5 Essential Equipment You Need To Start Brewing Pour Over Coffee (Beginner's Guide)
Updated: Jan 21
There are numerous ways to brew coffee at home—from Mr. Coffee® Coffee Maker to French press to AeroPress; however, pour over coffee has a clarity of flavor that's hard to achieve from a simple electric drip coffee maker.
Pour over is a brewing technique that involves pouring hot water through ground coffee in a filter. A well constructed pour over filter catches coffee oils and fragrances, leading to a cleaner cup than other brewing methods. In addition, the brewing technique's timing, consistency, and control results in more vibrant flavors that highlight the intricacies and essence of the coffee bean.
What Equipment Do You Need for Pour Over Coffee?
Due to the pandemic, manual brewing is becoming more common these days as more and more people switch to brewing their coffee at home when it became difficult to go out and go to the nearest café. So if you're new to the pour over coffee trend, the thought of hand brewing artisan coffee from the comfort of your home can be daunting and even intimidating. You may be wondering where you should start–what type of pour over dripper to buy or what kind of kettle to use or which filter to choose. These are all completely normal questions to have, and to make your life easier, we've covered all the basics for you to confidently brew at home.
Here's everything you need to get started:
(1) A POUR OVER FILTER
The first factor to consider when buying a pour over filter is how much coffee you're typically brewing. Smaller filters on the market have been designed to brew just one cup at a time, so if you're only brewing for yourself, then we recommend getting a small Clever dripper, Hario V60 01, or Chemex 3-cup.
Types of Material:
Metal filters are typically made of stainless steel and designed to last for years. Flavor wise, they tend to produce a bolder, more flavorful cup because they're not fine enough to catch all the coffee micro grounds. In addition, metal filters are reusable and environmentally-friendly—instead of tossing them out after each use, they need to be regularly cleaned or else coffee's essential oils will trap inside and clog the filter. After brewing, rinse your metal filter thoroughly in warm water and soap and allow it to air dry. Alternatively, you can also run your filter in the upper rack of your dishwasher if you prefer. For a deeper clean, we recommend soaking your metal filter with dishwater detergent overnight and scrubbing any leftover chaff with a brush.
Paper filters are convenient to use and constructed with finer material that pick up coffee grounds and soak up the coffee's essential oils. This results in a cleaner, brighter cup. However, if creating excessive paper waste isn't desirable to you, then paper filters are not the optimal solution for you. They also cost more money over time, but require little to no clean-up apart from lifting the paper filter out of the pour over server and tossing the it with used grounds into the trash. Some people even end up composting their used coffee grounds, which add nitrogen to the compost pile as well as their paper filters, which are generally biodegradable.
(2) A POUR OVER SERVER
Pour over coffee is a brewing technique that involves pouring hot water through ground coffee in a filter that then drips into a pour over server. Technically, you don't need a legitimate server because the server can simply be a mason jar, your grandma's glass flower vase, or any larger mug that catches hot liquid. But, if you want better tasting coffee at the end of your brew, we highly recommend the Hario V60 Glass Server because it's easy to use and clean, microwaveable, affordable, heat resistant, not to mention aesthetically pleasing.
(3) A GOOSENECK KETTLE
The main function of a gooseneck kettle is to ease you through the pour over process. This specialized kettle is designed to help you pour the exact amount of water at a desired speed and pour water over the coffee grounds evenly. Aside from giving you greater control of your pour flow, coffee to water ratio and saturation, it also provides proper extraction for brewing a smoother cup. This helps prevent your coffee from being over or under extracted. As you’ve read, a normal kettle will not be able to provide consistency and maximize control like the gooseneck does so we highly recommend investing in a good one if you plan to keep brewing this way at home. However, don't stop there! Practice your pour and flow in order to improve your brewing and search for pour over recipes that you can try and follow.
(4) A DIGITAL SCALE
Since weighing your beans and water is an integral part of the pour over brewing process, it is not uncommon to find a digital scale being used not only by baristas in coffee shops but also casual coffee lovers at home. Though you can measure using scoops and spoons, eyeballing your ingredients this way leads to fluctuating results and taste that can make or break your brew.
A digital scale specifically designed for coffee brewing will ensure consistency in results and you get the same quality brew every time as you weigh the dose and the output. The essential part of a pour over coffee recipe is the coffee to water ratio, so owning one helps you measure exactly the amount you need if you'd like a lighter or fuller flavor.
A good digital scale must be precise and can measure your coffee and water in grams/ounces/milliliters and should fit your coffee routine for the size. Some scales are compact and travel-friendly so you can bring it along easily when needed while others offer more workspace if your coffee station or set-up deems necessary.
(5) A TIMER
Another factor that heavily influences the output of coffee brewed using manual methods like pour over is the timing. Pouring too quickly or too slowly will heavily affect the way your grounds will be extracted and having a timer nearby will help you track and control the speed of your pour to prevent over or under extracting your coffee. "Blooming" or the release of CO2 should also be timed in order to give your coffee grounds a time to fully extract its flavors and not drown or burn.
Though you can buy a separate timer or use your phone's timer app when you brew coffee, this feature is often included in digital smart scales already. Like our very own smart scale, Jimmy, it already has a built-in timer that also has a detachable Bluetooth display that could be handy for more visibility and helps streamline your workflow.
Precision and size are factors that should be prioritized when looking for a digital scale but there are smart options like our Jimmy that offer more than the essentials. As pour over brewing rewards patience and practice, we have four different modes that fit according to your routine and also tracks your brew and flow rate records so you can see your progress and improvement.
Although getting all these essential tools we listed would not guarantee the best tasting coffee you'll ever drink in your life, we are sure that using these equipment correctly and efficiently will produce better tasting coffee than the one you used to make or buy.
Pour over coffee could be intimidating to start on your own but the coffee community welcomes all enthusiasts and coffee lovers from different walks of life. You can find lots of resources online and there will be recipes that you can test and try out on your own that will enrich your coffee experience.
As brewing and drinking delicious coffee is a continuous process and experience, we hope you enjoy experimenting and testing new methods and find a routine that will fit your needs.