee, but you can do some math if you want to brew into a carafe, or just a really large mug.
- Heat water to 195 to 205 degrees F. Use good tasting water.
- Grind to a medium-fine consistency (you can go a little finer if you want to slow down the brewing process) .
- Preheat your pour-over coffee maker with the filter in (be sure to put your mug under the brewer). This is important as the paper flavor in a filter is more noticeable with a smaller amount of coffee.
- Add the ground coffee (I like 20-23 grams (4 level tablespoons) for an 8-10 ounce cup).
- Pour a small amount of hot water onto the grounds and let the coffee bloom for 30-45 seconds. You will see the coffee grounds rise a bit and then settle back down. This is more drastic with fresher coffee.
- Pout the rest of the water, as slow as you can onto the mass of coffee. The goal is to keep the water level low but constant so that the grounds are always being extracted. The entire brewing process should take 2.5-3.5 minutes.
- If you want to, you can let the last bit drain off of your cup. It has a lot of bite, which you may or may not want in your cup.
- Enjoy your fabulous cup of coffee.