I’ve spent some time sorting through options for a great single cup of coffee.
In a pinch, I’ll drink a cup of Keurig coffee — or any coffee for that matter.
But I have a preference for options that meet the following criteria:
- Allows me to brew an especially strong cup if I want it.
- Produces a smooth, rich flavor.
- Avoids creating unnecessary waste.
- Costs less than buying boxes of Keurig refills.
- Doesn’t require lots of cleanup afterward.
My quest has led me to two options, each with its own advantages.
1. Pour Over
Pour over need not be difficult or costly. I’m a fan of good flavor, not a slave to what’s fashionable or expensive.
So here are my favorite pour-over implements:
1a. The Hario V60 02 Coffee Plastic Dripper does a great job, doesn’t break when dropped, and costs approximately $8.00.
1b. Hario 02 100 Count Coffee Paper Filters, Natural — They’re inexpensive and work great.
1c. Bonavita Gooseneck Electric Kettle — Simply fantastic, works without a stove-top nearby, and perfectly useful for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, etc.
With these implements at hand, you’re free to choose your favorite brand of coffee.
These basic pour-over instructions work perfectly well:
- Heat water to between 190 to 205 degrees fahrenheit (just below boiling, or turn it off at the boil point and allow it to cool for a minute).
- Use approx. 2 TBSP of coffee grounds (more for a richer coffee flavor). (Grounds go in the filter, filter in the dripper, and dripper atop your favorite coffee mug.)
- Pour just enough heated water over the grounds to saturate them. Allow the grounds to soak in the hot water (“bloom”) for approx. 1 min. (Adjust blooming time as desired.)
- After grounds have bloomed, pour hot water over them, swirling from the center toward the outside edges, until the water starts rising above the level of the grounds.
- Pause and allow the water to flow through into the cup.
- Repeat until your cup is as full as you desire.
- Takes approx. 5 minutes. Use this time to clear your mind, practice deep-breathing, think thoughts of gratitude, pray.
- It’s super-easy to produce a fantastic half-cup if that’s all you need!
- Toss the filter and grounds.
- Store the dripper atop a small bowl.
It’s that easy. No need to get hung-up with nit-picky details. Just do it. Adjust your method as desired.
For those who want nit-picky directions — here’s a detailed run-down of eight (yes EIGHT) pour over methods for the Hario dripper.
If you like bold, rich, smooth flavor, the freedom to let your coffee grounds steep, french-press style, freedom from french-press grit, and minimal cleanup, the Aerobie Aeropress is a truly awesome device (take a moment to read the Amazon reviews). Costs approx. $30.
Aeropress how-to instructions:
- Heat your water to your desired temp. (I recommend approx. 190 to 205 degrees fahrenheit — or just a little below boiling.)
- I favor the inverted method, so invert the Aeropress by standing it on the plunger with the plunger just far enough inside the tube to create a tight seal. (See the video below.)
- Pour in 2-4 TBSP of coffee grounds (start with 3 TBSP, and adjust to taste).
- Place an Aeropress filter in the filter cover, and wet it with water so that it sticks to the cover.
- When the water reaches your desired temperature, pour into the tube.
- Stir for 10 seconds or so with the stirrer.
- Let the grounds steep in the hot water for one to five minutes (adjust to your desired flavor).
- Screw on the filter cover and filter.
- While still inverted, press down on the tube until just before the plunger begins pressing coffee through the filter.
- Turn the Aeropress over so that you can press the coffee into your mug.
- Gently press down on the plunger for 20-30 seconds (or so) until you press the grounds into a nice firm puck. (Don’t press too hard, or you’ll make it unnecessarily hard on yourself. Give it time, and it’ll do it!)
- Remove the filter. (Rinse and re-use if desired!)
- Press the puck of grounds into the trash.
- Wipe the plunger with a napkin or paper towel.
- Store the Aeropress for its next use.
- Enjoy a rich, flavorful cup of near-espresso-style coffee!
The following video does a great job of walking you through it.
Which is Better? Pour Over or Aeropress?
Both have their advantages.
When I’m in the mood for espresso, I favor the Aeropress.
When I’m in the mood for a nice flavorful cup of coffee, I favor pour over.
Do you have tips and recommendations for improving the pour over or Aeropress experience, please post them below!