How to Make Pour Over Coffee

Pour over coffee, or hand drip coffee, is an old-fashioned technique that uses a coffee dripper, which is basically a fancy funnel. Proponents of the dripper claim that it makes better coffee. With a drip coffee maker, the water runs over plastic parts that may retain a stale taste, and sits on a heating pad that creates more of a bitter taste.

By exploring hand drip coffee, you, the barista-in-charge, can pay attention to the fine details of the brewing process, rather than simply pressing a button. Pouring the water by hand, more slowly over the coffee, will result in the extraction of more flavor. Drippers also take up less space in the cupboard or on the counter than a coffee maker, and they're super convenient for making only a mug-full of coffee, although they can be used for a whole pot. So if you're interested in learning how to use a coffee dripper, read on!


  • Coffee beans or grounds, freshly roasted and ground is best
  • Water


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    Pour water in a kettle and put it on the stove to boil. You will need about twelve ounces (340g) if you want to make enough coffee for one mug, although you will need some extra in order to soak the filter, so put much more water to boil than you think you'll need.
    • The type of water used matters. It should always be fresh and cold and never distilled or chemically softened. If you do not like drinking tap water, it stands to reason that you will probably prefer coffee made with filtered water instead. However, be aware that soft water isn't ideal as a coffee base because it lacks the flavor-enhancing minerals and sodium found in hard water.[1]
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    Prepare the coffee while the water boils. You will get the best flavor from coffee that has been freshly ground in your kitchen, but you can also use preground coffee. Generally, it's best to use one tablespoon of grounds for every cup of water (or approximate six ounces/170g), but it may differ for the type of coffee and your tastes. Another rule of thumb is one tablespoon of whole coffee beans per three ounces of water. Bear in mind that being generous with the coffee is always better than being stingy. You can always dilute coffee after brewing it but you can't make it stronger.
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    Prepare the pour-over setup. Place the dripper on top of the mug, and place a paper filter inside. Usually a ceramic or glass dipper is best for extracting the most of the coffee flavor.
    • Some filters need to be folded. Check your filter's instructions.
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    Presoak the filter and mug by taking the kettle off the heat and pouring boiling water over the filter. This will rinse out any persistent paper taste.
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    Measure out the water. For example, with three tablespoons of beans having been freshly ground, nine ounces of water will do. Use a measuring cup with a good pouring spout if you can. Let it sit and cool to off-boil (195°F or 90°C) while you take the next step.
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    Dump out the water that's in the mug. Pour any milk and sugar into the mug being used for the coffee. This way you can brew directly into your cup and any sugars will dissolve nicely. If you're making pour over, though, you'll probably enjoy the coffee without any additives.
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    Add the grounds to the filter.
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    Pour a little almost boiling water over the grounds, just enough to soak them. The coffee will begin to froth, and create a "flume." Wait 30 seconds for the flume to go down somewhat.
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    Pour the rest of the water into the dripper in a spiral pattern, beginning at the center. With some dripper/filter setups it's recommended that you don't pour directly onto the filter; always pour onto the grounds. While pouring, make sure the dripper stays on top of the mug––sometimes it can topple over! As you're pouring, check that the mug does not overflow.
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    Wait for the water to drain all the way into the mug and enjoy your delicious coffee!


  • This coffee is not suitable for reheating.
  • Burr grinders are used to get even grounds from the coffee machines. There are several good, quality grinders on the market.
  • It's recommended that you use a ceramic dripper, for the best taste. Glass works almost as well, but there isn't the temperature insulation in glass that you get in ceramic. There are good plastic models on the market, but they should be used for traveling. There's the possibility that you may find the 'rubbery' taste from plastic, if you happen to be sensitive enough to that. In home use, you want ceramic.
  • A swan-necked pot will give you the greatest control when maneuvering the near boiling water.
  • If you want to alter the coffee, keep these tips in mind:
    • If you want a lighter coffee, use a lighter roast. You'll get lighter flavor, and more caffeine.
    • If you want a darker coffee, use a darker roast. You'll get heavier flavor, but less caffeine.


  • Never re-use coffee grounds. If you don't know why, try it and taste it. You'll know why immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Dripper
  • Kettle
  • Ground or bean coffee
  • Coffee grinder
  • Measuring cup with spout (optional)

Sources and Citations

  1. Mary Banks, Coffee, p. 70, (1998), ISBN 1-85868-610-5

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