Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hand Pour Brewing, Me and the Hario V60:



I'm a die hard Chemex fan. There are a couple things about the V60 that have really captivated me including the spiral ridges, more on that below. It's not that hand pour is the greatest brew ever. I don't think it provides the cleanest cup or the most even extraction. I think even extraction is rubbish. Hand pour is an aesthetic and engaging practice that anyone can learn to enjoy. 

When I first got into Chemex brewing it blew my mind. I emailed Danger Dan straight away and we discussed the technique. Later, I of course saw the infamous James Hoffman video. James provides a fantastic base for understanding hand pour technique and my process is only slightly dis similar to his. If you haven't seen it, you should http://www.vimeo.com/2643633 Actually, I normally do it this way for customers.

I've been Hario brewing for a few months. I figured it's time to jot down my thoughts.

The spiral ridges along the side of the V60 allow air to move up and out as liqued flows into the cup. They aslo allow for brewed coffee to exit the filter all around, rather than just out the bottom. This combined with the large size of the aperture means extraction is controlled by grind and not the paper, the aperture or back pressure from below.

Another reason I lean toward the V60 over the Chemex is that I can remove it full of water. I like to keep the cone full of hot water throughout the brew. Not only does this keep all the grinds in the water all the time but it maintains more heat energy in the brewing chamber. I just pop the thing off and onto antoher cup. Removing a Chemex filter full of water is asking for it.

This is only one technique and there are many. The Japanese have been hand pour brewing for decades. Barismo recently published a post with several non English videos. 

I begin in the normal fashion by weighing out my dose. 60 grams per liter and plus minus a couple to taste or based on my experience with a particular roast. Select a grind that provides a total brew time of around 3 minutes and no more than 4. Because the V60 is not flow restricted like other pour over brewers, it's a little faster.  

Preheat all components and rinse throughly the paper filter. Be sure to fold the seam over. I have a clear plastic V60 and I can see water run right out the seam.

Water should be off boil, 92c or 198f.

After adding the ground coffee to the cone, use your finger to make a small depression, or a well, in the middle of the coffee bed. The well really helps new pourers to control this phase. Start your timer and pour in about 1 or 2 milliliters of water per gram of coffee. This should be just enough to saturate the bed. Pour from the centre out in rings. Avoid pouring onto the sidewall of the filter as this will cause bubbles. This is where a good kettle really pays off.

Letting the bloom carefully saturate the coffee bed helps to prevent dry spots and water channeling.

At this point there should be little to no dripping. Wait 30 seconds or about until the bloom deflates.

I don't put the entire operation on the scale. I use a volumetric carafe. Because the cone is full of hot water the scale doesn't tell us much.

Begin pouring again, in circles out from the middle until the cone is nearly full. Pause, don't over flow. Pour slowly right in the middle. Pour slow enough not to cause bubbles or churning in the brew. Repeat this part as needed to keep the cone full.

Watch your timer and when the time and volume come together, remove the cone. Normally by this point the top of the brew is white and thin looking, that's over extraction and we don't want it in our cup.

Enjoy!



Hario V60 Brewing from Tom P on Vimeo.

9 comments:

Adam said...

Great video. Have you used the Clever Coffee Dripper yet? If so, how do you think it compares to the Hario?

Thanks!

Adam said...
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Photographer said...

Adam, Thanks for your comment.

I have used the Clever, only a couple times.

Clever and V60 are like apples and oranges.

The clever works on a steeping concept, the hole is plugged for most of the brew or until you release it.

V60 has almost no flow restriction at all. You control the flow with grind size primarily.

Adam said...

So is a good burr grinder needed here? My drip machine broke, so looking at the manual pour over method. Can a good burr grinder be had in the one hundred dollar range? I had a cup of coffee made with a Clever for the first time today. My impression was it tasted a bit thin if that makes sense. Didn't bowl me over. But the girl that made it just filled it up with water rather quickly with a paper cup so...

So many options to choose from, Chemex, Hario V60, Cleve Coffee Dripper etc etc! And then I just saw a thing called the Cafe Solo, that looks cool but pricey.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Who's Danger Dan, and could your readers contact him as well concerning how to use a Chemex?

I found a oldschool Chemex at a thrift store, and I was googling how to use it. One of the things I found was that James Hoffman video, and an entire thread where somebody else called out Hoffman and told him how wrong that video was.

But, now I'm even more confused how you're supposed to use a Chemex.

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