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A Beginners Guide to Pour Over Coffee Brewing

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Manual Coffee Brewing Systems

Manual coffee-making methods are becoming an increasingly popular option for home enthusiasts and coffee shop baristas alike. The abilities to control every variable in the brewing process, create a cup that's exactly suited to one's preferences, and highlight the unique character of the coffee has convinced many to make the switch. This new popularity has prompted the birth of several new methods and devices, as well as the resurrection of older methods. In this article we'll feature our favorite pour over brewing methods and explain the differences between them. This post is confined to pour over devices, but if you're interested in other methods then check out our Beginner's Guide to Immersion Coffee Brewing.

Brewing Tips

These suggestions are meant to provide a starting place for beginners. Our recommendations are dependent on batch size, pour rate, roast level, processing method, and more, all of which vary. Experiment and adjust to taste!

Grind

Use a quality burr grinder. This will ensure an increasingly consistent grind and even extraction — or, in other words, a tasty cup of coffee! Anything from Baratza or Mahlkonig will serve you well.

Dose

Begin with 60 grams of coffee for every 1 liter of water. Adjusting this ratio will affect other factors in ways both obvious and subtle, so pay close attention. Changing any single parameter will also require change elsewhere.

Water

Thoroughly filtered water, heated to 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit, usually yields the best results. Review the recommended accessories below to learn about controlling water.

Accessories

A slow-pouring kettle is essential to using these brewers well. To select the right kettle for you, check out our Comparison of Pour Over Brewing Kettles. A gram scale and thermometer will also help you brew great coffee consistently.

V60

Hario V60 Red Ceramic Brewer

Design

The V60 is a cone-shaped dripper with spiral ridges along the inner wall and a single, large opening at the bottom. This design keeps the filter from sticking to the walls of the cone, encouraging extraction at the bottom and sides of of the filter. We carry the V60 in two sizes, four colors, and three materials: plastic, glass, or ceramic.

V60 grind setting: fine to medium

Grind

We generally recommend a grind setting between fine and medium.

Technique

Our preferred technique starts with thoroughly rinsing the filter and placing it inside the cone. After adding ground coffee, level the bed and make a small divot in the middle. Targeting this depression, pour just enough water to wet all of the coffee, then rest for 30 seconds. Continue pouring slowly, starting in the middle and moving in and out in concentric circles until the desired volume is reached. Keep the flowing water about ¼" away from the exposed walls of the dripper at all times and try to maintain a constant volume throughout the brewing process.

Advantage

V60 filters are thinner than any other paper pour over filters, and this is a big plus. While we still recommend rinsing these filters, they impart minimal paper taste — if any at all. The unique design of the V60 yields some of the best coffee we’ve ever had. When one pours carefully, the spiral ridges on the V60 facilitate a more even extraction than other cone-shaped brewers, which tend to over-extract at the bottom. And with the glass or plastic V60 you can watch the entire brewing process.

We especially enjoy using the V60 with bright, fruity, and floral coffees. Generally, coffees from Kenya, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala taste their best when brewed with this method. Check out our V60 listings to learn more.

Chemex

Chemex Brewer

Design

The Chemex combines a pour over filter cone with a beautiful glass decanter. The defining feature of this method is an ultra thick paper filter set flush against the walls.

Chemex grind setting: medium to medium-coarse

Grind

We generally recommend a medium or medium-coarse grind setting.

Technique

Begin by thoroughly rinsing the filter. This eliminates papery taste and preheats the server. After dumping this water, add ground coffee and even the bed. Use hot water to evenly wet all of the coffee (using about 10% of the total water volume) and start a timer. After 30-45 seconds pour the rest of the water in a slow and controlled motion. Aim to finish pouring around the 3:00 mark, with the last drop falling somewhere close to 4:00. Toss the filter and grounds, give the Chemex a few swirls, and serve.

Advantage

Because the thick paper filter sits flush against the walls of the server, water flows through the grounds more slowly and the dwell time is longer than other pour over methods. This is helpful, as brewing a tasty cup is less dependent on the skill of the user and more on precise and well-chosen parameters. The Chemex highlights the "higher" and "brighter" notes in coffee and yields a clean, sweet cup.

Bright, fruity coffees do very well in a Chemex. Try a washed coffee from Kenya, Ethiopia, or Panama. Check out our Chemex listings to learn more.

Kone

KONE 3 by Able Brewing Stainless Filter

Design

The Kone is a metal, cone-shaped pour over filter designed for use in a Chemex server. Lasers cut tiny holes in the stainless steel to keep coffee grounds separate from the end up, all the while allowing brewed coffee to flow into the server.

Kone 3 Filter and Chemex Brewer Kone grind setting: between V60 and Chemex

Grind

We generally recommend a grind setting that is between those used for the V60 and the Chemex with paper filters.

Technique

First, “rinse” the filter with hot water; this serves to preheat the filter before use. Dump this water and fill the Kone with ground coffee, gently tapping the edges to even the bed. Begin a brief stage of pre-infusion: pour about 10% of the total water volume evenly across the coffee, start a timer, and wait 30-45 seconds. This releases gases that build up during roasting, an event seen in the "blooming" of fresh coffee. Immediately afterwards, continue pouring in a slow, circular, in-and-out motion until reaching the 1:30-1:45 mark. For the remainder of the time, pour directly into the middle of the Kone, keeping the water level consistent. Shoot for a total brew time of 3:00-3:30. Remove the Kone from the server, dump the grounds, scrub the filter, and serve coffee straight from the Chemex.

Advantage

The Kone really is more than a reusable alternative for the Chemex — it's an entirely new brewing method. With the porous nature of the Kone and the separation between the filter and the walls of Chemex, brewed coffee is more quickly released from the grounds. The end cup has more body and oils, like a cleaned-up french press cup, but the constant movement of water results in increased "higher" notes, which is characteristic of pour over brewing. The Kone producing much less waste than paper filters.

