Am I crazy, or does a pour over coffee set up do exactly what my grandpa’s Mr. Coffee does? What am I missing?
True, it’s a similar process, inasmuch as both methods deliver hot water to ground coffee, but there are what I like to call “minor” differences.
On the one hand, Grandpa Lazarus’s Mr. Coffee dribbles near-boiling water over stale Yuban from an industrial-sized container. On the way to its date with destiny, the water passes through ancient passageways, each more scale-encrusted than the last. The plastic funnel surrounding the filter has more stains than the canvas surface of the boxing ring at Mickey’s gym in Rocky. The brew isn’t ready until the simmering heat of the hot plate under the glass carafe has concentrated the coffee to drinkable nitromethane, the preferred beverage of only the manliest men who strain out the errant grounds via their bristling mustaches.
Contrast that with the product flowing through the sparkling-clean pour-over funnel at your local, third-wave coffee boutique. More delicate than fair-trade birdsong. So refined, it makes a tailcoat and a monocle seem vulgar. The only thing the barista keeps cleaner than his perfectly manicured mustache (which never filters anything baser than the occasional whiff of frothed milk) is the pour-over equipment.
As they say, it’s not so much the tools as it is how you use them. For examples of the former, please visit your local gas station around 4:30 p.m. For examples of the latter, please visit the Reader’s Pour Over column.