Making the Perfect Pour-Over

It's about time.  Have you ever sat down to draw and you lost track of time, or spent time gardening and found how soon afternoon turns to dusk? When we really pay attention to what's in front of us, not what's coming next or what we have to do tomorrow, time can rush past us in joy and time can slow down in savoring.  When you create something beautiful it takes time, and when you notice the creating, it feels beautiful.  A pour-over is like that. When we slow down to invest in the making of a pour-over, we pay attention to each second we have.  If food can be art, so can coffee. But you have to linger, slow down, and appreciate. 

What is a pour-over?

A pour-over is made by pouring hot water over coffee grounds in concentric circles. The process ensures the freshest cup of coffee possible at a personalized level.


Why a pour-over?

Making a pour-over requires more time and technique than the average coffee pot. However, there are many benefits. A pour-over dripper is much cheaper than coffee machines. They allow you to personalize your cup of coffee because you can fine tune the amount of water, grams of beans, and grind of the beans. Slowing down the process turns coffee from a caffeine addiction into an art form.

How do I make it?

You’ll need:

The trick is correctly balancing the timing, amount of water poured, and motion of the pour.

1.     Heat water to 205 degrees F in the water kettle.

2.     Place filter in the pour-over dripper, then gently wet the filter, using the kettle to seal the filter to the sides of the dripper.

3.     Weigh out 25 g of coffee, grind, and place grounds in the filter. Place the scale underneath the dripper, and zero it out.

4.     First pour: start at 0 seconds, pouring in clockwise circles to 50g. This stage is known as "blooming," and it is meant to help saturate the beans before extracting any of the flavor and caffeine. This helps mellow out harsher flavors and degas the beans of excess nitrogen.

5.     Second pour: starts at 30 seconds; pour to 160g. Begin pouring, slowly and steadily making sure all of the grounds are covered in water. Pour for about 30 seconds, then wait another 30 seconds.

6.     Third pour: starts at 1:30 seconds; pour to 260g. Pour into the center, trying not to agitate the grounds too much, again pouring slowly and steadily. Pour for 30 seconds, then wait another 30 seconds.

7.     Fourth pour: starts at 2:30 seconds; pour to 400g. Once again, pour slowly and steadily into the center. The pouring should stop at 3 minutes, and the water should drain completely at around 4 minutes. 



Customer Profile: Maggie Dobbins

Meet Maggie Dobbins. A graduate from Emmanuel who is currently getting her masters in social work at Boston University, she can often be found studying at Neighborhoods on Saturday afternoons with an iced London Fog with almond milk in hand. Maggie’s bubbly personality and positive outlook explains her immense passion for social work and social justice – something we discovered the moment we sat down with her. Here’s a little about Maggie!

“I’m from Duxbury, [which is] near the Cape. I have a twin brother. It’s just me and him and my parents and we’re all really close because there’s so few of us.”

“I’m graduating in May, and in my [social work] program, we end with an ethics class, and a lot of it is talking about our values and how our values often times shape our social work. I’m super into social justice and all the things that are intertwined in that. [I believe in] equity in terms of everyone getting what they need to really succeed and everyone starting off on equal footings, which our society doesn’t really have. [I really value] equity and social justice in terms of race and gender and sexual identity and all of those different things that people are so often discriminated against for historically and systemically.”

“I think a lot of [social justice] really stems down to economics…. In our society, all the power is determined by money…so breaking that down and re-allocating resources is something to focus on. I think if I were to pick something, it would be economic justice because everything is related to that.”

“Our programs require two internships. Your first one is two days and week, and your second one is three days a week. I was at a preschool last year, and I did support group therapy with parents there, groups with the children, and individual therapy with the children. [It] was really cool to get to know all of the different complexities that go along with families. It was really cool to work in collaboration with them, which I think is one of the things I love about social work."

“Now I work with college students, [which are] a different age group completely. And that’s really cool to be all of the different things that they … so I do education groups [and teach] about alcohol and drugs, and they just have so much to share. It’s so cool to get to work with them in terms of what they already know and go off of that."

“I really love Pure Barre. That’s my new favorite things. It’s a workout that’s like Pilates and bar combined. It starts with this really intense warm up where you do [a] 90 second plank and push-ups and all these things. Then you do some leg work at the bar, and then you do more abs. I love it because I couldn’t do a plank when I first started. I couldn’t do a push-up. It’s not so much what your body looks like, but you’re amazed that you can do those things. [Now] I can do a push up; I can hold a plank for 90 seconds. That’s crazy! It’s so cool to feel empowered in that way, especially because so much of working out is about what you look like and trying to look a certain way and fitting into a certain definition of beauty that society gives us. [At Pure Barre] you just do better than you did yesterday and push yourself to be the best you can be…. It’s really about your own experience with yourself and being proud of how far you’ve come.”

