How To Make Every Kind Of Pour Over Coffee

Many people who benefit from telling you how hard it is to make pour over coffee at home. They get you into their cafes, they sell more equipment, and they feel high and mighty.

And they’re wrong.

Amazingly rich, crisp, and aromatic pour over coffee is within reach. And we’re going to help you get there with this overview guide on how to use any kind of pour over coffee maker.

We’re about to learn… 

  • The 3 techniques that apply to every single pour over brewer
  • Which pour over drippers are easiest for beginners
  • How you can move from one brewer to the next without losing quality

Let’s elevate your pour over game so you can enjoy mind-blowingly-delicious coffee at home (and feel awesome for it).

The 2 Essential Things To Remember

If you remember anything from this article, make it this.

There are two things you need to understand to make pour over coffee. And if you can remember how the impact each other, you can quickly learn to make coffee with any pour over brewer without a long period of trial and error.

Let’s make this easy. These are the keys:

Your Coffee Grind Size

Coffee grounds can be super fine (think espresso powder), really coarse (like for a french press), or any size in-between. 

The finer the grind size, the faster the water will extract acids, oils, sugars, and more from the grounds. The coarser the grounds, the slower the extraction process takes.

 

  • Fine Grounds 👉 Fast Extraction
  • Coarse Grinds 👉 Slow Extraction

 

And remember, the goal is to find a sweet spot where you’ve extracted just enough to make a balanced, sweet cup of coffee without going overboard into the bitter zone.

The Total Coffee Brew Time (Draining Rate)

With a brewer like a french press, you have direct control over how long the brew lasts. With pour over coffee makers, there’s no plunger to press down. You rely on gravity, instead, to drain the brewed coffee from the grounds.

The longer the brew time, the more extraction you’ll end up with. The shorter the brew time, the less extraction.

 

  • Long Brew 👉 More Extraction
  • Short Brew 👉 Less Extraction

 

There are still two ways you can indirectly control the total brew time: (1) your water pouring speed and (2) the coffee grind size.

If you dump water into your pour over cone, it’ll drain at its natural gravity speed. But if you pour it slowly, it can only drain as fast as you’re filling it. By pouring water slowly, you can extend the brew time.

Pro Tip: This is where “gooseneck” kettles come in handy. The thin spouts make it really easy to pour water in a really slow, controlled way.

Similarly, coarse grounds have a lot of empty space between them, which is why coarse coffee grounds allow for faster draining. Fine grounds, on the other hand, slow down the draining, because it takes more time for the water to travel through them.

Why Balancing Grind Size And Brew Time Is Everything

With every pour over coffee maker, your goal is to balance the grind size and brew time to produce a balanced extraction. Here’s how it works.

Your coffee tastes sour? That’s a sign of under extraction. Here are two ways to fix it:

 

  • Grind coffee finer 👉 slow draining 👉 increase brew time 👉 more extraction
  • Pour water more slowly 👉 slow draining 👉 increase brew time 👉 more extraction

 

Your coffee tastes bitter? A sign of over extraction. Here are two ways to approach it:

 

  • Grind coffee coarser 👉 speed up draining 👉 decrease brew time 👉 less extraction
  • Pour water faster 👉 speed up draining 👉 decrease brew time 👉 less extraction

 

This process is all you need to brew A+ coffee with any coffee maker.

There. You’re basically a pro.

A Few Other Important Things To Note

Of course, don’t forget all the other basics of coffee brewing, like… 

How To Use Any Kind Of Pour Over Coffee Maker

With the fundamentals in mind, learning to use any one of these brewers becomes a lot easier. Let’s look at how their unique characteristics impact your technique.

Chemex

Chemex coffee makers—whether you have a small 3-cup or a large 8-cup brewer—use thick paper filters (they’re the thickest paper filters out there). They also suction to the sides of the brewer, which means no water drops can escape out the sides of the brewer.

