Pourover Coffee Bed Question

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.

#1: Post by LewBK »

Anyone have any advice for making sure the coffee bed is level when doing a pourover with an automatic machine like the Ratio if you pre-wash/rinse your filters? I pre-rinse, but when I pour the coffee in, it sticks to the wet filter, becomes lopsided and is hard to level. I imagine if you are doing this manually, you can level out the grinds with the pour from the gooseneck kettle hitting the sides to force the lopsided grinds stuck to the filter down, but this is an automatic machine I'm dealing with. I'm considering not pre-rinsing but wonder if there are other solutions?

Team HB

#2: Post by ira »

I would pour the coffee through a ring set in the basket and then level it post pouring. A piece of mylar set in the bottom and gently removed after pouring and leveling might work perfect. Or if you can find a suitable piece of stainless steel shim stock you might be able to leave it in there and prevent water from escaping out the side and avoid water bypassing the grounds. Wonder why no one ever thought of that before?


#3: Post by mikelipino »

In my experience, this is two different things happening. I also rinse my filters on auto drip brewers (Moccamaster, Oxo 8 Cup, Bona Vita 8 Cup), and I'll pour in the grounds and tap the basket lightly to level. Some grounds will stick to the sides, but it's not much and doesn't really affect final bed level.

From what I've seen, final bed leveling has more to do with how much degassing the beans do. In each of the above brewers, I'll bloom (on the MM and Oxo, you can additionally stop the water flow to the carafe) and give the slurry a good stir to degas as much as possible and evenly wet the grounds. That way grounds have more chance to settle, instead of being attached to bubbles that will tend to pull to the side due to bypass and form a cone-shaped bed. This tends to happen much more on fresh, darker roasted beans than older, lightly roasted beans so I like the degassing mechanism.

After all the water has percolated from the brewer, I'll usually also stir the top layer of steeping water twice gently to further settle the bed. This second step may or may not be necessary, and I've seen varying bed flatness doing and not doing it.

LewBK (original poster)

#4: Post by LewBK (original poster) »

Thank you, both. These are interesting ideas I will try.


#5: Post by jjtow30 »

I have a ratio six and have also struggled with getting the bed to be flat when I prewet the filter. I've tried a few things with mixed success:
- Generally I've noticed that smaller batches get me a much flatter bed (brewing 500ml vs 1L), likely due to the smaller bed of coffee allowing more water agitation during the brew and flattening it. I very rarely get flat beds with very large batches
- I've tried unsticking the grounds from the filter using both a chopstick (or any other stirring device so long as you're careful not to puncture the filter) as well as WDT tool. It helps flatten the bed out a bit but doesn't necessarily always produce a flat bed.

Overall, I'm not sure about you but I haven't noticed a large different in cup quality between a flat vs uneven bed in the ratio six at least. With most pour-overs I think that a flat bed is more likely to effect the quality of the cup but for some reason when I brew with the ratio regardless of what the final bed looks like I found the quality to be very consistent between brews. Have you found that when you get a flat bed the coffee tastes better than not with the ratio?

I think that even though the ratio 6/8's shower head does a pretty good job distributing water over the coffee bed more evenly than a single stream of water would, but the size of the shower head only covers about 70% of the diameter of the filter basket. Therefore I think there's a natural tendency of the machine to slightly over-extract the middle of the bed due to the higher agitation and volume of water being poured over it, but overall I think this effect is minimal. Maybe you could mitigate this by putting slightly more coffee in the middle of the filter basket which will get pushed to the sides during the brew creating a more even bed?