UnixRonin
85
Oct 26, 2017
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I've got one question here that I'm hoping someone can answer, because I really don't get it. What exactly is it that is supposed to distinguish a pour-over from a drop coffeemaker? They both appear to me to use exactly the same process in fundamentally exactly the same equipment, the only difference beeing that you're pouring the water by hand.
(Academic interest only, I don't own a pour-over. I do own a drip machine, but it actually gets about 99% of its use making loose-leaf tea, not brewing coffee.)
Oct 26, 2017
caiobrighenti
46
Oct 26, 2017
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From what I understand, you're exactly on point about the difference. It's the same brewing technique, but pour over gives you manual control over the flow and temperature while drip is with automated machinery.
I own a Chemex and having the freedom to control all the variables is really quite important. It lets you over time zone in on exactly the perfect brewing method for the perfect cup for you specifically.
Oct 26, 2017
drwesq
3
Oct 26, 2017
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Hi UnixRonan. I had your same question myself a couple years ago as I started experimenting with higher end brewers, cold brew, entry level espresso machines (Brevilles are a standout) and finally made it onto the pour over "third wave" bandwagon. caiobrighenti is absolutely correct about pour over giving one more control over variables like brew times, giving freshly ground coffee beans time to "bloom" etc. I thought pour over coffee would taste exactly like that from a manual brewer. I mean it is coffee and water, right? But it truly does taste different. My least favorite method of brewing coffee, other than a moka pot, is the french press. They make a heavy, oily cup of coffee with some sediment at the bottom of the brewed coffee. Some folks love that. Others prefer a much more filtered coffee that is not as dense and heavy as french press; more akin to what you are making in your drip machine. Then there are those of us that fall somewhere in between those two camps; or those who like to experiment or who want the option to brew both a heavier cup and sometimes a lighter, cleaner cup. That is where the pour over comes in. I will admit that a decent burr grinder and the method of brewing coffee most definitely affects the flavor profiles and the quality of a cup of coffee. But to be honest, though I have never tried a Chemex, I have used several other pour over brewers and I can not tell the difference. At all. Gooseneck kettle. Experiment with grind size and water to coffee ratio. Paper filters. Those all made a difference, but after all that was said and done and dialed in, all pour overs I made tasted equally fantastic. I ended up returning a couple of the more expensive pour overs (that looked real nice) and ended up with, and to this day happily still use, a 4 dollar plastic melitta. I ended up giving away my Bunn coffee brewer a while back (which I LOVED) because pour over gave me more control and what I perceive to be a cup of coffee that equaled or bettered what I got from my old Bunn brewer (which I loved, remember). Have not once regretted not having my Bunn. My point is that since you are asking the question, you are at least acadmecially, as you said, curious about it. I propose you continue using your coffee maker for your tea, but go ahead and buy a melitta. Shouldn't take too long to save up for one...in fact, go ahead and pay for it out of the change you find underneath your couch cushions. If you already have a halfway decent grinder (no blade grinders...ever!) and do not mind shelling out a few bucks for a goose neck kettle, you can join our exclusive club of bandwagon jumpers that openly point and laugh at people at starbucks and pity "pour" souls like yourself who leave it to a plastic or metal monstrosity which spits and gurgles out water from old hoses/pipes that may or may not be clean and free of old gunky coffee sediments. If you happen to live out west, do not even get me started in on the calcium deposits that are mucking things up inside the hidden workings of your contraption. You know how you like your coffee better than some hipster barista or some electric appliance does. You get a pour over, and you know who makes your "perfect" cup of coffee? You do!
Oct 26, 2017
UnixRonin
85
Oct 26, 2017
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Actually it's more my wife who is curious about all of the possible ways of making coffee. She has a French press, a moka, two ibriks, a pour-over funnel, plus we have the Cuisinart drip pot and a Rancilio Silvia. I use the Rancilio for effectively all of my coffee. My youngest daughter has learned to make her own lattes with it, and every day starts out with a round of doppio cappuccinos with beans freshly ground moments before the shot in a KitchenAid ProLine burr grinder. The other two daughters don't like coffee, but are often up for a steamer.
