History & How To: Pour Over Coffee

History & How To: Pour Over Coffee

The pour-over coffee brewing method is unique because the water is regularly replenished and has the tendency to extract more flavor from the surface layer of the coffee grounds.

The history of the pour over is fascinating much like the history of coffee in general. If you'd like to know more about the history of coffee check out our post “Did you Know this About the History of Coffee?” for more information about that. The pour over was started by Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz in 1908. She thought the coffee she was drinking tasted too bitter (a common problem people have even today). She began to experiment with how the coffee was brewed. She used her sons blotting papers to develop what is now the coffee filter. She discovered that the bitter taste from the coffee was lessened by the blotting papers. The cone-shaped design we know and love came about in the 1950’s.

All coffee brewing methods contain three general phases: wetting, dissolution, and diffusion.

The wetting phase of the brewing process is exactly like what it sounds like. You are getting the coffee wet. When the coffee grounds are exposed to hot water, the CO2 that is trapped in the coffee is released. Unlike with drip coffee when you are making a pour over, you are able to control the coffee grounds exposure to water. It is smart when making a pour over to wet the surface of all the grounds and then wait about 30 seconds to allow the CO2 to escape. This allows for more water to then be absorbed by the beans which will be necessary for the dissolution step of the brewing process.

The dissolution phase of the brewing process is the process of dissolving the soluble parts of the coffee. Not all components are able to be dissolved, and this is a good thing. In fact, the parts of the coffee that are the easiest to dissolve are the parts that taste the best, and we want to be dissolved. This is important to know because we don’t want to over brew our coffee and start to get the unappealing bitter taste in our cup. The key to getting a great cup of coffee is stopping at just the right time.

The diffusion phase is the process of taking what has been dissolved and moving it out of the grounds and into the water to turn it into what we drink. This is obviously an important step because without this phase we would not have the coffee that we drink every day.




The truth is making the perfect pour over is going to take a lot of trial and error. There is no perfect method to making a pour over because each person likes their coffee a little different, each coffee tastes a little different, and depending on the way the beans are ground the timing is going to be a little different.

That being said, here are a few tips to getting a great pour-over cup of coffee:

  • Make sure you have the right coffee to water ratio, about 3 tablespoons of coffee for 20 ounces of water
  • Wet your coffee filter lightly before putting your grounds in the filter
  • Wet the surface of the grounds and then wait about 30 seconds before wetting the grounds again
  • Trial and error is going to be your best friend
  • Have fun with it; don’t stress about the brewing process too much

We've been using our Honduras Silver Hills for pour over this week, and love the honey notes. With so much variety in brewing methods and coffee - what's your favorite way to brew?

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