How to Make a Great Cup of Pour-Over Coffee at Home

Making great pour-over coffee at home is easy and super inexpensive. All you need is a few decent pieces of equipment and coffee. My preferred method is pour-over using a Chemex. The Chemex has been around since the 1940's and has changed very little. There are plenty of fancy add-ons and other coffee brewing supplies by the brand, but I keep it simple. All you need is a Chemex Brewer, a coffee filter, a burr grinder, good tasting water, a gooseneck kettle, and fresh ground coffee beans. Let's get started:

1. Heat Up the Water

I use a Bonavita 1 liter gooseneck kettle. They cost under $30 bucks and work great. I add a liter of water to it and bring it to boil. Once it is boiling, I take it off the hot burner and add 2 ice cubes to the water. This brings the temperature down to around 195-205 degrees. You don't want to use boiling water when making coffee, but it's easier to just let it go. Brewing with water that is too hot makes the coffee too bitter and harsh-tasting.

2. Preheat the Chemex and Rinse the Filter

While the water is heating, preheat the Chemex with hot water by just pouring some in it. This is so the actual coffee doesn't cool down when it drips into it. Also, rinse the filter by inserting it correctly into the Chemex and pouring some hot water through it. This removes any paper residue that might be able to get through the filter and into your coffee. Let that water drip into the Chemex and then just dump it all out.

3. Grind Your Whole Beans

Coffee grinders are very important for making good pour-over coffee, but you don't need the most expensive one. Unless you want to make espresso, you can find a nice grinder for under $100 bucks. I purchased the Capresso Conical Burr Grinder for around $80. It does an excellent job. I use around 200 grams off coffee beans or around 6 tablespoons. This ratio of coffee to water is on the lower side. I prefer my coffee to be a bit more mild so I can drink a few cups. I use a medium coarseness. On the Capresso, it is the middle of the Medium setting. I grind the coffee after I have added the ice cubes to the water. You don't want to grind it too earlier because the coffee starts to lose flavor seconds after it is ground up. As for coffee, stick to whole bean and avoid buying previously ground. It will taste fresher and it will last longer. Ground coffee is suitable for automatic coffee makers, but not ideal for french press or pour-over. Everyone has a different opinion on what flavors and brands they prefer and so I won't really get into that. I will tell you how to brew it.

4. Add the Water to the Coffee Grounds and Bloom

After the coffee is ground, tap the coffee grinder on the counter to make sure all of the coffee ends up in the hopper. Next, pour the grounds into the pre-rinsed filter. Make sure the Chemex is empty. Now you are ready to start brewing. Slowly pour your water over the coffee grounds evenly. Just add enough water to saturate the grounds. Don't fill the whole filter. You want to just add enough to saturate the grounds and then let it sit for around 30-45 seconds. This step is very important. During this time, the hot water is causing the grounds to release CO2 and flavor. Too much water at this point can cause the coffee to end up too bitter. After this wait, you can add some more water. I would add enough so all of the grounds are covered. If you want, you can stir this mixture a bit. I have done it, but I didn't notice too much of a difference. It is said that this helps make sure all of the grounds are evenly saturated and helps make sure the coffee is as flavorful as it can be. Now, slowly add more water to the Chemex continuously at the same rate as it is dripping until you have the desired amount of coffee in the the Chemex. Keep in mind, that the grounds will soak up some water so if you added 1 liter you will end up with less than a liter.

5. Enjoy

Now, it is time to enjoy your coffee. Just grap the filter from the top and throw it away. Pour your coffee into a coffee cup and relax. If you prefer, you can pour the rest of the coffee into a thermos or just let it sit on the counter like I do. I don't mind it cooling down. If you want to be fancy, you can buy a special heating plate that keeps it warm. I have also read that you can put it on a stovetop at a low setting.

There you have it. Instructions on how to make some delicious pour-over coffee using a Chemex. I have used a French Press as well, but I prefer the Chemex because the coffee is so much cleaner. The filter is your friend.