So be aware of…  

 

  • Thick filter 👉 slower draining 👉 more extraction
  • Suctioned to the side 👉 slower draining 👉 more extraction

 

So you’re at risk of over extracting your beans, because they’ll drain fairly slow compared to other pour over brewers.

How to fix it… 

 

  • A coarser grind 👉 faster draining 👉 balanced extraction
  • Faster pouring 👉 faster draining 👉 balanced extraction

 

The coarser coffee or faster pouring balances out the slower draining to make balanced coffee.

Hario V60 (V-Shaped Cone)

Brewers like the beloved V60 have two quirks you need to be aware of: (1) a very large draining hole at the bottom of the cone and (2) the filter sits slightly away from the walls of the brewer thanks to “ridges” along the walls of the cone.

So be aware of…  

 

  • Large draining hole 👉 faster draining 👉 less extraction
  • Lifted filter 👉 some water goes along the sides 👉 faster draining 👉 less extraction

 

V60 brewers put you at risk of under extracted coffee.

How to fix it… 

 

  • Finer grind size 👉 slower draining 👉 balanced extraction
  • Slower pouring 👉 slower draining 👉 balanced extraction

 

Also like: any other v-shaped cones.

Kalitta Wave (Flat Bottom Dripper)

Flat bottom drippers like the Kalitta Wave have 2-3 smaller draining holes. This means there’s a somewhat limited draining speed, leading the grounds and water to have slightly more contact time during the brew.

So be aware of…  

 

  • Slower draining 👉 more brew time 👉 more extraction

 

This can be a good thing, because it tends to be a little more forgiving than V-shaped cones like the V60. But it can also still cause your water and coffee to brew for too long, leading to over extracted coffee.

How to fix it… 

 

  • Coarser grind size 👉 faster draining 👉 less brew time 👉 balanced extraction

 

Pouring water extra fast doesn’t help much here, because the holes only let the coffee drain so quickly. But the coarse grounds, however, don’t extract so fast, which means that extra water-coffee contact time doesn’t lead to over extracted coffee.

Also like: December Dripper, Melitta, Beehouse, notNeutral Gino.

Kone (Metal Filter Cones)

Metal reusable filters have fine meshes that take awhile for the coffee to drain through—and the holes can get clogged over months/years of use.

So be aware of…  

 

  • Slow draining 👉 more brew time 👉 more extraction

 

Once again, this longer coffee-water contact time is a little more forgiving than v-shaped brewers if you know how to counteract it.

How to fix it… 

 

  • Coarse grind size 👉 faster draining 👉 less brew time 👉 balanced extraction

 

Voila!

Also like: JavaPresse, Gina Smart Coffeemaker

Hario Woodneck (Cloth Filter Drippers)

Cloth filters produce stunningly smooth and aromatic coffee. They generally have a balanced draining speed that’s beginner-friendly from the get-go.

So be aware of…  

 

  • Fast draining 👉 less brew time 👉 less extraction
  • OR slow draining 👉 more brew time 👉 more extraction

 

You could really go either way here—just be mindful of how your coffee tastes to figure out if you’ve over (bitter) or under (sour) extracted. 

How to fix it… 

 

  • Finer grind 👉 more brew time 👉 balanced extraction
  • OR coarser grind 👉 less brew time 👉 balanced extraction

 

See? You’ve got it!

Also like: CoffeeSock

The #1 Tip For Balanced Pour Over Coffee

Even if you do everything right, if you miss this one thing… you’re doomed.

Always brew with freshly roasted, specialty-grade coffee beans.

They’re far more forgiving and flavorful than low-grade, bitter beans. So even if you’re just getting started with pour over coffee, they’ll taste amazing.

Like… 

  • Notes of strawberries, vanilla, and sugarcane
  • Notes of hazelnut, brown sugar, and red fruit
  • Notes of honey, citrus, and flowers

Oh hey! That’s OUR coffee we’re describing. 

👉👉 Discover your next favorite coffee right here.

Join the Coffee Bros. Community

Sign up for news and occasional offers.

Visit Coffee Bros. on Instagram