Photo by Bureaux Coffee
How To Pour-Over with Tim Williams
By Tim Williams
If you’re anything like me, the first time you saw someone making coffee using a pour-over brewer, the process probably seemed peculiar and fussy – maybe even a little intimidating? Let me share some good news.
Under that sometimes pretentious veneer, making pour-over coffee is actually a simple and easy-to-learn technique. The equipment itself is low cost and the results are both consistent and elegant, making pour-over coffee the kind of high effort-to-reward ratio everyone deserves with their first task of the day.
+ You’re going to need:
- Pour-over cone, with filter paper (2-4 cup size) We like the Kinto Brewer, but Hario, Kalita, or another brand will work
- Jug or decanter to brew into
- Kitchen scale and kettle Coffee grinder (ideally)
- 30g of fresh coffee
- 600g of water
- Put your water on to boil. Open your paper filter and place it inside the pour-over cone. Place the brewer onto your jug or decanter and put both on top of your scale.
- Once your water is hot, use about 100g to thoroughly rinse the paper filter. This will remove a slight starchy taste from the paper, and pre-heat both the brewer and the decanter. Discard the rinse water.
- Grind your coffee, aiming for a grind size roughly equivalent to coarse sand. If you don’t have a grinder, your cafe or roaster will grind it for you. Just be sure to advise that you’re using a pour-over brewer.
- Add your ground coffee into your filter-lined brewer and tare the scale.
- When your water has boiled, slowly and gently pour 60g of water over the grinds, making sure all the coffee is saturated.
- Allow the coffee to ‘bloom’ for 30-40 seconds. You’ll see the coffee bed swell up and bubble slightly as gases are released, and a few drops of brewed coffee should begin to collect in your decanter.
- Continue pouring water into the brewer in a slow, steady stream, moving the stream around the inside of the brewer in gentle, concentric rings. This ensures that all the ground coffee is evenly involved in the brewing process, and will give you a more balanced, enjoyable cup.
- Stop pouring when your scale reads 500g.
- Let the brewing water finish draining through the ground coffee. The entire process should take between three and four minutes. Any quicker, and your coffee might be a little stale or too coarsely-ground. Any slower, and it’s likely ground too finely.
- Remove the brewer from your decanter and add your spent coffee grinds to your compost (no pods into landfill here!). Give the brewed coffee a quick stir and a minute or two to cool slightly, then enjoy.
NB: This recipe scales up or down perfectly, just maintain a ratio of 60g of coffee for every litre of water you’re using. (i.e. 15g coffee to 250g water, 30g coffee to 500g water, 60g coffee to 1L water.) You might need to grind a little finer for smaller batches and coarser for larger, but these adjustments will be slight.
+ A few brewing basics
No matter how you make your coffee, adopting a few brewing basics for your morning routine will help you to produce coffee that’s not just delicious, but consistent and repeatable, too.
1: The quality of your ingredients is more important than your brew method, every time. No matter how expensive the brewer or elaborate the technique, you can’t brew great coffee with low quality, poorly-roasted, or stale beans.
2: Keep your coffee beans fresh. It’s best to brew coffee beans within six weeks of when they’re roasted, or within two weeks of when the bag is opened. Coffee beans keep best at room temperature in the bag they’re packed in – never in the fridge.
3: Invest in a grinder. For the best results, grind fresh – it’s without doubt the biggest positive impact you’ll make on your home coffee brewing. We can and do grind coffee for our customers, but those who invest in a grinder rarely regret it.
4: Brew using scales and a recipe Weighing coffee beans and brewing water on a scale may initially feel strange, but the consistent, delicious results the effort yields quickly makes it feel normal. We suggest using 16g of coffee for every 250g of brewing water. As strange as it might feel, use scales and brew to a recipe. Start with a ratio of 16g of coffee per 250g of water and you’ll get consistently-great results.
5: Last but not least, take a moment to enjoy it The cup of coffee in front of you is the result of many years work. Now is a great time to take a minute to pause and consider what you’re tasting, as well as the journey of many hundreds of tiny miracles that made this cup of coffee possible.
Tim Williams is an expert in the coffee world, founder of Bureaux Coffee and knows more than a thing or two about coffee. Take from him and his learnings and you'll be a better barista then your local coffee shop barista in no time.
Explore more from Bureaux Coffee.