The standard for excellent coffee has continued to rise over recent years where several coffee making techniques and brewing methods have emerged. People are constantly looking for the best way, and each has developed his own taste and preference in making great tasting coffee.
Today, the trend is mostly on manual brewing methods. Because of its popularity, coffee shops often offer at least one kind of manual brewing to attract customers. But manual brewing is more than just a fad; many people state that coffee prepared manually tastes better than those made from automatic drip coffee makers or capsule-based machines.
And one method that has been gaining ground recently among coffee aficionados is the old Japanese way of brewing coffee, or what is most commonly called the pour over method.
What is the Pour Over Method?
Pour Over coffee is made by pouring hot water using a special gooseneck kettle over the coffee beans in a slow circular motion, letting gravity pull the brewed coffee through the filter and into the carafe. It is one of the simplest and easiest ways to make a cup of great coffee. No wonder why many people are now making the switch from using mediocre coffee machines to having their own pour over station at home.
In the pour over method, everything is customizable: the coarseness of the grinds, the proportion of coffee and water, and water temperature. A stronger or weaker cup of coffee can be achieved depending on one’s preference. It’s one of the reasons why people choose the pour over method because they can make their coffee just the way they like it.
Why is Pour Over Coffee better than Auto-drip Coffee?
Some might say pour over coffee is practically the same as drip coffee. After all, the mechanics for both is the same in how water is poured over the coffee grounds then letting it drip. And both methods produce a clean cup of brewed coffee.
But the similarities stop right there. When it comes to quality, the pour over method produces a superior kind of brew than auto-drip brewers. This is because the coffee grounds in automatic drip coffee machines are not wet evenly during the brewing process; whereas, in the pour over method, a gooseneck kettle is used for a more precise water flow that soaks up the coffee beans and allows them to bloom equally in the filter, resulting to a rich flavorsome coffee.
Water temperature also plays a major role, in preparing coffee, which we cover in depth in this article. Most auto-drip brewers don’t reach the ideal range for water temperature. This results in an unsatisfying brew.
In the pour over method, one can have perfect control over the temperature of water, especially that most gooseneck kettles now come with a built-in thermometer, making it easier to know when the water reaches the ideal temperature of 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. Having the right temperature is a sure fire way to significantly improve the quality of your coffee.
Pour Over vs. French Press
The pour over method is often compared with other manual brewing methods such as using the French press. This method involves putting the coffee grounds in a carafe, adding hot water, letting it soak, and then lowering the plunger to filter the grounds from the brew. Using the French press is simple and easy and a favorite among those who prefer stronger and thicker coffee.
But while some people love the stronger coffee they can get from the French press, some just don’t like the gritty texture that comes with the resulting coffee. On the other hand, in the pour over method in which the coffee grounds stay on the filter and don’t come in contact with the finished brew, the coffee is much smoother and cleaner. The unique great flavor of pour over coffee also makes it the better choice for those who dislike the strong hit that comes from French press coffee.
Pour Over vs. Aeropress
Another popular method of brewing coffee is by using the Aeropress. It’s similar to the French press wherein coffee grounds and hot water are placed in a vacuum chamber, stirred with a spoon, then pressed down so that the flavored water comes out through the filter and into the cup. It is an efficient way to make a rich cup of coffee in such a short time.
The coffee grounds being totally immersed in water and then applying pressure to it while brewing gives it an intense flavor much like in espresso. The brewing time also just takes less than a minute.
However, the pour over method still produces a cleaner cup as the cone or coffee filter doesn’t allow grit to enter the finished brew. And some coffee fans would claim that pouring hot water over coffee grounds placed on a filter creates a much nicer flavor as opposed to coffee made from forcing water through fine coffee grounds.
And while the pour over method takes a longer brewing time (2-4 minutes) than other manual brewing methods such as the Aeropress, the process of making pour-over coffee isn’t strenuous at all and can be considered as a meditative experience in itself. During the process, one can feel calm taking in the rich aromas that stimulate the senses, and feel at peace while preparing for the start of a new day.
Other Benefits of the Pour Over Method
Aside from producing a nice flavorful cup of coffee, a lot of coffee enthusiasts prefer pour over brewing because of the simplicity of its design. The kettle, carafe, and filter are all easy to clean unlike other brewing apparatus or machines that have hard-to-clean places. And unlike other coffee brewers, a pour over station doesn’t have lots of parts that can be broken over time. It mostly consists of three items, constructed from metal or glass, that are made to last for years. It is also way cheaper to own a pour-over coffee maker than most electric coffee machines.