Natural-processed coffees are very tasty when brewed the Kone. Try dry-processed coffees from Ethiopia, El Salvador, or Panama, or good washed coffees from Costa Rica. Check out our Kone listing to learn more.

Bee House

Bee House Dripper

Design

The Bee House dripper features a wedge-shaped filter cone with ribs on the inner walls. It can sit on top of most mugs, as well as the Hario and Kalita servers. While the Bee House is considered a cone dripper, its bottom is flat and sports two small holes through which brewed coffee flows. We prefer to use Melitta filters: #2 for the small and #4 for the large.

Bee House grind setting: just coarser than V60

Grind

We generally recommend a grind setting that is slightly coarser than that which is used for the V60.

Technique

Fold the edges of the filter and set inside the dripper, rinsing with hot water. This serves to preheat the dripper and eliminate the potential for papery tasting coffee. Add coffee to the filter cone and wet lightly and evenly with about 10% of the total water volume. Allow the coffee to bloom for 30-45 seconds, then continue pouring. We recommend three rounds of pouring, each administering about a third of total water volume (minus the amount used for pre-infusion). Pour in a way that keeps the water level barely above the coffee bed. With a slow, controlled pour, aim for 3:00-3:30 total brew time, depending on batch size and grind setting.

Advantage

The Bee House offers an easier learning curve than the V60. Its design encourages a slower drain and permits a coarser grind, both of which contribute to the forgiving nature of the brewer. Like most pour over methods, the Bee House produces a clean cup and accents higher notes, but the extended brew time brings out more sweet and subtle flavors.

Try the Bee House with coffees from Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, and Tanzania. Check out our Bee House listings to learn more.

Kalita Wave

Kalita Wave Dripper

Design

The Kalita Wave is a flat-bottom dripper with three triangulated holes in its base. It stands out from the rest of our offerings, being among very few flat-bottom manual pour-over brewers. The flat, shallow brew bed makes for less turbulence than cone-shaped brewers and encourages a more even extraction. Kalita's "accordion" filters are also highly unique and are designed to stand away from the brewer's wall.

Kalita Wave grind setting: medium to coarse

Grind

We generally recommend a medium-coarse grind, similar to that which is commonly used for brewing with a Chemex.

Technique

In order to take full advantage of the flat-bed geometry of the Wave, we recommend keeping the spout of the kettle as close to the brew bed as possible, pouring onto — not through — the coffee bed. After pre-infusion, pour softly in a circular pattern. There are two main approaches to brewing with the Wave: one implements "pulse" pouring and the other continuous pouring. Folks in the pulse pour arena like to pause intermittently throughout the brew, allowing water soak through the grounds before pouring again. Continuous pouring, on the other hand, requires a slow and steady flow to keep the water volume consistent throughout. Great results can come from both approaches.

Advantage

The wavy filters provide improved temperature stability by insulating with air rather than the material of the dripper itself. The Wave is relatively new on the scene, but so far it's received excellent reviews by the pros. Like to the V60, the Wave dripper caters to the style-conscious with a variety of sizes and materials (glass, ceramic, and stainless steel).

Lots of coffees perform well with the Wave. The coarser grind, slower brew time, and low agitation help to bring out the more subtle and complex characteristics in the coffees we've tried. Check out our Kalita Wave listing to learn more.

Woodneck

Hario Woodneck Dripper

Design

Hario's Woodneck is comprised of three main parts: a wood collar, a glass decanter, and a cloth filter. A wire hoop suspends the filter in the server and keeps it separate from the glass walls, encouraging extraction out of all sides.

Woodneck grind setting: fine to medium.

Grind

We generally recommend a fine-to-medium grind setting.

Technique

Our technique is similar to that used with the V60. Place a small divot in the middle of the grounds, wet the coffee using about 10% of the total water volume, and rest for 30 seconds. Pour slowly in concentric circles until the desired volume is reached.

Advantage

In our opinion, cloth filter brewers are capable of brewing the best cups of coffee you’ll ever drink. The elimination of any papery taste and the thorough filtration of fines produce a crazy clean cup.

We like every coffee that we've tried with this method. The most complex coffees are featured well in a cleaner cup and are best complemented by the cloth filter in the Woodneck. Check out our Woodneck listing to learn more.

Walkure

Walkure Bayreuth Porcelain Dripper

Design

This classic German coffee brewer is comprised of four distinct parts, each made of elegant porcelain. A (1) cylindrical brew chamber houses a porcelain grid that filters coarse grounds before decanting coffee into the (2) server. The (3) dispersion plate controls the direction of poured water, evenly saturating the grounds below, and a (4) lid improves heat retention. This gorgeous brewer is available in traditional and modern styling, as well as five unique sizes. Requiring no extra filters and constructed entirely with porcelain, this is the purist's dream come true.

Walkure grind setting: medium.

Grind

A consistent grind is especially important for brewing with the Walkure; you'll notice that the presence of fines can yield an unpleasantly silty cup. We generally recommend a medium grind setting, just finer than that which is commonly used for brewing with a Chemex.

Technique

The thermal properties of porcelain necessitate extensive preheating for brewing with the Walkure. It's recommended that you run hot water through the entire device — from the dispersion plate, through the brew chamber, and to the server — before getting started. Next, add ground coffee to the brew chamber and level the bed. Assemble the brewer, leaving the lid off, and prepare for pre-infusion with near-boiling water. For other brewing methods we prefer to use water heated to 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit, but it may be helpful to slightly exceed this range when using the Walkure, especially when your coffee is very fresh. The higher temperature should account for the heat lost when water is poured through the dispersion plate. Aiming for the center of the plate and assuming a position that minimizes the arc of the flowing water, add about 10% of the total water volume and start a timer. Ensure that the coffee has been saturated evenly and rest while the grounds bloom. Continue pouring very slowly, keeping the water volume consistent throughout. At first this consistency will require an occasional peek beneath the cover, but eventually you'll get a feel for the ideal flow rate. Note that this will fluctuate as you change coffee and/or grind. You should reach your target volume around 3:30. Separate the server from the brew chamber and clean carefully and thoroughly. As you continue to experiment with the Walkure, try using a fixed grind setting and adjusting your coffee dose until the brew is completed right around 3:30. Once you've found the ideal dose for your coffee, adjust temperature and water volume to taste.

