Pour-over coffee brewers have gained increasing popularity over the last few years. Many coffee lovers prefer to take the magic of coffee-making away from boring coffee machines. A pour-over coffee brewer can become a stylish addition to your home.
Owning one of them will let you claim total control over the coffee brewing process. Though it may seem complicated at first, only some basic skills and some practice is required to brew a decent cup of coffee with it.
Pour-over is an infusion method. The other method is called immersion and is used, for example, in the Aeropress coffee maker. The infusion method is more efficient in extracting the “taste” out of coffee. This is because the coffee is continuously provided with fresh water. This way extraction is not affected by over-saturation of solubles which define the coffee’s taste. Pour-over extraction will be more efficient if fresh water is added in pulses, rather that in one big shot.
Another method to improve the extraction is called pre-infusion: adding a small amount of water just to moisten the grounds, followed by a 30 second to one minute break.
Remember the basic variables of the coffee experience: roast, water temperature, water-to-coffee ratio, grind size, extraction time, and of course, the coffee’s origin.
As mentioned in the other coffee articles, coffee acidity is not the same as sourness. It is often confused with bitterness as well.
Sour coffee is a result of under-brewing. Under-brewing is caused either by too coarse of a grind or too short of an extraction.
Bitter coffee is a result of over-brewing or over-roasting. Over-brewing is caused either by too-fine-a-grind or too long-an-extraction.
Acidity is one of the basic characteristics of the coffee taste and it defines its brightness. There are at least seven acids found in coffee. Prevalence of one or several acids in coffee defines its taste to a major degree. Citric, phosphoric, malic and other acids are like musical instruments in an orchestra that plays the coffee’s brightness symphony.
When it comes to acidity in general, the lighter the roast, the more acidity and brightness are in the coffee. Darker roasts will give more body and less acidity.
Pour-over coffee brewing will require some dialing in to a particular coffee, to find the right balance between acidity and body. You can start with a medium-roast of one particular origin. Then make adjustments for grind size and brewing time, depending on where you want to go with the acidity-body balance. You can always step up or step down the roast intensity. Another variable to adjust is the coffee-to-water ratio. The average ratio is 1:17 by mass.
Remember that various filters have a different pore size, which will affect the rate at which the coffee will drain. This will affect the extraction time, and the grind size will affect it as well: the finer the grind, the slower the water will go through.
Remember to avoid “channeling” or bypassing when pouring water. It can happen if water covers some of the bare filter area and finds its way through the filter, before it is able to extract anything out of the grounds.
Enjoy your perfect cup!