Coffee–to some a bitter necessity of human existence, to others a delicate, wholesome experience that swoons all the senses. And then there are those of us who fall somewhere in between, in a coffee purgatory per say. Most of us would love to drink an exquisite, balanced cup of coffee in the morning, but cannot afford the supposedly essential equipment to create a world-class beverage out of a humble bag of beans. Well, financially-restricted coffee lovers rejoice–you can have the best of all worlds with the pour-over.
The pour-over is simply a ceramic (or metal or glass) cone that sits atop your coffee cup. Toss in a filter, some ground coffee, and hot water, and you are good to go. Of course there are definite techniques that can make your coffee better. If you love to obsess about water temperature and spout pressure, et cetera, the simple pour-over can be analyzed and adjusted from morning until night. But if you are just looking for an excellent and affordable way to brew a cup of coffee every morning, look no further.
A couple of months ago, my apartment lost power in a big storm. For a couple of days, my boyfriend and I plunged into experimentation, toying with non-electrical methods of making our morning brew. We zealously ground our beans by hand with a mortar and pestle. We heated up water (and our rooms) with our wood stove. We plunged our aromatic concoctions with a french press. And guess what–it was some of the best coffee we had ever made! All without electricity! Of course, we had very freshly roasted, organic, sustainably sourced coffee on hand, which is most important, both for the benefit of the Earth and your tastebuds. But after years of fooling around with gimmicky equipment, we came to the realization that good coffee is about quality and simplicity. Thatís it.
We began a quest to make manual brewing a daily ceremony. We got our hands on a good burr hand grinder and started to research other manual brewing methods. We updated our french press techniques and even tried out†Brazilian cafezinhos with a merely cloth bag for a short time (probably the most affordable of them all, but a little cumbersome to clean up). Finally, we encountered the pour-over. I was blown away by the pure, clean taste, and how it enhanced the nuanced flavors of the bean. It was no longer the bitter, burnt beverage to which we have become so accustomed. All due to simplifying the coffee process.
As a former coffee-and-creamer, I am proud to say that I now am able to enjoy a simple, nude cup of coffee, no frills or distractions necessary.†Need more convincing? Here are 4 reasons to try brewing a pour-over…
Less wasteful. If you only want one cup (or even two) of coffee in the morning, using a pour-over is cup-by-cup and will not waste any coffee. Other methods, such as the french press or classic drip, are geared for multiple cups. K-cups do make single cups of coffee, but are extremely wasteful if they aren’t reusable and usually don’t taste as good.
More affordable. By making coffee one cup at a time, you decrease the amount of coffee waste you create. Oftentimes, a whole pot will be made and 2 cups get left in the pot to become cold and stale. That’s 14 cups wasted a week, enough for another week or two of morning coffee! With all the work it takes to harvest a single coffee bean, use what you buy judiciously. Also, pour-over cones are priced as low as $10. Sounds affordable to me.
Cleaner coffee. Using a simple, yet direct brewing method actually brings out the fruity, earthy flavors of the coffee bean. With good brewing and high quality, organic beans, coffee can taste more like tea with its varied complexities and undertones. A pour-over also makes a much less oily cup than a french press, which has been linked to high-cholesterol.
Simpler. Who can really perform good chemistry at 7am? Unless you are a true coffee-aficionado, odds are you donít want to put too much thought into your elixir of life. A pour-over is simple: grind, place it in a ceramic cone, put the cone on top of your cup, pour just-below-boiling water, and let it drip. Plus, if the power goes out, you can still indulge in your off-the-grid morning ritual!
Drinking coffee has been linked to a myriad of health benefits, including lowered risk for Alzheimerís, Parkinsonís disease, and Type II diabetes, fight depression, benefit the liver, and even improve brain performance. Try making the most out of your money and your beans–go enjoy a pour-over!