Is This Slow Roll Brewing Method Really Worth The Wait?
It seems these days there’s no end to the variety of forms coffee can take. From cold brew and coffee smoothies to iced lattes and dirty chairs, this caffeine happy liquid can quench your thirst in whatever version you like best.
And, if you didn’t get enough coffee in liquid form, you’re probably happy to see it infused in everything from ice cream and yogurt to cookies and cake.
With all the coffee flavor craze, some of us may be crying for a return to all things simple, like just a really, really great cup of coffee.
Enter the pour over.
Like it’s back to basics relatives such as the French press or the Aeropress, the pour over uses just two ingredients: pure hot water and freshly roasted, just ground coffee.
The pour-over trend is recent and growing in niche coffee houses across the country. While still a relatively new brew method for many of us, it’s become the preference of many hard core coffee drinkers for quite some time.
As they say, all good things come to those who wait. And wait you will if you order a pour over. So if it takes so long, why is it so popular?
And, is it really worth the wait?
Let’s find out.
What Is A Pour Over?
First, we should get to know the mechanics of the pour over before we pass judgment, right?
The pour over is a clean, simple method of brewing one cup of coffee at a time. Its implementation is designed to draw out the best flavor characteristics of the coffee.
It’s meant to be used with specialty coffee that’s been recently roasted and ground immediately before brew.
Fresh, clean water heated to just the right temperature is the other important component of the equation.
How To Make A Pour Over
- Measure out 23 to 30 grams of lightly roasted high-quality specialty coffee that has just been ground at a medium grind.
(Do not use pre-ground coffee — the flavor will have already been lost.)
- Measure out roughly 20 ounces of fresh, clean water and bring it to a boil.
- Pre-moisten a number 2 or similarly sized paper filter and place it in your pour over brewer.
(The brewer looks like a cup with a hole in the bottom.)
- Pour in the grounds and shake or tap the brewer to even out the ground’s surface. Place your brewer on top of your coffee cup or a coffee carafe.
- Start the initial pour. Pour your hot water onto the grounds for approximately 15 seconds in a spiral motion beginning from the edge and working in towards the center.
- (You’ll see the coffee “bloom”, the initial point where carbon dioxide is released from the grounds causing a foaming bubble to form.)
- Now repeat this water pouring routine three more times letting the water settle (about 30 to 60 seconds) in between each pour.
- (Directions may vary depending on the length of time between pours or how long to pour. But, the point is to slowly pour in water evenly to allow water to contact coffee grounds with just the right length so as to draw out the maximum amount of flavor.)
- Remove the brewer and enjoy.
Why A Pour Over Is So Effective
Good coffee is all about surface area and well-timed exposure.
All the good flavor of coffee is trapped inside the bean before it’s ground. When coffee is ground, the amount of surface area that can come into contact with hot water multiplies exponentially.
Extracting the perfect amount of flavor depends on the size of the grind.
If coffee is coarsely ground, water will need to mix with the grounds a while to extract the right amount of flavor.
If it’s ground very finely, like the grind required for use in espresso machines, water must pass through the grounds very quickly so that flavor is not over extracted.
Pioneers of the pour over have found that pouring hot water over medium ground coffee at just the right intervals, results in the perfect dance between coffee and water, producing precisely extracted flavor.
The Pros And The Cons
Pour over coffee is a very exact way of brewing coffee that results in a precisely extracted, clean cup of coffee.
It is a wonderful method to use with high-quality specialty coffee that’s going to be enjoyed without cream or sugar. It is excellent for pulling out every nuance of flavor.
The pour over is also time-consuming, especially since you’re brewing only one cup at a time.
It can take up to three and a half minutes per cup.
And, it’s highly user intensive.
There’s no pushing a button and walking away with this brew. By the time you’re done brewing, a cup of pour over coffee may not be as hot as desired.
Who should be partaking of the coffee pour over: those coffee connoisseurs who enjoy coffee best in its purest form, without cream or other additions.
Coffee pour over is an excellent way of tasting all of what a particular specialty bean has to offer.
It’s also a great choice in brewing when you are not in a hurry, such as on a lazy weekend or an evening stop at a coffee house.
If you love cream in your coffee like many of us do, don’t bother with the pour over.
You can get just as an enjoyable flavor profile from fine specialty coffee that’s been machine brewed. Any more nuanced flavors will be masked by milk or cream. If you’re in a hurry, do yourself a favor and don’t order the pour over.
Is It Really Worth The Wait?
There are several high-quality ways of brewing coffee. The pour over, however, is the closest thing to coffee cupping in an entire cup. It’s an excellent method for enjoying a cup of high quality, specialty coffee one cup at a time.
If you love fine coffee and you’re in no hurry, then the pour over is absolutely worth the wait.