 -Maggie Dobbins

Customer Profile: Nick Brisbois

This week we got to know Nick Brisbois. Born in Honduras and raised in Western Massachusetts, Nick is a third-year student at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and a regular at Neighborhoods. He is most often seen with a large, black iced coffee in hand and his notes before him. While his outwardly resume is impressive, his hobbies and small loves really make up his driven and quirky attitude. We’ve highlighted just a few snapshots of Nick and his life, from why he comes to Neighborhoods to what motivates him daily.

“I moved to Fenway back in the Fall of 2015. I had my first apartment on Park Drive, and I was walking around the neighborhood and never saw this block of restaurants before. I went here a couple times, but I didn’t start coming here [frequently] until I moved a block over on Peterborough. Since this was down the street and the food is delicious and the coffee is great, I just come here every morning. I think it’s the friendships [that keep me coming back to Neighborhoods]. I feel like I don’t meet a lot of people that are genuine, so…when I come here it’s a little community. It’s always a good time coming here in the morning and relaxing.”

“I’m in pharmacy…[and] I work at CVS as an intern. I decided to do it back in high school. My dad had heart surgery, and he cardiac arrested a few years ago. Brigham and Women’s hospital helped him. They put him on a lot of medication, [and] it was amazing how they balanced all of the mediation…. If it wasn’t for the medication, the pharmacists and the doctors, he wouldn’t be here today. I think ever since then I wanted to be a pharmacist.”

“I don’t want to do just pharmacy itself; I want to do more. I don’t want to lose track of the fun stuff. I’ve always had a knack for filmmaking, photography and music. I don’t want to lose my passion because a lot of people go to work, and they’re tired and drained. I want to keep the passion in all of the creative stuff.”

“I like creating things. I think I judge a movie by what I feel after. I think with anything if it’s different, if it’s original, if it just makes me feel something and for a moment I lose myself in the movie…I think that’s good. A lot of things lately are a copy of a copy, so I try and lean towards the more obscure things. I like a lot of things people wouldn’t like….things that stand out. Things that you’ve never heard before, or if they have inspiration from something else, they do it better. Just anything different.”

“My motivation is to be the best at everything I do. I think there’s such a limited time we have that I do not want to squander any time…. If I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it with everything I have…. I think there are many benefits in self-improvement. Lately I’ve been going to the gym every day. I’ve been meditating for four years. I’m trying to get into yoga too. I just think taking care of yourself [is important].”

-Nick Brisbois



Customer Profile: Sal Zarzana

Neighborhoods Cafe is starting a new project! Each month, a different customer and vendor will be highlighted in our blog Our Customers, Our Community. Through these posts, we hope to dig deeper into our community at Fenway and the Boston area and learn more about the people we spend our time with. From the regulars whose orders we know by heart to the dedicated vendors who supply the freshest foods every week, each person has a place at Neighborhoods. Grab a cup of coffee and learn about our community with us.

This week we sat down with Sal Zarzana, a customer who almost always has an iced Beestinger in hand and a beanie on his head. A student at Emmanuel studying Psychology, Sal frequently makes a pit stop at Neighborhoods before heading to classes or while out for a walk. He first came to Neighborhoods his freshman year of college, stopping by on occasion, and over the years it has become a staple in his life. Here is just a little bit of Sal and his story.

“The atmosphere [of Neighborhoods] is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s just so warm and bright and friendly. It’s very nice and it’s almost destressing in a sense because…it’s not as anxiety-ridden. [A] really enjoyable thing is being able to calm down, take a moment, have my shoulders relax and deeply breathe and take it all in without feeling rushed or uncomfortable. That’s why I come to Neighborhoods. I definitely get that here.”

“I would say one thing that has shaped me…is the idea of independence and what that actually means. I think that for the majority of my time here at Emmanuel and in Boston I didn’t really have to confront that outright because I always had friends around me, and I was always doing something. I wasn’t necessarily alone, even though [I] was lonely. But then this year all my friends are busy, we all have different schedules, and I literally was alone for 24 hours of the day. And so I was like, ‘Oh, I have to spend some time by myself.’ At first it’s a struggle, but I think I’ve gotten so used to being independent that I’ve embraced it; the good and the bad.”

“A hobby that I do for fun is go for walks a lot. I also like to run. I like to be out in the city, out in the sunlight embracing the day and the peace and quiet, escaping from myself while also being outside and in the world. Neighborhoods is a pit stop for me, and it puts me in the right state of mind to get where I need to be while I decompress after my run.”

“The…other thing about me that I really value and has a lot of worth is being non-judgmental, open-minded and true to myself and my values. Obviously anyone can say that, but I will never compromise who I am in order to fit some prescribed role. More so now than ever I’ve become very rebellious, but only in the best way I think. I think that really drives me to be my authentic self.”

“I didn’t always think the way I do or feel so confident in myself, so definitely now to have that is so empowering. [I am] unapologetic about the things that I like and the things that I do. It’s not really social acceptable to jam out while listening to music. You’re supposed to just sit there stoically and stare, and I am just not going to do it. I am going to jam out and be awkward, and if it makes you uncomfortable, you know what, don’t look!”

-Sal Zarzana