Pour-over is hands-down the best way to enjoy drip coffee. It's full-flavored like French press but without all of the sediment. The pour-over method is rising in popularity as people demand the same quality in drip coffee as they do in their espresso. And unlike espresso, home pour over equipment is cheap, easy to clean, and takes up little counter space. Our Blackbird coffee sets are a great way to get started!
STEP ZERO: THE COFFEE
The best part about pour over is that it makes coffee come alive, so treat yourself to some great beans. We recommend that you favor single-origin beans or high-quality blends from small, local roasters. Small roasters tend to roast in smaller batches, so the roast is fresher, and they are more likely to take care when selecting their beans. Experiment and have fun!
Fresh beans are essential. Check the roast date on the packaging when you buy; the fresher the better. Coffee shops tend to have fresher beans than the supermarket. Once open, a bag of coffee will stay fresh for about a week. Your best bet is to buy high-quality, freshly-roasted beans in small quantities so they don't go stale. Many local coffee shops will sell you a half pound at a time, or even less. Just ask!
STEP ONE: SET UP THE FILTER, CONE AND VESSEL
There are several different types of filters especially for pour over. At Blackbird we sell the Melitta as well as the Hario filters. They all have the same basic setup: a vessel to hold the finished coffee, a cone on top of the vessel to hold the filter, and a filter inside the cone. You can use your coffee cup as the vessel, or something bigger if you're making coffee for two or more. Hario and Bon Mac both make excellent vessels that double as coffee servers, and they fit a Melitta or Hario V60 perfectly. Both are available locally at Cafe Vita.
When it comes to the filter, you have two choices: a gold filter, which is permanent and can be used again and again, or a paper filter that gets tossed after one use. The gold filter is economical, but the purists will tell you to use paper. You get better flavor, and it's one less thing to clean.
STEP TWO: MEASURE THE BEANS
Painters and photographers use the Golden Ratio. But we bet you didn't know it also applies to coffee! The "Golden Ratio" is 2 grams per 1 oz. of water, or 60 grams per liter of water.
Before you set the dose, decide how much coffee you want to make. If you are making a twelve oz. cup, for example, use 24 grams of coffee. If you have to err, t's better to have too much coffee than too little. The best way to measure is to use a kitchen scale. This is highly recommended for pouring (see Step Five), so it's well worth the investment.
STEP THREE: THE GRIND
A fresh grind is essential, so it is crucial to grind your coffee right before you make it. Pour-over coffee is ground finer than french press coffee, but not as fine as espresso. It will take some experimenting to get your grind dialed in to your tastes; in general we prefer a little finer for Melitta, a little coarser for Chemex, and Hario right in between.
We recommend a good burr grinder; if you are going to splurge, this is the place to do it. A burr grinder crushes the beans, which makes all the grounds come out the same size. Cheap grinders use a blade that slices instead of crushing, which results in a less consistent grind.
STEP FOUR: BOIL THE WATER
Bring your water to a rapid boil (you should see steam coming out) and let it sit off the burner until it reaches 200 degrees. This usually means leaving it off the heat for about 60 seconds.
STEP FIVE: WASH THE FILTER
Take some of your hot water and pour it onto the filter. This will wash off any dust or papery reside. Swish the hot water around in your vessel to bring it up to temperature, then pour the water out. Dump the coffee grounds into the filter, and you're ready to pour!
STEP SIX: POUR!
It's essential to get the right amount of water. Pour over is about extracting maximum flavor from your beans, and too much water makes the coffee taste thin.
You can pre-measure your water before Step 4, but it's tricky and it takes time. The pros use a regular old kitchen scale to speed things up. Take your whole filter/cone/vessel setup and put it on your scale. Set the scale for grams and turn it on. Tare the scale if necessary (so that the display reads zero).
One of the genius things about the metric system is that one milliliter of water weighs exactly one gram. So the grams readout on your scale also tells you the volume of the water you're poured in! Cool, huh?
Start by pre-wetting the grounds: slowly pour a little bit of water over them, generally 1 ml per gram of grounds. (So if you ground 24 grams of coffee, pour in 24 ml of water.) If your coffee is fresh, the grounds will bubble. (If they don't bubble, then they're stale. Time to get new beans!) Let it sit for about 30 seconds.
After that, slowly pour in the water to fully saturate all of the grounds. Wait for that water to filter through, and then slowly pour more water into the center of the grounds, avoiding the very edges of the cone. (This insures that air bubbles don't get trapped in the coffee.) A kettle with a long spout, like the Hario Buono, makes this much easier. (And it looks cool!)
Keep pouring this way until your scale tells you that you've poured enough. Let the water finish draining, then remove the filter (with grounds) and toss it in the yard waste. Pour it in a ceramic cup, and enjoy!
Pour-over coffee is the on-the-spot way to brew a high quality cup of coffee. Like all coffee, enjoy it within minutes, not hours of brewing. It is also a filtered coffee, so is much more clean and snappy cup than press pot coffee.
You should notice the brightness and acidity being highlighted in the cup while the body is not as pronounced. Have fun trying experimenting with different coffee beans and roasts!
BLACKBIRD COFFEE SET NO. 1
DETAILS: Melitta's ten-cup Cone Filter Coffeemaker system, a 12 oz bag of Blackbird's very own blend of coffee beans, and a supplemental package of Melitta's No. 6 filters.
Coffeemaker comes with ten-cup glass coffee pot with plastic handle, plastic filter cone, and coffee scoop.
Seattle's own Caffé Vita roasted these beans especially for Blackbird, this medium-roast, fair trade certified, 100% organic coffee hosts to warm aromas of sweet vanilla with a mild tobacco finish, a flavor that is sure to impress any coffee aficionado.