Damn Simple Guide to Better Coffee

Damn Simple Guide to Better Coffee

I’ve been asked a  few times mid-pourover why coffee I make seems to taste better than what they’re used to – and the reality is it’s pretty damn easy to make good coffee.

This may not be the “best” coffee, or the “perfect” technique, but that’s not the point here – this is the 80/20 of making coffee – the 20% of effort we can put in for 80% of the results.  On the flip-side, this is only really relevant if you’re drinking coffee black, otherwise we trade most of the subtle flavors for milk and sugar.


First step – buy better beans (and possibly a burr grinder). I’m a huge fan of supporting local, and here in Seattle we have handfuls of local roasters scattered throughout the city. So my advice is pick one that’s close to you and go buy a bag of whatever sounds like it’ll taste good to you. They’ll even grind the beans for you if you ask, but if you want absolute freshness (props to you!) you can grab one of these burr grinders off Amazon and grind the beans as needed. (Skip the top row – they’re 3/4 blade, not burr, grinders and will give you a crazy inconsistent grind).

A few of my favorites

A few of the local roasters around Seattle, woah.


The second part is a little more effort, but I promise still within our allocated 20%.

No. More. Auto drip.

The long and short of the difference between a standard auto-drip coffee maker and a manual pourover is your control over the temperature and your ability to allow the coffee to bloom (and we’re still going to cheat on the temperature, because that’s squarely in the 30%).

Blooming is the opening up of flavors by pouring a bit of hot water over the grounds and letting them “bloom” for 30 seconds or so before continuing to pour over the water (much like aerating wine opens up its flavors).

The Pourover

There are a few different types of pourovers we can do, and (in my opinion) the simplest is a ceramic coffee dripper similar to the V60.

Hario v60 with coffee grounds

Hario v60 with coffee grounds

  1. Throw some water on the stove (I don’t even have a proper kettle so I just use a pot with a pouring lip, lazy I know)
  2. Grab your V60 and some #2 filters (same as any #2 from the grocery store) and throw it on top of your cup
  3. Add a few tablespoons of ground coffee (I just grind for about 10 seconds and just throw that in)
  4. After the water’s boiling, take it off the stove for 30 seconds – we want just off-boiling water
  5. Pour a bit of water over the grounds to get them saturated, then wait 30 seconds (the bloom!)
  6. Continue pouring water slowly over the grounds while your cup fills up
  7. Enjoy your damn fine cup of coffee

Boom. Done.

The Setup

The product links in this post are Amazon referral links to help support my endeavors with the blog – but they are entirely optional, I love you either way. Cheers! Ian


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