Oct 26, 2017
drwesq
3
Oct 26, 2017
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LOL! So you and your family really know very little about coffee and coffee preparation! Given all that you just wrote, do not take my advice about the change from your couch cushions. That bankroll will be better spent on pretty much anything other than what I suggested you spend it on. Sounds like maybe you should buy more coffee with it.
Have to ask about your Rancilio. I came very close to buying either that or the Gaggia Classic. Ended up buying neither and went with a Breville. Love the Breville but I went with it purely because it was the cheapest. I think my first choice would really have been the Rancilio.
Let's say that you wake up one morning to find Rancilio vanished. It is just gone. Would you start researching tons of espresso machines or without a second thought get another Rancilio?
Oct 26, 2017
UnixRonin
85
Oct 26, 2017
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I actually had a Gaggia Classic first, and used it for about fourteen years. But I had to overhaul it at about nine years, and again at about 12, and ... well, honestly, at 14 it was shot. I tore it down again and added up the cost of all the parts that needed replacing, and it was about $150 more than the cost of buying a complete new Classic. So as long as I was going to be buying a new machine anyway, I tossed another $100 in the pot and upgraded to the Rancilio.
The one thing that I preferred about the Gaggia relative to the Rancilio was being able to visually see the water level in the tank, but in every other respect the Rancilio is better. It makes better coffee, has a better steam wand, draws less power, and has a brass boiler instead of aluminum. The reason I bought the Gaggia in the first place was because the founder and president of a company I had worked for brought his old Gaggia into the break room at work when he bought himself a new one, but by the time mine wore out I'd become aware of its limitations. I would definitely go with the Rancilio Silvia V3 over the Gaggia Classic; it's more expensive, yes, but it's enough better to make it a better value for the money.
If I woke up tomorrow and the Rancilio was gone? I think I'd take a lot of convincing not to replace it with another the same, UNLESS I decided to look at one of the fully automatic machines. But I've never been really sure whether I want to go that route or not. There are some utterly gorgeous steampunk works of art out there, and if someone handed me a blank check for the replacement, I might consider one. But on my own budget? It would most likely be another Rancilio.
Oct 26, 2017
djfluffkins
130
Oct 26, 2017
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So my general sense on all of this is yes it provides you control but there is some science behind it. Specifically with how you interact with the ground beans to maximize flavor. (I'm someone who picked up a smaller Kalita Wave because my Hario V60 size 2 did not produce optimal results when I did less than 20g of beans)
So, the ability to control the bloom and interact with it. The where you target your pour to break up grounds and release the CO2 within it. The way you maximize the coverage of the extraction. For me the 2nd vs 3rd wave argument comes into play here where if your goal is to maximize some of the tasting notes and flavors from your 3rd wave coffee, you just won't get the same results in drip (even when you use a Technivorm).
Part of the theory also comes from how the grounds are handled. Generally speaking grinders have an easier time with finer grounds which are more common in pourover than in drip. This added consistency contributes a lot of benefit.
Oct 26, 2017
UnixRonin
85
Oct 26, 2017
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Honestly, I've never even heard of a Technivorm. It sounds like an alien race that the Doctor might run into.
I'd heard the thing about pour-overs being all in the pour, but never seen anything to really explain what distinguishes a "good" from a "bad" pour or how either of them is different from what a drip pot does. I wasn't aware that pour-over also uses a finer grind than drip as well. Thanks for the info!
Oct 26, 2017
CallieT
13
Oct 27, 2017
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It’s auotmation vs human touch. machine uses a screen to wet grounds. A human eye can see which parts need more water during all stages of brew from bloom to pour. The coffee will change how much it blooms as the days pass by and humans can react in real time. Rather then just hoping the machine got most of it.
Oct 27, 2017
UnixRonin
85
Oct 27, 2017
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So perhaps a bit like the difference between a pump espresso machine and a hand-lever?
Oct 27, 2017
CallieT
13
Oct 27, 2017
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Well not exactly. Because once again it’s a shower screen. Rather then individually placing water where it’s needed. Espresso is a different ball game. You tamp and water will evenly flow over the top type thing. Difference between lever and pull is application of pressure. If you tamped to light you can easy the pressure to get the right extraction flow time in contact. But there a pump espresso machines hat let you control that variable. The slayer, some you can program pressure at different times. But I guess for home machines a la pavoni vs a breville yeah.
Oct 27, 2017
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