Ready to pour vs plunge?

A loyal customer asked, “I’ve wanted to try one of the other methods besides my French press, to see if I can get a truer flavor, but have never really done the research on what to get. Do you have a good list of what to get for whatever other methods you like to use? (I’m more of a buyer than a shopper… Lol!)”

My edited answer is here. I’m answering simply from my limited experience, with my personal quirks of what I’m willing to consider, go through, etc. I’m reluctant to buy big, expensive machines that need maintenance and maybe repairs. I’m not an Amazon affiliate, I don’t receive free coffee paraphernalia to try/review, etc. So I’m not financially motivated to share what we use. I’m motivated to sell our coffee and to have you extract as much flavor and enjoyment out of it. I think there are some techniques you can do, often without buying anything (e.g., wet your paper filter first, let the coffee bloom), and affordable items that can up your game, depending on where you are with your game.

I’m a big fan of the pour over.  The reason I prefer it over a French press is that the paper filter gets the last sediment out.  I prefer a paper filter over the reusable metal or nylon filters. Pouring the French press coffee through a filter could take care of the last sediment problem though.  If you’re served coffee in the press, like at a restaurant, often you might leave some coffee sitting with the grounds, which results in a different end taste.

So … for a pour over, minimally, you need a dripper and filters.  I like the Hario V60 ceramic dripper & their filters.  I’m not a fan of plastic, in general.  Ceramic holds the heat.  We have size 02, which makes a nice 12-oz cup.

The rest is all extra to improve your game.  A grinder, which is its own subject.  This former post describes the little manual grinder we have.

It’s nice, but not necessary, to have a gooseneck kettle.  Once you’ve had one, though, you get spoiled and want that easy pour-volume control.  When I use a regular kettle, e.g., if we’re staying at a vacation rental, I end up dumping water in the dripper and I just can’t control the pour.   So if I can find a Pyrex measuring cup, I’ll pour the hot water into that, then make the pour over.  

We first got a Hario beehive gooseneck stovetop kettle.  After a good year or so, however, it started to rust inside.  That’s when I learned online that the stainless steel differs when you buy a Japanese-made vs. Chinese-made kettle.  When buying online, I couldn’t determine where it was made.

I also wanted to be able to offer some tastings elsewhere where there might be an outlet but no range/hot plate for a stovetop kettle, so I decided to look for an electric kettle. And many had the feature where you can specify the temperature and have it hold that temperature, which is more convenient than letting water boil and waiting a bit.  We have the OXO electric kettle now and are very happy with that.  

Because we are such pour over fans, when we’re making coffee for a group of people, our regular drip coffee machine wasn’t performing well enough for us.  So we went to the larger version of the manual pour over, the Chemex.  Warning: the coffee to water ratio and grind size for a pour over for an individual don’t just linearly scale up with the Chemex.

I say, start small, experiment, learn what you care about, and then expand from there if you feel like it. 

And, if you like your French press better than a pour over, that’s what you like, and that is just fine. We loaned our pour over equipment to French-press-fan friends, and I think they determined they still like the press better. Maybe you can even improve your French press techniques.

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