How to Make Pour-Over Coffee

If you enjoy coffee, you’ll know there is a huge variety of brewing methods. From K-Cups to French Press to Cold Brew, the list goes on and on. If you’ve thought about trying the pour-over method, it’s easy, and gives you a fantastic cuppa nearly every time!

Pour-over coffee is generally viewed as better, and fresher tasting, than anything you’ll ever get out of a capsule of a standard maker. Unlike a French press, pour-over coffee is easy to clean up, and can yield as much as 10 cups at a time.

However, before we go running willy-nilly into the virtues of pour-over coffee, let’s take just a moment to talk about its cons:

CON: Slow. Making pour-over coffee can take anywhere from two-minutes to upwards of ten. Factors that impact the length of time it takes include the size of your grind and the amount of coffee you are making.

CON: Labor intensive. It’s not like your hauling bricks, but, unlike automatic coffee makers that do the job of adding water to your grind, with pour-over, you do the pouring yourself. That means you actually spend the two-to-ten minutes pouring water.

CON: Equipment required. Pour-over coffee brewing is easy, but it does require a little in the way of equipment. Here’s what you need:

In this angle, the Breville burr coffee grinder looks rather like the robot from the old Lost in Space TV show.

Grinder – What? A grinder? Are you kidding? No, all kidding can be found elsewhere. Here is where you’ll find that great coffee comes from a great grind. And that starts with your grinder. There is a huge variety of grinders out there, and three times as many opinions about which is best.

Find yourself a burr grinder, rather than a blade grinder. Burr-ground coffee is more consistent, which will, in turn, produce consistently better coffee for you. Burr grinders don’t have to be expensive – they start around $50 – but the higher the price, generally the better the quality.

There's not much to the brew basket - it can be as simple as this one made from plastic. It features four holes at the bottom, which helps it drain a little faster than those with fewer holes.

Brew basket – The heart of pour-over coffee lies in the maker itself, the brew basket. These guys can range in price from ten bucks to a whole lot more. The inexpensive ones work just as well as the priciest, but may require you to provide your own cup or carafe.

This "gold" filter bills itself as permanent, but it does beg the definition of the word permanent.

Filter – Like brew baskets, range in price from next to nothing to a whole lot more than nothing. If you’re ecologically conscious, you might try a gold filter that you simply rinse out and reuse. The cost there, of course, is in the rinse water.

Although it's vaguely sinister, the carafe from a Cuisinart drip coffee maker does an excellent job of holding pour-over coffee, as the pouring takes place in the brew basket and not the carafe.

Carafe – That fresh coffee has to go somewhere, doesn’t it? If you’re making more than a single cup at a time, a thermal carafe works best. For the ultimate in irony, you can use the carafe from your conventional coffee maker to hold your freshly brewed pour-over.

Hot water makers comes in  a wide variety of options and prices. This selection ranges from $29 to $71!

Hot Water Maker – While this doesn’t impact the taste of the coffee, it does impact the time it takes to make it, and your carbon footprint while doing it. What? Carbon footprint? Yes. Boiling your water on the stove loses about 30% of the used energy through simple inefficiency. Using an electric kettle, on the other hand, is both faster and 15% more efficient. If your state uses renewable energy, your coffee’s carbon footprint is zero.

Coffee – This seems like a well-duh, but put away those wasteful little cups and those cans of ground coffee, and buy yourself a bag of responsibly sourced whole bean coffee. It stays fresher than the ground stuff, and truly does make a huge amount of taste difference.

BUT FIRST – if you’re just trying it out and don’t want to invest in all that hardware, get yourself a ten dollar brew basket, some inexpensive filters, and a small bag of ground coffee. That way you can get into the process without breaking the bank. Even with these simple tools, you’ll find that the resulting coffee is a thousand times better than what you’ll get from those capsules, or the old Mr. Drip on the counter.

Okay, that’s the bad news. That’s it. It takes a little while to find the grind and time that works for you. Once you’ve scoped it in, however, you’ll never go back to any other method of making coffee.

Let’s make some coffee!

We’re going to make ourselves a ten-cup pot of outstandingly delicious coffee, so, strap on your grinder pants and let’s get going!

First, grind up the coffee in the burr grinder. Now, these numbers are just to get you started. Experiment with grinds and measures until you find yourself the perfect cup.

Set the grinder to coarse grind. If your grinder has coffee-maker style settings, set it to drip.

Grind up enough coffee for twelve cups.

Boil 1.7 liters of water in your water-heating device. That’s a full pot in an electric kettle, and equates to ten cups of coffee.

Put the filter into the brew basket and set it atop your carafe.

Pour the ground coffee into the filter.

Pour the water, straight from the boil, over the coffee in a circular motion, so that all of the grounds get wet at once.

The filter will fill up, and that’s is just fine. In fact, it’s necessary.

Let it sit for about 45 seconds, so that the coffee degasses. Carbon dioxide gets introduced into the coffee when it’s ground. Giving it that 45 seconds to breathe allows the gas to drift away, greatly improving the coffee’s taste.

Now pour the water around the filter’s edge in a circular motion. This dislodges the grounds from the filter, allowing water to pass through them. When you pour in a circle, you ensure that all of the coffee is used.

As you pour the water, picture your old automatic drip coffee maker and it’s little water hole over the brew basket. No wonder that coffee was so weak!

You can use a chopstick to help move the grounds around if they seem to clog the filter.

When you’ve poured the last of the water, wait for it to drain through the filter.

And then get ready to enjoy what will be some of the best coffee you’ve ever made!

Cleanup is pretty easy. By the time you’ve finished your pot of coffee, the grounds will be cool enough to compost. Shake off as much of the ground coffee as you can into your compost bin, and then rinse the rest off in the sink.

WARNING! Do NOT wash the coffee grounds into a sink that has a garbage disposal. Those hard little granules can damage it over time.

That’s it. You’ve done it. You’ve entered a world of coffee flavor with which you may not have been previously familiar!

Please Note: Do not use this procedure if you are not certain that you can complete it safely, or if it does not seem accurate. Skippity Whistles provides this information as advice, and cannot accept any liability from your usage of it.


©2022 All rights reserved


Published by John D Reinhart

Author, technical writer, videographer, actor, and naval historian John D Reinhart is a very busy guy. You can find his novels as

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