In my opinion, there is no better way to make coffee than pour over. The other methods of brewing coffee all have their merit, but nothing brings out the clarity and flavor profile in a coffee better than a well-made pour over brew. And while pour over is an amazing way to make coffee, it has a lot of nuance. The smallest changes can have immense impact on the final cup of coffee, which can be both extremely rewarding and frustrating depending on which way it impacted your brew. In this article I’ll share three easy tips that can help take your pour over brewing to the next level.
The Paper Fold
Usually when you brew with specifically a conical brewer, you fold the filter along the crease before fitting it into the brewer. While this allows the filter to fit pretty well in the brewer, it usually isn’t perfectly snug (depending on your specific filter and/or brewer). If you adjust the fold even slightly, it can help the filter fit more snuggly in the brewer. This better fit can help prevent extra air pockets forming around the sides of the brewer, which could lead to uneven extraction.
The Kubomi or the Divot
While there is nothing wrong with flat bed brewing, I’ve found two methods of preparing your grounds before brewing that help create a more even extraction during bloom.
The Kubomi Method
The first is the Kubomi method, which is a decades old method where you create a spiral divot in your grounds to help with evenly saturating them during the bloom. Using a chopstick or other thin piece of equipment (pencil, Melodrip stirrer, etc.), you start on the outside of the grounds and work inward in a spiral motion. When you prepare the grounds in this way and then begin your pouring in the center of the grounds, it helps easily saturate all the coffee grounds with the necessary amount of bloom water.
You can see the technique in effect in my Instagram post below.
While I love the Kubomi method and think it is the best way to prepare your coffee bed for bloom, an alternative method, which is much easier, requires no equipment and works almost as well is the divot. Simply take your finger and make a small divot in the center of the coffee bed. When you start to pour, focus your water here first and slowly move outward in a circular motion. This helps focus the water in the middle first where the grounds are deepest and helps more evenly saturate the grounds.
The Swirl or Stir
The third tip involves agitating your grounds. Gentle agitation at key points during the brew can ensure even extraction (in other words: the best possible tasting cup of coffee). Agitation can come in the form of stiring or swirling the coffee grounds during brewing. While I have tried both methods, I currently prefer the swirl method because it is a bit easier and requires no additional equipment. I have found that a gentle swirl of the grounds both after pouring your bloom water and after your last pour work best and help to secure that even extraction.
Even though pour over coffee can be a bit intimidating to make, the results of a good pour over brew are hard to beat and are worth the work. Hopefully the above tips are easy and quick ways to help you improve your brewing process and continue to make better coffee with every brew.