How To Make a Great Pour-Over Coffee

Pour-over coffee

Pour-over coffee is also referred to as “drip coffee” or “paper-filter coffee”. It is a very simple and basic way to brew a really great tasting coffee without having to purchase expensive equipment like a big espresso machine that you see in commercial coffee shops.
Something to note is that there are countless methods, recipes and techniques when it comes to pour-overs and we really do believe that there is no “one way”. We can only aim to give you a launch pad with a basic recipe and method and hopefully it will get you experimenting from there.

There are quite a few variables involved in making a good cup of coffee.
Water quality, water temperature, water volume, coffee quality, coffee freshness, coffee grind size, coffee volume, pouring technique, coffee to water ratio and total brewing time all play a vital role in how your coffee is going to taste in the end.
Some things are non-negotiable like the quality of the water and the freshness of the coffee, but for the rest you can pretty much adjust according to taste.

Why make pour-over coffee?

This is a question we get asked a lot and for good reason. Getting into speciality coffee, you will definitely notice that it requires a bit of patience and skill. 

Most of us grew up drinking instant coffee, it’s quick, cheap and convenient, but in our humble opinion, it is the exact equivalent of boiling a perfectly matured steak in a pot of water or adding a cheap mix to a cognac.

The coffee bean goes through a very intricate and complex chain of events before it actually reaches your cup. From growing, to hand picking, processing the coffee berry, cupping and tasting , transporting the green beans around the world, storing the green beans in optimal conditions and finally skillfully roasting the green beans to perfectly crafted roast profiles to unlock literally hundreds of flavors and aromas.

You are the final link in a long chain of processes that has lasted months and months. You are the key to brewing that cup perfectly, to do justice to the entire community of farmers and coffee professionals who have taken great care and perfected their skills to bring you the best quality bean possible!
Brewing coffee literally has one aim- to unlock and extract all of the goodness out of the roasted bean, which hundreds of hands before yours did their best to preserve.
Apart from that, experimenting with different brew techniques, different water to coffee ratios and inevitably getting better day by day is also immensely satisfying.
We bet, pretty soon the most favorite part of your day is going to be taking some time out to slow down, relax and watch the coffee infused water drip into your cup.
There are numerous types of brewing equipment you can use to make a pour-over coffee. The Hario V60 and the CHEMEX are two of the most popular tools and personal favorites of the WAKE UP. BREW team, so we are writing a bit on those two methods to hopefully get you started on brewing some beautiful coffees.

Hario V60

Hario is a Japanese heatproof glass manufacturing company that has been operating since 1921. The Hario products are widely recognized and used around the world.
The V60 is cone shaped and comes in either clear plastic or ceramic.
Most V60’s fit right on top of your cup which is convenient for brewing single cups, the Hario V60 Range servers are quite nice if you’re brewing and serving more than one cup.

You can find many recommendations on brewing ratios for a V60. We will share one of ours and from there, feel free to experiment with altering the different variables to suit your taste.
Of course, coffee is very complex, once your palate starts to refine, you will notice that your perfect brewing ratio for one coffee, lets say, a Guatemalan single-origin will not be so perfect for an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.
You will also start to notice things like how the grind size will change according to the freshness of the coffee, but this is a whole other post entirely.
For now, lets start with the basics.

V60 Recipe

If you read up some more on pour-over recipe suggestions you will notice that most people refer to the coffee and water in ratios. We will do the same here.


Ratio 1:15
300ml -525ml  good quality water ( preferably  Filtered water or at the very least water that tastes great to drink on its own )
20-35 grams of fresh coffee beans
Coffee:  medium grind
Water +/- 90-96°C
We would recommend starting with 20g:300ml and adjust from there.


