Forgive me if this has been dug into a bunch already on BX, but there has recently been a little bit of a buzz about Hario v60's on the Twitter-sphere. Nick cho stated that the v60 is a generally bad brewing method that is too inconsistent due to it's design and way most people brew on it. Others defend it and say that you can get consistently great brews with good technique. I happen to brew coffee by the cup on v60s for customers every day at work and this discussion has had me thinking about my own technique and how to not just make it more consistent, but a great way to show a coffee to customers.
I think my brews are improving. I've been able to maintain better brew temp (temp loss can be a problem on it) and evenly extracting the grounds.
So now that I've ranted a bit, my question is how you guys brew on v60s. What tricks, techniques, guidelines, personal touches do you do to make your brews more consistent?

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I'm inclined to agree with Jay.

Note: It's not the shoes.
I'm not necessarily going to defend or bash the v60 too much here at the moment, I'm really working on getting my chops down on it. But I will say that I absolutely agree that the majority of baristas are NOT brewing it very well. Constantly fighting between over and under extraction. I don't know that we should be too quick to knock the device itself. There are some people out there who can brew a mean cup on it. I think stirring a slightly coarser ground Jason Dominy style really helps hitting target extraction and consistency. I think we for sure need to not just polur water on top of grounds and hope for magic.
Exactly. It's not the shoes. It's also not the brew method. It's the man in the shoes or the barista behind the brew. (sorry for the 90's reference)

I loved the idea of the Clover, but its place was not on a working bar in my opinion. It is a GREAT tool for dialing in brew parameters, but it is simply not efficient (when properly used) in the retail environment. ...unless people are willing to wait 3-4 min. for their cup of coffee.

I think I like the principles behind the v60 design. The question of whether or not the theories behind its design are accurate is yet to be definitively answered.

How does it taste?


Christos Andrews said:
I'm not necessarily going to defend or bash the v60 too much here at the moment, I'm really working on getting my chops down on it. But I will say that I absolutely agree that the majority of baristas are NOT brewing it very well. Constantly fighting between over and under extraction. I don't know that we should be too quick to knock the device itself. There are some people out there who can brew a mean cup on it. I think stirring a slightly coarser ground Jason Dominy style really helps hitting target extraction and consistency. I think we for sure need to not just polur water on top of grounds and hope for magic.
The major criticisms of this device seem to be two-fold: that it is often used improperly, and that it is more difficult to control. Right?

I do not blame the tool for its misuse due to operator ignorance (this is, after all, a manual brew device). However, I do think its appropriate to judge a tool on its ease of use. If it is a relatively unforgiving device, I question how appropriate it is for widespread use in a production environment. That said, I'm not sure its any more unforgiving than a syphon, and I don't hear anyone lining up to call THAT a bad brewing method.

There are places for nice-yet-hard-to-control brew methods - like at home, where you can work without distraction and re-brew if you screw up. I personally don't like rolling the dice with the quality when selling a premium product, so we like more forgiving tools.

My own experiences with the v60 are limited. I have one and have used it to make a couple of batches. The coffee turned out pretty good in one or two cases, pretty rough in others. This didn't strike me as being much different than any other brew method I use - they all require a learning curve and use of a solid method, but I was not encouraged. Lets just say I'm not ordering up a rack of them for the shop just yet.
we use them and can usually get a 3-4 minute brew time. stir the thing, bro.
The idea of getting a really good 3-4 min brew on a pourover seems to be best represented on the Clever dripper (which, btw, I love). And yes, the siphon is a relatively hard and detailed brew. I've had terrible brews on the siphon and had mindlowingly balanced brews on it. I will say that the best of the v60 brews I've had aren't as rewarding as the best siphon brews.
But even french press has gotten way more advanced over the years. I usually dose higher, grind finer, scoop off the top layer of grounds on the press and get much better cups than traditional use usually. I think v60 needs a little rethinking like that.
After all, it's a pretty blank-slate design, right? I think theres a lot to do with it.


Jared Rutledge said:
we use them and can usually get a 3-4 minute brew time. stir the thing, bro.


Jared Rutledge said:
we use them and can usually get a 3-4 minute brew time. stir the thing, bro.

You use them pretty successfully too, IIRC.
I'm with you on the Clever Dripper...

I love it.

Allows for consistent consistency...



Christos Andrews said:
The idea of getting a really good 3-4 min brew on a pourover seems to be best represented on the Clever dripper (which, btw, I love). And yes, the siphon is a relatively hard and detailed brew. I've had terrible brews on the siphon and had mindlowingly balanced brews on it. I will say that the best of the v60 brews I've had aren't as rewarding as the best siphon brews.
But even french press has gotten way more advanced over the years. I usually dose higher, grind finer, scoop off the top layer of grounds on the press and get much better cups than traditional use usually. I think v60 needs a little rethinking like that.
After all, it's a pretty blank-slate design, right? I think theres a lot to do with it.


Jared Rutledge said:
we use them and can usually get a 3-4 minute brew time. stir the thing, bro.
I am not personally a big v60 fan for no other reason than the results in the cup. The v60 is a cool design and stylish. The Hario brand is on fire & many jump on the bandwagon for this reason alone. It's like buying designer clothing just so you can have the label even if they don't fit as well as some off brand. Even ubercool Baca prefers the v60's hotness over the very uncool Beehouse (http://trubaca.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/gone-in-60-seconds/).

But what are the results in the cup when you do side-by-side tests? We have tested the v60 vs. the Beehouse and prefer the Beehouse. It is not extraction time or agitation, because you can control both of those with your pour & stir technique. Our findings show that the coffee from the Beehouse is more complex and that from the v60 is comparatively flat. We also get more papery taste from the Hario filters than we do from the If You Care natural filters that we use in the Beehouse. I have done this comparison for retailers in their shops with the same results and yet they still use the v60. So why? Maybe it is the conical shape of the v60 that allows the coffees to settle to the bottom and most of the water seeping through the upper part of the filter resulting in an under-extracted brew? Traditional cone filters have a flat bottom that gives more surface area for the coffees to settle and encourage better extraction. Even with some agitation, the particles do settle. Too much agitation results in over-extraction.

I have yet to see a v60 outbrew a Beehouse, but I keep an open mind. Maybe there is a technique that I am unaware of. I have limited experience with the v60 because we have only tested with it and not used it in production. Try it for yourself - do you want to be cool or serve great coffee? I will take the risk of not being cool and serve a great cup of coffee.
Another related issue is the Hario Range Server. Can someone please enlighten me the purpose of brewing into a range server and then pouring into a paper cup??? Why not just brew into the paper or ceramic cup? Is it the cool factor at play again? This slows speed of service, something else to wash out, cools the coffee faster. So many shops are doing this now and I just don't get it.
This has greatly improved my v60 technique. It shows that a constant (or near constant pour) can really help temperature stability. It can also keep the grounds fully saturated. I feel my brews have improved. While I can get more solid cups lately, you're right, it's a little flat at times compared to clever, siphon, press...

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