Can you stir during a pour-over brewing process, or are you really just meant to let it sit?

I ask this because not all pour-over filters are created equal, and some work better than others.

Factors do include:

a. filter shape (flat-bottom, conical, combination of the two), b. filter media (steel, paper, cloth), and; c. grind size of the grounded beans.

Usually, when it comes to drip speed, you can just adjust with grind size, try to match it to filter type, follow a decent technique in water pouring to agitate the grounds, and you'll be fine.

But is the purity of this method best left to water and gravity? Or has anyone ever stirred the coffee slush at any point during the brew process to favorable results?

I'm open to any answer really. I would very much like to hear answers from a practical standpoint (i.e. Will stirring make the coffee brew faster? Taste differently?), as well from a theoretical standpoint that Illustrates the pour-over for what it is meant to be, as a zen-like, artisanal experience.

I do enjoy the process very much, so I'm really just curious if stirring has ever been a part of it.

  • 2
    Stirring in pourover has primarily been exhibited in recipes that feature a finer grind. Matt Perger's V60 method uses a fairly fine grind and he incorporates a stir during a fully immersed bloom to aid degassing. The Japanese V60 method uses significantly coarser grounds and stirring would not be beneficial here. Ultimately it's a direct form of agitation that you should use where appropriate. – Shiri Sep 8 '17 at 11:26
  • @Shiri thanks for this nice perspective. – MT San Sep 13 '17 at 21:43

The short answer is yes you can stir pour overs and it can be useful but generally not recommended.

The primary use for stirring pour overs that I have seen is a very light stir to jostle grounds that have stuck to the brewing methods walls. The slight stir at the maximum volume of water in the filter makes sure that as fluid drains grounds stay in the slurry of water and are evenly extracted.

I have never stirred pour over as it kind of goes against the grain of common brewing knowledge, and I have never had the need.

I think the biggest problem with the idea of stirring the slurry would simply be that gravity doesn't take a break when you stir. What I mean by this is that when you agitate the grounds, you are providing the water a more effective method of traveling through the grounds because you are temporarily breaking up the coffee mass.

Backing off and just looking at brewing methods in general, the only brewing methods that employ stirring to my knowledge, also do not use a drip type of method for brewing. For instance, you can stir french press after the bloom but there is no risk of the water slipping through the brewing apparatus since it is fully contained for 4-5 minutes.

In total, I think that stirring pour over would most likely produce inconsistent results and would run the risk of brewing weak / acidic, although it would most likely speed up brew time.

I stir with my V60. First the bloom, as little water as possible, just to wet the grounds, and as little little drip as possible. In the second pour I fill it some, and then stir to remove the channel(s). You can se where it bubbles.

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