Step away from the Keurig. We’ll do everything in our power here at Gear Patrol to get our readers to drink a better cup of coffee. Heck, we already have five great single-cup coffee makers that aren’t Keurig machines for you to buy. But if that’s not enough for you, and you’re ready to up your coffee game to peak coffee snobbery, then the pour-over method is the way to go.
Pour-over coffee is not rocket science (though a lot of science goes on behind the scenes). Water-to-coffee ratios, water temperature and grind size all factor in to making one of the best cups of coffee you can make at home. We took the guess work out of starting your own pour-over coffee setup and rounded up all the tools you need. We won’t deny it’s more labor intensive and time consuming to make a pour-over coffee, but one sip of your pour-over coffee and you’ll wish you abandoned your Keurig machine sooner.
Our Pick: Kalita Wave
Brewers come in all shapes and sizes from from the humble Chemex to the fickle Hario V60 (we’re fans of the Kalita Wave). All of them are relatively similar in design, resembling a funnel with a snipped-off end. The Kalita Wave, however, is our top-pick pour-over dripper because of its simplicity, size and standout feature — a three-hole flat opening. This trait ensures that all water interacts with the coffee grinds for increased extraction, resulting in a bolder, fuller cup of coffee.
Our Pick: Kalita Wave Paper Filters
Coffee fanatics can debate all they want about paper coffee filters versus metal coffee filters. But at Gear Patrol, we opt for the classic paper filter. Besides its obvious purpose, paper coffee filters soak up a majority of the coffee oils, which make the final product too bold. Leaving out those oils produces a brighter coffee and, in a way, more refreshing. While metal filters are better for the environment in the long run, they’re simply more work to clean, and we do our best to compost our used paper filters. Be sure to rinse your filters with hot water before brewing so your final cup won’t have any papery flavor.
Whole Coffee Beans
Our Pick: Trade Coffee Subscription
Whole coffee beans are the way to go. The moment a coffee bean is ground, its vibrancy and flavors are lost forever. The market is full of independent coffee producers sourcing and roasting some of the best coffee the world has to offer. Trade, in particular, has made it easy to choose from a plethora of coffees that are chosen for you according to your taste preferences. We won’t judge if you keep two bags of coffee — one ground and one whole — for those mornings when you can’t be bothered to grind your beans.
Burr Coffee Grinder
Our Pick: Hario Skerton Plus
If you’re going to make the effort to brew pour-over coffee, then you should be sure to invest in a good coffee grinder as well. That spice grinder in the back of your cabinet is not going to cut it. Burr coffee grinders more evenly grind coffee that results in more uniform shapes for even extraction. If your counter can’t stand being crowded with an electric coffee grinder, the Hario Skerton Plus is a great option for hand-grinding coffee. Fair warning: it’s a bit of an arm workout.
Our Pick: Fellow Stagg EKG
Any kettle will work, but if you are in the market for a kettle, opt for one with a gooseneck — the long, slim spout that makes it easier to control water flow. Pour over is a precise and delicate process, and a gooseneck kettle makes it easier to aim where the water will go and how much water is coming out. Coffee making in general works best with water that is just short of boiling, 212°F, so aim for anywhere between 203°F to 208°F. Otherwise you risk burning your precious beans you worked so hard to grind. The Fellow Stagg EKG can be set to the exact temperature you need, and the device will hold it at that temperature for up to an hour.
Digital Scale and Timer
Our Pick: Hario Digital Scale and Timer
You want to measure out exactly how much water and coffee grounds you’re using, and this Hario scale gets it down to a tenth of a gram. I prefer a 1:16 ratio coffee to water, i.e. one gram of coffee for every 16 grams of water, and found that gets the perfectly extracted cup of coffee. For a pour over, we recommend using 22 grams of coffee, which should net a little over 300 grams of brewed coffee. A timer will keep things moving along and is particularly handy for making sure you’re not over-extracting your coffee grounds. Two important times to remember: the first 30 seconds are for the blooming period — where you pour twice as much water as coffee grounds to allow the gases from the coffee to release — and the approximate end time: 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
Our Pick: Kalita Glass Carafe
You can pour directly into a mug, but we recommend a dedicated serving vessel. Liquid retains more heat when stored at a larger volume. By pouring small individual servings, you’ll ensure only what you’re currently sipping on cools down while the bulk of the coffee remains hot. And always be sure to heat up your mug and/or serving vessel so that the brewed coffee stays hotter for longer.
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