How to make filter coffee

by Alex Chapman

How to make filter coffee

Filter coffee is a relatively broad term, and it can refer to coffee that's made via a number of ways, like an AeroPress or a drip coffee maker. However, in this article we're going to talk about the most basic and traditional way to make filter coffee - a pour over coffee.

This kind of filter coffee is made by simply using a a cup, filter, a device to hold the filter, ground coffee and hot water. Because of the basic materials required, it's really easy to get everything you need to create a delicious cup of coffee.

Although this method sounds very basic, Baristas commonly make coffee this way because it creates clean, clear, and consistent brews. Unlike some other brewing methods, which increase pressure to produce the coffee, a pour over coffee extracts its coffee oils within it's own time and at it's own pressure. Furthermore, some infusion methods can cause the water to become saturated, causing an unpleasant taste. Whereas, a pour over coffee has a consistent supply of fresh water.

However, a pour over coffee is the most manual way to brew, so it can produce a less than perfect taste if it's not done properly. An example of this is called channelling and happens when the poured water finds a path around the coffee grounds, causing weak coffee to drain into the cup, and the coffee grounds not being extracted properly.

Another obstacle faced with pour over coffee is consistency. Unlike expresso machines, each pour over coffee will usually vary slightly, because they are hand poured.

To help you make the best pour-over coffee possible, we've popped together a filter coffee recipe below.

A step-by-step guide to making filter coffee

Prepare the coffee filter

Unfold your paper coffee filter and place it inside the filter holder cone. The filter holder cone should be placed over the mug that you plan to drink your coffee from.

Preheat the coffee filter and pour over

It's a good idea to preheat your coffee filter and pour over cone, so there aren't strongly contrasting temperatures when you're making your coffee. If the cone and filter are very cold, they can bring down the overall temperature of your coffee prior to the extraction, which will result is a much weaker coffee.

Pre heat the filter and pour over cone by pouring a small amount of hot water over both.

Measure the beans

The amount of coffee you'll use for your pour over coffee will depend on how strong you want your drink to be. You don't necessarily need to use the recommended amount of coffee - if you prefer a stronger cup you can use more, or if you prefer your coffee weaker, you can use less.

However, the amount of ground coffee that's used for a standard cup of filter coffee is around 24 grams. Once ground, this is equivalent to about two tablespoons.

Grind the coffee beans

For high quality coffee, it's always recommended to grind coffee beans yourself, just before you're about the make your beverage. As soon as coffee beans are ground, they begin to lose their taste - so pre ground beans generally have less flavour than freshly ground beans.

A medium grind is the best for a filter coffee. The reason for this is that the finer a coffee is ground, the quicker it can release it's flavour. A filter coffee takes some time to extract, so if the grind is too fine, the coffee with over extract and the flavour will likely be too strong and have a bitter taste to it.

If your coffee grinder has the ability to manually adjust the grind, it's recommended that you set it to a medium grind.

Add the ground coffee

Now that your coffee is measured out and ground, you can pour it into the coffee filter.

Pour a small amount of water over the ground coffee

This step is where the coffee brewing process begins, so it's a good idea to start a clock so that you can keep an eye on exactly how long your coffee is extracting for.

To start, slow pour about a quarter of a cup of hot water over the coffee, so that the grinds are saturated. If you find that the grounds aren't completed saturated, you can use a spoon to stir the mixture. It's recommended to use water that's around 200 degrees, boiling water can be too hot and burn the coffee.

Normally, a filter coffee will use about 400mls of water, however, this will depend on this size of mug or cup that you're using

Pour the rest of the water

Let the first amount of water sit for around 30 seconds, so that the coffee grounds can bloom. After this time, you can constantly pour water slowly into the coffee filter, so that it's always about half way through. To help avoid the water form find a clear pathway through without extracting the coffee properly, it's a good idea to pour the water in a circular motion.

Let the coffee brew

Once the last part of the water is poured into the coffee filter cone, you can sit back while the rest of the coffee drips through into the mug or cup. The entire brewing process should take about 2-3 minutes.

Prepare filter coffee to enjoy

After all of the water has dripped through the coffee filter, you can toss away the leftover grounds and the paper filter that they're left in. If you prefer a white coffee, you can add some steamed or hot milk to your cup. Your freshly brewed coffee is now ready to be sipped and savoured!

Coffee bean flavour guide for the best cup of coffee

Like a long black, a filter coffee is usually a dark coffee that consists of just the coffee itself, and water. For this reason, the flavour of the coffee bean can really shine through, and isn't affected by other flavours - like milk or flavoured syrup. So, it's possible to use any coffee bean flavour for your filter coffee!

At Glasshouse Mountain Coffee we like to enjoy single origin beans in our filter coffee. These type of beans tend to taste best alone, when their taste isn't affected by milk or sugar. Below are some single origin beans we recommend to enjoy in your drip coffee.

Single Origin Nicaraguan Coffee Beans

If you're a lover of a smooth tasting coffee, then Single Origin Nicaraguan Coffee Beans are a great choice. These beans are shade grown in Nicaragua's diverse landscapes in areas rich with volcanic soil that aids premium coffee growth. The single origin beans have notes of cinnamon and almond.

Yellow Bourbon Brazilian Coffee Beans

Do you love a sweet taste to your coffee? If so, the Yellow Bourbon Brazilian Coffee Beans are ideal. These single origin beans are grown in a tropical zone in Brazil, which means humid and hot temperatures that are ideal for coffee plant growth. They have a sweet lingering taste, with slight caramel undertones.

Premium Roasted Swiss Water Decaf

Are you after a decaf coffee with premium flavour? Premium Roasted Swiss Water Decaf beans certainly fit the brief. These single origin beans are sourced from the highest altitude growing regions of Columbia and have sweet and fruity tones.


What equipment do I need to make a filter coffee?

There are a variety of different methods favoured for brewing coffee, however, if you're opting for the pour over method, then minimal equipment is required. You'll just need a coffee filter and a coffee filter cone. Aside from this you can use any mug or cup that you have at home for the filter to drip into.

What type of filter should I use?

There are actually a variety of different filters on the market, and some of the most common ones include paper filters, metal filters and cloth filters. The answer to this comes down to personal preference.

Paper filters are the most common and easy - plus they're cheap and no clean up is required. However, the paper can soak up some of the coffee's natural aromatic oils. The paper stops any of the coffee grounds from going into the coffee, producing a clean cup.

A metal filter is a tool that's used repeatedly, and isn't a one time use like paper filter. They allow the coffees natural oils to filter into the coffee, creating a great taste. However, they also allow small amounts of ground coffee into the beverage, so the cup isn't as clean as one made with a plastic filter.

A cloth filter is the middle ground between a paper filter and metal filter. They can be used for a few weeks, so they're not a one time use, but will need to be thrown out after a short period of time. They soak up must less of the coffee's natural aromatic oils, which helps to great a good cup and they do keep out the natural grounds.

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