Paper Coffee Filters and the Perfect Pour Over Cup

October 25, 2011


Most of us don’t think much about that paper filter we pop into our coffee makers every day. Coffee pros suggest that the paper filter and how it is employed are critical to cup quality. We decided to dig in and do a little “personal” research and offer some “how-to” advice on using a pour-over system to get a great cup.We purchased both unbleached Melita® #4 filters and discount unbleached filters from a local store, also in #4 size. We also employed a hard plastic Melita® pour over system.



https://deepcello.com/wp-content/uploads/IMG_1119-e1319672022948-225x300.png" alt="Paper coffee filters" hspace="10" vspace="10" width="225" height="300" title="Paper coffee filters" align="left" />Advice: We found that the filters from Melita® had much lower detectable “wet paper off smell” than the discount filters from the local market.



The Hydrology of Coffee



The first step in your own comparison involves boiling water. Japanese hot water systems such as the Zojirushi heat water very slowly, usually taking several hours. Their goal is avoid a bubbling of the water that is being heated. Boiling water is “cavitating” water, and cavitation removes dissolved oxygen and, according to tea experts at tea company T-Ching, it results in a much less interesting cup. Slowly heating water apparently leaves in the dissolved oxygen and it helps to liberate flavor from tea leaves.


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When boiling water, a slower heating of the water results (in our opinion) in a richer cup. Try it yourself and see if you agree!  If you boil water the old-fashioned way, remove it from the heat and let it settle for 30 seconds.This time will enable to water to cool from 212 ℉  to approximately 198 -202℉, which is our recommended brewing temperature.



Working with the Filter


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Now that your water heating is underway, place the filter into the pour-over system and wet it with cold water for ten seconds. Go ahead and pour a “swish” of hot water from the kettle into the filter and let it pour through.This process removes most of any remaining chemicals from paper manufacture.



Grinding the Gears Forward



Add the freshly-ground coffee. It’s best to grind the coffee immediately prior to its being used as volatile organic flavors are lost in as little as a few minutes after grinding.


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Wet the grounds by pouring a little of the hot water into the grounds. If the coffee you are using is fresh, the coffee grounds will begin to bubble, out-gassing carbon dioxide. If the beans are not fresh, then no bubbles will appear. Once the out-gassing has ebbed, then slowly add enough water to cover the grounds. 



After another 15 seconds, add more water, slowing filling the pour-over so that it’s about a half inch over the grounds.  (We like this measure because it applies to any amount of coffee that you might brew).


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At the end, remove the pour-over and you’ve got a perfect cup of pour-over coffee! 



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