Coffee Brewing Series 2 - Pour Over
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
LET’S BREW POUR OVER COFFEE!
Coffee is one of the three most-popular beverages in the world (alongside water and tea). Once coffee beans have been harvested and roasted, it’s time to convert them into a liquid. One way is the pour over method.
Pour over coffee has been rapidly obtaining popularity over the last several years, in coffee shops as well as at home but this technique for brewing might not have been possible if not for the inspiration of a German housewife more than a hundred years ago.
HISTORY OF POUR OVER
Back in 1908, pour over began when a housewife from Dresden named Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz find out that the percolator coffee she uses came with a taste of over extraction and bitterness. Brewing methods of the time left grounds in the coffee and the finished product was very bitter. Because of this, she began to experiment with different brewing methods for she doesn’t want these bad flavors to mess with her drink.
One day, she had an idea, she used her son’s school notebook and it worked due to porous, yet super absorbent features that it had. Those school book before are now transformed into coffee filters. She took a brass pot punctured with a nail, placed the blotting paper on top, then added ground coffee on top of the paper and poured water over the grounds and began to brew. That was the start of the paper coffee filter. What came out was a perfectly clean cup, with the bitterness gone. Few years later, with the trade office in Dresden, Bentz and her husband, Hugo, quickly patented a “filter top device lined with filter paper,” and registered a company for the production and sale of the invention. She began selling the pour over brewers under the name “Melitta” to the public. The company registered additional patents in 1911 and 1913. Melitta and Hugo Bentz started visiting stores selling household goods, department stores, and trade shows to demonstrate their coffee filter system. As the invention gained popularity, they won gold and silver medals at the International Hygiene Expo in Dresden. In 1914, the company moved to a new facility, invested in larger machines, and hired 15 people. In the 1930’s, Bentz redesigned the filter into a more conical shape we see today. By doing this, a larger area for filtration was established allowing for better extraction.
Years later, the cone shaped paper filters began to hit the shelves. Bentz died in 1950 but Melitta continued to grow and over the years has developed an array of other products and expanded into roasting and packaging coffee. In 1962, Melitta was the first company to offer ground coffee in vacuum-sealed packaging in the German market. Today the firm has more than 3,500 employees. The paper used for Melitta filters — which now include brown filters made from unbleached wood pulp and white ones from pulp bleached with oxygen instead of chlorine — is produced in Germany, Brazil, and the United States. The filters sold in the U.S. — where the company maintains its American headquarters in Clearwater, Florida — are made primarily from southern pine and are fully compostable. Melitta also uses recycled paperboard for packaging cartons.
The company continues to innovate, and now offers a range of products including not just coffee and filters but also coffee machines and accessories, as well as non-coffee items for keeping food fresh. From its namesake founder’s blotting paper and brass pot, Melitta has come a long way.
From there the pour over brewer began to make its way to Japan where it is widely used by coffeehouses today. The arrival of coffeehouses across the country of Japan adopt the pour over technique in 1930’s. From the 1930’s to the early 2000’s a gap exists where there was no transformation of pour over brewers and only redesigning occurred. In 2005, Hario Co.,LTD began making the V60 which is now the dominant pour over brewer in the world.
What is Pour Over?
Pour over method involves pouring hot water over freshly ground coffee and allowing the coffee to drip into a container below. When using pour over you get to control how the water is poured over the grounds. The fact that you get to determine the speed and coverage of your pour allows you to customise your brew in a way automatic machines simply do not allow. Another great aspect of pour over is you can control the flavor of your brew. Discover the perfect calibration of water and grind of coffee using this method. The more water you add at one time, the longer it stays in contact with the beans and the stronger your brew will be. Conversely, if you like a weaker coffee, you know not to let the grounds steep for too long. Pour over coffee continuously replenishes the liquid surrounding the coffee grounds with new, fresher water. This promotes a faster, more efficient brew. Remember that it is best to use filtered water in your pour over. Using filtered water can enhance the taste and flavor of your coffee.
Pour over coffee can be made, start-to-finish in much lesser time compared to an automatic dripper. Generally speaking, you can enjoy your coffee with this method for it is not time consuming and you will surely enjoy all the flavors of your coffee in your own personal cup. A well-made pour over coffee makers will also last years and years of use and very easy to clean and maintain.
How to brew coffee using Pour Over?
Here’s some steps for making pour over coffee at home. You’ll need to experiment with the different variables and taste your results to pin down the method that works for you.
1. Start with a grind size – medium grind. For the quantity, most pour over drippers work best when they’re between one half to two-thirds full of coffee grounds. Any less than that, and there won’t be enough coffee to restrict the flow. Any more, and your dripper may overflow. Make sure you’re dripping into a large enough vessel. A good coffee-to-water ratio is between 30-45 grams of coffee 500g of water (a mass ratio between 1:16 and 1:13.)
2. Before you brew, place your filter in the brewer and rinse it with hot water.
This rinses out the paper residue (a kind of woodsy taste), seals your filter and warms up your brewer. Warming everything up keeps the brewing temperature stable.
3. Clean water = clean coffee. Get your clean (filtered is advisable)brew water ready. You’ll want your water to be at around 93 °C or about 60 seconds off the boil if you’re pouring straight out of your boiling kettle. About 95°C for medium to light roasts, and about 10° lower for dark roasts. Pour over coffee continuously replenishes the liquid surrounding the coffee grounds with new, fresher water. This promotes a faster, more efficient brew. On the other hand, that fresh water also has a tendency to extract more from the surface layers of the grounds.
4. Set your timer and add enough water to soak all of the coffee. Wait for the coffee bed to stop the initial swelling (about 30 seconds) before adding more water. You should pour in slow and steady spirals to keep things even. When you stop adding water, your dripper will continue to drip for between 20 and 60 seconds. Your target total brew time is about 2.5 to 3 minutes for dark roasted coffee, and 3 to 4 minutes for medium to light roasted coffees. This includes the dripping time after you stop adding water.
5. Continue your brew. Try to pour quickly, gently, and evenly across the surface of the coffee, pausing between pours to pace your brew to your target brew time. In general, the lower you pour from, the better, if for no other reason than it’s the easiest to create and maintain consistency.
6. Serve immediately and enjoy!
It is advisable to make adjustments for your coffee! If your coffee tastes weak, the grind is probably too coarse, so try a finer grind the next time. If your coffee tastes too strong, next time use a little less coffee, or just add a bit of hot water to the finished brew to taste.