Brew Better Coffee Manually: The V60

Originally posted on the Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Co. blog.

This month, I am discussing several different ways to brew coffee manually. Manual brewing has really exploded in the past few years, as more and more people are falling in love with the craft behind it, as well as the amazing cup of coffee that comes as a result. In case you missed it, check out the introduction to the benefits of manual brewing here.

This week, we are looking at the Hario V60.

v60pour1About the V60

There are several different variations of pour-over cones and the V60 has become one of the most popular. The main difference between the V60 and most other pour-over cones is the large opening at the bottom of the cone. Most other cones have some sort of flattened bottom with one to three smaller drain holes. The V60, however, has one large hole. This cone difference can drastically affect the speed at which the water filters through the ground coffee. For this reason, it is highly beneficial to also use a gooseneck kettle that allows you to control your pour with precision when brewing with a V60. Hario makes their own Buono kettle and Bonavita has a lower cost kettle as well. You will also want to use the Hario V60 filters that are designed to fit the cone. Flat bottomed cone filters will affect the brewing process.

The Best Technique?

If you research brewing techniques for a V60, you will find many different variations. The best advice is to find the technique that creates the best cup of coffee for you. Remember, it’s all about the final ratio of dissolved solubles in your cup. Some say don’t hit the edges of the cone with your pour, some say do. Some say make a small dimple with your finger in the bed of grounds before pouring, and some don’t. Some say to stir the grounds after the bloom, some don’t. Fact is, pretty much every one of these techniques have been used by someone who has some sort of brewer’s competition trophy, so don’t let anyone tell you there’s only way to brew. Find the pouring method you like best and go with it. Experiment and have fun!

The Basic Fundamentals

The V60 is available in plastic, glass, or ceramic. I prefer using a ceramic cone because it retains heat the best during the brewing process. You can either brew directly into a mug or into a carafe if brewing larger volumes. Because of the larger opening of the V60, you will want to use a slightly finer grind than a standard drip grind. Once you get the hang of brewing with the V60, feel free to experiment with grind settings and pouring rates. Always pre-rinse your filter. This will warm up your cone and cup, as well as rinse any paper taste from the filter. Add the grounds to your filter and level them out. You will want to begin by pouring just enough water to fully saturate the bed of grounds. This is called the “bloom” cycle. Allow the coffee to absorb the water and release gases, aka bloom, for 30-45 seconds, then begin a slow pour in a circular pattern. You want to maintain the same height of the grounds throughout the brewing process; usually about half an inch to an inch from the top of the cone. You don’t want the grounds drying out and you also don’t want them floating around in a pool of water. If you find that the grounds are creating a clog and the final drain is taking too long (over extraction, try a courser grind setting. If it’s running through too quickly (under extraction), go a little finer on the grind. Once you get it right, it’s such a beautiful thing! I’ve included some parameters for different brew sizes. These are simply a starting point and can be tweaked to taste.

v60Parameters

8 oz
– Coffee: 15 grams
– Water: 250 grams
– Bloom: 30 grams of water

10 oz
– Coffee: 20 grams
– Water: 315 grams
– Bloom: 60 grams of water

12 oz
– Coffee: 24 grams
– Water: 375 grams
– Bloom: 60 grams of water

3 Cups
– Coffee: 55 grams
– Water: 800 grams
– Bloom: 100 grams of water

Now go get your brew on!

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