coffee with a purpose
Roasted in forest, va | since 2016
Pour Over Coffee Ratios & Brewing Guide
Posted on January 02 2023,
Even with the highest quality, freshly roasted coffee, you can't have delicious pour over coffee without brewing it the right way. Luckily we are here to help with some basic guidelines to help get you started!
What Is a Pour-Over?
A pour over is just one method of brewing delicious coffee. All pour overs are made by pouring hot water (typically between 80-96 degrees celsius, but sometimes close to boiling) over medium-ground coffee. You'll also usually use a paper filter and some kind of brewing device (V60, Kalita Wave, or other). These devices can be ceramic, plastic, metal, or even glass, but we prefer the plastic brewers, as they offer the best heat retention.
Pour over brewing is known for producing a clean, bright cup and often tends to be more acidic than a french press or other immersion brew.
Pour Over Coffee Ratio
The ratio of coffee to water is important to getting the perfect extraction. Increasing the amount of water will extract more from the coffee, and increasing the amount of coffee will increase the strength. In order to have a great cup of coffee, you will have to find the balance of coffee and water that works best for you and for the coffee you are using.
We recommend starting with a 15.5:1 ratio (20 grams of coffee to 300 grams of water), but your taste may land anywhere between a 15:1 to 17:1 ratio.
So to figure out how much water to use weigh out your coffee and multiply it by your preferred ratio. For example, for a 16:1—25g of coffee x 16 = 400g of water.
If you want to test this for yourself, check out our Ethiopian Ardi Natural. It's a delicious, fruity African coffee that is perfect for a V60 pour over.
What is The Right Grind for a Pour-Over?
This is a question that comes up a lot, and the general answer is medium to medium-fine. You're looking for a consistency similar to fine table salt as a starting place.
We believe that a coffee tastes best right below that point where over extraction occurs. Starting with a new coffee, try your typical grind size and favorite brew method with a 16 or 16.6 ratio. If it tastes pretty good but you think you can get more, grind finer!
This will increase the number of particles the coffee beans are broken down to and expose more surface area to your water. Plus it also will increase the amount of time it takes for all of the water to go through your coffee bed.
Keep grinding finer till your results stop improving and your coffee tastes bitter, then change your grind setting one step back. This is probably where the sweet spot is for that coffee.
Want to increase the strength of your coffee? Go with a ratio of 15.5 (use less water or more coffee) and do the steps from the paragraph above. Now you will have a high extraction with a high strength.
We know that not all coffee will taste best at every extraction level, so make sure to find what you like best and what works best for your gear.
Pour Over Coffee ToolsYou don't need a lot of fancy equipment to make a great pour over, but there are a few things you need:
- A scale that measures in grams
- A kettle (Gooseneck, if you have it)
- A high-quality grinder
- Your brewer of choice
- Freshly roasted coffee
How to Make A Delicious Cup of Pour Over Coffee
This is our guideline for one cup of coffee. It can be used for most brew methods and can be scaled up. This is a simple guide but is easy to remember and can come in handy anytime you want to make some coffee.
- Coffee - 20 grams / 3 heaping tablespoons
- Temperature - 205 degrees Farenheit / pull water off a boil and wait 30 seconds.
- Water Volume - 300 grams / 10 oz
When brewing, make sure to take the following steps:
- Start by blooming your grounds, letting out some of the excess CO2 trapped from the roasting process. You can use about 2-3x your dose of ground coffee in water. So for a 20g dose, pour 40-60g of water. Let the coffee bloom for at least 30 seconds—longer if it's freshly roasted.
- After the bloom, you'll do a series of pours, the specific amount and length of which will depend on your brew size. For a 20:300 brew, we recommend four equal pours of 60 grams each, which along with your 60g bloom, will get you to your total weight of water. You can wait about 10-20 seconds between each pour.
- This is very similar to James Hoffman's one-cup pour over technique, but we have been doing the same thing for years.
- At the end of your brew, give your brewer a slight swirl to help level the grounds and keep the bed as flat as possible.
One of the most important things you will need to know in order to do a manual pour over is how much coffee and water to use. This ratio of coffee to water is important and will change how strong your coffee is and how high of an extraction you get from your coffee. This works no matter what brew method you choose, everything from v60 to Chemex or even a drip coffee brewer.
How To Brew With Different Pour-Over Brew Methods
We typically go with a V60 in our shop, but that doesn't mean you have to. You can explore other options such as a Chemex or Kalitta Wave. These are both great, as well, and we've used them in our shop over the years.
Recipes for Each Brew Method
- Chemex: 40g of coffee to 620g water - 15.5g ratio
- V60 or Kalitta: 25g of coffee to 400g water - 16g ratio
- V60: 18g of coffee to 300g water - 16.66g ratio
Tips for Making Better Pour Over Coffee
Want to increase the acidity and fruit notes of a coffee? Then try going with a higher ratio, like 16.6. This is the highest ratio that we recommend, going further will eventually over extract the coffee and you will start tasting bitterness.
You can also explore longer brew times, coarser grind settings, and really whatever else you want to! Coffee brewing is meant to be fun, and hand-made pour overs are a joy. Experimenting with different things to see how they affect the final brew is all part of the fun. So get out there and start brewing!
If you need a coffee to brew, check out one of our single-origin coffees and get it shipped right to your door.