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All About Coffee – How to Make Hand Drip Coffee

Seeking to get the best of the morning brew or simply bored of bad coffee? Check out how to brew hand drips to kickstart the morning spree!

For a balanced and flavorful cup of hand drip coffee, precise measurement of the coffee-to-water ratio is crucial. A general recommendation is to use approximately 3 tablespoons of coffee beans per 1 cup of water. Grinding the beans to a consistency resembling sea salt is what we are generally after. Filtered water is preferred as it can significantly impact the final taste. Additionally, ensuring the water temperature falls between 195 – 205°F / 90 – 96°C) maximizes flavor extraction from the grounds.

Selecting the appropriate filter for the hand drip coffee maker is the first step. Paper filters, typically denser, can retain more soluble solids, creating a clearer cup. However, metal and cloth filters offer alternative taste and body profiles.

Prior to brewing, rinsing the filter with hot water eliminates any potential paper taste and preheats both the dripper and carafe or mug. Discard the rinse water afterward. Place the rinsed filter within the coffee dripper, ensuring it’s crafted from a material like ceramic, as plastic might alter the coffee’s flavor.

Once the filter is prepared, gently add the ground coffee, tapping the hand drip to level the grounds. An optional step involves creating a small indent in the center of the grounds to facilitate even water distribution during brewing.

Now, pour the heated, filtered water. Begin by adding a small amount (approximately twice the weight of the grounds) to evenly saturate the grounds. This “blooming” process allows the grounds to release trapped gases and ensures a smoother flavor extraction. Allow the coffee grounds to bloom for about 30 to 45 seconds.

Next, continue pouring the water in a slow, steady stream, starting at the center and then spiraling outward. Pause briefly when needed to maintain a consistent, even flow. Aim for the entire brewing process to take around 4 to 5 minutes, including the blooming time. The brew time may vary slightly depending on factors such as grind size and your desired coffee strength.

Once all the water has been poured and the coffee has finished dripping, discard the filter with the used coffee grounds and enjoy your freshly brewed hand drip coffee. Remember, you can adjust the coffee-to-water ratio or grind size in future brews to further personalize the flavor to our preferences.

The Art of Pouring Hand Drip Coffee

Gooseneck Kettle

A crucial tool for brewing hand drip coffee is the gooseneck kettle. This kettle’s design, featuring a long, narrow spout, affords greater control when pouring hot water over the coffee grounds. A controlled pour is essential for achieving optimal coffee extraction, and a gooseneck kettle facilitates this process.

Spiral Pour

The spiral pour technique is a key element in preparing pour-over coffee.

  1. Initiate the pour by directing hot water from the gooseneck kettle towards the center of the coffee grounds.
  2. Gradually move the kettle outward in a circular motion, maintaining a consistent flow of water.
  3. Continue this circular motion until reaching the outer edge of the grounds, then spiral back inwards towards the center.

This method guarantees that all the coffee grounds are saturated evenly, contributing to a well-extracted and flavorful cup of coffee. It is important to avoid pouring water directly onto the filter, as this can lead to under-extraction and a weaker coffee.

Pouring techniques

Pulse Pouring

This brewing technique, known as pulse pouring, involves dividing the water into smaller portions after the initial bloom phase (typically two to three times the amount of coffee used). Individual pours typically range between 50 and 100 grams, with larger pours being recommended for recipes yielding multiple cups (e.g., a two-cup Chemex recipe) and smaller pours for single-serving recipes.

This method allows for controlled pouring with brief intervals between each addition. After pouring a designated amount, such as 50 grams, the kettle can be set down momentarily before continuing with the next pulse. This approach is particularly beneficial for individuals new to brewing, as it alleviates the strain of holding a potentially heavy kettle filled with water.

Continuous Pouring

This brewing method, known as continuous pouring, involves steadily adding all the water following the initial bloom phase. Unlike other techniques, this approach necessitates holding the kettle throughout the entire pouring process until all the water is incorporated into the brewer. Most recipes recommend a slow and continuous pour, aiming to match the draining rate of water through the brewer’s filter. This ensures the water level never rises excessively or overflows.

Compared to pulse pouring, continuous pouring presents a greater challenge to master due to the absence of rest intervals. For individuals new to pour-over brewing, this method can be particularly demanding, as it requires holding a kettle potentially containing 500 grams (half a kilogram!) of water for a sustained period (one to two minutes). This sustained exertion can make it difficult to maintain focus on proper pouring technique, potentially leading to inconsistencies in the desired pouring pace due to fatigue.

Mastering Hand Drip Coffee Pouring

Beginning with a pulse pouring technique is recommended to establish pouring confidence and build familiarity with holding the kettle and controlling the water flow. This is particularly important when using a new gooseneck kettle, as these require some adaptation, and even experienced users occasionally make mistakes.

Once comfortable with pulse pouring, a continuous pour can be attempted. Aim for a single, slow, and steady pour of all the water after the bloom. Evaluate the resulting cup’s taste, acknowledging that initial attempts may not be optimal. Continuous pouring requires practice, and while it has enabled the creation of exceptional cups over time, initial technique may be imperfect. As with all aspects of coffee brewing, continuous practice fosters improvement and ultimately leads to the production of more flavorful coffee.


The blooming stage in hand drip coffee brewing is crucial for creating a balanced and flavorful cup. Its purpose is to release carbon dioxide trapped within the coffee grounds, as this gas can hinder optimal extraction. This is achieved by gently pouring a small amount of hot water (within the range of 195°F – 205°F / 90°C – 96°C ) over the grounds and waiting for 30 seconds. This allows the grounds to expand and release the trapped carbon dioxide, ultimately contributing to a more nuanced and enjoyable coffee experience.

