A Swell Guide to Pour Over Coffee Brewers
At Swell we love to take our time to find the perfect single origin coffee; to roast the perfect bean.It just fits in with the easy going, toes in the sand SoCal lifestyle we are forced to live in.
Therefore, it makes sense we have no problem taking some extra time in the morning coffee ritual to brew a perfect cup of morning sunshine, or coffee as in this case.
That’s why we love and appreciate the laid back ritual, the mediation of brewing the perfect cup of pour over coffee.
What is a Pour Over Coffee Maker?
There are a few different shapes and sizes of pour over coffee makers. No matter what it may look like, they all have the same components.
It starts with a cone shaped top that either has its own filtration system or holds a standard coffee filter.
The cone then filters the grinds to the coffee bed where a hole or multiple holes drain.
The filtered coffee then goes into a carafe or cup that it will be served or drank straight from the cup.
Picking the Best Version
Some pour over brewers are made to fit on top of either a cup or carafe. This is called a stand alone. The other version comes pre-attached to a carafe as its only brewing receptacle.
We like the flexibility of a stand alone.
This way you have the option to brew coffee straight into the cup you will be enjoying it from.
There are three materials used for making the cone of a pour over:
This is great to look at as you watch the grounds swell with water and see the process of coffee slowly making its way down to the receptacle. It will also heat up quickly and not run the risk of over cooling the heated water. The downside is it’s glass. Glass is obviously fragile. One unfocused movement or slip of the hand and you could be cleaning up shards instead of coffee grinds.
This option is definitely not as fragile as glass. Ceramic can hold its temperature for a long time. This is why so many coffee cups are also made from it. It will keep your coffee warm. The downside is how much heat it draws out of the original hot liquid. This factor can lead to over cooling in the brewing process, possibly disrupting the end result. If you take the time to warm up the ceramic with some hot water before you brew, you can avoid this issue.
This option is what we like to call “The best of both worlds.” Stainless steel is virtually indestructible, making it great for home and packing it up to hit the road. It heats up immediately to stop absorbing heat from the water during brewing. The downside is you might want to use it all the time.
The last thing to consider when choosing the pour over brewer that is right for you is the holes or hole at the bottom. The difference is simple.
There is either one large hole at the bottom with unrestricted flow or multiple holes that slightly restrict the flow.
A series of smaller holes will drain a little slower.This can be great, especially when you are first starting.
It will give you more flexibility on your pours during the brewing process allowing for a slower, more accurate flow rate. This is super important and we are about to find out why right now!
The Perfect Pour Over Brew Method
The first step, as always, is to start with the freshest whole bean roast. The great thing about pour over is it’s super customizable and is great for all Swell fresh roasted coffee. Swell suggests trying our Sampler Pack.
The next objective is to figure out the coffee to water ratio. That is how much water you need for how much coffee you are brewing.
Coffee to water ratios between 1:14 and 1:18 are most common. If you know how much coffee you are using, that’s the 1, simply multiply by 14, 15, 16, or 17 and you get the precise amount of water needed.
Water is important not only in quantity but in quality. If you don’t enjoy drinking the water from the tap, use bottled or filtered water. Great water makes great coffee.
The example for this brew will be using a 1:16 ratio starting with 32g of coffee.
Now take 32 times 16 to get 512g of water.
In reverse, if we know we want 512g of brew, then divide 512 by 16 to get 32g of coffee.
Once this is determined, start boiling the water. Water temperature should be between 195 and 205 degrees fahrenheit.
Next we will grind the 32g of fresh roasted coffee to a perfect medium grind. Coffee grounds that are too fine will not drain or extract properly.
Consistency is key and helps with the extracting process giving you more balanced flavor.
As soon as the coffee is measured and ground, dump it in the pour over brewer. Give it a gentle tap or two to make sure they are level.
We are ready for the first pour of hot water over the top.
This first pour is meant to saturate the grounds. To get technical, about 65g of the water.
It is important to make sure all grounds are soaked and the saturation begins. The grounds will begin to expand and look more like muffin batter. It also releases carbon dioxide at this stage.
After 30 seconds start a slow pour from the outer rim and circle towards the center.
Let it drain but keep an inch or so of water at the bottom.
On the third pour, start from the center and spiral from the center to the outer rim until it overflows just above the grounds.
Continue this cycle until all the water is gone and give it a minute or two to fully drain.
You did it!
Now you can watch the sunrise or set while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee.
Other things to consider:
-coffee is draining too fast-grounds are too coarse
-coffee is not draining-grounds are too fine
-coffee is bitter-possible over extraction, try a coarser grind
-coffee is sour-possible under extraction, try pouring slower or a slightly less coarse grind
If you are using a pour over with a regular coffee filter (not built in to unit) make sure you soak it before brewing. Paper filters tend to soak up coffee oils. This suits some people fine if you enjoy a lighter less flavor filled coffee.
If you are ready to dive a little deeper into speciality coffee and don’t mind a little more attention to detail this method is definitely for you.
We sometimes refer to this brew style as the weekend or vacation style because of the extra attention. Once you get the hang of it, pour over really doesn’t take much more time.
As a matter of fact, don’t be surprised if you get addicted to this methodical and meditative way to brew.
We always believe it is nice to be able to relax and slow down in this fast paced lifestyle we all live in. give it a try and see how it suits you.
It’s like waking up to a beautiful San Diego morning. Sun shining, birds a chirping, and a nice calm breeze fills the air with the delicate scent of the ocean and flowers.
I could easily jump in the car, hit the drive thru for a quick cup of joe and get to work in a snap.
Or, I could start up the motorcycle, let it idle to warm up, get all my riding gear, take the backway, see the ocean and feel the air rush through my body.
Sometimes taking a little more time in your daily routine is worth the effort. Enjoy yourself.
Live well, drink Swell!