Last updated on February 20th, 2024

Why Does My Pour Over Coffee Take So Long? 5 Reasons & Fixes

People put a lot of effort into investing in pour over coffee equipment, buying fancy beans, and researching to learn the proper brewing skills. However, pour over coffee taking too long is a common frustration. Even after doing everything correctly, why is it draining so slowly? The most common reason is too fine a grind. Another cause is overly aggressive pouring. However, there are other reasons too.

A picture of a V60 pour over coffee maker, introducing the article: Why Is My Pour Over So Slow?

So, let me just say that you are not alone! I’ve had many issues over the years with a pour over dripper getting clogged, especially on the Chemex and V60. So, don’t worry, the problem is not necessarily you! Everyone struggles with manual pour overs clogging or choking from time to time.

Keep reading to learn the most common reasons and how to fix them!

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Why Your Pour Over Is So Slow

There are three reasons your pour over brewing might be stalling, and the first is the most obvious and easy to fix: your grind is too fine. Smaller grind sizes slow down the flow of water, so try a coarser grind and see if that helps. However, your pour over could drain slowly from an overly aggressive pour that forces fine particles to clog the paper filter pours. Lastly, your grinder could be the problem, producing too many ultrafine coffee particles that stall the water and clog the paper filter.

I cover some detailed fixes for these issues later in the article!

Why Does My Pour Over Take So Long Even With Fast Pouring?

A graphic answering the question, why does my pour over coffee take so long?

If you spend years honing your pour over coffee skills, you will eventually learn how much the pour rate affects brew time. Having fine control over the water flow is why people buy specialized gooseneck kettles.

Generally, a faster pour will lead to a faster brew time, so long as you’re not aggressively pouring enough to clog the paper pores.

So even with a fast pour, why is your pour over coffee so slow? The most common answer is that you are using too fine of a grind size. You might also consider occasionally lifting the filter during brewing to promote airflow. Drippers like the Chemex particularly struggle with a lack of airflow that causes slow drawdowns.

Another common reason is particular coffee that has a higher density, causing water to flow slowly. I’ve personally struggled with many Ethiopian beans (esp lighter roasts) taking forever to drain.

Finally, the answer might be something you don’t want to hear: it might be time for a grinder upgrade. If you use a blade grinder, it’s time to learn why a burr coffee grinder is better.

Why Does My Pour Over Coffee Take Too Long Regardless of Grind Size?

Assuming you’ve adjusted grind size and you’re pour over coffee is still taking too long, the issue could be your grinder. Whether your grinder is low quality or you have a solid grinder with dull burrs, grinders creating too many fines is a common reason for pour over coffee clogging.

Last year, I noticed some issues with all brew methods. However, I especially noticed a problem with extra-fine particles slowing my pour-over brews. However, after replacing the burrs on my Baratza Virtuoso+ grinder, the problem went away.

Note: with this video as a guide, the process was reasonably simple and only took one hour.

The draining on my Chemex and V60 was perfect, and extraction on other devices like the AeroPress and French Press also improved.

why is my pour over coffee so slow? One reason is you need to replace your coffee grinders burrs, a process pictured here.

However, for some folks, it may be the grinder quality itself, not dull burrs.

Budget grinders can be okay for some brewing methods, but with pour over brewing, they are often the source of fine particles that clog your filter. I wrote a guide explaining why expensive grinders are worth it. But you can also consider one of the many manual hand grinders that are way more affordable and still produce fantastic grind quality for the price.

Isn’t a Slow Pour Important?

Yes, it is true that properly making pour over coffee involves a slow and gentle pour that evenly saturates the coffee grounds. This ability to control the water flow is why pour over is better than drip. However, pouring water too slowly can cause your pour over coffee to take too long and over-extract.

Aim for a sweet spot of not too aggressive and not too slow. If you do not yet own a gooseneck kettle, consider investing in one because it makes a huge difference in achieving the perfect pour.

See Also: What Is The Best Water Temperature For Pour Over Coffee?

5 Reasons & Detailed Fixes For a Slow Pour Over

Let’s explore the primary reasons why your pour over is so slow, along with some solutions that will hopefully fix it!

1. Your Grind is Too Fine

Like drip coffee, manual pour over brewing relies on percolation, a process that describes the gravitational flow of water through particles. And like rainwater flowing through the soil, smaller particles will slow down the flow.

When the grind is too fine, your coffee will extract faster and longer, almost guaranteeing bitterness and other over-extracted flavors.

Solution: Make the grind size a bit coarser to see if this speeds up brewing and creates better flavor. Pro tip: if the grounds at the end look like wet mud, there’s a good chance your grind is too fine.

2. Grinder Is Creating too many Fines

If you are familiar with the principles of coffee grinding, you know that a primary goal is getting even particle sizes for an even extraction. And, more expensive grinders do a better job of this across a range of grind sizes. However, grinders also create a phenomenon called fines, which comes from microscopic fracturing.

Even the best grinders create some fines. But low-quality grinders produce enough fines that it affects your extraction negatively. For pour over and drip coffee, these tiny particles clog up the paper filter’s pores and dramatically slow down the water flow.

Solution: If you have a cheap grinder and can afford it, consider upgrading. Choose a burr grinder with enough grind settings, and consider a manual grinder if the electric models are too expensive. For folks who already own a good grinder, producing too many fines is a sign of dull burrs fracturing more than cutting. Consider replacing your burrs!

