Pour-over coffee is excellent, but the brew methods can be somewhat complicated and require specialized equipment — which isn’t considered “budget” by any means. But making filtered, pour-over coffee at home doesn’t always have to mean expensive or sophisticated tools. By using some ingenuity and household items, you too can make great filtered coffee at home!
Here’s my cheaper, DIY alternative that will allow you to create a great pour-over coffee experience without the extra cost…
Quick intro to the process:
Check out this video on proper pour-over technique and form — which gives you an idea of how meticulous it should be…
What you’ll need:
- Freshly ground coffee (moderately fine grind or the consistency of playground sand is ideal)
- Hot water (just taken off boiling)
- A standard paper coffee filter (or, see Alternatives Below)
- Large mug
- Paper clips, elastic bands, or any other office supply to hold the filter in place
Makeshift coffee filter
If you don’t have any paper coffee filters at home, don’t worry. You can create a coffee filter from handkerchiefs, loose pieces of cloth, or sturdy paper towels. The important thing to remember is that anything you choose to be a filter needs to be thick enough to manage a slow and steady pour and reduce sediment entering the coffee cup.
How to make pour-over coffee without a coffee maker
Step 1: Prepare your filter
To make your makeshift brewer, you’ll first need to attach your filter to the mug.
Take your paper (or alternative) filter and place it inside of your cup. Attach your filter onto the cup and hold it there using whatever attachment you have available.
I used a standard handkerchief (yes, we washed it first) and simply folding it to make it fit snugly in our cup:
The bottom of the filter should sit about halfway or slightly higher in the cup. Make sure to leave a little extra cloth over the side as the weight of the water will slightly pull on the filter.
Step 2: Grind your coffee
Grind your coffee to a medium fine texture; your grind should look similar to fine sand or slightly coarser.
For best results use a burr grinder like the Hario Skerton, because it will help create an even texture in your grind. For one cup of coffee, grind about 2-3 generously portioned tablespoons.
Step 3: Boil water and wet your filter
Once your water starts boiling, pull it off of the burner. Pour some hot water through the filter, let it sit for a few seconds, then pour it out.
For paper or cloth filters, this will help to remove the extra fibers and bitterness from the filter.
You may need to temporarily eliminate some of the attachments to pour out all of the water. Make sure that you properly reattach the filter and make it tight and secure.
After you wet the filter, measure out about a full coffee mug of hot water into your pouring vessel — let’s do this!
Step 4: Add coffee into your filter
As you insert the grounds into the filter, make sure that you tap the grounds around until they lay evenly in the cup.
If the coffee is not even, your run the risk of channeling and over extracting portions of the grounds making your coffee taste bitter and chalky.
Step 5: Bloom your coffee
To unlock the aromas and flavors of coffee, you need to allow your coffee to “bloom.” To do this, pour a little bit of water to completely submerge the grounds. Let this sit for about 30 seconds.
After the 30 seconds, stir the grounds once or twice and pour enough water to touch the top of the filter.
This is important to let the coffee de-gas and expel the Carbon Dioxide — leading to a better tasting brew in the end.
Step 6: Continue pouring
Once the bubbling/blooming begins to subside — usually at around 30 seconds — you are now ready to continue pouring your water. Continue pouring water until you have no more water, which in essence, should take you roughly three minutes for one cup.
The pouring process will take multiple smaller pour’s as the filter may slow down the extraction process.
If you are using a cloth filter, you may need to use a spoon to agitate the grounds slightly to get the coffee to filter into the cup.
Step 7: Remove the filter
After about two minutes, the water should be completely drained through the grounds and into your coffee cup.
If there is still water in the grounds and it does not seem to be flowing, it usually means your cup is full. Carefully remove the attachments and lift the filter up, and allow the rest of the water to drain through the grounds.
Step 8: Enjoy your homemade brew!
Sit down, relax and be proud of the accomplishment you made in your kitchen today!
Have you tried this experiment? Are there other ways you have tried DIY brewing at home?