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But, what’s the perfect pour over method? This refined recipe will ensure your Saturday morning coffee sets off on the best footing.
There’s something about the pour over. It somewhat grounds you first thing in the morning. It forces you into patience and reflection. Something espresso doesn’t offer.
My good friend Miguel, who joined me in our interview with the coffee YouTuber James Hoffmann and Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy UK, always starts his day with a pour over. Then a Flat White later. And I understand why.
First of all, let's clear things up. Coffee is like wine. As a rule, you get what you pay for. If you’re the type of person accustomed with the basic wine tasting words of sweetness, acidity, tannin, then perhaps specialty coffee could be for you. But if you’ve consciously searched out this recipe in Google, you’re likely well versed in the delights of specialty coffee.
What is specialty coffee?
It’s coffee that is graded 80 points or above on a 100 point scale by a certified coffee taster (SCAA) or by a licensed Q Grader(CQI). You’ll likely find the points on the bag. It’s also key to ask the cafe when the beans were roasted. Coffee, of course, is a food so it's past its best after a certain amount of time. Commercial coffee can be roasted and sometimes sit on shop shelves for 18 months before it's deemed unworthy of sale. By that time the only benefit of the coffee is the kick.
Specialty coffee is at its best one month after roasting. Too early and it's too acidic, too late and the flavours start to drift.
Here’s the perfect pour over method
Excluding the initial amount of coffee used, every number in this recipe is either 50 or 250. Easy.
Grind: Medium course-courser than a V60, finer than batch brew, much courser than espresso, and much, much finer than French Press. Think sand for fine, pebbles for course. We’re after those crumbs at the bottom of a crisp packet.
Dose: 15 g
Final cup: 250 ml
Leave until your timer reads 2:50 minutes
How’s that for a 250 ml cup of coffee!?
If it took longer than two minutes and 50 seconds then it's likely to be over-extracted. You’ll likely experience a bitter, ashy taste. A simple solution to this is to grind even coarser than before.
What if your brew took less than two minutes?
Then it's likely to be under. extracted, so it will taste sour. The solution? Grind finer and aim for the perfect sweet spot.
Why does this approach work?
If you follow this technique consistently, even if you vary the coffee you use, you can tune your palate until it matches the tastes you like, while you'll learn in a very simple way about acidity, body, and even the sensory manipulation of processing methods. The circular motion improves extraction and even ensures saturation, while the centre-pour allows you to control the speed and flow rate because the contact time is reduced, compared to circular pours alone.
The combination discourages channelling, and leads to uniformity and balance in the final cup.
Find your consistencies
If you don't like certain elements of this technique, make sure to adjust only one thing at a time. I anticipate that that one thing will be making subtle adjustments to the grind size.
Brewing coffee expertly is a hugely rewarding experience and no one should be left behind.
If you’re serious about coffee, Standart is a beautiful print independent coffee magazine that I can recommend. Michal Molcan Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Standart was immensely generous with his advice when we were starting out.