The pour-over is a funny thing. It’s the most low-tech way of making coffee and, perhaps, the method that produces the best results. It also happens to be our favourite way to make coffee at home, which we’re doing quite a bit these days.
But say you don’t typically brew coffee at home. You’ve never bought beans or thought about which size coffee filters to buy or whether glass or ceramic is better for a pour-over cone. Well, we’re here to hold your hand and get you situated with a decent pour-over setup.
Here’s what you’ll need to brew the perfect pour-over in the comfort of your kitchen.
There is no secret technology happening here. What you’re looking at is quite literally a cone with a hole in the bottom. But there are two big factors – shape and material – that matter when it comes to the device in which your coffee is brewed. The size 02 Hario V60 meets our preferences for both.
The first is shape: The V60 has an open bottom, meaning that the filter drips directly into the vessel below it without first coming into contact with a flat surface. In pour-over cones with a flat bottom, the coffee tends to pool at the bottom before it drips into the vessel, which in turn extends the time water is in contact with the ground coffee, thereby possibly leads to over-extraction.
Second is the cone’s material, which determines its heat retention. Without getting too nerdy, keeping your mixture of water and coffee warm while the beans brew makes for better-tasting coffee. Go for glass (which looks the nicest and has good heat retention) or plastic (which doesn’t look quite as nice as glass, but has better heat retention than glass). Alternatively, try the ceramic dripper – although it does cool off a little bit faster than the glass and plastic.
Buy it on amazon.co.uk: Hario V60 Ceramic Coffee Dripper Size 02, White
Most coffee filters are made for specific brewing apparatuses, so since we like the V60 size 02, we also like the natural size 02 Hario V60 filters.
We tend to recommend white (bleached) filter papers as these usually have less of a paper taste. Alternatively, you can also for filters which aren’t bleached. While unbleached filters don’t brew a better cup of coffee, they are less processed than bleached filters and more environmentally friendly i.e. they can be composted when you’re finished.
If you don’t want to constantly be composting paper, there are plenty of reusable cloth and metal coffee filters out there. But if you’re all about the best pour-over possible, nothing does the job quite like white (bleached) filter papers. They’ll give you more clarity in the cup.
You can indeed brew the perfect pour-over without one of these. You can simply put your V60 dripper right over a mason jar or your mug or your grandma’s antique vase. But they’re nice to have if you’re splitting your coffee with someone or if you’re warming your mug with hot water before pouring coffee into it (which we recommend you do). The Hario carafe looks nice and will make coffee making feel that bit more special.
Buy it on amazon.co.uk: HARIO 600ml Glass V60 Range Server
We are very much on Team Whole Bean Coffee over here – it’s the easiest way to level up the flavour in your cup. Coffee beans leak flavour once they’re ground, which means pre-ground beans are a shade of their former selves. But buying whole beans means you need to grind them yourself, and for that, you need a coffee grinder. We like burr grinders, which grind coffee beans with a rotating set of textured metal surfaces instead of a blade. Unlike a blade, the burrs allow the coarseness of your grind to be adjustable and consistent. We find that, for an affordable hand-powered grinder, the Hario coffee grinder does the trick.
Hardcore bakers will tell you that you need a scale if you want to measure precisely, and hardcore coffee people will tell you the same. And they’re both right! When weighing coffee—which varies dramatically in how coarsely or finely its ground—the only way to know your coffee-to-water ratio is correct is to weigh the coffee and water you’re using. That means you should measure beans and brew your coffee on top of a digital scale that weighs in grams. We like the Escali Primo Digital Scale for an affordable, durable, good-for-anything scale. If you want to get a little fancier, the Acaia Pearl also includes a timer and measures down to the tenth of a gram.
Buy it on amazon.co.uk: Escali Primo Precision Kitchen Scale
Every coffee brewing method requires hot water, but how you heat it is up to you. Old-fashioned tea kettle? That works. Campfire? If that makes you happy, go for it. But we’re fans of an electric kettle for the ease and temperature precision. If you want to go for the best of the best, the Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Kettle is what you’re after. It allows you to control the temperature down to the degree, heats up quickly, and looks beautiful. But a Hario V60 kettle that can be heated over the stove works as well. Whatever you end up with, make sure it has a gooseneck (that thin, long, curved spout), which allows water to flow slowly and intentionally for the perfect pour-over coffee.
Buy it on amazon.co.uk: Hario CD Buono 1.2 litre Kettle
All the gear to brew the perfect pour-over will mean nothing is you don’t have good quality coffee beans. The pour-over brew method is especially suited for lighter roast coffees and works equally well with natural processed and fully washed coffees. The result will be a clean, bright-tasting cup with great clarity and good balance. Wondering where to get good quality coffee from, may we recommend these Oxfordshire-based coffee roasters.
So there it is. Now that you have all the gear you need to brew the perfect pour-over coffee, there’s no more excuse for bad coffee.