There are different factors that can affect the taste and quality of your pour-over coffee. Now you might feel very frustrated about failing to get a bullseye on that flavor that you want. And it might all just be because you are not using the best grind for pour over coffee for the pour-over coffee maker.
Ideally, the best coffee to use for pour-over coffee is the medium-coarse grind. However, different pour-overs may have different requirements.
Why does grind level matter for pour-over coffee?
Coffee could easily range from tasting sour and weak, to bitter and heavy. This is mostly caused by the possible mismatch between a few elements:
- your extraction method
- equipment (pour-over coffeemaker)
- the coffee’s grind for pour over
The size of your coffee grind for pour over tells how much surface area is covered by the hot water during the extraction process. This process explains how it also affects how much flavor and aroma dissolves into the water.
Coffee grind + equipment
You need to consider the grind level for pour over coffee based on what extraction method and equipment you plan to use.
For example, if you’re using a french press, you need to use coarse grind coffee.
A coarser pour over coffee grind size will prevent over-extraction when using a french press. Since this method uses a slow brew, a finer grind can definitely affect the taste.
Pour-over coffee is… literally just pouring hot water over the coffee. Pouring the hot water extracts the flavors from the coffee.
The truth is there’s no one-size-fits-all for the pour-over method of preparing coffee.
But what does it have to do with pour over coffee grind coarseness?
Water passes too quickly through the grounds when the grind is too coarse since its smaller total surface area only allows lower extraction levels.
You might think: “That shouldn’t be such a big deal, right?”
The short amount of time the water is in contact with the coffee grounds during this method results in under-extraction and a weak, thin-bodied cup of coffee that tends to taste sour.
On the contrary, water will have a more difficult time passing through the grounds, enabling more flavor and aroma extraction, when the grind size for pour over is too fine.
Grounds that remain saturated in water for a longer duration give a bitter, overly strong coffee as a result of over-extraction.
Check out this video on how to make coffee using a pour-over coffee maker. 👇
Grind size is an important factor in the taste and quality of pour-over coffee because it affects the extraction of flavors from the coffee beans.
The extraction process occurs when hot water is added to the ground coffee, causing the flavors and aromas to dissolve into the water.
The grind size for pour over determines the surface area of the coffee that is exposed to the hot water, which in turn affects how much flavor is extracted.
If the grind is too coarse, the water will pass through the grounds too quickly.
This results in:
- weak, thin-bodied cup of coffee
On the other hand, if the grind is too fine, the water will have a harder time passing through the grounds.
This results in:
- over-extraction and a bitter
- an overly strong cup of coffee.
What is the best grind for pour-over coffee
The best grind for pour over coffee will depend on a number of factors, including the type of coffee beans being used, the brewing time, and the desired strength of the coffee.
Different coffeemakers call for different coffee grounds.
To illustrate, if you use Hario V60, you may require a slightly finer grind size compared to using your French press. This is because the water will flow through the grounds much faster, which means that the brewing time is shorter. ⏰
On the other hand, your French press would require a coarser grind size because the brewing time is longer. This means the water has more time to extract flavors from the grounds.
In general, it's important to experiment with different grind level for pour over and brewing times to find the combination. The perfect one will produce the best-tasting coffee for your particular pour-over method.
Below is a simple guide you can follow in picking the right pour over coffee grind type for your coffeemaker.
Best Chemex grind size
Grind size: Medium to medium coarse
Medium to medium coarse grinds would work best for Chemex. This is because using coffee grounds that are too fine would result to bitter and over-extracted coffee.
Chemex has a conical shape with a large hole in the centre. But this doesn’t mean coffee will flow faster. Because of the thick filter paper, water flow is still restricted and won’t flow easily even with the really large opening.
Thus, the need for a medium to medium coarse grind.
Can you use a regular filter instead? But then your brew could have a dull and papery taste. Regular paper filters are made from lighter and lower-grade paper, which makes water filter through quicker than Chemex filters.
Best Hario V60 grind size
Grind size: Medium to medium coarse
Hario V60 and Chemex are almost identical. However, the common misconception is that the same grind works for both.
