The coffee industry, like so many, has evolved and changed greatly, especially during the past twenty years. You walk into basically any coffee shop now and you see more than simply “Drip Coffee” followed by three prices for three sizes. There are standard drip coffees for immediate service and then the, sometimes daunting, pour-over menu, with words like V60, Kalita Wave 185, Aeropress, Chemex….wait, isn’t a Chemex how the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. brewed coffee? It’s true, in countless episodes you’ll see a Chemex in Rachel and Monica’s kitchen, and you’re also likely to see it in a coffee bar being prepared by someone who wasn’t even alive when Friends was airing!
Why would you go with a pour-over instead of drip coffee? Is there a difference? Is one superior to the other? To explore this we are going to break it down into three parts:
- Various pour-overs and what they do/basic recipes,
- Automatic home coffee brewers
- Which should you choose?
Entering the world of pour-overs can be confusing. There are so many and what do the names even mean? The main benefit pour-overs give you is immediate control over the brewing process. You get to control how hot the water is, when and where you pour the water, how fast or slow you pour it, and if you stop and start or use a continuous pour. Below are some of our go-to’s for pour-overs at home, but if you’d like to try making pour-overs at home as your routine, always explore and ask your baristas questions. Trust us, baristas love geeking out about coffee!
A few tips for all pour-overs
- Use water that is about 200*F (that’s about three minutes off boil)
- Rinse paper filters and discard rinse water (this removes any papery taste)
- Bloom – this is the first pour that wets the coffee and starts degassing it. Less C02 = less bitter.
- Go find a grind comparison chart at the end
- Have fun! If you find a recipe/pour method you like, go with it! Coffee is all about what we love and how we share it with others.
Perhaps the most approachable and most gorgeous of the pour-overs. If you ever have to give up coffee for one reason or another, they make a great flower vase! A Chemex brew is typically very clean with clear coffee flavors. This is due to the thick paper filter and coarser grind. There are a lot of sizes out there and we are giving a recipe for a 6-cup Chemex.
- Grind: medium-coarse
- Coffee: 44 grams or 7 rounded tablespoons
- Water: 700g (2 ¾ cup)
Start with an 80g bloom to saturate the coffee bed and then wait about 30-45 seconds. Then slowly and steadily pour in concentric circles until the total water weight equals 700g. Total brew time should be around 4 minutes.
We love a French Press. Period. They have gotten a lot of flack since the rise of the pour-overs that provide a more clear mouthfeel with less body and texture, but we still think French Presses can be used to make delicious coffee. It’s classic, very easy to use, and gives a balanced cup of coffee with a full body. Toss some creamer in there and go on your way!
For an 8cup French Press
- Grind – very coarse, generally as course as the grinder can go
- Coffee – 56grams or 9 rounded tablespoons
Start with a 100g bloom and then wait about 30-45 seconds. Then pour half way up and stir. Immediately fill to the 8cup line (one inch from the top). Wait until 4:00 then stir one more time and plunge!
Like we said before, there are so many ways and recipes you can create for every pour-over, there is an entire world-level competition about it! For our purposes the recipes and procedures for a V60 and Kalita are very similar. A V60, named for the 60 degree angle of the walls, gives very clean and vibrant cups of coffee but can be pretty easy to mess up. While a Kalita requires more attention than a Chemex, it is more forgiving than a V60 and yields a deliciously balanced cup. These recipes are very similar which is why we are combining them here!
- V60 grind – medium … Kalita grind – medium-fine
- Coffee: 25 grams or 4 rounded tablespoons
- Total water: 400g (1 ½ cup)Pour 1 – The Bloom, 50g to saturate the coffee bed and then wait about 30-45 seconds.
- Pour 2 – 150g of water in concentric circles
- Pour 3 – 100g of water in concentric circles
- Pour 4 – Pour to the final water weight of 400g
- Total time for the V60 is 2:00-3:00 while the Kalita is 3:00-4:00
Put this in your rolodex of trivia knowledge – the creators of the Aeropress coffee maker are also the creators of the Aerobie frisbee! Seems like a natural transition to us! The Aeropress is perfect for road trips and single cups of coffee and are generally hard to mess up! Gives a dynamic cup of coffee, brewed quickly with a full body that has more clarity than a french press.
There are two kinds of thoughts on the Aeropress method: inverted and non-inverted. Inverted keeps all of the water in contact with the coffee grounds but requires a literal flip to plunge. Danger level: 10. Non-inverted makes just as great coffee and is a touch safer with a danger level of 4. Recipe remains the same; it truly is to flip or not too flip. Biggest tip: make sure you’re plunging on a non-slip surface and push directly downwards!
- Grind – fine, just not as fine as espresso!
- Coffee – 17grams or 2.5 rounded tablespoons
Pour water up to the 2 and then stir. Wait 30 seconds. Pour water up the 4. At 2:00 stir again and plunge. Remember again our biggest tip: make sure you’re plunging on an even non-slip surface and push directly downwards!
Whether you are a pour-over machine, looking to try a new way of brewing coffee at home, or simply want the pros to do the work, keep having fun and making good coffee!
Next in this Home Brewing series is all about automatic coffee machines!