The Pour Over coffee craze has spread like wildfire over the last few years. A quick search on Facebook, Reddit or other forums where coffee lovers have debated the value of various pouring methods, and brewing ratios will show you how passionate these craft coffee enthusiasts are about their coffee. Whether it’s paying a premium for that perfect Geisha coffee, or sifting out their coffee grounds with a sieve, these aficionados will go lengths to achieve those perfect flavor notes. Not only have coffee nerds become obsessive over brewing that perfect cup, innovative coffee gadgets have been coming off the conveyor belts left and right, and for good reason! Having the perfect pour over set-up helps you have complete control over the brewing process.
From adjusting brew temp, grind size, flow rate, agitation or many other factors, the equipment used can help you make sure you are optimizing the brewing process that will result in the best possible flavors in your cup. Naturally, that leads us to the question, what equipment do I need for a Pour Over setup?
The Pour Over Dripper
This is the main device you will use in your Pour Over setup. Inside this upside down cone shaped brewer is where the magic happens. Some look fancy and intricate, like the origami brewer, and others are simple and sleek in design, like the Kalita Wave. Others come attached to the carafe itself like the Hario Drip Coffee Decanter or the famous Chemex. If you’re new to brewing Pour Over coffee, any device will be a great step forward in brewing better coffee, but believe it or not the slight variances in design can highlight different characteristics of the coffee. For example, a flat bottom brewer like the Kalita Wave will slow the flow of water yielding a thicker mouthfeel and flavors on the more bitter side of the spectrum. My personal favorite is the Hario Drip Coffee Decanter.
The Gooseneck Water Kettle
In my opinion, the kettle used will have the least influence over the flavor of the coffee, however a quality designed kettle does add to the overall enjoyment and convenience of the brewing process. For a simple kettle, the Hario Gooseneck Buona Kettle is a quality investment, or a less expensive (probably lower quality, and might break at some point) kettle will also do the trick. The point here in getting a gooseneck kettle, compared to a kettle with a short and wide spout, is that the long stem emits a steady stream of water that can be guided with accuracy. When brewing via the Pour Over method, the goal is to saturate all of the coffee grounds evenly, which will result in the coffee being extracted evenly and thus a clear flavor profile in your cup. This is why most coffee brewed from coffee machines don’t taste as delicious as coffee from a Pour Over method. The water dispensed from the spout on a machine usually is only in the middle of the coffee bed. The coffee grounds in the middle spend much more time with the water than the coffee on the outer rim. Those coffee grounds tend to be over-extracted causing a bitter or dry taste in the cup.
Some other kettles that are worth looking into are the Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle for the convenience factor of setting a set temperature for the kettle to hold. You can also consider the Fellow Stagg for the true coffee geek who wants to track their pours with an app. Plus, the Fellow Stagg looks great on any kitchen counter!
Some have laughed when I talk about using a scale to brew coffee. A scale helps with at least two things. The first is making sure you are using a precise amount of coffee. Because coffees vary in density, a single scoop of a dark roasted Kenyan might weigh 5 grams, when the same volume of a medium roasted Honduran coffee might weigh 9 grams. In reality, the person who buys that dark Kenyan coffee seeking a strong flavor, might actually be making weaker coffee than he would using that medium roasted Honduran coffee. The second thing a scale can do is measure water used in real time. Most Pour Over fans will use a brewing ratio which determines how much water to pour. For instance, if I want 15 parts water for 1 part coffee (this is a good ratio to start with), when I measure 30 grams of coffee, I know that I will need 450 grams of water. There are simple scales that will work just fine, although it’s nice to have one with a timer to compare brew times.
Please note we did not include a coffee grinder as a part of a Pour Over setup because grinders aren’t needed exclusively for using the Pour Over method. We would actually recommend a quality coffee grinder as the first tool to have in any coffee lover’s kitchen.
We hope this has helped you figure out what you need to brew the best coffee at home with a Pour Over setup. If there is something we missed, let us know in the comments below!
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