The perfect cup of coffee always alluded me.

I’ve been practicing pour over for about 8 years. Saying that out loud makes me realize how long I’ve done things that I picked up from other countries and took them as my own. I had a Japanese roommate in college. She taught me how to use the hot water heater, pour my water over a filter, and wait for the coffee to drip.

She just poured it straight in. And I did too for a time. When the only good beans in the midwest were Folgers and Starbucks, I didn’t really know any what coffee could be. It’s no wonder my trip to Japan involved kissaten and cafes twice a day.

Then, I went to San Francisco.

The SF coffee scene back in 2012 was just starting up. It’s this year that ‘third wave” wasn’t even on people’s minds–but was in the air and life of the roaster and baristas. Third wave is the method everyone thinks of now:

  • hand poured coffee on beautiful filters
  • that chemex you bought your father and ended up taking back
  • the single shot espressos at the R2 bar in Mountain View
  • the bags, bags, and bags of whole bean coffee in Safeway, Kroger, and Whole Foods

Third wave is local coffee, ethically sourced coffee, and coffee you can make at home. Perfect for COVID-19 shelter in place. It’s now easier than ever to make the perfect cup of coffee.

Beginner Coffee Tips

1. Choose the right roast

I tell people to choose things they enjoy drinking. Love hot chocolate? Look for chocolate or smokey on a coffee bag. Adore cinnamon spice cookies and cayenne? Get something that says spicy or nutty. Hate coffee but want the caffeine? A light roast will do just fine. There’s a “coffee wheel” but I’ll cover that in a later post.

2. Choose your pour over method.

I can’t stress this enough. If you are a beginner do not get the Hario V60*. I don’t care if every barista in Blue Bottle has said told you it makes the perfect cup. It does. They trained; and you have not. Don’t do it.

My recs:

  1. Kalita Wave – for beginners and those who prefer dark roasts
  2. Chemex – for the pot of coffee, medium-dark roasts
  3. Hario V60 – for light roasters, basically tea, advanced bean water

*If you like dark roasts, the Hario V60 doesn’t allow for the full coverage depth and I also don’t recommend.

3. Measure twice, drink once (or more)

Numbers are your friend. Measure your grounds. Measure your water. Get good temperature of water. Get a scale. All of these things really help, and are included step-by-step in my free coffee starter guide * coffee kit below!

Generally you want about 17g of coffee to 12oz of water. Stronger cup doesn’t always mean more grounds. Weaker cup usually means less. With patience, practice, and perseverance you too will make the perfect cup of coffee!

Here’s what I use to make the perfect cup of coffee.

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Lauryn Ash

Game Designer & Writer

About the Author

A full-time game developer and writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I analyze the world through video games and coffee. Sharing my experience in game design, coffee, and writing. All opinions are my own.

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