Hmm, sounds painful. Friends, as promised a review of the pour over method and the quick guide extraordinaire, Pro/Con list.
Chemex is one of the better known brands for pour overs but I went with LePrem mostly because I clicked the wrong button when shopping on Amazon. LePrem sounds more pretentious, Chemex more nerdy, so that may be the deciding factor for you. I’m getting ahead of myself.
What is a pour over coffee, you may ask. Pour over is exactly what it sounds like. You place ground coffee in a filter on top of an hour glass shaped device and pour hot water over the grounds and fresh coffee is collected in the bottom chamber. The filter is removed and you pour the hot fresh coffee into your cup. You can also purchase a single serving brewer which replaces the hour glass vessel for a filter that sits on top of your mug.
Water temperature is the same as always, 175℉, grind should be medium, which is standard for drip coffee makers. I recommend pre-wetting the filter with hot water, then tossing the used water. This will reduce the influence of the filter on the final product. The real adjustable variable is how quickly you pour the water over the grounds. Some people wet the grounds and wait for the “bloom,” which is just the coffee expanding as it releases carbon dioxide. Water is poured in separated phase until you reach your desired volume or pour the total volume in one go if you’re making a small batch. Always pour in a spiral so as to wet the grounds evenly. That is pretty much it.
You can’t make espresso with this method and adjusting grinds doesn’t seem to change the end product much. The carafes themselves are aesthetically pleasing and are appropriate to leave out in your coffee space. Pour overs range from single serving sizes up to 1L. If you sometimes entertain or have a family of coffee drinkers, I strongly recommend the larger size if you have the storage space, because you aren’t required to make the maximum amount each time.
Filters are required for this device, but reusable metal filters are available, which I’m sure will produce a slightly less “clean” cup. The paper filters took a youtube video to figure out as the box instructions read like an origami project, but once you watch a video it is simple.
So how do I like the LePrem? The product is well made and attractive. Cleaning it can be difficult depending on what size you buy. The smaller sizes are difficult to get a hand in the collection chamber. The used filters lift straight out, but tend to drip, so I take the entire brewer to the trash to toss the wet grounds. A nice feature is a glass stopper to help keep the coffee warm until ready for use. Perpetration time depend on how much coffee you are making and how slow you want to pour. Appropriately sized devices will serve a family well and single size take up less room in a studio apartment.
Now, the really important question, does it make a good cup of coffee? Yes, you can get a great cup of coffee out of the LePrem, but I wouldn’t say it is a superior extraction method to the French Press or AeroPress. Of the devices I’ve used so far, this one is my least favorite. It doesn’t make coffee as fast as the AeroPress and it doesn’t provide the subtle flavors of the French press. It lacks the ability to make espresso (AeroPress) or cold brew (Fresh Press) and for those reasons, I can’t recommend the pour over as your sole coffee brewing method. However, if you are a hobbyist like myself, it is an attractive addition to the brewing collection.
Step 1. Place filter (thick layer over spout).
Step 2. Wet filter with hot water, discard water.
Step 3. Place medium ground coffee in filter.
Step 4. Pour hot water over grounds in a spiral pattern
Step 5. Remove filter
Step 6. Pour coffee into mug & enjoy.
- Cost – Small off brand brewers are as cheap as $7. The 6 cup LePrem was $37.97
- Ease of use – really simple and fairly quick
- Cup – if you use paper filters you get a really clean cup
- Aesthetics – I think they look pretty cool
- Volume – if you buy an appropriate size you can do without a tradition drip maker
- Consumables – the paper filters aren’t cheap. $14 for 100
- flexibility – just makes coffee.
- Cost – can be spend. $108.07 for 13 cup Chemex
- metal filter – save money, muddy cup