202°F is the best boiling point of water for Pour-over Coffee brewing.
Depending on elevation (barometric pressure), water boils at different temperatures. The higher in elevation you are, the lower in temperature water boils; At one atmosphere (sea level) the boiling point of water is 212°F or 100°C. Often you’ll hear that the best water temperature for brewing pour-over coffee is “just off the boil”, but depending on elevation, that boiling point would be different, which is not really optimal for pour-over coffee extraction. Boiling point of water for Ppour-over coffee brewing should be 202°F, not 211°F-203°F.
According this TEDxCoeurdalene video of a talk by Scott Yost, of DOMA Coffee, 202° is the perfect temperature for pour-over coffee extraction. Since seeing that video a couple years ago, we’ve been setting our Bonavita Automatic Kettle at 202°, which seems to be producing the best extractions. After a recent trip we found ourselves at over 6,000 feet above sea level, the water was boiling at around 202° so we were technically using boiling water on the coffee. The water temperature, while boiling, was still 202°. The main thing is that the water shouldn’t be hotter than 202°.
Just off the boil is misleading if you really want the best extraction. Accurate temperature readings combined with a proper coffee grind will work the best for pour-over coffee. But you’ll need some way for accurate temperature gauging. A good kitchen thermometer or a kettle that you can set the temperature with, will provide the accuracy you’ll need for the best cup of pour-over coffee.
Getting perfect pour-over coffee is a process that is a combination of several elements all working together. This outline is a quick overview of the key ingredients. If you are new to pour-over coffee brewing at home, it’s easy to start simply, and as you get more experience and your palate matures, you can easily add complexity by adding equipment, brewing light-roasted beans, etc. Starting with good beans, a dripper and hot water are all that is required.
This outline is a quick overview of the key ingredients.
Freshly roasted coffee beans (Small batch, freshly roasted, direct trade, beans from an artisan roaster)
Equipment (Coffee dripper, gooseneck kettle, paper filters, timer, scale, temperature gauge, coffee grinder)
Taste starts with the roast. Artisan coffee roasters like Intelligentsia Coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Espresso Vivace, Handsome Coffee Roasters, Ritual Coffee Roasters, etc., are the best places for crafted coffee roasting. This is not saying they are the only ones, every city will have it’s own local coffee artisan roasters. Look for one in your area and purchase from them. If there are no local roasters, the aforementioned roasters will ship via their online shopping sites. Do not buy ground beans, only whole beans and only grind as much as needed for brewing at the time. Buy in small quantities, 12-16 oz. at a time. Store whole beans in an air-tight container.
Start with a good quality coffee dripper, Melitta (available in most grocery stores), Hario, Bee House, Cilio, Chemex, etc, are all good, although they vary in method. Hario and Chemex, with a single large hole, tend to extract faster than Melitta and Bee House coffee drippers that have either one, or a couple of small holes.
A gooseneck kettle is useful and makes pouring hot water over the grounds easier to control.
A scale with built in timer that measures in grams helps you measure exacts amounts of coffee and water.
Don’t be intimidated by the Pour-over coffee method.
You dont need a kitchen scale, $60 pour-over kettle, burr grinder, etc, to achive great pour-over coffee. A lot of how-to’s will suggest you need a complicated and expensive mix of tools and technique. Which is true if you are seeking perfection. It is possible to get great results with just fresh ground coffee, a cone, filter and hot water.
Start with fresh roasted beans
The most important element to great tasting coffee are the beans! Buy smaller amounts of fresh-roasted beans from a local artisan roaster. If there are none in your city, try mail order. There are many great roasters that will ship fresh roasted beans. Google artisan coffee roasters.
Cone and filter
Any cone system will work, from the plastic Militta cone from the local grocery store to a glass Hario v60. No matter what you use you can get great coffee. Filters are more readlily available for the Militta type than the circular Hario type. Go with what works for you.
Heat your favorite coffee cup with hot water (boiled or tap) let stand for a couple of minutes, rinse the paper filter inside the cone with hot water from the preheated cup.
Get a glass 2-cup measuring cup, add 1 1/2 cups of could water, place in a microwave for 3 minutes (or as long as it take to boil). After it reaches boil, remove from the microwave let cool a couple minutes. Take this time to grind the beans. You can also use a stovetop kettle or pot to heat the water, but pour the water into the mesuring cup.
The right amount of ground beans
If you have a burr grinder find the right setting to grind enough coffee, you can fine tune this though a little trial an error. Or if you have the a blade-type coffee grinder, only use as much beans as you’re going to need. In either machine grind the beans to the consistency of sand.
Bloom the grind
Place the grounds into the rinsed filter. Pour a small amount, enough to soak the coffee through, watch as the coffee absorbes the water and swells up. Wait just over a minute.
Pour the remaining hot water into the cone, make sure the stream is small, start in the center and work out in a spiral pattern until the water is gone.
Drink and enjoy!
Once the water has poured through, add cream sugar or drink black. You should have a great cup.
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The Hario v60 and Chemex pour-over coffee technique differs from the Millita cone type. With the Millita, after blooming, you can pour all the water into the cone and, due to the small hole, it steeps before pouring through the hole. The Hario v60 requires a more refined technique.
Master roaster Kyle Evans at The Roasterie shows us how it’s done:
Place the decanter and drip cone on the digital scale and zero it out.
Boil the water, remove from the heating element or turn off the kettle, let stand for 45 seconds, to a temperature of 185-205 degrees, you can check the temperature with a candy thermometer or you can be exact with a thermocoupler. Meanwhile rinse your paper filter with some of the boiling water. After rinsing lift the filter a little to unstick it from the sides of the cone.
Measure the coffee
Grind 20-35 grams (or two scoops with the Hario measuring cup) of freshly roasted whole beans to a medium-fine texture, it should be a sandy consistency. Put the grounds into the filter, level and slightly indent the center.
Pre-infuse the coffee first. Pour the hot water into the center and work your way out, in ever expanding circles, until you reach the edge of the grounds. Some people recommend that you stop short of the edge leaving a 1/8 inch or so of the coffee dry. But either way works.
Let sit for 45 seconds.
Build it and it will taste great!
After blooming, start the main pour, beginning from the center, pour the remaining water into the cone. Some like the do this in stages. Pour, rest, pour, rest, etc. This should take around 2:50 seconds. Remember to use the 415 grams of water, including the pre-infusion water, for best results.
Enjoy your cup!
After the time expires pour the brewed coffee into a preheated cup and drink up.
Things to remember:
Pour slowly, in a controlled way
Here are a couple videos the demonstrate the techniques.