How to Make Pour Over Coffee Without a Scale: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Pour Over Coffee Without a Scale

Pour over coffee, with its rich complexity and traditional brewing method, captivates coffee enthusiasts and home baristas alike. As you delve into this world, you might wonder whether precise tools like scales are necessary. In truth, you can craft a delightful cup of pour over coffee using minimalist techniques. This guide is your roadmap to achieving coffee perfection—no scale required.

Understanding Pour Over Coffee

Pour over coffee is the art of pouring hot water over coffee grounds, letting it seep through gradually, extracting flavors and oils on its way to your cup. Here’s what you need to know.

The Basics of Pour Over Coffee

The key to great pour over coffee lies in the timing, temperature, and coffee-to-water ratio. Consistency is usually achieved through careful measurement, but learning to approximate these by hand is possible.

Choosing Your Coffee Equipment

You don’t need an elaborate setup to start with pour over coffee. A dripper, filter, and mug might be all you need. We’ll explore more equipment options and their uses later.

Fresh, Filtered Water vs. Tap Water

The water you use drastically affects your coffee’s taste. Fresh, filtered water is preferred because it’s free of contaminants that can alter the flavor profile of your coffee.

Preparing Your Coffee Without a Scale

Preparing Your Coffee Without a Scale

Without a scale, you will rely on volume measurement. Here’s how to do it accurately.

Measuring Your Coffee

Use a standard measuring spoon – 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water is a good starting point. Adjust to taste as you experiment further.

Grinding Your Coffee Beans

A medium-fine grind is suitable for pour over coffee. If you’re without a grinder, purchase pre-ground coffee of good quality and ensure it’s freshly sealed to retain its flavor.

Setting Up Your Pour Over Coffee Maker

We’re now ready to set up your pour over coffee maker.

Selecting Your Coffee Dripper and Filter

Choose a dripper that suits your mug or carafe size, and ensure your filters correctly fit the dripper. There are several types available, from ceramic to stainless steel.

Preparing the Filter

Pre-wet the filter to remove any paper taste, and pre-heat the dripper and carafe. This step also helps the filter to adhere to the dripper better.

Pouring and Brewing Technique

Next, the essential part of the process – the actual brewing.

Heating Your Water

The ideal temperature is just about 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit off the boil. No thermometer? Just let boiling water cool for about 30 seconds.

Saturating the Coffee Grounds

Start with a small amount of water, enough to wet all the grounds. Wait for about 30 seconds. This is called the bloom, allowing gas to escape and the coffee to expand.

The Bloom and Start Pouring

After the bloom, continue to pour slowly and steadily in a circular motion. The key is even saturation for a uniform extraction.

Coffee Extraction and Strength

Your pour speed and grind size will impact extraction—experiment to find the right balance of flavor and strength.

Perfecting Your Pour Over Coffee Without a Scale

How about adjustments and improvements?

Adjusting Your Coffee-to-Water Ratio

Learn to gauge coffee strength based on the time it takes to brew, the taste, and the amount of water used. Record your methods and outcomes to repeat the perfect cup.

Practicing Your Technique

Repeat the process daily, and your skill in estimating measurements and controlling your pour will improve with each cup.

Exploring Alternative Brewing Methods

Even within the pour over category, there are variations. Feel free to try different techniques as you find what suits your palate.

Additional Tips and Tricks

And for those looking to deepen their pour over coffee experience:

Removing the Paper Taste from Filters

Aside from pre-wetting, you can also rinse filters with boiling water or use a non-paper alternative.

Using an Electric Kettle with Temperature Control

Consider an electric kettle designed for coffee brewing for more control without a thermometer.

Timing Your Pour Over Process

An unspoken tool in brewing without a scale is time. A full pour over should take about 3-4 minutes. Use any timer to keep track.

How to Make Pour Over Coffee Without A Scale: The Quick Answer

Making a pour over coffee without a scale is simple once you’ve mastered the eye for measurement and the patience for the process.

  1. What Is Pour Over Coffee?
  • A brewing method focusing on simplicity and precision
  1. How to Make Pour Over Coffee Without A Scale: Step-By-Step
  • Measure by volume, focus on technique and adjust to taste
  1. Final Thoughts on Making Pour Over Coffee Without A Scale
  • It might seem like a precise science, but with practice, anyone can master it. 

How do you measure coffee without a measuring spoon?

For those without a measuring spoon, approximate with a standard dining spoon – slightly heaped is roughly equivalent to a tablespoon.

How do you measure the perfect ratio for pour over coffee?

Adjust based on taste, starting with the standard guide of 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces of water. Use the same mug or carafe to develop a consistent gauge for the water.

Pour Over Tools

Though a scale is optional, here’s a quick list of basic tools you’ll want:

  • Pour Over Dripper: The centerpiece of this coffee art
  • Good Coffee: Always start with the highest quality of fresh coffee you can find
  • Water Kettle and Fresh Water: An accurate pour and good water make all the difference
  • Coffee Grinder: Achieving the perfect grind at home elevates the taste
  • Thermometer and Scale (optional): For those looking to get scientific
  • Goose-Neck Water Kettle: For precision pouring
  • Pour Over Stand: A stable stand makes the process smoother


Brewing pour over coffee without a scale may seem daunting at first, but with an understanding of the fundamentals and a bit of practice, it’s entirely achievable — and might turn into your new favorite method. Keep experimenting, tasting, and refining. Each cup is a step toward personalized pour over perfection. Happy brewing!