The process of the pour-over coffee brew method is all in the name – coffee is extracted as water is hand poured over freshly ground coffee beans. Add some gravity to motivate it through a paper filter and drip into your cup below. This is the simplified version because at any coffee shop featuring pour-overs you can see that there are scales, timers, and gooseneck hot water kettles for a measured, controlled perfection. Anything that factors into a cup of coffee being under or over extracted can be measured, tweaked, drawn out, and eliminated using with a pour-over.
This concept is a Japanese import, first coming over to the United States in only small amounts. Then little by little this niche in the coffee community grew. Pour-over popularity escalated and popped up in coffee shops who had baristas patient enough to begin exploring the ritual. Companies like Coffee Blenders became big names in the pour-over category.
Pour-overs were a response to the bitter over-extraction that can easily occur in percolators and French presses. Percolators cycle boiling water through the grounds over and over again. This forces every bit of coffee out of the grounds and does not always result in a palatable cup of coffee. French presses can easily fall victim to laziness, most believe the brew process is done once the plunger is pressed down but those darn coffee grounds are still extracting if the hot coffee is still left above it.
Once you’ve decided to make a pour-over cup of coffee, you’ve committed to the ritual that’s not about speed but instead about precise extraction. If you're looking for the timing of an automatic coffeemakers, this is not your cup of Joe. You might be sacrificing time but never convenience and flavor. Pour-over is compact and one of the easier methods to clean up after, especially when compared to brewers like siphons. It wouldn't be difficult to take pour-overs with you on a simple outdoor trip or along with you on your travels. Disposable, single cup pour-overs are common in Asia and are making their way to the United States by way of companies like Nuzee and Coffee Blenders. There's no limit to a pour-over.
Each person’s pour-over ritual can only be determined by their constant exploration. Trying different combinations of grind level and filter, to changing water ratio and pour pattern will produce hidden flavors and textures each time. This is the only method in which you can control every single variable to get as much or as little extraction as you want. With ritual comes reward, only you will know what you want out of your coffee!