How to Use
Once you learn how to make pour-over coffee, you'll never go back to drip. Our barista breaks it down in simple terms so you can always enjoy the perfect cup.
If you stop at your local coffee shop for a daily pick-me-up, you’re easily spending $3 a day. That’s $90 a month and $1,080 a year. Whoa! And that doesn’t include the cost of those irresistible muffins, bagels and slices of quiche—not to mention a tip. However, if you learn how to make pour-over coffee at home, it’ll taste just as delicious as coffee shop coffee. Plus, you’ll save both time and money.
With more than four years of barista experience under my belt, I cannot recommend this coffee-making method enough. I’ve designed this recipe to be as delicious and beginner-friendly as possible so you can make craft coffee at home. (Take your coffee obsession a step further with our list of coffee products for home baristas.)
What Is Pour-Over Coffee?
Pour-over coffee is a method of brewing coffee that requires pouring hot water over coffee grounds in a filter; it’s also referred to as hand-brewed coffee. In a traditional electric coffee maker, water pours in a steady stream over the coffee grounds and you have no control over how the coffee is extracted. This method puts you squarely in charge. (Trust us, it’s one of the yummiest types of coffee).
What Are the Benefits of Pour-Over Coffee?
Since pour-over coffee is made by hand as opposed to in an automatic coffee maker, the flavors and oils from the coffee grounds are extracted with precision, and this brings out the optimal taste. Plus, when you’re brewing for one, you don’t end up wasting a whole pot of coffee. And believe us, a pour-over tastes significantly better than instant single-serve coffee.
How to Make Pour-Over Coffee
For this recipe, after a little bit of prep work, you’ll do four timed and weighed pours. Each of these pours will extract the fullest flavor possible from your coffee grounds. This recipe is designed for one serving in a standard coffee mug.
Don’t worry if you don’t get this exactly right the first time. It takes practice! Your pour-over coffee will taste great, even if your weights are a bit off. Just do your best today and try again tomorrow.
What do you need?
The pour-over coffee dripper holds your coffee filter in place as you make pours. These come in a variety of sizes and styles, but this Hario V60 is a great place to start.
The swanneck kettle is designed with a curved narrow neck for making precise pours when brewing your pour-over.
You can use a simple food scale to weigh each pour. However, since you’ll also need to time each pour, we suggest a pour-over scale that features a timer.
No matter which pour-over dripper you choose, you’ll need filters.
Step 1: Heat the water
Begin by heating your kettle of filtered water to a gentle boil.
Step 2: Prepare the coffee grounds
While the water is heating, use your scale to weigh out 20 grams of coffee beans. (Consider our Test Kitchen-Preferred coffee brands.) Then, grind these beans to a medium-coarse consistency—similar to the texture of rough sand. (If you would like to use pre-ground coffee beans, read the note below.)
Step 3: Pre-wet the filter
Now that you have your coffee grounds and water ready, place a filter in your pour-over dripper. Then, while holding your dripper above a sink, gently trickle water from your kettle over the filter in a circular motion, until the entire filter is wet. Let all excess water drain through.
Editor’s Tip: Pre-wetting the filter like this ensures that it will stay in place during your four pours and that there is no papery taste in your coffee.
Step 4: Set up your supplies
Place the dripper on your coffee mug of choice. Set it on your scale. Last, add coffee grounds to the filter, just like you would when making a whole pot of coffee.
Step 5: Tare your scale
Set your scale to measure grams and tare your scale so that, with all of your equipment on top, it reads 0 grams.
Step 6: Do the first pour
Start your timer. With your kettle in hand, begin pouring water at the center of your coffee grounds in a circular motion, slowly working your way out to the rim of the coffee grounds, without quite touching this rim. Allow the coffee to drip down. This step should take about 30 seconds and your scale should read about 60 grams.
Editor’s Tip: During this first pour, the coffee grounds will rise up a bit—this is called the bloom. The fresher the coffee is, the more of a bloom you will see.
Step 7: Do the second pour
After your timer reaches around 30 seconds, begin your second pour. Starting with the center of the coffee grounds once again, pour in a spiral motion slowly working outward without quite touching the outermost rim of the grounds. Then, gradually work your way back toward the center until your scale reads about 140 grams. Allow this to draw down for about 30 seconds.
Step 8: Do the third pour
After your timer reaches about 60 seconds, complete another pour moving slowly outward from the center and then back in, much like the motion you performed in the second pour. This time, however, you can pour to the edge of the coffee grounds. Once finished, aim for the scale to read about 240 grams and the timer to reach about 1 minute, 30 seconds. Let this draw down.
Step 9: Do the last pour
After your timer reads around a minute and a half, complete your final pour. Work in a circular motion both in and out as you wish, making sure to capture any remaining coffee grounds. The scale should read about 340 grams when you’re finished. It may take a moment for the coffee to draw down completely.
Once complete, gently remove the dripper and toss the filter into the compost. Carefully remove your mug from the scale. And that’s it: You have made yourself a perfect cup of joe. Cheers! Pro tip: Keep your fresh cup of pour over coffee warm all morning long with a coffee mug warmer. Or better yet, treat yourself to an Ember Mug.
Tips for Making Pour-Over Coffee
What brands of coffee should I buy?
Your best bet is to support your local coffee shop and buy their freshly roasted coffee beans. If you want to grab something at the store, consider these sustainable coffee brands. Opting for coffee subscription boxes is another way to support independent coffee artisans.
Can I use pre-ground coffee?
You certainly can, but the more recently ground your coffee is, the fresher your pour-over will taste. So, we highly suggest investing in a coffee grinder and grinding coffee yourself. (This affordable Hamilton Beach Grinder is a great choice.)
Do I need to use filtered water?
The quality of the water affects the taste of your coffee, so we suggest using filtered water. However, if you don’t have access to it, it is completely fine to use tap water.
Can I use a Chemex for a pour-over?
Yes! You may use this recipe for a single-cup Chemex. However, many Chemex pour-over makers are designed to make 2 cups of coffee. In this case, you will double your recipe by using about 40 grams of coffee and 680 grams of water.