What is Pour Over Coffee?

pour over

The pour over technique is merely one of several methods for brewing coffee. This might be a practice you've seen the barista in your neighborhood specialty coffee house employ, but perhaps you didn't know its name.

Pour over coffee is brewing coffee by pouring hot water over coffee grounds manually.

Unlike brewing devices that do most of the work for you, you will have to do all the heavy lifting if you make pour over coffee. While it can be time-consuming, you can make high quality coffee if you do this method right.

I will be talking about what pour over coffee is and what pieces of equipment you need to make pour over coffee. If you don’t have the right equipment at home, I will also talk about some alternatives to pour overs that I have tried. 

In this article:

  • What is Pour Over Coffee
  • Equipment Needed for Pour Over Coffee
  • How to Make Pour Over Coffee
  • Pour Over Coffee vs Drip Coffee

What Is Pour Over Coffee?

As the name implies, a pour over is a brewing method where you pour hot water over coffee grounds that are in a filter. 

Pour over coffee is a manual brewing process and you need to have precise control when pouring hot water to the coffee grounds.

If you pour the water too fast, it can result in weaker coffee as the coffee grounds can be brewed unevenly. On the other hand, if you pour water too slowly, you could end up with a very strong and bitter coffee.

Aside from having very good control, the water’s temperature and coffee grind size can also affect the taste of your final brew. If you are just starting with this method, you can definitely experiment with different techniques, so you can find the right blend for your coffee.

Equipment Needed for Pour Over Coffee

pour over equipment

Before you can brew a pour over coffee, there are several things that you will need.

Coffee Filters

White paper filters are typically used in pour over coffees as they are easy to use and can absorb most of the oils produced when brewing coffee.

Aside from paper filters, metal and cloth filters are also used in a pour over method.

Pour over coffee brewed in metal filters tends to have microscopic grounds since it is not a finely woven paper that absorbs the grounds and coffee oils. However, this tends to produce a more aromatic and bold flavor because of the oils and microscopic grounds. 

A cloth filter, on the other hand, absorbs all the microscopic coffee grounds but the coffee oils tend to seep through. This creates a more aromatic coffee that has flavors that are not too strong.

Among these three filters, paper filters are more wasteful as they are a one-time use. With metal and cloth filters, you can reuse them for a couple of times before disposing them for a new one.

Pour Over Coffee Maker


Depending on the kind of pour over coffee maker you have, it might already come with a filter. If not, you have to buy the filters separately.

Related: My Favorite Pourover Coffee Makers – 2024

Some pour over coffee makers have a permanent filter while others, like the Hario V60 and Chemex, don’t have filters included. Hario V60 and Chemex have special filters that you can buy but, regular filters can also work. As long as the shape matches, you are good to go.

With the Hario V60, you can place it directly on top of your coffee mug as it has an open bottom. Some pour over coffee makers, such as the Chemex, come in a glass carafe and you have to transfer the contents to your mug.

Coffee Grinder

Coffee grinders are optional if you are using ground coffee. However, if you want to grind your own coffee beans, get a coffee grinder that has several grind settings so you can have several options for coffee grounds when brewing coffee.

Coffee Scale

coffee scale

While not necessary, a coffee scale can be an essential part of brewing coffee. Having a gram scale allows you to have a consistent brew each time as you will be measuring your coffee grounds and water.

Eyeballing the measurements can lead to an inconsistent cup and you can waste a lot of beans and coffee grinds if you just pour random amounts every time you brew a cup.

You can also experiment with different ratios and take notes of what measurement(s) is the right one that suits your preferences.

Related: My Favorite Coffee Scales

Gooseneck Kettle

goosneck kettle

This is another optional but can be an essential part if you are doing pour over coffees. Of course, you can just use a regular kettle. However, a gooseneck kettle can definitely help you have a more consistent pouring technique as it can have great water control.

If you have a stable hand and have a consistent pouring technique, you can use a regular kettle or even a Pyrex cup.

How to Make Pour Over Coffee

A pour over coffee only takes about 3 to 4 minutes to brew, minus the time that you’ll have to wait for your water to boil. So, roughly it might take you about 10 minutes in total, depending on how fast your kettle boils water.

The recommended ratio of water to coffee is 15:1 for a pour over. If you are going to use 20g of coffee grounds you need 300ml of water. This makes one cup of pour over coffee.

To make pour over coffee:

  1. Boil 300 ml of water. You can use a kettle or a saucepan. After the water has boiled, let it cool for at least 30 seconds before pouring it over the coffee grounds. 
  2. While the water is boiling, weigh your coffee. 
  3. Place your preferred filter on the pour over coffee maker and rinse the filter. You can rinse the filter by pouring water over it and discarding the water you used for rinsing. 
  4. If you have a Hario V60, place it over your mug or carafe and add the coffee grounds to the filter. 
  5. Once your water has cooled, pour over about 60g of water over the coffee grounds to bloom the coffee. This is when a scale can come in handy as you can put your mug or pour over a carafe on top of the scale. 
  6. Let the coffee grounds sit and bloom for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  7. After the bloom, pour 120 g of hot water over the coffee grounds in slow and circular motions. Wait for about 30 seconds before pouring the rest of the water. 
  8. After 30 seconds, pour the rest of the water over the coffee grounds in slow and circular motions. 
  9. Wait for about 3 to 4 minutes for the coffee to drip over the mug or carafe. 
  10. If you brewed coffee in a pour over carafe, transfer the coffee into a mug and enjoy your coffee!

Pour Over Coffee Vs Drip Coffee

It can be easy to confuse pour over coffee and drip coffee.

The principle for brewing using both methods is the same but the main difference between pour over coffee and drip coffee is one is a manual brewing process and the other is not.

If you don’t like manual brewing, a drip coffee machine is very convenient and easy to use. We have one at home and it is probably the most used appliance in our kitchen (more so than the oven!).

Drip coffee machines have a water reservoir, filter basket, and carafe already so you don’t have to buy multiple accessories to brew coffee. You can still use a weighing scale to measure your coffee grinds but I just use a measuring spoon. For the water, I just put enough water in my mug and pour it into the water reservoir.

Drip coffee machines take less than 5 minutes (at least mine does) and are great when you just want a quick coffee fix.

If you want to make pour over coffee and don’t have the device for it, you can use single-serve pour over coffee packets. These packets let you experience manual brewing without having to use a pour over coffee maker.

You just hang the packet over your mug and you pour hot water over it. I’ve also tried these and they are also very convenient and handy. You have to experiment with the amount of water you pour in, though.

The downside to these packets is they don’t fit in a lot of my cups. Thankfully, I did manage to find a cup that was just right. So, definitely try the pour over coffee packets if you find one in your local area if you haven’t tried the pour over method already.

Final Thoughts

For some, the pour over method is not just another way of brewing coffee. Pour over coffee is becoming an art form with how precise and controlled you have to be when doing this method.

With the right technique and equipment, you can also enjoy the rich flavors that pour over coffees offer. So, grab a pour over coffee maker and start your journey to having a freshly brewed cup of aromatic and flavorful coffee.


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