“You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going.”
This quote by Jack Canfield holds true for many things in life as it does for learning the art to brew a solid cup of coffee.
One of our previous blog posts delved into the ins and outs of pour-over coffee. If you’ve read that and begun making pour-over coffee at home, you’re well on your way to perfecting the practice.
With every successive brew, it is likely you may unintentionally make some mistakes that could be holding you back. But, know that this is only normal and with time (and tips from this post), those errors will be a thing of the past.
Wrong Setup or Preparation
A strong start is key to success. While you’d already be aware of the typical prep work, such as using the right grind size, not using extremely old coffee grounds, and rinsing your brewing equipment, some setup tactics you may not have considered could be:
Placing the filter in the dripper properly. This is especially important if you are using paper filters that get switched out with each brew. Not placing the filter properly could affect how the coffee is brewed. You could also try to avoid fidgeting with the filter too much to prevent any creases from forming.
Another matter is heating water. Remember how we had mentioned using hot water? Well, there’s also a limit to how hot the water should be. Ideally, it ought to be between 90-96 degrees Celsius. But don’t get too overwhelmed; you don’t necessarily need a thermometer. Simply wait for 30 seconds after the water has the reached boiling point to bring down the water temperature.
- Experts also recommend pre-heating the brewing equipment so that there’s not much heat loss when the coffee has been brewed and collected in the carafe or the jug. A simple way to go about it is to pour the hot water through the dipper into the carafe once before you add the grounds to the filter. This accomplishes two things - saturates the filter for better brewing and preheats the equipment.
Skipping the Bloom
Blooming the coffee is essentially preparing the grounds for extraction.
The process allows gases trapped in the grounds to waft out, particularly in the case of coffee that has been freshly ground where there is likely to be a considerable percentage of carbon dioxide.
Why do you think this carbon dioxide ruins the brewing? More CO2 = more sourness in coffee. Plus, the water will also not have enough contact with the grounds.
Letting the coffee bloom enables aromas to seep into the coffee, and the water extracts flavour evenly from the grounds.
To bloom the coffee, pour a little water first and let it sit for about 30 seconds. After that, you can pour the rest of the water in a controlled manner.
This can make all the difference to your pour-over coffee, so don’t rush this step.
You’d find good results by using 2x water to bloom the grounds.
Not Paying Attention to Pour-Over Method
The science behind using circular motions and covering the entire coffee bed gradually is to ensure that the water comes in contact with the grounds evenly.
Increase or decrease the speed, and you’ll be wasting the potential of the grounds, resulting in overly diluted or grainy coffee.
If you also stick to the walls of the filter when pouring the hot water, the extraction will be uneven and a majority of the water will just drip through to the carafe without having drawn any flavour from the grounds.
Delaying Brew Time
Are you likely to lose track of time when brewing coffee? Set your kitchen or phone timer to anywhere between 2.5 to 4 minutes. That’s the ideal brew time.
Of course, the range allows for some tweaking. You can record your brewing experience each day and see how a few seconds’ difference affects your coffee.
Allowing water to sit in the filter for too long can also lead to over-extraction and inevitably, a dull-tasting coffee.
If you make this mistake a couple of times, you’ll see what the difference is.
Knowing how to brew a great pour-over coffee is a skill indeed! One that will make you appreciate your coffee all the more and give you the expertise to alter the tastes found in your cup.
If you’re just considering starting to brew pour-over coffee, our Filter Coffee Lovers Pack is sure to help you get started on the right foot.