Advantage

Like the Kalita Wave, the Walkure's flat and shallow brew bed minimizes turbulence and encourages an even extraction. The genius addition of a dispersion plate helps to correct some common inconsistencies with manual brewing, among them sloppy pours and irregular extraction. The user is liberated to focus on other parameters, most of which actually require attention before brewing begins. Grind size and consistency, coffee-to-water ratio, water temperature, and bed depth are just a few factors that are more easily singled out and controlled when brewing with the Walkure.

Many coffees perform well with the Walkure. The coarser grind, extended brew time, and low agitation bring out subtle and complex characteristics in the coffee. Check out our Walkure listings to learn more.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this post, so feel free to leave a comment below. Share your favorite brewing methods or devices, as well as your preferred parameters. Any other pour-over methods you'd like to see on the list? Any recommendations?

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kudos! this is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in pour over coffee. great job.

Hi Aaron! Good questions. We prefer to brew with a scale: just fill your kettle, boil your water, and pour.

If you're not able to get your hands on a scale, you can measure beforehand – volume-loss while heating is pretty minimal,

Some carafes do have volumetric markings, but we think you'll see best results with a more accurate means of measurement (e.g. scale, measuring cup, etc.). Hope that helps!

Yes we have, Ivy, and we liked them so much we're now carrying them! Cloth filters like CoffeeSock's are a great alternative to paper, creating a brew with a little more body than before. You get something with a bit more richness, a fuller mouthfeel, but no grit thanks to the fine cloth. A Woodneck will have a little more body because it's a different type of cloth, and the brewing process is slightly different, but the flavor is very similar.

This fine blog is about the most useful I've seen, as it relates to these different methods. Clear explanations, and coffee suggestions to boot.
Nicely done!

Thanks for the encouragement!

Definitely agree with you.  Been to a lot of coffee blogs, this is most useful I've found (and good design!)

So here's my question.  What would you recommend for home coffee brewers if they were to purchase one first.  I am fascinated with the Kalita Wave, the Chemex, and the V60.  What are your thoughts?

This has been the best entry on hand pour brewing methods and their relation to each other. THANK YOU!

Hey Jason. Good question! For beginning home-brewers, we'd recommend either the Kalita Wave or the Clever Dripper. Both of these are among the more "forgiving" manual brewing devices out there -- that is, neither require a very refined pouring technique to produce some quality coffee. The Clever is actually a hybrid method of sorts (hence it's absence in this guide), implementing pouring to deliver water and full immersion to extract. All this to say, either of these methods will help a beginning home-brewer have fun and enjoy some delicious coffee. Let us know if you're interested in learning more!

I was looking to go beyond my classic Chemex when I found this site. I appreciate the solid information and excellent suggestions. And, thanks to your suggestion, I now start my day with the Woodneck. The coffee it puts out is out-standing!

I have been researching so much but cannot find the answer as to why one should stay away from the edge of the V60 and Bee House while pouring? Is it to avoid any paper taste? Wouldn't not saturating all the grounds just be a waste? Thanks for your time! :)

Hello. I was wondering if you could help me out. I greatly enjoyed reading your blog, but didn't understand something about one of the pour overs. Why should one stay slightly away from the edge when pouring. I have seen many people only pour a "well" in the center and then pour in a circular pattern out from there, but staying about a 1/4 inch away from the edge. Do you know why this is done? Thank you for your time.

Hi,the reason to avoid the edge when pouring is to make sure the coffee grounds are saturated fully and no water is passing through the filter without going through the coffee.

There's still a lot to be learned as a Starbucks barista, though! Melitta drippers are very similar to Bee Houses — wedge-shaped with ridged walls — except that Melittas have one small opening at the bottom and Bee Houses have two. Thus, Melittas offer more flow restriction and increased the dwell time. It may be helpful to use a coarser grind or cooler water to account for this. Hope that helps!

I would recommend the Clever over the Kalita. I love both of them, but with the Kalita, you are getting into true pou rover territory, which can become a bit more detail minded than the clever. I truly think the Clever dripper is one of the easiest brew methods out there and is also very forgiving to grind quality - in my experience.

Love your blog! Glad I have somewhere to go to continue to learn and encourage my love for coffee. Sadly, I don't get this knowledge or depth as a partner at Sbucks. My question: what about the Melitta? Is it more like a Beehive or a V60?

I've been collecting a variety of vintage brewing devices over the past year or so, and found the old dripolators and napoletanas make the best cup yet, my favorite being a 2-cup Wear-ever 3042.

My favorite brewing method at home.... You can really taste the coffee with it! :)

Good question, Kris. Kevin (below) is onto something when he says you want to ensure "no water is passing through the filter". Your cup will taste weak if too much plain water gets into it. Also, pouring at the edges can push grounds further into the cone and "choke" it, unnecessarily extending your brew time. Can you picture that?

brilliant work Matt. using this as my go-to-resource for pourover evangelization.

I'd love to learn more about grinders suitable to pour over coffee. Most of the information I find about different grinders online is all about espresso.

Reviewing the comments below,, I decided to buy Kalita series since I couln'd find any clever brewers in glass, they only have plastics...
So, in kalita brewers,, there are stainless steel, glass in different sizes. I'm so confused to choose one of them.
What would you recommend as an expert in coffee brewing??