3. Aggressive pouring

Whether or not your grinder is producing too many fines, aggressive pouring can force those fines to embed themselves into the paper filter with more density. When fines clog up the pores in a paper filter, water flow stalls.

Solution: Pour gently enough to avoid pushing these fines deep into the filter paper. Pouring with some agitation helps create an even extraction, but use a gentle flow that prevents clogging. This balance is nearly impossible with a typical kettle, so I highly recommend investing in a gooseneck kettle if you do not yet use one!

4. Lack of Airflow

Another common reason your pour over will choke is a lack of airflow. I’ve mostly had this airlock problem with the Chemex and the metal version of the Kalita Wave. With Chemex, the spout is supposed to be an air-channel that promotes flow. However, this channel often collapses or is too small for proper flow.

A similar issue occurs with the stainless steel Kalita Wave, where the wet paper filter often collapses into the drain holes and makes an airlock.

Solution: With the stainless steel Kalita Wave, since the problem only happens on this model, consider buying the glass or ceramic version. During Chemex brewing, lofting the filter throughout brewing will release the airlock and promote normal water flow.

5. High Density of Light Roasted Coffee

Specialty coffee roasters use a light roast with high-altitude and dense coffee to bring out delicate floral notes and sweetness. This roast is fantastic for flavor, but the higher density means you will create more fines upon grinding. Additionally, water will naturally flow more slowly through dense material.

This issue is common with Ethiopian beans as they are dense and usually roasted as lightly as possible.

Solution: With too many fines, one solution is to pour more slowly and avoid overfilling the dripper. Secondly, use hotter water than usual to slightly speed up your brew time. Thirdly, consider a coarser grind or lower dose, which can counteract this phenomenon. Lastly, if nothing else works, consider sifting out the fine particles before brewing.

V60 Clogging Issue: Paper Coffee Filter Not Draining

A more specific question on this topic is, “Why is my V60 so slow?” The cause of a Hario V60 brewing too slowly can be the reasons listed above. However, there is a reason specific to the V60 that can cause the water flow to slow down: the new tabbed filters.

See Also: Is Hario V60 Worth It? My Honest Hario V60 Review: Plastic, Ceramic, and Copper Models

These updated filters emerged in different markets between 2015-2018, and the paper has a different texture and feels thicker. Many people on the internet reported much longer brew times. You can even see the moment championship barista Matt Perger encountered this problem at the World of Coffee event in 2015. And, my brewing experiments have also confirmed that these tabbed filters do take longer. My guess is that this is less of a problem with professional-level grinders.

HARIO 02 Original Untabbed White Paper Filters
  • Original Hario 02 white paper filters without the tab for faster pour over brewing.

Many claim that the difference is negligible, and maybe the longer brew times involve certain grinders clogging up the thicker paper in a particular way. So, if you have long brew times with a V60 and can’t solve it, consider buying the original untabbed filters to see if that fixes it. They are a bit more expensive, but I must say that I usually brew better coffee with them.

Why Does My Pour Over Take So Long With Chemex?

When your pour over coffee takes too long with the Chemex, the most likely cause is a lack of airflow. Firstly, make sure to fold the filter so the thickest side (3 layers) is against the spout. This position will give more structural integrity to keep the air channel at the spout open.

However, this is often not enough. So, I usually lift the Chemex filter throughout brewing to help speed up the water flow. Try it next time—you’ll be surprised how much lifting the filter speeds up the flow!

You could, of course, also have a slow drawdown with the Chemex because your grind is too fine. Since Chemex filters are naturally thicker—why this dripper produces such a clean taste—you need a coarser grind.

See Also: How To Make Chemex Coffee: A Delicious Chemex Pour Over Recipe


Before leaving, check out some common questions people ask about pour over brewing and why it sometimes goes too slow.

Why does pour-over coffee brewing sometimes take such a long time?

The most common reason your pour over is stalling is because the grind is too fine. But if you have clogging issues even after using a coarse grind, your grinder is likely creating too many fines (coffee dust particles) that clog up the pores of your paper filter.

Why is my pour over coffee so slow with certain coffees?

Certain high-density coffees, especially a light roast, can cause water to flow more slowly through the coffee bed. This problem is common with Ethiopian coffees, and using a coarser grind, pouring more gently, and using hotter water are all ways to improve this issue.

What is the best grind size for pour over coffee?

The best grind size for pour over coffee allows a steady flow and achieves an even and delicious extraction. Too fine a grind will drain slowly and cause over-extraction. And too coarse a grind will drain quickly and cause under-extraction. The key is finding the sweet spot grind size in the middle (and having a good grinder!)

How long does pour over coffee take?

The brew time for pour over coffee depends on which brewer you are using as well as the dose of coffee. A reliable guideline is between 3-5 minutes. Brewers like the Hario V60 should finish between 3-4 minutes, while drippers like the Chemex can finish between 4-6 minutes, depending on the specific coffee.

Final Thoughts on Slow Pour Overs

Hopefully, you now have a few experiments you can run to see what fixes any problems with slow pour-over brewing. Making a manual pour over can be a relaxing meditation and lead to some truly delicious brews.

However, nothing is more frustrating than going through all that effort only to get a slow drain and over-extracted flavor. So I hope one of these fixes will work for you, and feel free to leave a comment on how your experiments went!

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