Columbus Coffee Guide: Why the pour over?

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

More and more, coffee shops like Fox in the Snow, Upper Cup Coffee, Luck Bros., One Line and Boston Stoker are focusing their service on the pour-over. It takes more time than drip-so why is it preferred?

It's more involved.

Of all the single-cup brew methods, it can be replicated the most quickly, and many coffee shops feature a pour-over station with multiple funnels. It uses disposable paper filters, and the equipment is easy to clean. Once the coffee is brewed, "it's rinse, new filter, done," says Erik Fenstermacher of Boston Stoker.

It's balanced.

Fox in the Snow Cafe's Jeff Excell says the pour-over comes the closest to cupping, the process by which baristas test and sample coffees. The pour-over is the happy medium in the spectrum of preparations, Fenstermacher adds. It's filtered, so it's not as rich as an espresso, but the flavorful oils and acids still make it through.

It's fresh.

For a pour-over, the coffee is ground and steeped when you order it. It might take a moment longer, but it's not hours-old coffee being pressed out of a pot. "If I brew coffee at 7 a.m. and you come in at 9 a.m., I'm tempted as a shop owner to serve that coffee to you," Excell says. "This takes that temptation away."

It's fun to watch.

"Coffee is a beautiful process," Excell explains. "And I want people to be involved more than anything else." There's a certain theatricality to it. The customer gets to watch the barista soak the grounds with hot water, see it bloom when the water first makes contact, watch the coffee drip down into the cup. This translates into more human contact. For Excell, this is the whole point. "The relationship to the people is equally important to the coffee," he says. So if you order a pour-over, stick around to chat with your barista.