How to make Pour over coffee.
I'm going to go to town on this method of coffee brewing because it represents the true art of manual coffee making. Pour over coffee is apparently the simplest way to make coffee - place coffee in a filter paper cone, pour hot water through the coffee and into a cup below and your coffee is ready. True but god is in the details and the coffee god insists on the combination of ritual and process. So read on.
Equipment: You will need a pour over kettle. Hario is a Japanese company that makes the most famous pour over kettle. It has a swan neck spout and handle design that gives amazing pour control. Then you require a dripper cone which sits on top of your cup. Hario makes the famous V60 dripper cone though there are several other brands available. You also need a paper filter cone of the right size to match your dripper cone. The Hario equipment is beautifully designed but it is very expensive. The kettle is priced at US$60. You can make do with a jug with a sharp V shaped spout and you can source your dripper cone and paper filters from any one of several Daiso stores for $1 for a plastic dripper cone and the same amount for a pack of 100 filters. I've seen Daiso stores in Bangkok and I'm sure they are present all over Asia. Now in addition to all this equipment you also need to weigh your coffee powder and water so you need a digital scale. Again Hario makes a beautiful little counter top weighing scale. But you can substitute weight measurement with volumetric measurement. For a timer use a Swiss stopwatch or the built in timer function on your smartphone.
The Grind: Grind freshly roasted coffee using a burr grinder. set the grind level to medium. It should be less coarse than the grind you would use for a French press. If you are sourcing your coffee from Estate Craft just ask for the Pour over grind while checking out.
The Coffee to Water ratio: Follow a ratio of 15 gms of water for every gram of coffee powder. For a large mug of coffee use 24 gms of coffee powder (about 3 tablespoons) with 360 gms of water ( about one and a half cups of water). This is where you use the weighing scale but as you get the hang of it, you can just spoon out the right amount of coffee using a tablespoon.
Preparing the Dripper: Place the dripper over the rim of your coffee mug. The filter paper cones usually have a flange along one edge and the bottom where the paper was heat fused. Fold the flanges over, open up the paper cone and place it into the dripper cone. Separately bring the water to boil and wash the filter paper cone and dripper out with the near boiling water. This is to take away traces of paper flavor that can come from the filter. It also preheats the cone and the receiving cup. Now place the measured amount of coffee powder into the paper filter cone. With your finger make a slight well in the centre of the coffee power heap. The total amount of coffee powder should be slightly less than half the height of the cone. This is the right amount for the coffee powder to pace the flow of water through the cone as you start pouring.
Blooming the coffee: Start your timer and pour a little bit of water into the coffee well and outwards. Just enough to wet all the coffee. Let it soak for about 30 secs. You will notice some bubbles forming as the trapped gases escape from the coffee. The coffee powder also swells up a little as it absorbs the water. This process is called blooming. Let the coffee bloom for 30 secs.
The pour over: Now you can start pouring the hot water over the coffee. The temperature should be about 95 degrees centigrade ie just under boiling point. The rate of pouring should be such that the entire water is poured through in 2 minutes. Pour into the centre of the coffee and then in expanding circles clockwise. Pour only onto the coffee and not the paper. When you pour the first bit of water after the bloom you will notice a coffee cream colored foam floating out. This is called the crema in coffee making and is the sign of good coffee powder and good coffee making. Once you have finished pouring all the water through the coffee remove the dripper cone and your coffee is ready for you to enjoy. As always, take a few sips black with no sugar or milk. Get to know your coffee flavors then add milk and sugar to taste and drink it hot.