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Pour Over History and Development

As is the case with most hobbies, most pursuits, most passions, whenever enough people get interested in something, others are looking for ways to both improve it, and make money from it.

The same is true for pour over coffee.

When pour over took off in the ‘aughts, it was based around a $25 brewer (the Hario), a $25 pour over kettle (budget gooseneck kettles imported from Japan) and a $10 kitchen scale.

Today if you want to get into pour over coffee, you’re being pushed towards $300 grinders, $250 pour over kettles, $250 scales, and $100 drippers using filter papers that seem to cost $2 each. So much for simplified and budget friendly.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Sure, having a nice temperature control, gooseneck kettle that can pour as slow as 2ml per second might give marginal improvements to the overall extraction. Having an industrial grade scale designed for pour over that shows you your active flow rate via light up dots is fun and can help you brew better. And using some super exotic, limited release dripper that uses custom designed filter papers might make you feel like the big kahuna… or possibly just make you take more care in brewing your pour over.

But you really don’t need any of that to get a great cup of pour over coffee.

We have several guides on CoffeeGeek for pour over, including a How to on the V60, a Chemex Guide, a walkthrough on using a cloth pourover brewer, and even a Japanese Iced Coffee How To. All of these guides try to show you budget ways to do these brew methods, along with ways relying on more expensive equipment.

At the end of the day, to get good pour over, you need five equally important elements to get a good cup:

  • Water, and the delivery system (aka kettle) used to heat and pour the water.
  • Coffee, and the device you use to grind it just before brewing.
  • The brewing device itself.
  • The filter you choose to use.
  • A scale. Yes, you need a scale. A super cheap, 1g readout kitchen scale, found under $15 at most department stores will do just fine.

We’ve seen lots of technological advances in the above tools. Temperature control, gooseneck kettles can be found by the dozens on Amazon now, all owing to the popularity of pour over coffee. Scales costing as much as $350, dedicated to coffee, are available today when they didn’t even exist 10 years ago. We’ve seen both the electric grinder market greatly expand because of pourover, and a new market – handheld manual grinders – be born and massively grow as well, with some models costing $300 or more.

A lot of these technology advances create more ease of use in the pour over method, but not all of them do.

There is some comfort in the fact that, with a simple $7.50 pour over filter holder, a $12 carafe, a $10 scale, a $3 box of 100 filters, some good coffee, and a capable grinder, you can easily make pour over coffee in your home that rivals the coffee brewed by folks who have spent $1,000 on their pour over setup.

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