Stagg Kettle Pouring

We’re back at it! Defining coffee terms you may not know (or might be too shy to ask your neighborhood coffee nerds). We’re ranging from the obscure to the obvious today, focusing on drip coffee and a few other brewing terms that will come in handy when making a cup for friends this weekend.


Drip coffee – a method of brewing coffee by pouring water over a bed of grinds and a filter. This is solely through gravity, and no other external pressure is applied as water runs through your grinds. There’s a few ways to make drip coffee. You can try a pour-over method,  an automatic drip coffee machine, a slow drip cold brewer etc. Often times folks use drip coffee as a synonym for the pour-over process. Drip coffee can mean pour-over but pour-over doesn’t necessarily mean drip coffee. Kind of like a square can be a rectangle but a rectangle can’t  be a square – you feel me?


Bloom – When coffee grounds come in contact with hot water, they release carbon dioxide and often bubble and expand. Coffee blooming is the act of dampening your coffee bed to provoke this release of carbon dioxide. To bloom coffee, start pouring at center of your coffee bed, working your way out to the sides. Pour about two times the the amount of coffee you use. Wait 30 seconds for coffee to “bloom” and release CO2. Your grounds should be wet, but not soaked and dripping.


Dripper – the vessel in that holds the paper filter and coffee grinds during the pour-over process. Drippers come in stainless steel, ceramic, plastic and glass – pretty much any material you’d like.


Clean Tasting – a term often used in association with drip coffee, in particular pour-over. Due to the popular use of paper filters with the pour-over method, most drip coffee has very few particles (small coffee grounds) and no oil. Thus leaving a very “clean” tasting cup reminiscent to fully filtered tea.


Pre Wetting – this a technique brewers use with drip coffee where they wet their brewing vessel and paper filter before brewing with hot water. This not only washes away paper particles that might dissolve in your coffee, but also pre heats your brewing vessel so your coffee stays at optimal extraction temperatures while brewing.


Brew Ratio – The ratio of coffee grinds to water you are brewing with. For pour-over, a 15:1 water to beans ratio is common.


Boulders and Fines – If your grinder is old, a blade grinder, or hasn’t been calibrated in awhile this can lead to boulders and fines. This drastically changes the extraction for drip coffee, so is really important!


There you have it, a few brewing terms to help you kickstart your long lasting love affair with drip coffee!