Pour Over Coffee

So I love coffee. Anybody who knows me knows that. It started in childhood when I loved the smell of my parents' coffee. Whenever I tried a sip, though, I didn't like the taste. Until high school, when I discovered french vanilla Coffeemate, and it was downhill (or uphill) from there.

My taste in coffee has come a long way from Coffeemate (is there even any real dairy in there?). Gradually, I switched from cream and sugar to just cream. Then sometimes black. Currently, I'm on a black coffee kick, but I welcome really good, fresh cream to lighten really dark coffee.

I have five different methods of brewing coffee. What? How did it come to this? I did not set out to become a coffee snob, certainly not by using fake creamer. My first method is a little Mr. Coffee drip coffeemaker that my father bought me before I set off for college. This has brought me through the years beautifully, and I still turn to it many days of the week. The second is a French press. A lovely way to enjoy coffee, one with great fanfare in letting the coffee steep and then ceremoniously plunging the grounds to the bottom and straining out good, strong coffee.

The third method came about somewhat by mistake. At a former job as a bank teller, I liked to take my breaks at the now defunct Borders book store to get an iced coffee. The charming barista was so excited about the cold brew coffee method to make the best, smoothest iced coffee. The Toddy method. Makes lower acid, less caffeinated coffee by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for 12 hours, then straining it out to make a coffee concentrate. Add hot or iced water, and you have coffee. I make this whenever my mom comes to visit.

Then there is the little stove top espresso maker. It is like a miniature percolator for the stove, and makes good espresso drinks without actually owning an espresso machine.

And then, friends, the pour over coffee apparatus appeared. It's all the rage at hipster cafes. It's like drinking liquid coffee beans. It makes other coffees taste like coffee flavored water (ok, I exaggerate a little). 

Basically, the pour over method looks like a coffee mug with a lip at the bottom and holes to drain out the coffee. It is ideal if you only want to brew one cup of coffee. You set it over your mug, add a filter, boil water, grind beans, pour the water over the grinds, and let the magic happen.

Here is what you will need to make pour over coffee: 

- Pour over coffee maker
- Filter (either reusable or unbleached paper)
- Good whole bean coffee
- Coffee grinder
- Kettle, or some other method of boiling water

Looks intense, right? It is. And it makes intensely good coffee. 


The basic ratio is 1 tablespoon of coffee beans to 4 ounces of water (use 21 grams of coffee, or 3/4 oz. for a regular sized mug). The cafe baristas actually weigh out their coffee and water, but even without weighing you can get great coffee. Start with cold, filtered water. Bring it to a boil. In the meantime, measure out your coffee beans into a clean grinder. Don't grind the beans until the water starts boiling, because the taste and aroma start to evaporate right away. As soon as the water boils, grind the beans and scrape them into the pour over coffee apparatus with a filter inside. Place over your mug. Pour half of the water on the coffee beans, letting it "bloom" (this is the carbon dioxide escaping), and then pour the rest of the water slowly. Stir. Once the water strains through, your coffee is ready! Enjoy with a nice pastry or some homemade bread.

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