The Home Brew: The Stages of Pour Over Coffee Brewing
There’s a method to the madness that is pour over coffee. In the age of capsule coffee, ready-to-drink, and cold brew, pour over has found its place among discerning coffee brewers looking to make something special. The pour over coffee brewing process is divided into key stages that turn ground coffee into the beverage we know and love. Here we’re going to breakdown those key stages and why they matter in the overall brewing process.
The BloomEver see your coffee suddenly rise after you begin pouring water on top of it? That’s called the blooming process, and it’s when the coffee releases carbon dioxide once it comes into contact with the hot water. You’ll see the coffee expand and even bubbles, particularly when the coffee is still fresh. Coffee slowly degasses after roasting, which is why your bloom with a 10-day old coffee will be very different from one a month out from roasting.
Typically, the blooming process is done by adding water equal to twice the amount in grams of coffee. If you have 15g of ground coffee in your brewer, then you pour 30ml of water to allow it to bloom. Blooming is done so that once the gasses have been released, the grounds will be able to properly interact with the water, beginning the extraction process. This process will take you about 30 seconds and it’s important to be able to make sure you get your grounds soaked evenly. You can then either wait a few more seconds depending on your technique or begin your next pour.
As mentioned previously, releasing the carbon dioxide will allow for the coffee flavors to be extracted properly. Your next pour is where the extraction process begins. This is where the magic happens in the coffee brewing process, and where you’ll be spending a good amount of time practicing getting things right. The extraction phase is where all the stuff, both good and bad, gets extracted from the coffee grounds. This is also where you’ll have the most control in what kind of coffee you’ll be making.
During the extraction phase, coffee begins releasing its flavor compounds in the order of sour first, then sweet, then finally bitter. When your coffee tastes sour, it means you under-extracted, while if it tastes bitter, it could be because you over-extracted. Getting to that sweet spot (no pun intended) will bring out the very best notes from your coffee, from its sweetness, complexities, and more. This all of course runs on the assumption that the coffee your brewing is not under-roasted (too light) or a dark roast, where this kind of thing might not matter because of the quality of the coffee. With a properly roasted coffee, this won’t be a problem.