How To Brew the Perfect Coffee: Pour Over


Welcome to our first session of How-to’s. Our Director of Product, Kala, has shared one of the easiest ways to make coffee at home that’s just as tasty as you get at your favorite shop: the pour over. Want to impress a coffee lover? Or even to expand your knowledge? Learn more below!

 

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What’s the history?


The popularity of the pour over has waxed and waned through the years since its inception as a method of making coffee at home, however in the recent decade pour overs as a menu option have become very common in most specialty shops. The origin of the pour over is owed to Melitta Bentz who’s invention of the paper coffee filter, a main component of many pour over methods, allowed for continued innovation. The Melitta family’s cone shaped pour over device and filters became extremely popular in homes in the 1930’s and are still ubiquitous today in the homes of coffee lovers.               

Another beloved pour over device is the Chemex, and this is the method we will learn about in today’s post. This brew method is revered for its design so much so that it remains in the permanent collections of museums such as the MOMA in New York, the Smithsonian, the Corning Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum.


The chemex came soon after the Melitta family designed their cone shaped device. The chemex was designed in 1941 by the German chemist, Peter J. Schlumbohm. He wanted to combine objects he found very useful in the lab (the Erlenmeyer flask, and the glass funnel) to make something very useful at home. The chemex caught on quickly not only because of it’s beautiful design but because it had a leg up on other current pour over devices, it has the capacity to make multiple cups of coffee at the same time.


Variables:


Coffee bean of your choice


  • We recommend our newly released coffee from our Laotian grower, Ms Vone. This coffee has tasting notes of jasmine, honey, starfruit/gooseberry, macadamia nut, and lingering honey sweetness - perfect for those who crave dessert without the overwhelming taste!

Grind Size

  • For a chemex a medium-coarse grind is recommended - similar to coarse sand or kosher salt.


Standard Ratio of Water to Coffee


  • 1 gram of coffee per 15-17 grams water

Time that Water Remains in Contact with Coffee


  • The first contact between water and coffee is important - especially for light roasts - to release some of the CO2 from the coffee grounds. The wait time (30 seconds) between the first pour and subsequent pour is important to provide space for water to seep through the coffee grounds. If all is correct, the brewing process should take between 4-5 mins.

Temperature of Water


  • According to National Coffee Association (NCA), the ideal water temperature for brewing is between 195 to 205 F. Colder water leads to a fairly flat under-extracted coffee which can be sour or papery, while extremely hot water results in bitter and harsh flavors.

How to make the perfect pour-over:


Tools:

  • Pour over vessel and proper filters - in this case the Chemex
  • Gram scale
  • Hot water kettle
  • Thermometer
  • Timer
  • Grinder
  • Coffee
  • Filtered water

Recipe:                                                                

  1. Heat water to 202F.         
  2. Weigh out beans. For a 6-cup Chemex it is about 46g of coffee and 690g of water  (1:15 ratio).
  3. Place a filter into the top compartment of the Chemex, making sure the 3-layered side is facing the spout. This will allow air flow during the brew process.
  4. Rinse the filter with ample hot water. This also preheats the Chemex.
  5. Once thoroughly saturated, dispose of the rinse water. Tip: Don’t remove the filter to empty faster; it can be hard to put back once removed.
  6. Place your Chemex, complete with rinsed filter, on the scale.
  7. Grind your coffee to medium (kosher salt or a bit smaller) and add it to wet filter. Tare scale.
  8. Pour to fully saturate coffee to allow for bloom (the amazing, aromatic bubbling that happens as gas is released from the coffee and all of the coffee becomes fully saturated with water for even extraction).
  9. After 30 seconds, add water in stages (around 100g-200g at a time) until you reach the desired final brew weight (690g), making sure that the grounds are never exposed to air until the brew is finished.
  10. Concentrate the pour towards the center of the Chemex, working your way outwards to about a centimeter from the edge of the slurry. The water stream from the pouring kettle should be slow enough to fall straight down, not at an angle.
  11. Once the drips stall to every couple of seconds, your brew is finished. If your grind was correct, and you poured at the right speed, this should have taken between 4-5 minutes.

KEEP IN MIND

  • Brews a very clean cup due to heavy weight filter (about 30% heavier than other filters)
  • Because of this you may want to start with a 1:10 ratio (1g coffee per 10g of water). Increase the coffee dose or use less water to achieve your preferred taste.

We hope the guide we have provided gives you a more insight to the pour-over method,  whether you are new to the coffee world, or a coffee lover who are seeking a new way to spice up the way you drink coffee.