For such a simple, classic beverage, brewing good coffee is a complex subject. The days of throwing some old canned coffee into a countertop coffeemaker and hoping for the best are long gone. So, what is the best way to brew a good cup of joe?
Of course, this is somewhat subjective. Your grandparents might consider cheap coffee in the old coffeemaker the perfect cup. You or your parents might view a good steeped coffee, such as in a French press as the ultimate coffee experience.
We are suggesting the low-tech pour over method is the best you can get, and we have a great way to do this on-the-go. Keep reading to learn why!
Steeped Coffee Vs. Pour Over
Steeping tea or coffee means that you allow the coffee or tea to sit inside the water for a certain amount of time. If it's a tea bag style of steeping, you remove the bag. In the case of a french press steeping method, you'd press the coffee to the bottom of the french press.
In either case, steeping refers to leaving the coffee (or tea) in the still water for a set time.
The pour over method involves a more active approach. In a standard pour over, you'd put your ground coffee in a filter, which is inside a funnel and over your coffee cup. Using a gooseneck kettle, you pour hot water onto the coffee in a slow, deliberate manner.
The pour over method has its roots in Germany and has been around for about a century. A German mom in the early 1900s decided to put a bit of her son's notebook paper in the coffee kettle to use as the first recorded coffee filter used with a pour over method.
Before that, the grounds were always brewed with the coffee and left there, resulting in a bitter cup of coffee. Filtered coffee has come a long way since then. But the traditional pour over method has been rediscovered by coffee enthusiasts in the U.S. in the last decade.
The pour over method leads to a more nuanced, cleaner, and consistent cup of coffee than steeping or immersion. When steeping, the water can become too saturated with coffee. With the pour over method, clean water is continually being allowed to extract the coffee from the grounds.
The Equipment You'll Need
It doesn't take a lot of equipment to brew a good pour over. You'll need a heat source, gooseneck kettle (preferably, for more accurate pouring), a paper filter, and a ceramic funnel. Of course, grinding your whole beans shortly before preparing the cup is the best.
In the last few years, many coffee shops have gone from doing manual pour overs, done by hand by a barista, to newer machines that use the same method but are more consistent. They are certainly more efficient since they can make one than one cup at a time.
The traditional, manual method is not known for its speed, however simple and beautiful it may be!
Though a pour over doesn't have to rely on a large machine, it still may be too much equipment to bring on a vacation, road trip, or camping. We know there is a huge demand for good, quality pour over coffee, even on your adventures.
So we have created a single-serve, self-contained pour over coffee filter. But don't confuse our on-the-go pour over packets with a tea-bag method of steeping coffee!
This is not a bag that you steep in water. In true pour over fashion, you pour the water on the coffee grounds, which then filters down into your cup.
You simply tear open the filter to expose it to the poured water. The built-in SteadySafe™ anchors suspend the coffee ground in the proper position, much like a funnel normally would.
You can get the same great, clean, nuanced coffee flavor of a standard pour over, but in a small package that's very easy to bring with you on whatever adventure you choose.
How do you go about making great pour over coffee with our to-go packets?
Again, remember these are not tea bags; start by tearing open the filter at the top so the water can be poured into the grounds. There are anchors attached to our individual filters to help you balance the unit on your coffee cup.
The water you use should be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just under boiling temperature. But, if you are brewing on the go, you likely don't have a thermometer with you.
So, boil the water and then remove it from the heat and wait about 30 seconds. This will give it time to cool a bit, which is just right.
Start the pour slowly, and just enough to create a "bloom." This is an initial build-up of coffee and water that expands into what looks like a bloom. This is actually the carbon dioxide from the roasting process being released.
The gas prevents a good extraction of coffee, so waiting 30-40 seconds for the initial bloom to run its course leads to a better cup of coffee. After that, pour the hot water slowly over the grounds until you have enough water to fill your coffee cup.
Then, take out the filter and you're ready to drink gourmet, pour over coffee even on your camping trip or another away-from-home outing.
Adventure In Style
You don't have to sacrifice your delicious coffee when you travel. Our individual pour over coffee packets allow you to enjoy the great pour over coffee you're used to, even when on the go.
French press or other steeped coffee is not at all bad, it's just that a perfect pour over produces the best, cleanest, and most delicious coffee we've tried. The pour over method allows the more delicate flavor notes to shine through.
If you want to taste the nuance of your favorite roast, there is no better method. We are passionate about providing a great coffee experience, wherever you might want to brew it.
To learn more about great coffee, how to make it, as well as inspiring travel stories, check out our Kuju Journal!