There’s is no specif coffee bean made just for pour over coffee, however, I do suggest starting with a whole bean, single-origin, and a medium roast coffee. Pour over coffee can make clean, crisp, full-bodied coffee when done correctly. While the quality & freshness of the coffee bean is important, technique and other brewing variables are also just as important to create the best cup of pour over coffee.
Once you’ve mastered the brewing technique and grind size, you’ll be able to make consistently great cups of pour over coffee. But in this article, I’ll outline some tips and tricks about the best coffee beans for pour over and the grind size you should be aiming for to get the most out of your pour over coffee.
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Single-Origin Coffee for Pour Over
If you’re new to making coffee with pour over, you may have read or heard the word ‘SO’ or Single Origin coffee being thrown around. But what does it mean? According to the Perfect Daily Grind website:
A “single origin” coffee comes from a specific region or farm (sometimes called a “single estate” coffee), while a blend is a mixture of multiple coffees. You’ll also get “micro lots”, which come from small sections on a particular farm.Perfect Daily Grind
While it’s not necessary to make good pour over coffee with only SO beans, the idea behind using SO as a starting point is to get tasting notes & nuances from the coffee that you normally wouldn’t get from a typical store-bought coffee blend. Coffee tasting notes can vary widely even with the same bean type based on the environmental variables the coffee plant was grown.
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Altitude, soil, and moisture can play a role in how your coffee will taste. Most folks drinking coffee will probably add creamer or a sweetener to their coffee might lose these nuances that make each bag of coffee unique. Firstly, I would highly recommend that to buy from your local roaster first when trying out coffee beans for your pour over.
Not only will they have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the right roast to buy, but in turn, you’ll be supporting a small business/local roaster. But if you don’t have a local roaster readily available to you and you’re still looking for suggestions on where to start with SO coffee, check out the links below (click on the images for details).
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The Best Grind Size For Chemex (Pour Over)Coffee
Another area of importance for making pour over coffee is the grind size of your coffee beans. Consistent size at a medium grind is where I would recommend starting if you’re new to pour over coffee. Even though I’m recommended medium size grind, really this will come down to personal taste and the type of coffee roast you’re using. I would highly suggest using a canonical burr grinder to get the most consistent bean particle size for each time you grind coffee beans. Highly quality burr grinders are essential to coffee making and if you’re just starting out, you may not have one or have a good idea of what to look for in grind sizes. Most decent burr grinders, like the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill is a great burr grinder for starters and will last you a long time. I still own one to this day and it’s been years since I bought my DBM 8.
If you’re looking for an upgrade from the DBM-8, the next logical step up would be the Baratza Encore burr grinder, it’s more expensive than the DBM-8, but it gives you better grind control and superb quality. I’ve used the Encore for many years now and I can certainly attest to its quality, burr grind consistency and great customer support.
The Encore is the burr grinder we use in our POC & Co. office, and it’s a workhorse of a grinder, 3 years straight worth of coffee grinding 3-4 times a day, with ZERO mechanical issues. Anyway, both grinders will get you to where you need when it comes to grinding medium size grounds for your coffee. But just in case you’re curious what to look for when grinding the beans, check out these photos below of different grind sizes.
Medium Grind Size for Pour Over Coffee
The picture below is a medium grind size using Baratza Encore, you can see consistent particles throughout the coffee beans. This is what you want for optimal extraction and surface area for making pour over coffee. This level of consistency would very impossible to achieve with a blade grinder (or a blender), which I wouldn’t recommend for making pour over coffee. What you’ll end up with when using a blade grinder is FINER coffee beans and COARSE coffee beans all in the same grind. If you’re in a pinch, and you need coffee it’s fine to use a blade grinder. Some coffee is better than no coffee. But to get the most flavor from your coffee beans, make sure to use or buy a canonical burr grinder.
Medium-Coarse Grind Size for Pour Over Coffee
You could go Medium-Coarse grind for pour over as well. This getting towards French Press coffee level grind, but it will still make a decent cup of pour over coffee using this grind size. You will need longer extraction time and the larger the grind size, the more likely you are to under extract pour over coffee using traditional timing/pouring methods. You’ll know when you’ve under-extracted the coffee because it will be ‘sour’ and weak to the taste. That means you need to give the coffee grounds more time to brew by slowing down the pour process. NEVER ever go hotter than 205F, you’ll just end up with burned coffee.
Medium-Fine Grind Size for Pour Over Coffee
You can definitely try out a finer grind size, maybe go down to medium-fine. Be careful, because of the smaller grind size, you can over-extract the coffee, giving you a bitter taste to coffee. Over extraction typically means too much solubles in your cup cause a bitter after taste. You’ll need to adjust brew time (less brew time) when going to a finer grind with your coffee.
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
As you may have already guessed, pour over coffee is a process of experimentation when it comes to the best coffee beans to use. I think it’s important to note that these are mere suggestions where I think you should start. You’ll eventually make pour over coffee the way you love and I highly encourage people to try different roast, beans, and techniques. The only caveat to that statement is trying not to waste coffee as you experiment. Be deliberate and enjoy yourself, but tens of thousands of people have made great cups of coffee using my suggested method and I think you’ll find yourself on that boat as well.