How to make pour-over coffee
Read coffee expert Celeste Wong's guide to brewing pour-over coffee at home, including the best equipment to use and insider barista tips
Want to know how to make pour-over coffee? Looking for the best pour-over coffee maker? Read our guide from coffee expert Celeste Wong below, then check out how to use an aeropress, how to use a moka pot and how to use a French press. Looking for the artisan beans to make your pour-over? Try Celeste's tried-and-tested list of the best coffee beans.
Pour-over coffee (also known as V60 filter or drip coffee) is a slow extraction method that requires some attention the whole way through. It can be very relaxing to do and personally, this is my favourite brew method. Using a medium-grind coffee, it's for people who want a clean-tasting, full cup of coffee with a light mouthfeel. It takes about 3 minutes to brew one to two cups.
What type of coffee should I use for a pour-over coffee?
Coffee can be roasted specifically for brew methods: look for single-origin coffee roasted for filter brew method. Lighter roasts lend really well to pour-over filter coffees.
Characteristics of different coffees come through strongly from pour-over coffee. If you are looking for something mild, smooth and not too heavy, try a Brazilian, Columbian or Guatemalan single-origin coffee. If you want something a little brighter with citrus or floral tones, try a Costa Rican coffee. Interesting origins to try are Ethiopian Yirgacheffe for its floral notes and Kenyan peaberry for its strong berry notes.
What do you need to make pour over coffee?
- V60 or pour-over cone – try the Hario V60 full pour-over set (£22.50, Pact) or the afforable and chic Melitta porcelain coffee filter (£19.99, Amazon; available in a range of colours)
- Filter paper
- 15-18g medium fresh ground coffee (to make one cup) – pick from my favorite coffee beans and grind with these tried-and-tested coffee grinders
- Gooseneck kettle filled with 250-300ml hot water – try this sleek gooseneck electric kettle (£169, Bodum) or the Hario V60 gooseneck kettle (£45, Pact)
- Digital kitchen scales – you won’t always need scales to weigh the end coffee volume, but it helps until you get used to making a one-cup brew. Scales are useful when you want to change coffee ratios or recipes.
- Coffee cup
How to make pour-over coffee
- On a scale, put the V60/pour-over cone over the cup you want to drink from.
- Line the pour-over cone with a paper filter.
- Pour water over the paper filter so it's saturated to thoroughly rinse out the paper fines.
- Discard the excess water in the cup from wetting the filter paper and put it back underneath the pour-over cone.
- Put the freshly ground coffee in the pour-over cone.
- Set a timer for 3 minutes. Slowly pour hot water over the coffee in a circular motion so that water is evenly distributed and all your grounds are saturated. The grounds will bloom and bubble.
- Keep pouring the water for 3 minutes, not overfilling the cone, but keeping it level. Try not to let it ‘drop’ or fully drain before you’re done.
- When the 3 minutes is up, you should be near the end of the water in your jug or the scales should reach a weight of about 250-300ml. If you find the coffee is too strong or weak, you can add more or less water. Or, look at changing your coffee dose at the start (by adding a little more or less).
Top tips for making pour-over coffee
- Freshly ground, medium-grind coffee is best for a paper filter. We’ve tested the best coffee grinders so you can grind fresh coffee every time.
- Make sure your water is not too hot: filter coffees tend to taste even better as the temperature cools. Water that's between 92-96C is best. If you don’t have a thermometer, boil the water and pour it into another pouring jug (preferably one with a gooseneck) while you’re getting everything else ready, allowing the temperature to drop slightly. You can also get an electric gooseneck kettle, some of which are temperature-controlled, like the Bodum, Hario Buono, My Brewista or Fellow.
- Always rinse the paper filter first. You will get a much cleaner-tasting cup.
- Remember a recipe is a guide. Try to stick with one recipe first, e.g. 18g coffee in 250g water. Then, you can change one variable at a time, e.g. increase the coffee amount if your recipe is too weak or use less water for a shorter but stronger coffee.
- If the coffee is filtering through too quickly, try a finer grind (and vice versa if the coffee is filtering slowly).
Celeste Wong, has gained a stellar reputation in the coffee industry, regularly speaking at events and reviewing coffee-related gadgets.
Want to learn more about becoming an expert at-home barista? Read our guides here:
Celeste Wong's guide to becoming an overnight coffee expert
Celeste Wong's guide on how to make iced coffee
Celeste Wong's best moka pots
Celeste Wong's best coffee grinders
Celeste Wong's best decaf coffee to try
Celeste Wong's best gooseneck kettles to try
Celeste Wong's best coffee beans to try
Celeste Wong's best cafetières to buy
Celeste Wong's best coffee bags
Best coffee subscriptions to try
Best coffee pod machines
Best bean-to-cup coffee machines
Best espresso machines
Best Nespresso machines
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