Striving for Balanced Extraction

Achieving the ideal level of extraction is paramount in hand drip coffee, as both under-extraction and over-extraction can lead to undesirable results. Under-extraction often manifests as a dull taste, lacking depth and complexity. It may also exhibit low caffeine content and limited aromatic qualities. Over-extraction
on the other hand, can produce a bitter and overpowering taste. A smooth, full-bodied flavor is the desired outcome for a perfect hand drip coffee, and over-extraction hinders this objective.

  • Grind size
    Aim for a medium-fine grind, similar to the consistency of sea salt.
  • Water temperature
    Maintain the water temperature between 195°F – 205°F / 90°C – 96°C.
  • Brew time
    The overall brewing process should take around 3-4 minutes, depending on the coffee-to-water ratio and the chosen grind size.

Under-extraction occurs when insufficient soluble components are extracted from coffee grounds during brewing. This results in a weak and sour cup lacking the full range of flavors the coffee has to offer.

Several factors can contribute to under-extraction
  • Grind size
    Coarse grounds pass water too quickly, hindering extraction.
  • Water temperature
    Cooler water extracts fewer compounds.
  • Brew time
    Shorter brewing times leave valuable flavors behind.
  • Coffee-to-water ratio
    Using too little coffee results in a weaker brew.
Identifying under-extraction
  • Taste
    The coffee will be sour, weak, and lacking in body.
  • Aroma
    The aroma may be weak or underdeveloped.
  • Appearance
    The color might be lighter than expected.
Solutions for under-extraction
  • Adjust grind size
    Use a finer grind for optimal extraction.
  • Increase water temperature
    Aim for 195-205°F (90-96°C) for most brewing methods.
  • Extend brew time
    Allow more contact time between water and grounds.

Over-extraction occurs when too many soluble components are extracted from coffee grounds during brewing. This results in a bitter, harsh, and astringent cup that lacks the delicate balance of flavors present in a well-extracted brew.

Several factors can contribute to over-extraction
  • Grind size
    Fine grounds allow water to extract too many compounds too quickly.
  • Water temperature
    Excessively hot water accelerates extraction.
  • Brew time
    Overly long brewing times extract undesirable bitter compounds.
  • Coffee-to-water ratio
    Using too much coffee can lead to an overly concentrated and bitter brew.
Identifying over-extraction
  • Taste
    The coffee will be bitter, harsh, and astringent, lacking sweetness and balance.
  • Aroma
    The aroma may be burnt or acrid.
  • Appearance
    The color might be darker than expected.
  • Mouthfeel
    The coffee may leave a dry and puckering sensation on the tongue.
Solutions for over-extraction
  • Adjust grind size
    Use a coarser grind to slow down extraction.
  • Reduce water temperature
    Aim for 195-205°F (90-96°C) for most brewing methods.
  • Shorten brew time
    Less contact time between water and grounds leads to less extraction.
  • Adjust coffee-to-water ratio
    Use a lower coffee-to-water ratio for a less concentrated brew.

Hand Drip Coffee Essentials


To create exceptional hand-drip coffee, having the right equipment significantly enhances the brewing experience. Investing in quality tools like a burr grinder, gooseneck kettle, scale, and timer promotes consistent and precise results.

  • Burr Grinder
    A high-quality burr grinder is essential for achieving a consistent grind size, directly influencing the even extraction of coffee flavors, thereby contributing to a well-balanced and flavorful cup.
  • Gooseneck Kettle
    The unique design of a gooseneck kettle, featuring a narrow spout, offers greater control over the water flow during the pouring process, facilitating optimal extraction.
  • Scale
    Utilizing a scale ensures precise measurements for both the coffee and water, leading to a consistent taste profile across brews.
  • Timer
    Accurate timing of the pouring and steeping process is crucial for achieving the desired balance of flavors in our coffee, maximizing your enjoyment.


  • Coffee Blends
    Experiment with single-origin and blended coffees, sourced from various regions, altitudes, and processing methods. This allows you to discover your preferred flavor profile based on your taste preferences.
  • Grind Size
    Adjusting the grind size significantly impacts the extraction process and ultimately, the overall taste. A finer grind results in a stronger flavor due to increased extraction, while a coarser grind produces a subtler taste. Experimentation with grind size allows you to personalize the strength and intensity of your coffee.
  • Water Temperature
    Varying the water temperature within the recommended range of 195°F – 205°F / 90°C – 96°C can have a noticeable impact on the final flavor profile. Higher temperatures may extract bolder notes, while lower temperatures may highlight more delicate flavor characteristics. Experimenting with water temperature allows you to tailor the taste profile to your preferences.
  • Brewing Technique
    Fine-tune your pouring method by adjusting the pouring rate, timing, and the spiraling motion used during the pour. This can lead to a more balanced extraction and ultimately, optimal flavor. Practice and experimentation with different pouring techniques will help you refine your skills and achieve your desired coffee experience.


  • Aim for a medium-fine grind, similar to the consistency of sea salt.
  • Maintain the water temperature between 195°F – 205°F / 90°C – 96°C.
  • The spiral pour technique is a key element in preparing pour-over coffee.
  • Build up pouring skills with the pulse pouring technique and then swap to continuous if desired.
  • The blooming stage is crucial for creating a balanced and flavorful cup.
  • The overall brewing process should take around 3-4 minutes.

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