To pour over or to pod? That is the question
Since we all went into our first (and hopefully last) lockdown and the cafés closed their doors (and coffee drinkers began to question the survival of humanity), people around Australia have been wondering, how can I make the prefect cup of coffee at home?
Just like wine, coffee has an abundance of flavour characteristics that need to be captured to create that perfectly balanced cup; and the market is full of home brewing options, all of which will make a good cup of coffee.
However, each of the brewing devices will bring out slightly different characteristics of the beans, so when choosing, you need to think about what you like about your cup of coffee.
Here, we have compared two common home coffee brewing methods – the pour over and the pod – to see if we can help you decide which one is right for you.
The Pour Over
Just as the name suggests, this method involves carefully pouring hot water over coffee grounds. The water then flows through a filter and into your vessel of choice, be it a mug or a carafe. The grounds are saturated just once under no pressure, unlike other methods where the grounds can be saturated multiple times, or have water forced through them under pressure during the brewing session.
The result is a rich tasting coffee with flavour notes that may otherwise be missed if using a different brewing method. The reason being that the water can extract the fragrances and oils of coffee in its own time and at its own pressure.
The benefit of pour over is it allows you to control many of the brewing elements, such as the quantity of the grounds, how finely they are ground, the temperature of the water, the brewing time, and the end quantity.
On the other hand, with all those elements to control, the pour over method can be considered a laborious task to take on just for one cup of coffee. It also involves speciality equipment, and you may need to take some time testing water temperature, grind quantities and other variables before you land on your perfect combination.
Thankfully our modern life is all about technology, so it’s now a lot easier to make pour over style coffee at home. Firstly, there are kettles that allow you to pre-set your desired water temperature.
As for the filtering and brewing, we really like the Clever Coffee Dripper because it is one of the simplest, most reliable coffee brewers out there. It leaves you with the rich flavour of a French press and the clean grit-free finish of a V60 pour-over.
The brewing process is painless and consistent, requiring very little effort. It’s perfect for newcomers looking for a forgiving brewer, as well as coffee enthusiasts who love an easy-made cup of delicious coffee.
Even with this nifty little gadget, the pour over method will take some time to finesse, however if you have the patience, pour over will reward you.
Pods, also known as capsules, are a popular choice and it’s easy to see why. The machines are inexpensive, you waste very little coffee, you only make as much coffee as you need, and they are super easy to use – no measuring at all!
A pod machine simple requires you to fill it with water, place a prefilled coffee pod in the slot, and press a button. Instantly you have freshly brewed coffee. Too easy!
Pods give coffee lovers that espresso fix, with a lovely line of crema on top, and rich, black coffee underneath. There is also a huge variety of pod flavours available, so you can try and test as many as you like or keep several varieties on hand to suit your mood.
Of course, there is a downside. It’s not freshly ground coffee, and although the pods are sealed tightly, there is still a chance the grounds will go stale before you have a chance to use them, therefore affecting the flavour of the coffee.
Next, while the machines may be inexpensive, the cost of coffee pods adds up.
Finally, while you may waste little to no coffee grounds, most pods will end up in landfill, taking between 150 and 500 years to break down.
At Karon Farm, we have done what we can to mitigate the environmental aspect by using biodegradable/compostable pods for our coffee blends. Our packs contain 10 pods in each, making the cost of each pod around 85c.
What do we recommend?
When it comes to coffee at home, there is more than just flavour to consider. You need to review your lifestyle, and the time you want to take in preparing that precious cup of black gold. The great news is there is no wrong answer – it’s simply about choosing the one that suits you best.
If you’d like more advice on brewing, grinds, devices or choosing the right coffee bean for you, drop us a line. We love to talk all things coffee.