Pour-over Coffee

Several faculty have asked how I make pour-over coffee in my office. Here are the instructions.

Shopping List

  1. 18oz Clever Coffee Dripper and Filters. The Clever dripper is a device that uses immersion to brew coffee. Immersion takes all of the skill requirements out of pour-over coffee, so even a first-time user will brew the perfect pour-over cup. It only costs $40 here. 100 filters cost around $20 here.
  2. A Conical Burr Grinder. Pour-over coffee becomes bitter mud if the coffee is ground too fine. Store-bought pre-ground coffee is far too fine. Buy a burr grinder with a medium-coarse setting. Consider the OXO grinder for under $100 here.
  3. A Gooseneck Electric Kettle with Temperature Selection. Pour-over coffee is very sensitive to the temperature of the water. It requires an electric kettle for digitally selecting the temperature of the water. There are many options under $100, e.g., the Cosori kettle here.

Pour-over Instructions

  1. Grind: Grind coffee beans until you have about 25g of medium-coarse coffee. The granules should be visible like coarse sand mixed with sea salt. If your grinder allows you to select a number of cups that you are making, select 2 cups. Note that grinding coffee is messy and loud, so grind it at home and bring it to the office in a vacuum-sealed container. Grind it on the same day it will be brewed, as ground coffee quickly oxidizes.
  2. Heat: Fill the kettle with water and heat it to 190 degrees. If you are in a hurry, 175 degrees is the lowest acceptable temperature. The highest acceptable temperature is 200 degrees.
  3. Fill: Place the filter in the Clever dripper and set the Clever dripper on a table top. Fill it with the ground coffee. Pour in the water, wetting all of the coffee, until the water is about 2cm from spilling over the top of the filter. Because it uses immersion, the Clever dripper does not require any pouring skill – just try to wet all of the coffee grounds while pouring.
  4. Wait: Wait 3-4 minutes. If you wait more than 6 minutes, it starts to taste over-extracted and bitter.
  5. Finish: Set the Clever dripper on top of a coffee mug. The brewed coffee should start dripping out of the bottom of the Clever dripper into the coffee mug. When the Clever dripper is empty of standing water, you are done.

Selecting Coffee Beans

There are two broad coffee origins:

  • Latin American coffee: Most coffee drinkers have only ever tasted Latin American coffee. This coffee is rich in chocolate and nut flavor notes. It is typically the only option available at chain coffee shops.
  • African coffee: This coffee is rich in fruit and floral notes. It is hard to find: even specialty coffee shops often only have one African coffee available, and you have to specifically request it.

The reason the coffee in my office smells so good is because I only buy African coffee, which smells like fruits instead of nuts. Single-origin African coffee is typically not available in stores, but you can order it from the best roasters using Mistobox:

I recommend starting with Tandem. Make sure to order single-origin coffee that is from Africa (most commonly from Ethiopia) in whole bean form (not ground).

Bradley Setzler
Bradley Setzler
Assistant Professor of Economics