Why would a person make drip coffee by hand, when there are machines for that?
If you’ve noticed the line moving more slowly at your local fancy coffee shop, pour over coffee may be to blame. The basic process involves pouring water by hand in a slow stream through grounds in a filter to produce a single cup or small batch. If this sounds like what your drip machine does, but slowly and with lots of room for human error, you are correct.
So why is this popular? Pour over is known for having a fuller, more complex flavor than automatic drip coffee, and a brighter, less heavy flavor than French press. Not necessarily better, it can yield different or a range of results from the same coffee depending on the pour. Control over the temperature and flow of the water allows for more control over the flavor profile of the end result.
If you’re interested, but doubt your ability to manage more than a push of a button in the morning, you might be wondering if manual brewers are worth the effort. We picked the Hario V60 system to demonstrate how simple the process can be. If you use an automatic brewer, you already know the basic steps by heart: place coffee in a filter, place a filter in a cone, and add water. The big difference is that you pour the water by hand. You might want to experiment a little to get your pour down pat, but once you know the drill, you can easily make this a part of your routine.
What you’ll need:
- Boil some water in a kettle. The Hario we’re using holds 20 oz, but you can also brew a single serving with the same equipment. After boiling, set aside.
- Fold a V60 paper filter along the seam for a better fit and place it in the dripper.
- Optional: lightly wet the entire filter with a little hot water. With the dripper attached, pour the hot water out once it has drained through.
- Place ground coffee into the filter. We recommend 2 tablespoons (1 coffee scoop) of medium-fine coffee per 6 oz of water. If you want to be fancy, level the grounds and make a divot in the center. This will encourage drainage though the grounds.
- Pour just enough water into the filter to wet all the grounds and wait 45-60 seconds, about the time it takes to find a pop-tart and stick it in the toaster.
- Slowly pour the remaining water over the grounds. The key to doing this right is to pour very slowly in circular motion and to keep the stream of water on the coffee. Try to avoid hitting the filter or the center directly. This is easier with a thin-spouted kettle, but any kettle or teapot can work if you go slow and keep the stream as fine as you can.
- While the last of the water is draining, give the grounds a stir with a spoon.
- Replace the dripper with the top of the server and swirl the carafe.
- Pour, drink, and get on with your day.