Hey, Sunny. That's a great question. Between steel, ceramic, and glass, we prefer the glass for its ability to retain temperature. Steel is going to move heat away from the slurry, and ceramic is a good option, but requires much more preheating than glass.

Wonderful information!! I am a pour-over novice so your clear descriptions and recommendations are greatly appreciated. I recently moved to Peru and have started roasting my own coffee. Which pour-over devices do you recommend for Peruvian coffees (often grown at high altitudes)?

That sounds like quite the adventure, Jennifer (both moving and roasting)! Any of these brewers will treat you well, no matter which coffee you use. But if you've observed that the coffee you get in Peru is highly dense – usually one result of being grown at a higher elevation – then you'll want to adjust your brewing parameters to increase the rate of extraction. That's because denser beans extract more slowly. To do so, increase your water temperature, agitate the slurry more by stirring (not recommended for the Kone or Walkure), extend brew time, or grind finer. You can also try extending your brew time.

I hope that helps!

Chris

Love all your explanations on the different brands. I think I'm going to give the Kalita a shot!

How would like your favorite coffee shop to pour your daily brew? Also... how can you avoid that funneling? I've seen people use a small wood spoon- but what is the science/technique behind that?

That's a tough call, Peter! The Kalita Wave and Bee House will probably be the most forgiving methods, so for consistency's sake they'd be good choices. I'd be really excited to see someone using the Walküre in a café, though – that'd make the most interesting cup!

Regarding funneling, I'm not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate?

Cheers!
Chris

Thanks for the quick response... the funneling I meant as the "holing" of the coffee in a pour over method- but I see know, that occurs when water is added too quickly. We are going to go pour over w/Hario... and spend the money on best coffee beans available. Thanks again, Chris.

Have fun, Peter!

How would you adjust for using a 13 cup Chemex? Thanks for replying.

Hey Antonio. If you're using a larger brewer to make more coffee, you'll simply want to dose more coffee and grind a bit coarser. You may also want to increase the temperature of your water to more effectively extract from the coarser coffee.

What would you guys suggest for the material of the v60? Glass or ceramic? Trying to decide which would provide the best quality while still looking good.

Hey Tommy. The plastic V60 actually beats the others in temperature stability, durability, and price – but, admittedly, it doesn't look as nice. Technically, glass is next in line for proper insulation, but If you thoroughly pre-heat the ceramic dipper, it'll maintain temperature decently.

So, if you don't prefer plastic's appearance, glass and ceramic are near-equals – you'll just need to pre-heat ceramic more. Hope that helps!

Welcome to the world of pour-over! It sounds like you're having fun so far.

We can sincerely recommend any of the brewers in this blog. With a proper grind size, coffee dose, and pouring technique, the contact time should be adequate for a range of different flavor preferences. However, the Kalita Wave and Chemex brewers offer the slowest flow rate. Those sound like a good place to start.

Are you familiar with the Clever Coffee Dripper? It's similar to these pour-over cones but has a stopper at the bottom that lets you extend the contact time as long as you like – regardless of grind, dose, or pour! You can read more about it on our product listing or immersion brewer blog.

Awesome! Thanks for the quick response. One last thing- how does the plastic base look on the glass model? I realize you're the seller but if you could be as unbiased as possible..does it look like cheap plastic or does it look pretty good?

Honestly, the plastic base has never bothered me! It's pretty slim, so I hardly notice it. The base is removable, too – you can remove it, if you'd like.
–Chris

I have one question. I brew with the V60 every day and my recipe is: 24g of coffee,350ml water and 2:30 min brewing time. So would I use the same recipe for the Kalita Wave only with of course coarser grind or do I need a totally different recipe ?

Good question, Stefan! We think you'll enjoy better results if you use different recipes for the V60 and Kalita Wave. Because the Wave dripper sports a slower flow rate, you'll want to 1) grind coarser, 2) dose more coffee, and 3) brew longer. For specific parameters, check out the brewing guide on our Kalita Wave page (under the Features tab) or the video on our blog.

I should mention, the smaller strainer has much finer holes.. and sometimes I get little impatient and it pours over the sides, leaving sludge in the bottom of my cup, but even that is drinkable,.. gotta love your coffee for that.

Nevermind. I think I figured it out. I see you can get a carafe with the measurements on there.

When measuring out the amount of water, are you assuming that you let all the water drip through until the grounds are "dry"? Let's say you're pouring - I'm using the Bee House - and you hit the 3:30 or 4:00 minute mark of brewing, you're on the last pour but it's only about halfway done dripping. Is it better to stop at 4 minutes and just sacrifice that last bit of brew? When do you throw in the towel? Of course next time I probably need a coarser grind to shorten the brew time, but still wondering about the principles of this.

What you're getting at is called "bypass brewing", NAD. If your brew is running long – or you just want to try something new! – you can cut it short and add the remaining water afterwards. Before resorting to that, though, I'd recommend letting the water run its course: finish the process, even if it's taking longer than usual, and taste the results. You may find that more time suits your taste!
–Chris

Excellent, thanks! Learning new terms every day... "Bypass brewing" is now my 2nd favorite coffee term behind "aroma taint".

Also I misspelled "principles" above... sorry that drives me nuts

(oh wait, I can edit it. nice)

Agreed! The most helpful to the point (but not leaving out important details) pour over guide/coffee blog I have seen. :)

Thanks a heap, Amanda!

Thanks, also, Brian!

I use an Aerobee press. I can't imagine a better cup.

I'm a big fan, of the Aeropress, too, Aajaxx! Did you see our Guide to Immersion Brewing? It features your favorite brewer alongside some other great gear.

Good write up there. This thing is great. I've stopped grinding my own coffee, because with the inverted method any grind seems to work if you adjust the brewing time.

It definitely seems like there are more good options!

