Brewing delicious, balanced coffee with the Hario V60 is a rewarding sensory experience. Every step of the process is hands on and builds towards the final event: drinking your well-earned cup of delicious coffee.
If you’re interested in learning how to make excellent coffee with Hario, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is for newcomers to Hario, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is for newcomers to speciality coffee and veterans alike. Everybody needs a brush up from time to time.
Before we get into the actually brewing recipe and process, let’s take a quick look at how and why the V60 works differently than other coffee brewers.
How The Hario V60 Works
The Hario V60 fits within the pour over category. Pour over brewers all work around this fundamental mechanic: the brewer pours water over the coffee grounds and gravity pulls the water downward until it reaches its decanter.
Pour over brewers are distinct from immersion brewers like the french press or Aeropress. With this style of brewing, the water and coffee only interact for as long the water drains, compared to a predetermined steeping time and manual filtering process.
The body of the Hario V60 can be made with BPA-Free plastic, ceramic, copper, stainless steel, or glass. All of these materials feature the same slightly-spiraled veins that run vertically down the cone-shaped wall.
These veins reduce the contact between the paper filter and brewer wall. This small amount of space is just large enough for water to run down the sides of the brewer – rather than through the coffee – if you’re not careful. For this reason, you don’t want to pour water on the filter itself. You want to pour it onto the coffee only.
Because the V60 filters are fairly thin and the drainage opening at the bottom of the cone is large, draining occurs quickly with this method. To counteract the rapid draining (and subsequent under extracted coffee), a medium to fine grind is typically used, which encourages extraction balance and tasty coffee.
Coffee from the V60 boasts a high perceived acidity, thanks to the lack of coffee grounds from the paper filter. The taste is often described as “light and bright” because of the brewer’s tendency to extract quickly and filter out the deeper, darker notes.
The Things You Need To Brew
Here are the ingredients and tools you’ll need to brew a stellar cup with your V60.
- Hario V60 02
- Hario Filters
- Pour Over Kettle
- Burr Coffee Grinder
- Coffee Scale
- Clean Water
- Filter Coffee Beans
You’re going to need coffee beans as well (who could have guessed?). Grab a bag from a local speciality roaster or order one online. Just remember: coffee begins to decline in freshness after two weeks or so outside the roaster, so try to find a roaster that sells very fresh coffee. If the roast date is printed on the package, that’s a big plus.
Don’t skimp on your water. Hard water will mute the nuanced flavours of your delicious coffee. Super minerally water will impart strange flavours. Unless you have a clean water source with low amounts of minerals, use a carbon filter or purified water.
You’re going to need a reliable burr coffee grinder that gives you uniform coffee grounds. Without this, you’ll be forced to buy pre-ground coffee or have it ground when you buy it. The aromatic coffee oils will evaporate and the coffee cells will break down once they come in contact with oxygen. If your beans are already ground, you will lose freshness very rapidly once the bag is open.
This is why a burr coffee grinder is your most important piece of coffee equipment. You’ll be able to preserve those fresh qualities inside the beans until you’re ready to experience them.
While using a coffee scale may seem overboard, it is priceless when it comes to being able to brew coffee with precision and consistency. Especially in the case of pour over brewing, a gram accurate scale can keep you from using too much or too little coffee and water. Guessing is a great way to brew disappointing coffee without realising it.
With fresh coffee, filtered water and your V60 coffee brewing equipment in hand, you’re ready to get the show on the road.
Brewing Guide For The Hario V60 02 Size
- 15g Coffee Beans (medium-fine grind) (68g/L)
- 240ml Water (also happens to be 240g)
- 30ml used in Pre-Infusion
- Bring a kettle of water to 95° Celsius, fold the stitching of the Hario V60 filter over, set the filter into the cone, and pour some water over the filter. This preheats your brewing vessel and decanter (or mug) and washes any residual papery taste from the paper filter. Make sure you throw out that rinse water before you move on – you don’t want to drink that.
- Grind your coffee beans at a medium-fine setting. Your finished grounds should resemble table salt – not powdery, but not very distinct. Add the grounds to your V60 and give the brewer a little shake so that the coffee bed is flat.
- Tare your scale and start a timer. It’s time to brew.
- With your water still just off the boil, begin the bloom phase by pouring about 30g of water onto the coffee grounds. Start on the outer edges and pour in a circle towards the middle. This stage of brewing opens the coffee grounds up so that they can release carbon dioxide. Without the gas in the way, the grounds can now take in water for a balanced extraction.
- After 30 seconds have passed, begin pouring water over the coffee again with a slow, steady stream. Pour in small circles, moving in a larger circle around the entire coffee bed. Make sure you saturate all of the coffee grounds evenly.
