I recently started to brew my own coffee using the pour-over method because buying from the coffee shop was getting too expensive for a daily coffee drinker. I bought a bag of coffee grounds and a coffee dripper online. The dripper is a stainless steel type with a couple fine mesh filters in it, which lets me do pour overs without a paper filter.

Here's my method: I'm putting 3 tablespoons of grounds into my dripper, and then with a kettle of 17oz, just off the boiling water, begin pouring over my grounds with enough water to fill the dripper half full. I wait 10 seconds while the grounds bloom and then I fill the dripper to the top and wait for the coffee to brew. Then, when the dripper gets about half empty, I fill it back up with water. I intend to end with ~16oz of coffee.

My problem is that the grounds end up plugging up my dripper and the drip process ends up taking forever. By the time all the water has passed through my coffee grounds and dripper the coffee is COLD!

What am I doing wrong? Am I trying to get too much coffee out of the pour-over method? Is it really only meant for a single cup serving? Like 6oz and 1 tablespoon of grounds? Are my grounds not fine enough?

EDIT: Despite what everyone is saying here, I've done a little research and I've read that when doing pour overs, you want your grind to be more fine. They say the consistency of sugar, not sea salt. I find a little truth to this in that when I originally bought the dripper, I used a bag that had grounds that have been much more fine that what I've been using lately. Needless to say, I think I just need to experiment with it.

coffee dripper

  • Can you post a link to the dripper you have, or a picture? – fredley Mar 30 '17 at 22:08
  • @fredley added a picture to the original post – gh0st Mar 30 '17 at 22:26
  • Are there any coffee grounds in your cup after dripping? – Shiri Mar 31 '17 at 9:11
  • Without more information it is impossible to tell what's going on with your pour-over. It's just speculation really. How long does it take until all the water has drained? Do you preheat the cup/pot/dripper? What do you mean with "COLD"? It's certainly not going to be room temperature by the time you start drinking, so maybe measure the temperature with a thermometer so we can guess if it's within the usual parameters or not. – avocado1 Mar 31 '17 at 11:16
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    I've got my EK43 dialed in so that 8 is just right for drip brew. I grind pour over at a 7.5 for a Hario V60 with paper filter. I think this same grind level would be a good place to start. There's ton's of coffee advice out there, but I would say start there and go with where the coffee leads you so to speak. If it brews through in 2 minutes, make the grind finer, but if it brews in 4-5 I'm betting you will have a pretty good cup of coffee. By the way, I like the coffee cup. Kinda looks like when I was working on base ;p – Nate M. Apr 4 '17 at 17:03

You need to use a coarser grind. You have grounds that are just the right size to block the mesh. Too small and they'll just pass through, making your coffee gritty. Medium-sized and they'll block the mesh. Large (coarse) enough, and coffee can flow around them. Not too large: you won't be able to extract enough from the beans with this brewing method using very coarse grounds.

How are you grinding now? If you're using a blade grinder, you'll often get a large variety of grain sizes (from very fine to very coarse), which means those medium and fine grains will start to clog to holes, even if much of the grounds are coarse. A burr grinder will give you more consistency.

Personally, I would recommend a plastic or ceramic pour-over brewer, which uses a paper filter. This method is much more forgiving. Paper filters won't get clogged with medium grains, and fine grains won't pass through. I can easily brew 8-16 ounces with my "single-cup" pour-over brewer.

One last suggestion: Give your bloom more than 10 seconds! 60 seconds will give your grounds enough time to fully bloom and become ready for further brewing.

Good luck!

Apart from the fact that the dripper itself may have a design flaw (does it work for small servings?):
Surely enough, the diameter of the dripper's lower throughput sieve
a) influences maximum dripping speed
b) determines how much pressure will build up, given mass of coffee grounds and of water

So while designing a dripper properly, a target serving size has to be assumed and I'm assuming it wouldn't have been your 16oz, rather max. half of it.
You could probably make the grounds coarser to prevent clogging (e.g., pebbles wouldn't clog your filter's water passage way, sand would), but when you go too coarse, the throughout may become too fast and you'll get thin coffee without proper substance/taste. So you'll have to find​ d your optimal configuration.
How you pour water has an effect, as well. Pouring too quickly may lead to pressure that contributes to clogging. Don't pour all the water at once, have a slow steady stream that you distribute over the uoper surface of the grounds. Keep the falling distance for the water/the distance between your hot water output and.the coffee grounds' surface minimal (=less velocity -> less pressure).

Also, pour hot water into the container your dripper is supposed to drip into prior to brewing, let it warm up (it doesn't have to be all filled up, you can sway it/close and rotate it to distribute the heat - don't waste too much energy), then empty just prior to dripping. How long you should optimally warm up depends on your container material, of course - a thick mug warmed up long enough will retain heat for a long, good time :) Thin porcelain doesn't need long warming, obviously.
You can also warm up the cup by microwaving it with a little water inside (be careful not to have the water evaporate/ overheat the cup), but I've found microwaves often don't heat up uniformly...

P.s.: When getting rid of the warm water, you can first pour it through your empty coffee dripper, so that is also warmed up (no need for extra water on that, it's thin metal with little heat resistance, anyways, so pouring through warm water will most likely do the trick)

I think the best way to try and sort this out is experimenting with the grind. If your coffee granules are a similar size to the mesh, they'll just lodge in and very little liquid will be able to get through. Obviously a finer grind will fall through, so try a coarser grind for better water flow.

If you do like your brew with a finer grind though, you might be better off with a paper filter in a V60 instead.

To accurately judge whether your grind is too fine or too coarse you'll want to time the brew from when you begin pouring until the last water passes through the grounds. Too fine of a grind produces excessively long brew times and too coarse of a grind produces too short brew times.

If your brew time is too short, the coffee will taste sour. If it is too long, the coffee will be bitter.

Other factors that influence the appearance of these undesirable flavors are the consistency of the grind and the temperature of the water. If your grind is not consistent it will have particles of varying size. The finer particles will extract quickly and then impart bitter flavors to the coffee. And the coarsest particles will be under-extracted and will impart sour flavors. Both will be present in coffee that is incorrectly ground.

Water temperature also affects the appearance of these flavors. Under-heated water will under-extract the coffee and overheated water will over-extract it.

To maintain your sanity while adjusting these variables it is best to use the same amount of coffee and water each time you brew and to follow the same technique when pouring. Don't measure the coffee by volume but rather by weight. The same volume of coffee ground to different particle sizes can vary greatly in weight. And don't mix units of measure. Grams are far more of an accurate unit of measure than ounces. To keep your coffee to water ratio constant you'll also want to weigh the water as you pour it.

A common kitchen scale and timer are all you need for this. Your water should be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. And for a starting guideline for total brewing time try aiming for a three to four minute brew time window. Begin with a coffee to water ratio of 1:16. After you get the other factors figured out you can adjust the ratio to get the strength of brew you prefer. While experimenting vary only one thing per brew until you can dial in the perfect settings for your taste. The final judge of your results is whether you like it.

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