Overcoming Fear of the Pour-Over
Words Erin Meister
One of the easiest and lowest-investment of both time and money is finally overcoming the hurdles that are preventing you from mastering your pour-over coffee game—but don’t worry, we are here to help!
Fear: It takes too much time.
Reality: With some prep work ahead of time, brewing fantastic coffee by hand takes no longer than pushing the electric coffee maker’s “on” button. It’s true! What we don’t realize is that the coffee your machine makes typically takes however long the water-heating cycle is, plus usually 3–5-minute brew time. We don’t notice because we push that button and turn away to do other things. With a little prep beforehand, you can not only make yourself vastly superior coffee in the same amount of time or less, but also incorporate your coffee brewing into a kind of meditative exercise in slowing down and being present.
Fill your kettle with clean cold water the night before, and start heating it while you grind your coffee—which you can also weigh out the night before in whole bean. That way, your grounds and brewer will be ready at just the moment your water heats, and then you can use the three active minutes of brewing time to zone out, repeat a mantra, practice breathing, or simply enjoy the aroma of the coffee.
Bonus tip: If you’re still worried about your attention span, OXO’s Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Water Tank has a reservoir water tank that does the hardest part of the work for you. Just add your freshly boiled water to it and let the Rainmaker work its magic.
Fear: I need too many gadgets.
Reality: You probably own a lot of what it takes to make good coffee, especially if you’re already making coffee at home, or even if you just cook and bake a lot. Serious bakers typically keep a food scale around, and if it weighs up to 1 kilogram and as precise as a tenth of a gram, all the better—but whole-gram-only scales will absolutely work in a pinch. (This is coffee, not molecular biology.) Everybody with a smartphone has a timer available, and using your device for brewing instead of mindlessly scrolling and “liking” can help you shake the social-media blues, to boot. Or better yet, OXO’s Adjustable Temperature Pour-Over Kettle has a timer built in. The only other essentials are a grinder and a brewing device. See? That’s fewer gadgets than it takes to make a cake, and it’s certainly easier than pie.
Fear: I will ruin the coffee.
Reality: Come closer, I want to whisper something to you—but you have to promise not to tell on me. It’s just coffee. That is to say, it’s not your best friend’s birthday cake, or the soufflé you’re hoping to serve for dinner when your boss and her husband come over next week. Not only that, coffee literally only has two ingredients—coffee and water—so there are actually only so many ways you could possibly ruin it. So long as you find a good set of brewing instructions, pay at least half-close attention to what you’re doing, and practice a little by brewing regularly, trust me, you won’t “ruin” the coffee.
Fear: It will ruin other coffee for me.
Reality: Ok, this one is actually valid—once you have a freshly brewed, intentionally made, meditative cup of morning coffee, you may want to chuck your old pod machine out into the backyard. Just like making bread from scratch, ditching the boxed brownie mix, and whipping your own cream, DIY invariably tastes better—and, thankfully, coffee is one of the oldest and easiest DIY consumables in the history of food. Go on ahead and don’t be afraid of pour-over brewing.