Pour-over, V60, coffee dripper, filter coffee - whatever you want to call it, it's a great way to make an extremely flavourful cup of coffee. Whether you're at home or in thick of the woods, it's quick, simple, and hard to get wrong. It's a relatively fool-proof brewing method that will continuously impress, reminding you of what the good stuff really tastes like.
What you'll need:
- Your favourite coffee (always grab whole-bean)
- A portable grinder (please don't tell us you bought pre-ground)
- The coffee-dripper of your choosing, we like the Hario V60
- Filter papers
- Your trusty outdoor cup
- Hot water (either in a flask or heated on a portable stove)
Grind size matters. A lot.
If you want to get anything right, it's this. More than any other type of brewing method, pour-over style coffee relies heavily upon getting the grind just right. Too fine and you'll have a very bitter coffee, too coarse and you've got a cup full of earthy brown water - get it right however, and you've got liquid gold in your hands. Start by grinding medium-fine, closely resembling sea salt in size. Over time you should experiment to find your dream cup of coffee, as tastes differ.
How strong are you feeling?
V60 coffee is typically a milk-free drink, and so gauging how strong the drink is going to be after the brewing process is vital to an enjoyable cup. This is directly affected by how much ground coffee you use when compared to how much water it takes to fill your cup, mug or jug. It's best to test this at home where you can make several cups of coffee to learn from, and also find out what certain amounts of coffee looks like in your grinder, unless you intend on taking your kitchen scales wherever you go (we won't judge!).
For one cup (250ml of water), we suggest using 22g of coffee. This will give you a strong brew, but not too overpowering. It's best to get it right from the start, but you can add more hot water to dilute the strength.
When brewing for two (500ml of water), use 34g. During our tests, we found that this gave a nicer flavour than simply doubling the amount we used for one. Depending on how big your coffee-dripper is, you may need to pour more slowly as to not overfill.
Water temperature: This does affect flavour and the brewing process in general, but in our experience, especially outdoors, it's not worth worrying about. Providing your water is just below boiling, you'll get a great cup of coffee.
Remember: Making pour-over coffee is simple, but making great pour-over coffee is a skill worth mastering. There's often no milk or sugar for the flavour to hide behind, so if you don't like your coffee, change things up, mess with the amount of coffee or the grind size and try again. We promise it's worth it.
Let's actually make some coffee.
Now that you have some insight as to what makes the perfect filter coffee, we should probably talk about how to make it. The good news is that it's incredibly simple, even easier than using an AeroPress. From experience, we'd suggest hiding away from the wind a little, it's easy for those paper filters to go flying, but once the water goes in you shouldn't face any real issues.
- Place your coffee-dripper onto your cup
- Add a paper filter, some people wet it with hot water prior to brewing, though with good quality filters we couldn't taste a difference
- Add your ground coffee and gently shake it to level it out
- Slowly pour enough water to wet all of the ground coffee and then leave for 20 seconds, this is called the 'bloom' phase, which releases carbon dioxide that's created during the roasting process
- Now continue to add the rest of the water, slowly pouring in a circular motion to avoid completely filling the reservoir of your coffee-dripper, aim to keep it around half full until you've poured all of the water you intend to use
- Remove the coffee-dripper, responsibly dispose of the used grounds and filter (most are compostable) and enjoy your coffee!
Pour-over coffee is where art meets practicality. You can spend countless hours dialling in your perfect cup, but it's also an incredibly easy and affordable way to make yourself a decent brew, even if you're half-awake after the worst night's sleep you've ever had. It'll wake you up, get you out there and keep you going no matter what the day wants to face you with.
We think using a coffee-dripper is one of the best ways to experience our unique blends whilst at home or on your next adventure, and we can give you personalised tips on how to get the most out of each and every bag - just fire us a message over Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We hope this guide inspires you to make great coffee outdoors, and we'll see you out there.