I too am looking to go beyond my Chemex. I currently use a chemex, aeropress, and siphon, but I wanted another pour-over method because I just love new coffee things! I had not experienced a woodneck before, but I'm planning to order one now! :)

You'll enjoy it, Keegan! Very different results from the Chemex, and lots of fun.

Will the Kone fit any other dripper? Like the V60, for example. The Chemex obviously isn't a viable choice for traveling.

It sure will, OG! V60, Chemex, etc. As long as it's suspended over a vessel, it'll work. You could even hold it with one hand... ;)

Hi. First off, thanks for the very detailed info on pour over options. I've tasted pour over brews at the coffee shops and am interested in purchasing one for home use. After reading the blog, I had about decided on the Bee House until I read a comment that the bottom dimension limits the size mug. Most of mine are 4.5 inches and up so the Bee House would be too small. With so many mugs already, I don't want to purchase more. The Kalita is tempting but I don't like that special filters have to be purchased. Can you suggest an alternative to the Bee House that is similar in design and ease of use ? Thanks

Hi, Bonnie! Glad that you've decided to take the leap. If you're set on pour-over and plan to use a pouring kettle, the V60 might be the route to go. The plastic and ceramic models have especially wide bases and their filters are cheap. Hope that helps!

All the video boxes are black. I double checked that Adobe Flash Player is installed and activated. Last week I could view them. Is there perhaps an issue with the videos ? Any other ideas ? Thanks

Hi Bonnie,

We're bummed that that the videos weren't working for you. Thanks for letting us know. Can you check again today? It may have been a problem with the company that hosts our videos. At least on our end the videos do seem to be working today http://prima-coffee.com/brewer.... If you still can't watch them please shoot an email to sales@prima-coffee.com and we will figure out what is going on.

Hi. Thanks for your reply. The videos are still blank today but I have since tried videos on other sites and sometimes have the same issue..but not always which is strange. I will go ahead and send an email to your sales email for a double check but suspecting now that I have something on my PC that is blocking some videos..inconsistently which is strange. Really want to see your videos as they are really informative..Thanks again for your help !

We hear you, Dave. Hopefully this post helps those that love their drip brews as much as you love your press!

Which one is the best for making espresso? Cause almost all of delicious coffee varieties are based on espresso. Btw it's an amazing blog

Really wonderful article, thanks for that! I have a Chemex of my own and I am going to try some of your tips right now :)

Can i know why some people use a scale under the chemex...what is that for?

Hi Jojo. The scale is used to measure water weight during brewing. Weight is a more reliable way to brew with a consistent ratio, but if you prefer you can simply pre-measure your water by weight or volume. The scale method allows you to heat more water than you require for your brew, which can also improve temperature consistency during the brewing process.

Hi - thanks for all of this great info!! One question, for the Bee House, you mention folding the filter before putting it into the funnel. Can you provide more details on that?

Hi, Rick. You'll want to fold the seams of the filter over to prevent them from tearing during the brew. It's nothing too fancy, just fold right above the seams, crease, and drop the filter in. If you'd like a visual aid, check out our how-to video for the Clever Dripper. Chris folds his filter at about 1:15 in the video.

Thanks for the great information! I was wondering if there are any differences between pour over coffee using an above method and the stainless steel Vietnamese dripper. Can you give me any information about a comparison of the two? Thanks!!!

Still nothing here to beat my french press, sorry. I get all of the flavor, all of the time.

I'm wondering what we think the maximum amount of coffee you can make with a V60 is.

I'd like to put a V60 on top of my 18ounce thermos cup to make ~18 ounces of coffee and wondering:
A: Whether we feel that's too much liquid for a V60 and what we feel the max would be!, and
B: If we think it's OK for 18ish ounces, how much coffee would we use for that amount in a V60 (or how much coffee per cup is appropriate in a V60!

Thanks for any response,

D Flash in North Carolina

You sure can brew 18 oz in a V60, if it's the 02 size. If you're careful about your grind and pouring technique, you can brew batches up to around 900 mL - roughly 30 oz - but a best practice would be to split batches larger than 600-700 mL into two brews. That way, your brew time is more controllable and you don't need to worry about fines quite as much.

For 18 ounces, try about 32-36 grams of coffee, and increase or decrease to your taste.

Wow, thanks for a detailed response. I really appreciate your time and expertise!

Awesome post on the different cones! How about some more instruction on the actual act of pouring the water over the grinds?

I've noticed a few things: a) if you pour too quickly in the beginning and don't wet the grounds enough, you get all these air bubbles coming up, b) I've seen some people recommend packing the grounds down a bit, yea or nay? c) it's really hard to get the grounds at the edge of the filter without just pouring onto the filter itself.

Any tips you can give are appreciated!

Both pitchers would be perfectly capable of latte art, but one thing to consider is the power of your steam wand. It can be somewhat difficult to use a small pitcher with a commercial machine due to the sheer power of the steam - though it is certainly not impossible. For latte art purposes, baristas all over have different preferences; some will want more breathing room and a larger pitcher, and others want the perfect size for the drink they're making. You could really go either way!

I don't actually have a steam wand at the moment... I'm just using a aerolatte to create microfoam. Thanks a million for your quick responses. You're great!

Have you tried brewing with a cloth filter (ex. Coffee Sock) and Chemex? Just curious how it might compare to the Woodneck!

Thank you so much for your very knowledgeable reply! I'm looking forward to an eventual blog post on pouring technique!

I've now gotten the pour to the point where it never leaves grounds stuck to the sides of the filter after draining through all the way -- it's a solid flat bed of grounds afterwards! Getting a proper conical burr grinder has helped a lot in this respect, as the coffee doesn't drain through the filter as quickly anymore, and obviously, has resulted in more extraction as it takes a longer time.

I need one of these in a self contained format with the water heater, filtration, and the decanter all in one unit. I'd like this on my desk at work!

