My fondness for coffee is no secret, close friends and family would plausibly call it an infatuation at some stages. The broad variety of processes available to brew a "simple" cup of coffee, and the effects of each method being so unique, intrigued me enough to explore numerous techniques over the years.
First came the recognisable french press which for most people is enough to satisfy the coffee itch. For me, however, this blossomed into a stove-top which then led me to the world of espresso machines. At this point, it was a slippery slope into things like manually pulling espresso, the fantastic Aeropress and culminated in glorious syphon coffee.
On this journey (and after tasting copious amounts of badly brewed, poorly extracted and sometimes utterly terrible coffee), I took a step back and looked for alternate methods to create that perfect coffee I longed for. I didn’t think there was anything left until I realised that I had always bypassed the humble pour-over.
In my ignorance, filter coffee seemed like a step backwards at the time and I think espresso-based coffee had its hooks in me. It was only when I picked up a V60 from Bold Street Coffee in Liverpool that I realised how much I’d been missing over the years.
From the first cup, I was hooked. Everything was perfect. Coffee had a new purpose, a new life.
For me, pour-over brings to the table; damn near perfect coffee at home almost every time. The methodology, however, to what some might consider being “just a drink”, probably seems (and sounds) a little too involved. My ideal mornings consist of spending some quality time with my wife and son. If I can couple this with enjoying some of the best tasting coffee available, it’s a win-win all around.
If you’re not already bored of reading my embellishment of what is essentially just pouring hot water over some coffee grounds, then you might be interested in how I do my pour-over. I’ve tried to detail how I (generally speaking) brew a V60 coffee below but I have to preface this by saying I’m not any type of authority on brewing a coffee. Without the help of some friends who are, who I’ve shamelessly stolen a number of tips from, I wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about.
What do you need?
- Coffee - Whether you grind your own or you buy pre-ground, just make sure it's medium-coarse 👍
- Scales - Might sound overkill, but honestly once you’ve started measuring out water and ground weights… you’ll never go back
- V60 - Pretty standard for a pour-over setup
- Filters - I’ve always used Hario filters
- Time - About 3 minutes
Bang a filter in your V60 and pre-wet the filter paper. To do this, run some of the boiled water around the filter until it’s been fully rinsed. This can help remove some of the papery tastes of a dry filter.
Measure out 300grams of just off boil water and 18grams of ground coffee
Add the coffee to the (pre-wet) filter and gently tap it to level the surface of the grounds. Place the brewer atop your cup/carafe and place this entire set-up onto your scale and set it to zero.
There will be four pours in total. The first is the “bloom.” As hot water first hits the grounds, Co2 is released creating a "blossoming" effect — the grounds will rise up with bubbles being released.
Start a timer and begin pouring your water slowly over the coffee, starting from the outside edge of the filter and move in steadily whilst spiralling inwards toward the centre of the grounds. Stop pouring when the scale reaches 50grams. Make sure all the grounds are saturated, even if you need to add a little water. The pour should take about 15 seconds. Give the coffee an additional 20/30 seconds to drip before moving on to the second pour.
The second pour will start in the centre of the grounds and you need to pour in a steady spiral toward the outer edge and then back to the centre. You'll be pouring 60grams this time, bringing the total to 110grams and do this over 20/30 seconds. Once you've finished this pour, allow another 20/30 seconds to pass.
The third pour is the same as the second but you'll be adding 70grams of water this time bringing the total to 180grams overall. Again do this over 20/30 seconds and, after you've finished the pour allow another 20/30 seconds to pass.
The fourth and final pour is exactly the same as the previous two but for this one, you'll be adding 80grams of water over 20/30 seconds, which will then bring the final total to 260grams.
You can pick all of these bits up for less than £35 but like with everything niche in the world, of course, you can go out and spend 3, 4 or 5+ times more. Fundamentally though, I’ve found that the taste comes from the recipe, timing and the process itself rather than how pricey your kit was.
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