What Is Pour Over Coffee

What Is Pour Over Coffee?

Pour over coffee is a manual method of brewing coffee where hot water is poured directly onto ground beans. The result is a rich, flavorful cup of coffee. If you’re looking for an easy and germ-free way to make delicious coffee, then pour over coffee might be right for you. It’s also an excellent choice if you’re just starting out with coffee making. In the early 2000s, pour over coffee gained popularity among baristas and home brewers alike. Today, there are many different types of pour over machines available, from single-cup models to commercial-grade large batch makers.

How to Make Pour Over Coffee

Pour over coffee is a simple process. Simply place ground coffee into a filter basket (also known as a dripper), add near-boiling hot water, and let the coffee drain through to a cup or carafe set below the dripper. The best thing about pour over coffee is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment. It’s important to note that most drippers are small and generally product a single cup of coffee. You can easily find these single-cup pour over coffee makers online, at cafes and some grocery stores.  It’s important to consider how many people you want to be able to make coffee for before choosing the dripper that’s best for you. If you prefer to brew multiple cups or a full pot at a time,  you can buy a large pour over coffee brewer, such as the Big Joe Coffee Maker online. The Big Joe dripper allows you to adjust the amount of coffee and water to make a single cup or a full pot based on your needs.

The History of Pour Over Coffee

Pour over coffee has been around since the early 1900s. It was invented by Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz—you may recognize her name from the coffee maker brand Melitta. She wanted to find a way to reduce the over extracted and bitter taste of her coffee. She began working on the first pour over coffee machine in 1908 before it gained popularity in the 1930s. 

The cone shape design found in many pour over coffee makers became popular in the 1950s. The cone shape allowed for better extraction and a larger area of filtration. Chemex led the way with their glass-beaker design style.  The downside is that the glass drains heat away from the brewed coffee and it can be difficult to clean and easy to break.

In later years, baristas created their own unique styles and from new materials (ceramic, metal, plastic) to change up the pour over process. Flat-bottom drippers are now available that provide even more surface area and make it easier to get better tasting extractions from the coffee grounds. Nowadays, with a large variety of options on the market, pour over coffee is still one of the most popular ways to enjoy specialty coffee.

4 Tips for Making Pour Over Coffee 

Pour over coffee is an easy way to enjoy coffee at home without having to spend much money on fancy equipment. It’s also a great way to experiment with different types of beans and flavors.

1. Choose the Right Grinder

If you want to make the perfect pour over coffee at home, you need to choose the right grinder. A good quality grinder will ensure that the grind size is consistent so that you can achieve the desired flavor profile. For pour over coffee, you generally want a medium coarse or drip-style grind. You should also consider whether you want to use a burr grinder or blade grinder. Burr grinders tend to produce finer ground coffee than blade grinders, which is important to consider if you want to make other styles of coffee, like espresso. If your drain time runs slow, use a larger grind size on your next batch. Too fine of a grind size can lead to over-extraction and results in bitter flavors.

2. Pick the Right Beans (And Grind Them Properly)

To start with, you’ll need to buy the right type of beans. Most people prefer using whole bean coffee because it has more retained oils and flavor than pre-ground coffee. However, you can also use pre-ground coffee, as long as it is drip-style and a medium coarse sized grind. The coffee coming through your pour over dripper will be stronger in the beginning than at the end of the brew process.  It’s always a good idea to give your cup or pot a good stir/swirl/shake after the brewing finishes to properly distribute the flavors and strength throughout. 

3. Heat Water and Measure the Temperature

Another trick to making the perfect pour over coffee is monitoring the water temperature. After you heat up your water, you’ll want to measure the temperature to make sure it’s just right. The ideal brewing temperature for most coffees is between 195°F and 205°F (90°C and 95°C).  If using an electric kettle, you can set your desired temperature.  If using a stove-top or a campfire kettle, heat until water is at a full boil, take off heat and let rest for a minute or two to cool down to the 205 degree range before you begin pouring. 

Controlling your water temperature and its manual distribution are the primary reasons why pour over coffee tastes so much better than automatic drip machine coffee. Most machines can’t heat the water anywhere near the required almost boiling temperatures, so the result is under-extracted coffee. Most also distribute water from a single, centered spout location so the  grounds in the middle are over-saturated in water while some outer areas may even remain dry and wasted.

4. Use an Extra-Large Pour Over Coffee Maker

While pour over coffee is less messy and easier to make than other brewing methods, it can take longer to make multiple cups of coffee with most single-cup drippers. That’s why we made the Big Joe Coffee Maker. Its extra-large size allows you to brew up to 75 ounces (a half gallon!) of barista-quality coffee in under 10 minutes. 

To start, pour enough hot water in a circle to evenly wet the grounds then pause, letting the coffee “bloom” for 20-30 seconds. This releases gasses from the coffee. Then pour the remaining water in even circles. Depending on the amount of coffee being brewed, you may need to refill the dripper 2-3 times and drain time will typically run about one minute for every 20 ounces of water used.


Pour over coffee is an artisanal method of brewing coffee where hot water is poured over freshly ground beans. It produces a smooth, rich cup of coffee. It is also a great alternative to drip coffee makers because it allows you to control the brewing temperature and water distribution to ensure your coffee grinds are optimally used. 

Itching for the perfect cup of pour over coffee while camping, at work, or off-the-grid? Try out our Ultimate Camp Coffee Kit. It includes a Big Joe Coffee Maker, coffee filters, and DrinkTanks® 64oz Craft Growler with a Premium Spout cap for easy pouring!

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