Forgive me for being confused. My tastebuds are from the neanderthal era.
The V60 has ridges to allow filters from the sides of the filter. The chemex is smooth. So which one is better?
Actually, which technique is better -- drip through bottom only OR through the sides??

We think the V60 and Chemex are different enough that they both have their strengths and their weaknesses, and neither is truly better. The Chemex is perfect for a pot of crisp, clean coffee with accentuated acidity and low body. You won't want to pour too close to the sides with a Chemex, but as you've mentioned, it doesn't really matter too much because the side walls are smooth and the filter partially adheres to them.

The V60 on the other hand is more focused on technique, and while it rewards precision with great flavor clarity and balanced sweetness, it can also produce less than stellar cups if you're not careful. Again, avoid the side walls when pouring, as you'll more or less be pouring water straight through the filter thanks to the V60's deep ridges. You may want to quickly pour around the side to wash down "high and dry" grounds once or twice during brewing, but otherwise you should focus your pours primarily around the center of the brew bed.

The V60's capacity is also limited, and we find it works best with 2-4 cups, whereas the Chemex can produce up to a liter or more with ease. The two brewing methods are equally enjoyable, but for different reasons, if that makes sense. We're big fans of both, and brew with them just about every day in the office!

Hi, assuming I was to only make one cup of coffee on each occasion, using the Hario Woodneck, should I get the large 480ml or small 260ml? Is there any difference in the quality of the cup brewed? Is it true the large version will create more turbulence if brewing with less grounds? I really don't know which to buy. Thanks for any advice.

There shouldn't be too much difference with the larger size, and you may end up appreciating the leeway to make larger batches on occasion. Turbulence should not be a problem if you're careful about your pouring, and if you're using a gooseneck kettle, just get the spout as close to the coffee as you can. We like a slow pour, sometimes even a trickle, and a relatively fine grind, and we don't always brew a full capacity. No complaints here!

Thanks for your answer! Do you mind if I ask off-topic? Would it be easier to pour latte art with a larger or smaller milk pitcher? Eg. the Motta Europa 350ml vs 500ml? I would be pouring for one cup, so frothing the right amount of milk in the 350ml version seems much more appropriate; but I see some skilled baristas transfer their frothed milk into different sized pitchers. Is it because larger pitchers are better for latte art? Thanks again.

Thanks for the reply! Will definitely give that a go.

Finally discarded both my Keurig K-cup and Keurig Vue machines and purchased a 6 cup Chemex and Baratza Encore burr grinder. Purchased some Starbucks beans and wow, finally after all this time, I finally got a real cup of coffee. 30 grams of coffee to 16 oz of water. One observation: Chemex stated capacity size needs to be adjusted downward by 2 cups (6 cups are really 4 cups since the filter takes up 1/3 of the container) Assume that similar adjustments need to be made on Chemex's other stated capacities as well. Very satisfied with Chemex!!!

We're glad to hear it John! It's a pretty distinct difference, isn't it? As for the Chemex capacities, it's important to note that when it comes to coffee, there is no standard measurement for one "cup." Often, it falls somewhere between 4-6 fluid ounces, as is the case with Chemex. Your 6 cup Chemex will comfortably hold 30 ounces of brewed coffee, meaning Chemex's idea of a cup is 5 fl oz. of coffee. This is similar to the majority of coffee brewers on the market - it's very rare for one cup to mean 8 ounces, as it would in cooking. Hope that helps, John, happy brewing!

BTW, I was completely remiss in not extending my genuine appreciation and thanks for all the help and information on your website. If it hadn't been for my longing for, but sudden urge to rid myself of my crappy Keurigs, I would have purchased my Chemex, Bonavita kettle, and Baratza grinder from Prima. You can rest assured that in the future, my loyalty will be with you. You guys are an invaluable resource. My pent-up desire for a decent cup of coffee turned me into a "man on a mission," and thus the mission got accomplished in a single day.

Hi there, Jamie. For a full liter brew, we'd want to target a 4-5 minute brew time with the Chemex. The filter tends to adhere to the glass walls, so drainage can be a bit slow, hence the longer brew time. And yes, you would have to grind coarser than for a smaller brew, that's correct.

This is a great article! I have a question, I am brewing with a bon mac pro dripper, are there any tips you have about brewing with that setup? If not which previously described method would be the most similar to the one I have?
Thanks!

This is just a sublime blog... Terrific job... it covered most brewers out there... was easy to understand and in fact... was the most comprehensive...in terms of comparing brewers (most blogs dont compare the V60, Kalita, Beehouse, Chemex, Chemex with Kone, and Walkure together in one article...

- Rayner Tan (a barista from Kuala Lumpur)

Thanks Rayner, we appreciate you take a look!

Hey Erik. You should be able to apply the same approach from the Bee House to your Bonmac dripper. As tapered cone brewers, they are fairly similar in design, and the real difference will end up being the drain rate. You'll want to adjust your grind to hit your desired brew time - grind finer to extend the time, coarser to shorten it - but otherwise the recipe will be more or less the same.

This is fantastic!! I live in Dallas, which, as you likely know, is currently experiencing a "sort of boom" in specialty coffee shops and roasting. Because of this, tastes are changing in this region and well-informed, experienced, and even unconventional coffee aficionados are opening up new shops or lending their passion to current coffee houses. That being said, people like myself who have had a growing love of coffee for decades, are shifting their understanding of quality and learning to enjoy every part of the process while experimenting with various brewing methods.

Thank you for a truly helpful (and unpretentious, non-snooty) introduction to myriad ways of brewing excellent coffee!

If you come to Dallas, check out Fully City Rooster, Method, Ascension, Cultivar, Mudsmith, The Life House, and Oddfellows, to name a few.

All very helpful and informative, if one can afford a burr grinder?

Not sure if anyone else would be interested but I used the 60g of coffee to 1 Liter of water (1000 g or 1 kg of water) and broke down per cup to make it easier to select.. Hope my math is correct but this is what I came up with..