  1. Place you V60 over you cup, insert the filter into the cone and pour boiled water over the filter to wet the filter and rinse it. This is a very important step as it warms your cup and rinses unwanted flavors out of your filter. We would recommend rinsing the filter with almost the exact same amount of water you will be using to brew your cup.
    Properly rinsing your filter will help prevent coffee from drawing flavour from the filter and will in fact help highlight delicate qualities inside the coffee.
  2. Weigh out your coffee, grind the coffee right before you brew, put the coffee into the rinsed filter, shake slightly to level the coffee out (remember coffee starts deteriorating in flavour and quality a mere few seconds after being ground so do this right before you brew)
For grind size, most grinders have a range of settings,  lets say for example your grinder has settings from 1-10, 1 being super fine and 10 being really coarse, your Pour-over grind will be somewhere between 4-6
It would be difficult to have a universal standard and vocab to explain fineness, but a good reference would be to grind it so it still clumps between your fingers when you pinch it.
It should feel soft but a little grainy or sandy.
  1. Pour your boiled water into your drip kettle and let it sit until the temperature reaches somewhere between 85°C and 96°C. Our personal sweet spot would be 93°C . (If you don’t have a temperature gauge, a quick Internet search will show you at what temperature water boils in your city, as it changes according to your altitude. Pretoria water boils at around 94°C while Cape Town would be around 100°C, so although it won’t be entirely accurate, this will give you an indication of how long to wait or not to wait at all.)
  2. Next is the blooming phase, place your cup and V60 on a gram scale and zero it. This will allow you to measure how much water you are pouring over the coffee.
    In a small circular type motion, pour just enough water onto your coffee that it wets all the ground coffee. The goal is to pour just enough so it doesn't drip through into the cup, but don’t worry if you haven’t mastered this yet just make sure its just enough water to wet all the grounds.
    A general rule would be to use twice the amount of water to coffee, so if you're using 20g coffee, pour about 40g of water onto the coffee (1ml water is just about equal to 1g), same if you were to use 35g coffee, use 70g water.
    You will notice the coffee start to rise up or “bloom” and you will start to smell the wonderful aromas.
    The water mixing with the exposed coffee’s surface is causing it to release gasses.
    Allow the coffee to bloom for about 30 seconds for very fresh coffee, for older coffee you can allow up to 60 seconds purely for blooming.

    5. After the bloom, you can now start pouring the rest of you water over the coffee, aim to pour slowly, steadily and in a circular motion. A good way to measure the speed of your pour is to try and pour in at the same rate that the coffee is flowing out at the bottom, so the level of your coffee doesn’t rise or fall.

    6. Your entire brewing process (bloom included) should last anywhere between 3:00 - 4:00 min , again this will depend on many other variables, and in the end it will also come down to taste, so experiment with that. We normally aim for around 3:30 min.   We have found that by removing the V60 from your cup after you've poured in all of the water, before it gets to run out until the very last drop, will produce a cleaner cup as you start extracting unwanted flavors towards the end. Some people do prefer leaving it until the end , which might add some bold flavors.

    7. Always let your coffee rest for a minute or two before drinking, it will be developing some worthwhile flavors while you wait!


    The chemex works in a similar fashion to the V60, the chemex’s filters are a bit thicker though and results in a cup with more clarity and sweetness.
    Because the filter is thicker, the water runs through a little slower, so try using a coarser grind than you would for the V60, probably only down by one or two settings on your grinder.
    The Chemex is also better suited for larger quantities (and by that we mean, perfect for showing off in front of guests)
    We would recommend a ratio 1:17 for the Chemex but you will roughly use the same method and pouring technique as you would with the V60 explained above.

     What other equipment do I need to start?

    The first two points listed below, in our opinion, are non-negotiable items, the second two items are really cool to have and do add a lot of value, but to be honest, you can still produce a great cup without them
    1. First and foremost, you need a good quality Burr grinder, we have written a blog post with some pointers if you need help choosing the right grinder. (you can also check the Grinding equipment tab on our store for our top picks.) GRIND YOUR COFFEE FRESH!!
    2. In our opinion a gram scale, (Acaia and BREWISTA make some great ones) is also an absolute must when it comes to home brewing, it will improve your coffee brewing results immediately.
    3. A great addition to your home brewing kit is a swan neck kettle
      This allows you to control the flow and accuracy of your pour which is very important for great end results.
    4. A temperature gauge really comes in handy and fine tunes your coffee end result, check here in our store for some really neat ones.

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