This is part of a series on how to make great coffee at home using affordable, more manual methods. If you missed Part 1 (the basics of making good coffee), go read that one now.
A pour over is basically doing by hand what an auto-drip coffee maker does within the mysterious box. And it’s been around forever. My cousin, who loves to chide me, reminds me that they called in Melitta when she was in college and they only used it because they were on a budget. Well, yeah, Donna, it’s pretty much that.
So why’s it good?
Which one to get?
Since the humble Melitta hit stardom and became a “pour over,” there are suddenly lots to choose from.They’re all good. But, one thing to remember is that the more holes the filtercone has, the more you need to slow down your pouring of the water. A kettle with a gooseneck spout is really useful for this. See "nice to haves" in our last post.
Most of these come in plastic and ceramic versions and in varying sizes (1, 2 and 4-cup). We use the two-cup porcelain Hario V60 in the café as it gives us the most flexibility. Most of the cones have a rim that sits right on your cup or small pitcher and couldn't be easier.
Let’s get going already
What about Chemex?
Chemex is a pourover too, but a few things make it a little different (for more info, see our blog post on Chemex). First, it is both filter and vessel, not just the cone that sits on a cup. Second, and most important, is the bonded filters. It’s the filter that makes coffee brewed in a Chemex taste like a "Chemex." They are thicker than most and result in a “clean” cup with no bitterness and no sediment. This also makes it a little slower than other methods. (On those mornings when you’re dying for a quick cup, it can seem a LOT slower).
When making a Chemex, you can follow the same steps as listed above for pour overs, with the following tweaks:
In the next post, we’ll get into a couple other pour over methods involving socks and the Costa Rican chorreador de café. As always, we’d love to hear your experiences making coffee at home: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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