Awesome work Philippe!

The one thing I'm not exactly clear on is why the brew time is firm for all volumes of water. Correct me if I'm wrong but what you are implying by this is that you want the water to flow through faster if you have a higher volume of water and slower if you have a low volume of water. Would that not make the smaller brew batch stronger than the larger brew batch?

Brilliant. Great technique. Of course as this is a coffee blog. I recently had this arabica coffee as a gift from my mother. So I pour half of tea spoon and I could not sleep until it was very late. Whoo.. I rarely drink coffee and as I had a gift, I need to try drink it, don't you? So it was rough and I think it needs some brewing like you have just explained. Thank you!

I stumbled into "pour over brewing" all on my own. My coffee maker quit working one day and I had a funnel in my garage (never used!). Needless to say, I've never replaced my coffee maker. I have been searching for (and haven't found) the perfect "funnel" replacement. Best I can find is a plastic (yuck!) cone holder made by Malida with a single hole. Tried to get a ceramic one, but the holes were too many and too big. The coffee didn't stay in contact with the grind long enough. Most of the higher end cone holders look like they aren't going to hold the water long enough to get the flavor I'm looking for.

Hello Volvo Guy... I, too, stumbled upon this method by accident, when my beloved Keurig broke. Admittedly, I had, somehow, stumbled upon a video, months earlier, demonstrating this method, and I was intrigued. What I ended up using was a small strainer, the metal sort, with a wooden handle, which fits perfectly over just about any size cup I choose, though I sometimes have to balance the handle across something else, until the grinds get wet. Inside the strainer, I place another, which is just a tiny bit smaller, as it fits perfectly inside the wooden handled one. I think it was, once upon a time, a round/ball tea strainer, not sure, it was at my mother's house. It snapped closed, but the two pieces had broken apart, so that I only used the one half. I bought a Hario single drip kettle with the very slim spout, for slower, more controlled pouring, and suddenly I had the best coffee ever! It does best with finely ground coffee. I pour intermittently, pouring from the center, out, until the grinds are all wet, then pour in a circular motion. I can always tell when it's done right, as it will be somewhat creamy foamy looking. If I use water that is too hot, there is no foam, at all, and it tastes burnt/bitter. Just right before boiling seems to be the key,for me. Still researching, for another way to drip it, but why mess up a good thing! Good luck!

So I have all my pour over gear en route from Amazon and I'm pretty sure I have a handle on everything except how you're determining how much water you're using. Do you just measure with a liquid measuring cup beforehand? If that's the case is the volume-loss from evaporation during boiling minimal?

Had a couple questions regarding cloth filters.

First, in the
review of the Woodneck above you gave praise to the cloth filter. Would
that same praise ring true for cloth filters in a cone dripper (not
Kone, just the usual paper filter cones)?

Second, there's a cafe
near me (in Japan) where the guy brews using a cloth filter on a handle,
like the one in with the woodneck, but it is suspended on a custom
built steel stand which just holds it over the pot (no poetion of the
filter is in or touching the pot) so there is no glass surrounding the
filter to cup it, it just drips straight from the cloth filter into the
pot. How would you imagine this would affect the outcome?

Love the blog! Thanks for all the hard work!

Hi, Manabiya! Great questions. Let's see...

1) We like all cloth filters because they offer incredible cup clarity (fewer coffee solids make it into the cup) and they don't inhibit the passage of flavorful oils. Cloth is fabulous in just about any brewer!

2) We've seen brewers just like the one you described. Assuming the filter itself is shaped similarly, there won't be a huge difference. The Woodneck may insulate better, improving temperature stability while brewing, but that's about it.

Hope that helps!

No problem, Vic! The Vietnamese dripper, also known as the phin, is another type of pour over device. As you may know, it doesn't use paper or cloth filters, opting instead for a punched steel filter and dispersion screen. It's a little in a class of its own, as it does not require as careful attention to pouring as a Kone might, but the results will be similar to the Walkure.

To brew, you'll load up your coffee into the bottom of the filter, then set the screen on top, pour your water slowly over the screen, and cover with the lid. It will take two minutes or so to fully trickle through, depending on how much coffee you use and how fine it is. You'll have a heavier body and a slightly oily cup, with a few traces of sediment. It's best to grind on the finer side of medium for a phin, in order to elongate the total brew time. Grinding too fine will choke the brewer, however, so you might try a couple settings first to get your desired flavor out of it.

Phins are great for Vietnamese-style coffee (iced coffee in particular, with sweetened condensed milk!), and they're often quite cheap, sometimes even under $5.

Nancy, there's almost another whole blog's worth to write about pouring techniques. They seem to be as multitude and distinct as coffee varieties themselves! To address your points:

A. Yes, many professionals recommend a pre-wet or "bloom" phase, where a little water is poured over the grinds to allow them to de-gas, before proceeding with the brew. We mention this in our techniques above, as we've found that our brews are more consistent when we pre-wet our coffee for a bloom stage. Allow 30-45 seconds after wetting before continuing your pours, and do include the pre-wet time in your total brew time. You shouldn't see many, if any, bubbles after blooming.

B. We're undecided on this one. Some say it results in a more even extraction, or that it allows you to better saturate your coffee during the bloom. But we haven't found that it guarantees a better result, so try it and see if you like it!

C. This is something we'd consider to be okay, an acceptable loss of a little bit of water during brewing. If you pour just a little bit of water as quickly as you can to wash those grounds down, the little bit that escapes the brew bed shouldn't do any harm. If you find you need rinse grounds down more than once, try keeping your water level more constant, and lower in the filter. We find that grounds are left "high and dry" when the brew bed is allowed to get quite full then drain most of the way, repeatedly. Your grounds will remain in contact with the water more if the brew bed is kept at a fairly constant level, and you shouldn't need to rinse grounds off the filter more than once.

Thanks Nancy, hope that all helps!

