How to Brew the Perfect Pour-Over Coffee

The ritual of a pour over coffee is an intoxicating experience. An experience that engages all of the senses, it's the perfect way to enjoy a great cup of coffee. Here's a guide to brewing a pour over on the Hario V60.

What You'll Need:

  • Hario V60 dripper (I prefer the 02 size)
  • Hario paper filter
  • Burr grinder (if you don't have a grinder, you'll need as close to freshly ground coffee as you can get)
  • Digital scale
  • Timer
  • Gooseneck kettle
  • Filtered water
  • Coffee

Although the recipe is simple, it's the technique and refinement of the variables involved that produce a great cup. Let's jump in!

The Recipe

The recipe is simply beans & water. For every cup of water, you'll want to use about 15 grams of beans. To be more precise, for every 250g of water, you'll want to use 15g of beans. If you decided to make two cups, you'd double the beans and double the water (30g beans and 500g water).

The Technique

The Setup

  1. Fold the paper filter along the perforated edge. This will help the filter stay open when you put it in the dripper.
  2. Put the filter in the dripper
  3. Put the dripper on a cup that can hold the amount of coffee you want to brew
  4. Boil almost double the amount of water you'll need in a gooseneck kettle
  5. Measure and grind the 15 grams of coffee beans to a size that is roughly the size of course sea salt. This is a great time to enjoy the smell of the freshly ground coffee. 
  6. Pour hot water onto the paper filter. This will serve two purposes: 1. It will remove the paper taste from the filter (go ahead and smell the water that lands in your cup - it will smell like paper). 2. It will heat up the filter and the cup so that your coffee stays hot.
  7. Discard the hot water from the cup and place the dripper and filter back on the cup
  8. Carefully pour your ground coffee into the center of the dripper, trying your best to make a flat bed

The Pour

Pour over coffee blooming
  1. Place the cup and dripper on your digital scale and press the tare button
  2. Start the timer and pour 30 grams of water onto the coffee bed. The goal of the first pour is to simply wet the 15 grams of coffee with double the amount of water, in weight. Make sure every part of the coffee grounds is in contact with water. Notice the foam and bubbles that form at the top of the bed. This is carbon dioxide escaping from the beans - an indicator of freshly roasted coffee. This is called "the bloom." Feel free to stick your nose into the V60 and take a deep inhale to experience the aromas of the coffee you are brewing. When your timer hits 40 seconds, you may continue.
  3. With the timer at 40 seconds, start to pour, in small circles working from the center to the outside and then back in. Your goal should be to get to 150 grams on the scale by 1 minute and 30 seconds on your timer. Your pour should not vigorously disrupt the coffee bed, rather, it should cause a gentle stir.
  4. Continue to top up the dripper with the goal of getting to 250 grams on the scale by 2 minutes and 30 seconds. You want to make sure that there is as much hot water in the dripper as possible at all times, this will keep your coffee temperature consistently hot and improve extraction. 
  5. Once you are at 250 grams, let the coffee drain completely into the cup - the goal should be to be done by the 3 minute mark.

The Coffee

Congratulations, you have brewed a pour over! As you drink the coffee, you'll notice that the taste evolves as the coffee cools. You may notice that the coffee is too bitter or a little sour. Bitter coffee is the result of over-extraction. Sour coffee is the result of under-extraction. Although there are many variables that can impact extraction, the one you should start with is grind size.

If your coffee is bitter, this means that your grind was too fine. A grind that's too fine will prevent water from passing through it as easily as a coarse grind. This means that water will be in contact with the coffee longer, which will lead to over-extraction. 

If your coffee is sour, this means that your grind was too coarse. A grind that's too course will allow water to flow through too fast, yielding a coffee that's under-extracted.

If you don't have all of the equipment required to brew a pour over, have a look at our tips to hacking it!