Since it would spend enough time to seep into the grinds, a medium-fine grind will work best.
The two might share wider openings, but Hario V60 uses a thinner filter paper. Because of these circumstances, the water flow rate is going to be slower.
Best Kalita Wave grind size
Grind size: medium-fine to medium grind
Kalita Wave may be considered a pour-over brewer, but it also almost works like an immersion method too. This is because of its flat bottom with three holes that restrict the flow of water.
The slower rate of draining allows for the grounds to steep for slightly longer than using brewers with a conical shape.
All things considered, medium-fine to medium grind would work best with Kalita Wave in general.
Best AeroPress grind size
Grind size: depends on recipe
AeroPress functions as both a pour-over and an immersion brewer in one. Its flexibility allows for a wider range of grinds to be usable, depending on your preferred recipe.
For example, espresso shots would prefer a finer grind. It won’t be as intense or as crema-topped, but it would have to do if you don’t have an espresso machine but crave espresso.
Coarser grinds are recommended for recipes that require longer brew times.
Check out these recipes below 👇
How to get a better pour-over coffee
Aside from playing with best grind for pour over coffee to achieve your preferred coffee taste, below are other things that can be considered to experiment with your coffee to find out what’s best for you.
Tip #1 Try double pour-over
If you want to try stronger coffee, double pour-over is a brewing method where you brew your coffee twice.
It’s quite literally where you first brew your coffee grounds normally and pour it over the filter one more time. It would allow for more flavor to be extracted, resulting in a boosted coffee taste.
But you have to know what you’re doing. If you brew your coffee correctly, it’s going to taste good. But if you don't, your double brew could taste too bitter than you’d like.
Tip #2 Experimenting with ratios
The ratio of grounds to water dramatically affects the resulting taste of any coffee brewing method. As a general rule of thumb, more coffee grounds will make a stronger-tasting coffee, and using less would give a weaker taste as there would be less flavor to extract.
But make sure not to get overwhelmed in adjusting your ratio. Begin with incremental changes until you reach your preferred coffee taste.
Knowing the right amount of coffee can be the ultimate key to zeroing in on that perfect taste. If you are expecting guests, for example, it would help to know how much coffee you need 6 cups, 8 cups, or 12 cups.
You might want to use coffee ratio charts as a reference for your experiment.
Tip #3 Invest in quality equipment and ingredients
It’s a given that better-quality equipment and ingredients would result in better-tasting coffee.
You can try the following:
- brewer upgrade
Ceramic and copper last longer but cost more. But when it comes to durability, plastic drippers have a shorter life span due to their lower heat resistance, despite being more cost-effective.
- purchase better coffee grounds
There are different types of coffee and single-origin coffee is more likely to deliver a premium taste. When manufacturers blend different types of beans together, it’s usually to save money.
You might also check out the type of roast your coffee bean has gone through. Light roast usually is less acidic while dark roast will give you a bolder taste.
- type of water
Yes, if you’re meticulous you can even change what kind of water you’d like to use when brewing your pour-over coffee.
Water is in charge of extracting flavors from coffee grounds. Water temperature is important in this extraction process, so be mindful of how much heat is present in your kettle.
If your water is too hot, it can cause over-extraction, which can make your coffee bitter.
Another thing to note is how magnesium enhances the flavor of coffee. However, hard water can also have high levels of bicarbonate, which can cause more bitter flavors to emerge.
So how fine to grind coffee for pour over?
There’s no definitive answer on how to make the best pour-over coffee, but finding the best grind for pour over coffee affects flavor more than you think.
We have established that the general rule is to use coarser grounds for brewing methods that require longer time while finer grounds are recommended for shorter brewing methods.
If you are using a Baratza Virtuoso for example, grinder setting for pour over would vary on the time you set and turning your hopper like a dial. Check out the video below.
Every brand might need a different grind size for pour over coffee, so you should definitely take them into consideration, too. Knowing the pour over grind setting for your device could make all the difference.