Hey, Great blog. Lots of information to learn from. Just have a question regarding Chemex brewing. I have been brewing with a 6 cup chemex and have been doing a ratio of 60 g coffee to 1000 mL of water (1:16.6 ratio). I'm finding its taking over 7 minutes to fully pour through that much water. Is that expected to take that long? or am I needing to make my grind coarser? Thanks!

Hey Vincent. None of the methods above make espresso, but we have a handy guide for selecting espresso equipment, part of our Learning Center series on espresso. Take a look!

We do think that a burr grinder is a worthwhile investment, Barbara, but it needn't break the bank! In fact, we have a few hand grinders made by Hario which fall under $50, and are more than capable of a great brew.

Finally, now I know what ratio of coffee to water to use with pour over. The internet is positively littered with guides to using the Chemex and such, but no one tells you what quantities to use! Thank you.

Well, that depends on how you like to brew your Aeropress, Robert! The Aeropress is a versatile device, and you can actually use it as a pour over-style brewer if you want, which would give you results not unlike a V60 brew. We like the Aeropress for its ability to quickly brew a cup, combining the richness of full-immersion with the clean flavors of a drip brew. Your typical pour over brew is going to be a little cleaner and crisper than an Aeropress brew, but it will of course take a few more minutes to get it done than the Aeropress will.

Brew time doesn't have to be the same for every batch, but the same general range of 3-4:00 is a good target for most brews. Generally, larger brews will trend toward that upper limit by their very nature, but brews that drift over 5:00 or more tend to taste more overextracted regardless of ratio. At a certain point, there is too much extraction going on (in a drip brew, anyway, immersion brews behave a little differently), and the coffee's taste begins to suffer. But in any case, play around and experiment! See how a 4:30 brew tastes versus a 3:00 brew of the same coffee and same ratio. Tweak the grind a little bit and taste the results. There are very few hard and fast rules in coffee, so just about everything is open to tweaking.

Forgot to add the DIY method. Boil water, using a traditional basket filter stick it into a 2-cup coffee mug (I use a travel mug from Einstein bagels), add 4 scoops of coffee grounds, adjust filter up/down until top of grounds bed is ~1/4" below rim of mug, flourish filter down and around the outside of mug and secure to mug with a rubberband or collar of choice (I use a velcro strip), and pour water evenly and slowly over grounds until it stops seeping into mug. Remove filter collar, then carefully (hot) remove and discard filter with grounds. Enjoy your great tasting coffee knowing there is no clean-up, no wasted grounds, and didn't purchase crazy contraptions to achieve it.

I started doing this after my coffee machine broke and accidentally breaking my french press when emptying out the grounds =)

Aeropress! It's self-cleaning and you can even reuse the filters in a pinch. Yeah it's not as "I did it on my own," but it's really easy and brews an amazing cup.

that was hell too extensive!

Im torn, I am a first timer at the pour over method and looking to buy my first set. I am leaning toward the Kalita Wave series Wave style set
over the Chemex but am concerned about the size of the Kalita being too small. Also, how do you keep the coffee warm as I am a slow drinker????

Coffee cooling is a wonderful way of experiencing different aspects of the coffee. I'm afraid artificially warming will do more harm than good. If you are talking about keeping one cup warm, drink a bit faster!! If it's multiple cups, get an insulated thermos. A good double walled coffee cup will help too.

Fine blog..I like what everyone is saying about the clever, (I'm a newbie to home brewing). My question, I would like to be able to brew multiple cups of coffee at once instead of a a single cup brew. Which method would you recommend? I've seen pour over coffee makers that can brew 34 Oz or so, however a friend uses the clever instead ofor pour over for time sake. Would a 34 Oz brewer take a long time? Would love feedback!

What can we say? We value being thorough wherever we can!

The Chemex will certainly brew a larger volume than the Style Set, but the Kalita is a bit more forgiving for a first timer. If volume is your main consideration, we'd recommend going with a Chemex. And while the Chemex and Style Set won't keep your coffee warm for hours (they're meant to be served just after brewing, not stored in the brewer for long periods), we do also offer insulated carafes you can use to keep your brew warm for longer periods of time. The GINO server by notNeutral is a double wall glass carafe that will keep 20 ounces of coffee warm for about two hours, and we've also got some more conventional carafes by Zojirushi that will keep a liter or more warm for longer.

34 oz, or roughly 1 liter is quite easy to brew manually, but not every manual brewing method can accommodate that volume. We've found that a Chemex, V60, or Kalita Wave can manage 1 liter brews (the latter with great care), but haven't played much with a Clever doing the same. The large sized Clever - when used to steep coffee - works best for about 12-16 fl oz brews. As a pourover dripper, however, it does have a larger capacity. You could indeed use it solely as a pour over dripper, or combine steeping and pour over techniques to make a sort of hybrid brew. Time-wise, a full 1 liter brew can be completed in around 5 minutes (assuming your water is already hot), and that should be achievable for any pour over method you wish to use.

Hey there, thank you for making such an informative blog on pour overs. As I am the proud owner of a La Pavoni Europiccola and Gaggia MDF grinder, I have become very sensitive to the intricacies and subtle nuances in extracting delicious espresso. I am honestly humbled and learn something new daily. Having said that, what pour over method would you recommend for me? I'm very intrigued aesthetically by the Chemex glass caraffes and have also been lucky enough to taste coffee from one. There are definitely many bright and sweet notes in this cup of coffee experience. Having said that, I would probably buy beans that were already citrusy, fruity and sweet in nature to accommodate what this brewing method so very well accentuates. I am very open to the more challenging and less forgiving pour over methods. Wishing you many delicious cups of coffee during the winter season.

Hillel

Thank you for the response. I ended up purchasing the Chemex 6 cup. I also bought a metal grid for the stove. I used my Chemex for the first time today and I must say I am hooked!

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