Pour-Over Coffee vs espresso: 3 important differences and the right coffee ratio

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updated January 2022

Brewing a pour-over coffee means that you are brewing coffee by yourself, pouring over coffee with your own hands.

The results is a filter coffee, a coffee that has been filtered by a filter or by the immersion technique, to achieve a crispy and cleaner cup compared to an espresso drink.

What I most like about pour-over coffee is that once you start making it you never go back. Pour over is “the finest way” of brewing coffee as the finest part of the show where everything depends on you.

Now, there are so many different brewing methods for filter coffee, but the one that I prefer the most is the V60 (after the Syphon one of course 🙂 ). So let’s get more into the details.

pour over coffee vs espresso

Pour-Over Coffee vs espresso

There are many differences between making a pour-over coffee and an espresso one.

First of all, the technique: pulling an espresso required an espresso machine while you need your own hands to brew a pour-over coffee. Both techniques allow you to control several variables but it is with the pour-over technique that you have the full control of the entire extraction.

Second, the amount of caffeine: a double shot of espresso is made of 92% of water and 8% of coffee while a pour-over coffee is made of 98% of water and less than 2% of coffee. Just remember: espresso contains more caffeine compared to a filter coffee but you get more caffeine from a pour-over simply because you drink a much more amount of it (espresso is a drink that yields roughly 30-40 grams compared to a filter coffee which is around 8 to 10 ounces as the standard size.

Third, (which is a consequence of the latter one), the recipe: a dose of coffee is always influenced by the roast profile. The lighter the roast profile the more the grams you need to put on the scale (roughly on a range between 17 and 22), the darker the roast and the less the dose (around 14 and 16).

About the Pour-Over Coffee ratio

Like a standard one, I tend to use a pour-over ratio of 60g/l. I always make a V60 at home and my starting point is about 18 grams in and 300 grams out in a range of total time of extraction between 2.20 minutes and 2.40. This is just the ratio I prefer and not a must-do.it. Keep in mind that different variables are going to affect your total time, but one thing above all: the grinding size.

Anyway, these are the steps that I follow every first time I try a new coffee:

  1. rinse with hot water the paper filter to take out the paper smell from the extraction and also preheat the server which stands under it;
  2. while re-heating up the kettle I empty the server from the water and grind my 18 grams of coffee dose with my Comandante grinder (perhaps the best of the hand grinder available on the market) and then settle it down evenly on the filter paper;
  3. after doing the tare again it’s time for the blooming phase. Blooming is similar to the pre-infusion of a coffee machine and it occurs at the very beginning of the process. A given amount of water is poured over the coffee bed, to let it release the CO2 and other gasses that are inside the coffee grounds. Gasses are released as soon as the water touches the grounds, swelling and making bubble. The freshest the coffee the more the bubble. So, a lot of bubbles means we are brewing super fresh coffee. But remember not that fresh: after the coffee is roasted it starts straight away with the degassing process. In this phase, coffee rests a couple of days before being packed. That’s why it would be ideal to brew coffee after 6-7 days when most of the gasses are already been released.
    Turning to the bloom phase, I normally do a bloom using a dose of hot water (roughly on a range between 89 and 94 degrees Celsius) equivalent to three tim
    pour over coffee ratio is important for the final result

    es the grams of coffee in (E.G. 18 grams of coffee dose and 54 grams of blooming) for 30 seconds;

  4. after the blooming phase, I pour gently in circles up to 150 grams of water; I’m that kind of person that prefers clarity above any other quality (also preferring under-extracted coffee than over-extracted) so that’s why I try to pour slowly, controlling the flow rate and also brewing as closest as possible from the coffee bed to not stress that much the coffee grounds;
  5. wait 10 seconds from the first pour and go up to 300 grams. I never stir with a spoon but just give a swirl in between the first and second pour and after the second one to bring all the coffee grounds that sit on the side of the paper;
  6. Just before the end of the brew, I tap twice to even out the coffee bed;
  7. after 2.20/2.40 minutes the coffee is ready to be served. Bear in mind that also the method with which the coffee is being processed has an impact on the total time of extraction (washed coffee and natural coffee are extracted with a total time that differs slightly).

Now, that’s just a guideline based on what I want to achieve in the cup. As I said before there so many variables such as the distance from where you pour the coffee, the flow rate (this also depends on the goose-neck of your kettle), the temperature of the water, how many pours you make and of course if you like to agitate your coffee and stir it.

Anyway, that’s my way to brew coffee. Every time I start with 18 grams of coffee dose and 300 grams of the total weight for a coffee ratio of 60g/l. Keep in mind that I’m not talking about the yield. The yield is just simply what you obtain after the brewing process, what there’s in the cup. You can get the yield by simply doing the tare of the server and then weight what you have obtained from the brewing process.

In case you are lazy here’s a little “trick” to get an approximate yield: just multiply by 2 your coffee dose and then subtract the result from the total.

E.G. 18 (coffee dose) X 2 = 36. 300 (total weight) – 36 = 264 grams yield.

In case you love percentages, here’s the formula of the extraction yield which has to be within the optimal range of 18-22%.

The formula is simple: you just need to multiply your total weight for your TDS and then divide the result by the coffee dose. E.G. 300 x 1,25 : 18 = 20,83%.

Feel free to add your thoughts. What about you, what’s your pour-over coffee ratio?

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