- After a minute of pouring or so, you will reach your target of 240g of water. Stop pouring. From here, it’s up to gravity to finish the brewing.
- Once the brewed coffee has drained (probably after another 30 to 60 seconds), remove the V60 from your decanter, throw away the filter and grounds, and enjoy your well-earned cup of delicious coffee.
This process is not difficult, but there are a lot of variables at play. If one of them is off, it throws the rest of them off a little bit too. If you find that your coffee doesn’t taste like you want it to, it may mean that you need to regain control over a variable.
Here’s how you can dial in your coffee variables.
Troubleshooting Your Brew
The best way to tell if one of your brewing variables was not in concert with the rest is by simply tasting your coffee. If something is off, you’ll know it. For every odd taste you experience, there’s a way to fix it.
This is how we troubleshoot our brews in the speciality coffee world.
If your water wasn’t able to dissolve and pull out enough coffee stuff while it was draining, it means the coffee was under-extracted. Coffee that wasn’t able to extract enough from the beans tastes sour, acidic, and occasionally salty. Sometimes, under extracted coffee has a very astringent mouthfeel that dries your tongue out. Sometimes it bites the front tip of your tongue with sharp acidity.
The way to solve under extraction is to extract more next time you brew.
With the Hario V60, you can do this a few different ways.
- Grind your coffee beans at a slightly finer setting. Smaller coffee particles extract more quickly than large ones, so by grinding your coffee at a finer setting, you’ll need less time (or the same amount of time if your coffee was under-extracted) to brew balanced coffee.
- Pour a little extra water, but don’t change your pouring speed. By adding water, you also add time for the coffee and water to interact, increasing the total extraction. Just be careful, going this route slowly dilutes your brewed coffee.
- Extend the bloom phase. By allowing the bloom phase to go on for 40 seconds instead of 30, you give the coffee grounds a little more time to degas and become prepared for rapid extraction.
If your water dissolved and extracted too much from the coffee beans, your brewed coffee will be over extracted. Coffee that’s been extracted beyond the realm of peak flavour is bitter, has muted flavours, and is generally dull. You may be able to feel a scratchiness towards the back of your throat when you swallow over extracted coffee.
To resolve your over extraction issues, you need to extract less next time you brew.
Here are a couple ways to do that with the Hario V60.
- Grind your coffee beans at a slightly coarser setting. By increasing your coffee ground particle size, you slow down the rate of extraction since it takes longer for water to penetrate the deeper parts of large grounds.
- Pour a little less water, but don’t change your pouring speed. By using a little less water, you reduce the total contact time of coffee and water, which causes less to be extracted from the coffee beans.
- Cut the bloom phase short. By reducing your bloom phase 5 to 10 seconds, you can reduce the total amount of contact time (assuming you still pour the water at the same speed as before). There will likely be some carbon dioxide left in the beans when you begin pouring, so those first few drops of water will not extract as much as normal.
Other Possible Problems
- Pour very carefully. If you’re pouring water over your coffee like a maniac, you’re bound to extract some grounds more than others and produce bad tasting coffee. Make sure you’re not swinging your water stream around carelessly.
- Check your coffee roaster. Were they roasted by a reputable professional? Even if they were, there’s always a very small chance that a batch could be defected – don’t forget that coffee is an agricultural product, after all.
- Check your coffee beans. Did you accidentally grab coffee roasted more than two weeks ago? Did your beans get water on them or too much sunlight before you brewed them? These are all things that could impact your coffee flavor.
- Check your water source. Is there rust in your kettle? Maybe your pipes are sending a lot of calcium your way. Check your tools and try using purified water to see if it’s a water source issue.
- Check your water temperature. Did your water temperature fall below 90 Celsius? If so, it wasn’t able to extract from your coffee grounds as quickly as it should have, and probably resulted in under extraction.
- Check your Hario V60. Is your pour over cone adequately cleaned? Did some old coffee get stuck to it and contribute some negative flavours?
If you’ve gone through the list and cannot seem to find your way to better coffee, I suggest trying new coffee from a new roaster. Who knows? Maybe you just aren’t a big fan of the specific coffee you bought? Maybe it was just a bad bag.
The Hario V60 Is An Incredible Brewer
You’ll quickly realise that the Hario V60 is capable of brewing delicious, balanced coffee once you give it a go. It rivals the greatest brewers of our day, even if it is a little more difficult and less forgiving than them.
With a beautiful body, a meditative process, and delicious results, it’s no wonder why the Hario V60 is one of the world’s most popular brewing methods.